Taking My Hacks

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Joe Orlando

We have all been there before, either on the side that is dishing out the frustration or on the receiving end of it. When you are upset, disgruntled, frustrated and so on, you do not think rationally... you just want to vent. Unfortunately for the person on the receiving end, the anger is now directed at them. The messenger, in some cases, is being shot.

In the business of authentication and grading, do you think PSA has experience with this issue? It happens all the time. In fact, I have to admit something. I may have been one of the first customers to vent on PSA. Back in 1991, I traveled down to the offices of PSA to speak with one of the graders about my order. A group of cards came back "Evidence of Trimming" and I couldn't believe it.

As I continued to vent at the grader about my submission, I soon realized that he was just acting as the messenger in this situation. The person I should have been angry with was the person who sold me the cards, the person who profited from the sale, not PSA. They were not the bad guys in this situation, just the messenger.

Today, I continue to hear about, see and experience these situations on a weekly basis. While this is certainly part of the gig so to speak and the collector frustration is understandable, there does come a point when the frustration boils over and the hobby itself takes a beating from someone who is simply mad at the world. I can cite many examples of this.

I can recall a situation that came up over a year ago. A customer submitted a few autographed items to PSA/DNA. The items did not pass authentication and the submitter became furious. He then tried another expert and an auction house, both rejected the items. Instead of being upset at the person who sold the items to him, he started to take his frustration out on the experts and the auction house.

Today, this person has decided to make it his purpose in life to attack auction houses, experts and dealers at will for no apparent reason. It's ridiculous. This collector bought fraudulent material, had it rejected by numerous, credible individuals and now he is mad at them? As crazy as this may sound to a reasonable person, it happens all the time but it really needs to stop.

Listen, we have all had our share of experiences in this hobby, both good and bad. Instead of hobbyists taking their anger out on the very people who are trying to better this hobby, they should do themselves and the rest of us a favor and realize that they are not alone when it comes to making mistakes as a buyer. They should accept some responsibility and try to help others avoid the mistakes that they made instead of perpetuating negativity.

Like any other business, in this hobby, information is power. I think if collectors make a unified effort to educate themselves and others instead of aiming their frustration at the wrong companies or people, this hobby would be a much better place. Maybe it is wishful thinking but it is the truth. In addition, remember to always consider the source when you hear of a rumor or when someone attacks another dealer, auction house, authentication service or item. Most of the time, you can distinguish between genuine concern and misguided anger very quickly.


Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief