Monday, March 16, 2009

Disdain for dealers

When it comes right down to it, the results from Hound Central 4.0's latest poll were hardly surprising: Very few hounds feel anything but disdain for autograph dealers.

Of the 61 votes cast in the poll, which asked for one's opinion of autograph dealers, an overwhelming majority blamed them for ruining our hobby. In contrast, only a handful sided with a person's right to earn a living. Thirteen votes indicated an ambivalence toward the issue.

How deep is the disdain? Not even a combination of the two dealer-friendly choices failed to make a dent in collectors' collective disregard. The love, I'm afraid, just isn't there.

Despite these highly unscientific findings, I sense that dealers won't be going away anytime soon. Given today's economy, no collector has the right to deny another's attempt at making a living. They're husbands and fathers, trying to provide the basic necessities of shelter and food for their families.

To be honest, I like having dealers around. Sure, it's fun to poke fun at their ignorance. But, thanks to their presence, it's easy to work a crowd of players, either cherry-picking a team's top stars or creating an orderly procession.

Sure, there's a sentiment that autograph dealers have made this hobby a bit more difficult. Still, though, we all go home with autographs. In my viewpoint, their multilevel usefulness makes them tolerable.

Ethically, the end justifies the means.

Question: Autograph dealers?

Ruined the hobby: 42 out of 61 votes cast (68.9 percent)
Who cares? 13 out of 61 votes (21.3 percent)
Just earning a living: 6 out of 61 votes (9.8 percent)

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