Message boards centered around sports memorabilia came alive on Saturday. Steiner Sports had a promo code (YANK909) which allowed purchasers to get $50 off any order with no minimum to buy. So if you could find something for $49.99 then you only had to pay shipping and the item was yours. Virtually free. To good to be true? Probably. Collectors were suspicious but it did appear to be working. I did it myself and after placing my order I got an email which contained this…
Product Quantity Price
BASEBAU000014 – Official Major League Baseball
$50 Off Your Purchase: ($44.97)
Sales Tax: $0.00
Grand Total: $9.99
So far so good! My order went through and common-sense aside I had no reason to doubt the legitimacy of the offer. Orders poured in at Steiner Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people made several separate orders to take full advantage of the promotion (Greedy? Maybe, but it makes good business sense, so I can’t fault any of them). Meanwhile, someone at Steiner put up a red flag. The promotion stopped working sometime last night because it turns out it was only supposed to be good for Yankee season ticket holders Another reason to hate the Yankees). I’ve seen some reports of orders being kicked back. Reports of people being asked by Steiner for their season ticket number and reports of people getting charged as though they never used the promo code.
So Steiner has a mess on their hands. This fact alone delights me. To me Steiner represents all that’s wrong with the hobby and this “Yankee season ticket holder only” offer only accentuates what’s wrong with Steiner. Steiner makes collecting exclusive. Serious collector’s know which players have contracts with Steiner and that if they want that guy’s autograph they’ll likely have to shell out a lot of cash. A lot of those players only rarely sign autographs at games and even then will only autograph the side-panel of a baseball, as opposed to the sweet spot, or avoid marquee items. “Yes, I’ll sign your ticket stub! But you with the 16×20? Take a hike.” (And who do you think is the bigger fan? The guy who purchased a 16×20 or the dolt who came completely unprepared and only had their ticket stub? And Steiner supports that type of activity. Hell, they pay for it! They pay ballplayers not to sign your items for free! They pay the right to sell that autograph (that you had the chance to get for free) for $600, and because they’re so big they find buyers. They land big contracts. So personally, I dislike Steiner sports.
That opinion aside, what should Steiner really do here? Well first of all, I don’t see how they didn’t catch this within the first few hours. Then maybe they could have honored those orders and looked like the good guy. Now, with how many orders were placed I would not expect them to honor the promo code orders. If I hear nothing back, and my card is never charged I will not feel slighted by Steiner. I tried. The ball’s in their court now. They were careless and stupid to let this even happen, but now that it did I don’t think it would be unethical for them to simply cancel orders and refund money. Now if they really do try to charge people the full amounts, then I would have a serious problem with that. One person has said they’re trying that with him, but I don’t think we’ll see a lot of it.
No matter how they play it from here, Steiner made a big mistake. I’m just happy that I get to know that they are all stressing out over there trying to figure out how to fix it. Both logistically and from a customer-service standpoint. No matter what this story has a happy ending.