Parents - Getting Kids Involved!
Another in a Series of Articles for Parents of Young Players
(My apologies for missing last week... Scott and I were at Pro Tour Chicago and got to visit (and hang with) Pojo himself and his wonderful family, Bonnie, Amy and Anna!) We had a fantastic time, and got some Magic playing in to boot!)
One question that I get asked quite often by parents of players (or other acquaintances that are interested in giving gifts to Magic Players) is what to buy and the best way of going about it. There is no one "right" way to purchase cards, and it mostly depends on what is most convenient to you and your circumstances. If you are reading this article, you most likely have Internet access and so, have the key to one of the simplest ways to buy, from right in the comfort of your own home. If you prefer a more hands on experience, you can probably go to a shop or store that your child frequents, and talk to the clerk or owner for more information. If you are wiling to wait and have the patience, eBay is an interesting alternative, too. In whichever case, before you jump in head first, gather up some facts.
You first need to find what your Magic Player is looking for. Find out if there are specific cards he/she is looking to add to their deck or collection. If so, you can either call the store, and ask if they have them in stock, and what their prices are. Now, here's a hint if you'd like to save a bit of money. Find a reliable Magic Dealer online, and compare prices before you make your decision. At this point in my article, I will shamelessly plug our own Website as an example - hey, if I'm going to show an example of an honest and trustworthy Website, it may as well be my own, since I put my heart and soul into it! ;) . www.ShuffleAndCutGames.com
Once you check out pricing, then make your decision on where to buy according to what makes you feel most comfortable. If you have a great shop near you that your child hangs out at faithfully, then seriously consider giving them your business if their pricing is reasonable. Customer loyalty is always appreciated in local shops and stores that take the time and effort to host tournaments for the local Magic population.
If there isn't a local hang out or a shop that your child is loyal to, then give more priority to pricing and service. Check out local shops and talk to the Clerk. Are they knowledgeable and friendly, and willing to take the time to talk with you? If you feel comfortable with them, and you feel their pricing is reasonable, consider giving them your business. If your Magic Player is happy with your purchases, consider being a loyal customer.
If you do decide to buy online, then check out the Website carefully. Have you heard of them before or their owners? Do they take the time to explain their policies on their site? Do they carry a large selection? Do they offer payment options that you feel comfortable with? Are there other means by which to confirm their trustworthiness? For instance, to help put our customers at ease when they write us for more information, I often point out our eBay rating of well over 1,000 positive feedbacks... that means over 1,000 unique customers were very happy with their transactions with us!
Once you have checked the Website out, and if you now feel comfortable with them, as a final idea, you can email them and ask a few questions if you'd like. Ask where they are located, and how long it takes for them to ship. Honestly, this has been one of the biggest peeves I have heard from people. Many of our customers are former customers of other Websites that took way too long to ship, and/or were unresponsive in a timely manner to their emails and inquiries. They end up with us and stay with us because we offer excellent customer service and timely shipments. Take the time to research when your seller will ship your cards, and how far they are willing to go with their customer service. Another thing to check out is if they are willing to supply you with a phone # for contacting them.
Another outlet for buying cards, and often a fun one if you have the patience and time to wait for the cards to arrive, is eBay. Here, an eBay rating is VERY important! Check out the number next to the seller's ID (In this example, it is the number in parenthesis next to our eBay name). You can click on the number to see what past customers have said about the seller, and their comments about their service. This can be quite helpful in choosing a Magic seller. In that example, you can also see a list of what that seller is offering at that moment. (By the way, if you read this article before 1/28/03, you should be able to see all the rare cards from the brand new set, Legions! If you click on one of them, it will tell you the card text for it. One of the coolest things about Magic is checking out the new cards and learning about them when a new set is released).
To search for specific cards, you may want to go to the single cards section. From there, you can type in a particular card to search for (see the search box on the left side of the page). Again, be sure you check out a seller and their rating before bidding. Make sure they offer the type of payment you would like to use. If you have any questions at all, be sure to write the seller before bidding. Remember, when you bid on an item, you are entering into a legally binding contract with them, so be sure that you feel completely comfortable with this seller before you do.
If your child isn't looking for any particular cards, then I highly recommend buying packs or boxes. "Busting" boxes and packs is a blast, and you never know what treasures you will be rewarded with! Whatever they get, you child will be adding to their collection or play and trade stock, and broadening their possibilities for their decks. I usually recommend the latest block of boosters, or in some cases the main sets. At present, I would then recommend Onslaught, Legions, and 7th Edition. For added variety, I would also recommend Odyssey, Torment and Judgment.
I wish you the very best buying experience, and if you have questions, please feel free to contact me! Chris@ShuffleAndCutGames.com!
Until next time....
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