My continuing adventure with RazorFebruary 18, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Posted in Razor | 8 Comments
Lots of people on the internet have been talking about Razor over the last couple of months, and most of what they’re saying is not very good. Sure, the guy who pulled a George Washington cut signature from a pack of Razor’s Cut Signature Oval Office edition (albeit a $2500 pack) is probably thrilled with the new card company, but the vast majority of collectors have not had such a positive experience. Take me for example. In case you missed it, check out my post about the absolutely horrible box of Razor Signature Series, the baseball draft pick product, that I busted in December.
I was disappointed with the product for two reasons. First, out of my 10 autographs, I only pulled one autograph from a first round pick, and it was one of the least touted players drafted in the first round. Normally, I’d just consider myself unlucky. After all, I’ve gotten bad results from many boxes of Topps and Upper Deck products in the past. But the thing that really irritated me was that almost every collector who paid for a box of the Razor product and busted it on YouTube had similar horrible results. And at the same time, the president of Razor, Brian Gray, personally delivered a case of the product to Beckett, and opened four boxes from the case on video with Beckett employees. Those four boxes yielded an amazing 23 first round pick autographs. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Gray had purposely delivered a loaded case of his product to Beckett, figuring that the amazing results would fool collectors into believing that every box would be as good as the ones that were opened by Beckett and they’d be enticed to buy boxes of Razor themselves. We’ve seen Topps, Donruss-Playoff, and Upper Deck all play that foolish game with Beckett in the past, and they all enraged collectors by doing so.
Anyway, I want to share with you a couple of developments that have happened since my original post. First, in case you missed it, Chris from Stale Gum happened to win a contest for a box from the very same case that Brian Gray delivered to Beckett. I strongly encourage you to read his post and watch his video box break here. And be sure to read my comments on that post – although reader discretion is definitely advised. I used some very strong language due to the sickening feeling that I experienced when I saw Chris pull 9 first round pick autographs in his box. Chris’ box break should leave absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that Beckett’s case was loaded. It’s really unfortunate that a new card company like Razor would decide to engage in such unethical behavior right from the start.
The second development is that I emailed Brian Gray in January to express my concerns. I applaud him for being so accessible to collectors. His willingness to listen to collectors is definitely a strength of his company. When I asked Gray about whether he intentionally delivered a loaded case to Beckett, here was his response:
“ABSOLUTELY NO funny business occurred… on the contrary I was actually upset as we didn’t get even a single parallel autograph of any kind till the fourth box.. This is not good collation obviously. Your insinuation is not only insulting but its off base.”
I responded to that statement with this:
“Here’s my perspective on the parallel autographs: they don’t matter. If you check the sell values of Brad Holt Razor autographs on eBay, you’ll find that the /199 cards aren’t selling for much more than the regular autograph cards. I think that’s because there is nothing that makes the Razor parallels stand out as special except for the lower serial number. For example, Topps parallels are great to pull because their refractor technology makes the cards look great. What makes a Razor parallel any more desirable than a non-parallel besides the lower serial number? Take that as a suggestion – I’d like to see Razor develop a more meaningful type of parallel than the parallels that were included in Razor Signature Series.
Also, I’ll take your word that no ‘funny business’ occurred. But why didn’t you state during the recording of the video that Beckett was pulling an unusually high number of first round pick autographs from their boxes? Instead, you made comments that suggested that the results from their boxes were normal, and perhaps even worse than what most collectors would get due to the lack of parallels. It would be a classy move for Razor to issue some sort of public statement that at least acknowledges that Beckett’s boxes were exceptionally good.”
Gray then responded with this:
“I agree on the parallel technology issue… however, look at Tim, beckham #/199, #/25 or #/5… in good players, parallels matter…
actually, in my head, I was worried sick about pulling no parallel autos after saying they should fall 1 per box.”
So Brian Gray denies that the case that he delivered to Beckett was intentionally loaded to make his product look good. I don’t buy it at all – especially after seeing Chris’ box break. Of course he’s right about the parallel autographs of the high end players being valuable, but that doesn’t help when collectors don’t pull any autographs, let alone parallels, of the high end players in the first place.
However, in a very classy move, Gray asked for my address so that he could send me a “token of my apologies you didn’t have a good experience”. I received a bubble mailer from Razor yesterday containing this card:
Kyle Skipworth was a high school catcher who was the #6 overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Florida Marlins. He’s one of the players that Razor signed to an exclusive contract. I would’ve been thrilled to pull this card from my box, and it is definitely a great addition to my collection. I thank Brian Gray and Razor for sending this card to me. I don’t think it’s likely that any of the more established card companies would have made a gesture like this to a dissatisfied customer. I’d encourage any readers who had a similar experience with Razor Signature Series to email Brian Gray (you can find his email address on Razor’s web site). I don’t know if he’ll be so generous with everyone, but at the very least you can give him feedback on what you don’t like (and maybe what you do like) about the product and he’ll listen.
So after all of that, here’s how I currently feel about Razor. I’m willing to forgive them for delivering the loaded case to Beckett. I don’t need Brian Gray or anyone else to continue to deny it. It’s in the past, and it was an error in judgment by Razor. All of the card companies have done it. Hopefully they learned from the incident, and we won’t see it happen in the future. I hope that they continue to listen to collectors and they take steps to improve the design of their products, and perhaps the collation of their boxes. Loaded cases or not, there’s no excuse for some boxes to yield 9 first round pick autographs and others to contain one or none.
I’ll probably eventually cave and buy a Tim Beckham Razor autograph on eBay. It’ll be interesting to see what the future value of that card, and other first round picks, will be. Obviously, I’d be a lot more confident about a Bowman Chrome Tim Beckham autograph, but due to Razor’s exclusive contract, we won’t see that. I’d honestly be happy if Razor went out of business, simply so that the players who they signed to exclusive contracts could appear on Topps and Donruss prospect cards. But until that happens, we all have to live with Razor and its exclusive contracts, so I hope that their products improve in the future. Rest assured that if they pull any more shenanigans, I’ll be first in line to call them out on it…