The one thing you really need to understand is that free shipping is a very abstract and elusive illusion when you live abroad. It simply does not exist. So when you find really cheap boxes off ebay, you very soon realize that a 10$ box really costs 30$. And 10$ boxes cost that little for a reason, and you don't really want to dish out 30$ for them. Forget also about combined shipping with their Global shipping program.
But since I'm overall very happy to be living in France (granted, we don't have Captain' Crunch or Cocoa pebbles, nor Dr Pepper and Root Beer, but the chocolate and the cheese are great, plus our mustard actually tastes like mustard), I figure I might as well play by the rules and convince myself that a cheap box is a 30$ box. There is, of course, no limit to an expensive box, that's the beauty of what the hobby has become.
To get back in the game, I treated myself to some old and some new, to see what Topps is up to. I also favored high count boxes. So I got a 2012 Topps jumbo packs box (650 cards) along with 1998 Collector's choice (430 cards), 91 Upper Deck (540 cards) and 94 Topps (430 cards). They got there pretty fast (5-6 days), and their tracking service is so nicely done that I could check everyday and dream of my packs of cards flying right to me and when to expect them on my doorstep.
I, of course, got in a pack-ripping frenzy. The first thing to hit me was that singular smell. And I had forgotten how cool and exciting it was to open an entire box. I knew I wouldn't get anything fancy (again, they are cheap for a reason), but those were sets that I enjoyed at the time of their releases and I was just happy to add cards to the sets I hadn't completed. I put all the cards in neat little packs, tried to understand just how many inserts there were in the 2012 Topps set and started sorting them all.
I don't know about you, but that's one part about collecting cards that I love : just sorting them. I build little stacks : #1-99 / 100 - 199 / 200 - 299...and then divide each one of them into other stacks : 1-9 / 10-19...I suppose you get it. It takes a highly mathematically trained mind to come up with that system, don't try it at home. Of course, I'll grumble if I get too many duplicates (the worst being of course a duplicate in one pack. I really feel like I'm being ripped off. Or when they put a send-in card in a pack and it counts as a full card, even though it's just for a survey of some sort. And in any case, since I live in France, I can't participate in any send-in whatsoever. Maybe that's changed over the years, I'll have to look into it). The 91 UD was ridiculous in terms of box colation. Since I bought a high numbered one, they included way more cards numbered 700-800 than of the others. And I'm still 10 cards shy of the hi-numbered set. Tssss
Of course, there would be more boxes to come...the sorting was over, I needed more. Much more. Much much more...