I just got back from Minneapolis (it went great!), and I quickly logged in to update some grades for the class I am teaching. In doing so, I decided to give Twitter a brief look.
I noticed a tweet chain that Tony, the mind behind the awesome Brewer's cardboard blog Off Hiatus Baseball Cards, was participating in. The participants were discussing the new Topps Now relic card from Ichiro's 3,000 hit game, many of which are selling for $180 - $999, depending on which parallel you are interested in.
The conversation moved from this card specifically to parallels in general, and the common agreement was that parallels are a way for Topps to make an extra dime.
In general, I agree with this. That being said, I am one of those who chases parallels. I do this for multiple reasons: first, I have major OCD and feel the need to collect them all (like they are Pokemon, which I have ZERO desire to collect); and second, I get bored of seeing plain, white-bordered cards. Parallels can "spice up" a collection up an inject some color in what is otherwise a boring set.
Being the a**hole that I am, I decided to play devil's advocate. I interjected and asked what everyone would say to collector's who enjoy parallel chasing or rainbow building. After a few quick exchanges, the person said that parallel chasing is a "stupid mentality that is ruining the hobby."
Now, I often see collector's doing things and paying amounts that I think are just insane. However, I've always felt that if you have the funds, you should do whatever you want to do when it comes to your own collection. Your actions in no way affect me or other collectors, regardless of what people may say. If everyone thinks whatever Topps is doing is a joke or gimmick, then they will stop buying the product (look at Bowman Platinum). However, as long as there are people who want to buy the product, Topps will continue to produce it.
My point is this: just because you don't enjoy or appreciate something Topps is doing doesn't mean that there isn't someone out there that does. Labeling that collector as stupid or saying they are ruining the hobby is silly. We're talking about cardboard here - we all are a bit goofy.
None of this is to say that Topps doesn't deserve criticism - let's talk about the repetitive use of the same photo, their poor customer service or their extremely slow redemption fulfillment - I'm just saying let's not turn on each other.
I hope everyone is well!