Sunday, November 22, 2015

Can Someone Explain COMC to Me?

If history repeats itself, then in about a week my blogroll will be filled with posts about hauls from Check Out My Cards' Black Friday Sale. I've read COMC's blog post about their sale event, which includes millions of marked down cards, free shipping on orders over twenty cards and scratch-and-win cards for COMC credit. It sounds like a good deal!

But, I feel like I'm missing something. You see, I'm in the market for a Joe Maddon card in a Cubs uniform So I typed in ":Maddon" and here's the first three cards which showed up in the search.

I honestly don't understand those prices. The 2010 Heritage card is a short print, so I can see where the sellers are coming from on that one. But the other two cards are commons and can be had on Sportlots for 18 cents each. Yes, even the 2007 Topps Gold parallel is listed for $0.18 on Sportlots.

I checked out one of the million of the marked down cards and it's confusing. 55% off a Carlos Correa autograph!  Cool!

I like Correa as a player and he has a bright future.  I clicked on the "Sale --55% OFF SRP" and it led me to the seller's page.

 The price makes my wallet cry, but it's an on card auto, graded, and numbered to 25.  I get it.  $400 is probably a fair price.  What I don't understand is the 20%.  Where did the 55% go?

Last example.  I collect Kerry Wood cards and this one was the 5th card listed in my search:

 All four cards were listed by the same seller. They are each marked down 5% and all four are the non-glossy version of Wood's 2000 Fleer Tradition card.  I can pick that up on Ebay for $3.49 and on Sportlots for under a dollar (including shipping). $40 for a card which I could find in a dime bin at a card show? What gives? I realize the Kerry Wood example may be an outlier, but it's a quite egregious one at that.

I've never bought anything from COMC. The main reason being is that I just don't understand it. Even with the sale prices and free shipping I don't think I'm receiving that good of a deal. 

If you have any experience with COMC I would love to hear how you make it worth your while. Perhaps if I can learn a few tricks from you guys/gals then I can find some deals and take advantage of their Black Friday Sale.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to your comments!


  1. it's like any other online seller/marketplace. There are steals, decent buys, and totally out to lunch buyers.
    Then there are douche sellers like JoelsHitShow. If they are the first and/or only seller to list that particular card, they slap $50 on it and call it a day. Just waiting for that sucker to come along. Once other sellers list that same card, they lower their prices.

    It is NOT a one stop shop. You have to know what you want and how much it is worth. Then pick and choose. The big advantage is the $3 flat rate shipping. And if you buy over 20 cards before the 30th, you can have free shipping.
    So take your list and start looking. Buy the good deals, leave the rest. Just like ebay and sportlots, etc...

    1. Huh. I must admit, the second Wood card I saw looked like a steal. It was a 2012 SP Signature Edition three autograph card with Lance Berkman and Miguel Tejeda marked down 75% to a price in my range. Tempting.
      Thanks Captain Canuck!

      I would still love to hear the experiences of others!

    2. I seriously question buying from anyone who would dub themselves "Joel ShitShow."

    3. Hah! I didn't even see it like that. Thanks for pointing the different spelling out. It makes more sense now!

  2. I shop at COMC a lot (and by "a lot" I mean like 3 times a year). Their inventory and ability to see the cards you buy is a big selling point for me.

    But it's really not for buying commonly found cards like a 2006 Joe Maddon. I use it to track vintage and oddballs. I usually can find good deals on those. And like the Captain said, you have to know what the cards are worth because it's very much like ebay -- you're going to find people who consistently overcharge.

    The flat-rate shipping is a big advantage. Collectors used to complain about COMC's shipping policy all the time. They changed it and now it's great.

  3. I buy from COMC occasionally. I simply go through, find what I want and add it to my watch list. That way, whenever I feel like making a purchase, which isn't often, I can easily find the cards I want. I use it mainly for hard to find and vintage hockey, wrestling and UFC relic cards and occasionally a few Reds auto and jersey cards which are way overpriced by everyone in Cincinnati and Dayton. I never buy the store credit since I don't buy from there enough and just Paypal to purchase.

  4. I second everything everyone has already said. Normally, your "base" cards or high-numbered parallels aren't terribly expensive. Sometimes, even when a card is listed for a stupid price, you can make an offer for what you feel is fair and the seller will accept. The problem then becomes purchasing "store credit," which, in my experience, is a pain in itself. But I still try it occasionally.

  5. Like Night Owl, I use COMC to get those oddball cards and different Tony Gwynn and Padres cards. Like E-Bay and other sites, you have to take the good sellers along with the sleazebags who don't have a clue. I also do their inventory challenges, so I get "free" money to pick up a bunch of cards (see my latest post on "Bleedin' Brown and Gold." I've earned over $400 from them and turned it all around for "free" cards.

  6. I love COMC! I usually wait to ship until I've purchased 50 cards or so. I have made offers on over priced harder-to-find cards and so far, have not been turned down. It's worth 'checking out'. ;)

  7. I only use COMC maybe twice a year. Overall my experiences have been good. I tend to focus more on my WVU collection as many of those guys have washed up professionally so it allows me to find relics and autos for cheap.

  8. I shop on COMC a fair amount -- probably more than I should at times. I am with Night Owl and others who have said that it is a good place to find those oddballs that otherwise might not be available elsewhere. The key really is to make offers on items. Even if it is just to save a quarter on a card priced at $1.50, it adds up across the board to give more bang for your buck.

    That said, I'm trying to start tracking costs on other sites (Just Commons and Sportlots in particular, with Beckett's Marketplace thrown in for good measure) to see what kinds of deals I can get on the cards I am missing from various collections.

  9. I was a huge fan of COMC a few years ago... when I understood their pricing and best offer option better. These days I pretty much target specific cards that I'll pick up if they're available for less than eBay closed listings. As several people mentioned... their flat rate shipping is hard to beat.

  10. I was skeptical about COMC but found some cards I couldn't get elsewhere so I tried it. After repeat buying this year, now I think it's fantastic.

    You can find great deals especially when there are a lot of the same card for sale. I've bought commons for 50 cents that I would've paid $1.50 + $3 shipping on eBay. You can't beat saving $4 on a common. But I've also bought quality vintage and oddballs at good or at least decent prices.

    It's all about supply and demand. I've seen a card go from under a buck when there are 5 for sale to multiple bucks when there's one. If there were 20 Maddons, I expect the price would go down.

    Plus COM's customer service is excellent. And not only is shipping cheap since it's combined, but it's well packaged (no PWE envelopes for a $3 shipping charge).

    And as for Joel, if he keeps that up I think he'll still have the same card listed 20 years from now. Like others wrote - it's a marketplace with some sellers that may be in no hurry to sell a card. I'd ignore the discounts and focus on the final price the person offers you (many sellers will negotiate). Overall I've found a lot of good sellers on COMC.

    1. I didn't realize it was all based upon supply and demand within the site itself. I guess that makes sense though!

  11. I've been buying and selling on COMC for nearly 5 years... As many people have mentioned, you can find some really offbeat stuff there and you can sometimes stumble across something you'd never seen before. Sometimes you'll find really good deals and I'll admit there are times where I have knowingly overpaid for a card... I view it as paying an extra amount of money for the convenience... Sure you could theoretically find the card in a quarter box, but you're paying for the fact that you don't have to spend the time thumbing through a quarter box to find that card.

    Regarding the Carlos Correa card... The initial image shows that the 55% is off of "SRP", which is COMC's version of Book Value. The 20% is discounted off of the seller's regular price (which must have already been lower than "SRP"). It's a little confusing to newcomers to the site, but it's one of those things you get a handle on after a while.

    As for the overpriced cards... My first suggestion is "Make an offer". There are several reasons I know of why a seller may have a card priced too high, and the easiest way around it is to make an offer to the seller. I know I've accidentally priced cards too high because I had no idea what to price the card, and I went and accepted the offer. I've also occasionally fat-fingered the price entry and made it too high.

    The second suggestion for overpriced cards is "Make a blacklist". If you see a card that has a ridiculous price, make a note of the seller. If you find that the seller makes a business practice out of ridiculous pricing, then add him to your blacklist and think twice about doing business with him. I recently saw a card out there I'd been looking for, it was at a good price, and I was going to buy it... until I saw that the seller was someone very high up on my Blacklist, so I sighed and figuratively walked away. It's not much different than going to card shows... After a while you have dealers you like to work with, and others you don't.

    Finally, I will say that, as a seller, I'm more likely to accept offers that include multiple cards. To do that, put any cards your interested in into your shopping cart, then, when you're ready to make an offer, go up to the shopping cart at the top of the web page, click on it, select "Make An Offer" and then all of the cards in your cart will be grouped according to seller.

    1. Thanks! That clears up my questions about the percents and you tossed in some helpful hints regarding a blacklist and making offers. Much appreciated!