I probably mentioned in a previous blog that prior to attending law school, I published a free newspaper in Chicago called the Barfly, a guide to Chicago's drinking Establishments. I printed 24,000 newspapers every two weeks and left them for folks to pick up at more than 700 places in Chicago.
Essentially, my job was to visit Chicago taverns and I usually hit six or seven every single day, seven days a week. I went at all hours, sometimes at 7 a.m., sometimes at 4 a.m., sometimes at 2 p.m. and sometimes at 10 p.m. I could write a book on just what I observed at all these taverns during my eight years of publishing Barfly Newspaper -- oh, actually I did! Let me know if you want a copy!!
It was not unusual that at some of the old-time neighborhood bars I would see a large number of patrons drinking at 7 a.m. So I was not shocked when I walked into the Buenavista Banquets at 7:50 a.m. on Sunday and observed a table of fellas drinking Coronas. It looked like they drank quite a few Coronas. I could tell they were snockered. Flash back city for me and I laughed a little when I saw them.
Though, the more I thought about it, the inebriated guys probably did not look good to all the families that planned to attend the card show. So I just hoped that these guys remained subdued. I could tell they were hammered. It looked like some of them were so drunk that they were frozen in place. Then when I heard one of them puking in the bathroom, my suspicions were confirmed.
I was amazed that they lasted until 9 or 10 a.m. I was also very concerned that they all might have entered separate vehicles and drove home. I'm hopeful none of them got behind the wheel. While I love to drink and I love seeing others enjoying themselves with drink, I hate when people drink and drive because then they place their lives and the lives of others in jeopardy.
I won't drink and drive. I do not have a death wish and no desire to injure others. It is just easier than ever these days to get a ride home, not only can you call a cab from your cell phone but you can use your Uber or Lyft app on your phone to get a ride. Just Uber on back when you sober up to get your vehicle. No big deal, unlike the days when I first started drinking when you had to call a cab from a payphone in the bar.
So that was interesting and I could see it was stressing out Keith, who runs the show. Thankfully, other than the retching sounds emanating from the bathroom stall, the drunk guys were not a problem.
Prior to the show, I had a bit of a problem deciding what to bring out. Initially, I thought about bringing 12 display cases in an effort to mix things up as I have largely had a binder set up at this show lately. A quick change of plans when Keith notified me of shortened hours because of an event scheduled after our show. The binders are much easier to pack up than display cases. So in the interest of a quick exit after the show, I brought out mostly binders and just several display cases.
As the show progressed, I realized the 12-display case set up would have been impossible to achieve because of the tight space behind my tables. At one point, I was hemmed in. I was sitting near the west side of my tables and the path to the east side was blocked by the dealer to my back right. At the same time the path to the western end of my tables was blocked by the dealer to my back left. I thought maybe I could just walk out to the back aisle then around to the front of my tables but that space was blocked by a guy who stood there just about all day talking to the dealer to my back right.
Turned out the binder set up worked out best. Customers could pull out cards from the binders and bring them to me, instead of me going to them as I normally do. So I think I will keep this set up for future shows at Buenavista Banquets because it works out best with all the obstacles.
I have learned over the years that as a dealer, you just have to make do with the configuration of the room. I know some dealers and customers are not happy with the tight space. I think, rather than complain, the best thing to do is adjust and make do with the space you have.
In a perfect world there would be a ton of space but that is just not the reality of this or many shows. I also know first hand the difficulty in finding an affordable and large venue to host a card show in Milwaukee. I like this show. I like Keith. I like all the volunteers. I like all the dealers and all the customers. I also like the tacos. I'm happy to make do with the tight space. It is really just a minor inconvenience.
We had excellent attendance on this warm and sunny day. The flow of customers was steady all day. A few customers purchased some hockey. Dean purchased a bunch of 1963 Topps baseball. One customer purchased a pile of 1976 Topps baseball. A new customer purchased a pile of 1980 Topps baseball. I need to keep a bell at my table for a prop and ring it when someone purchases anything from the 1980's. I see those purchases as a huge bonus.
The dealer to my back left had a whole table of 1980's cards. I felt so bad for him, I almost felt like giving him 20 bucks or something because I think his only sale of the day was a pile of 1986 Topps for about 35 cents. Kind of reminded me of a guy that used to set up at the Orland show. He only had junk on his tables except for times when others dealers would just give him stuff to sell because they felt bad for him. I really felt bad for this guy. Not only did he have horrible inventory, something was bugging him and he seemed really depressed. Card shows are generally fun, I hate to see someone depressed at a card show. I bet if he had a few Coronas with the guys by the front door, he would have felt much better.
Anyway, I had steady sales at my tables most of the day. Dennis purchased some 1960 Leaf and left his list at my table. Boy was he relieved when I found him later and gave him back his want list. I sold a handful of football cards and a few basketball cards. Rich found some cards for sets he is building. My sales were mostly baseball.
I had three display cases with baseball cards from 1953 through 1960. I sold a handful of items out of the display cases like a 1954 Topps Whitey Ford and a 1957 Topps Minnie Minoso. Overall, sales were down from last month but that is on me with such a nice crowd. I am currently way behind in updating my binders. I am just too tired after work most nights to work on it. Plus, I have been working on reloading 1972 Topps baseball for the longest time. That is such a large set and I have so many cards to go through and price that it just seems to be going at a snail's pace right now. In a perfect world, I will have it done by the Orland show this Sunday but I doubt it.
On the buying front, I picked up a few things including a 1951 Harlem Globetrotters program that I thought was pretty cool.
It was a quick day with the show ending at 1 p.m. I was on the road home by 1:45 p.m. I stopped for gas up the street from the show and paid only $2.99 a gallon for regular. Gas by my house is at $3.42 a gallon so that was a nice savings.
Got home to watch some football. I was amazed at how bad the Packers played against the Saints. I have never thought much of Jameis Winston but the Packers defense made him look like Joe Montana. Also, what was the deal with Aaron Rodgers? I have never seen him play so poorly.
I was switching back between the Packers/Saints and the Browns/Chiefs. I was rooting for the Browns. I love Baker Mayfield and the Browns have been so bad for so long it is easy to root for them. I thought they had the game in hand but their defense failed them in the fourth quarter.
Initially, I was not going to watch the Bears/Rams. Being a Bears fan I am highly disappointed with the franchise. I felt they made a huge mistake in signing Andy Dalton in the off-season. It did not look like they improved their offensive line or receiving corps. They also have a lousy defensive secondary and no depth on the defensive line and linebacking corps.
I could not help myself and watched the game. I was pleasantly surprised at the game the offense played. Dalton did not look that bad. The O-line played a good game. The Bears running game was excellent.
The defense, on the other hand, was horrible, just horrible. The secondary did not even try to cover the Rams receivers making Stafford look like Joe Namath. Ugly! Looks like it is going to be a long season here in the Midwest where all the NFL teams looked horrible this past Sunday. At least I have the White Sox and the Brewers to follow until the NBA season starts up again.
So next week I am setting up at two shows. I'll be at the Woodstock show on Saturday and the Orland Park show on Sunday. I'm taking out all of the binders for both shows. I'll probably bring out a display case or two. Have a great week everybody. Hope to see you next weekend!
Pictured up top is my neighbor at the Buenavista Show, Tom John. He is an excellent dealer who always has some great vintage cards. This past Sunday I was drooling at the 1952 Bowman football cards on his table. Tom is setting up at my Oak Creek show on October 2. Mark your calendars!!