I've been participating off and on in group breaks since just after I got back into card collecting a few years ago. It's a business model that seems perfectly suited to randomly-packed pieces of sports memorabilia. I've seen group breaks for sports cards, hit breaks for celebrity-autographed photos, sketch card drafts, and all sorts of similar breaks dealing with collectibles.
Well, the other day my mother-in-law posted a link on Facebook that blew my mind. It was a live video of a woman at a table holding a tray of oysters. Each compartment in the tray had one oyster in it, and each oyster had a colored clip next to it. The lady was talking into the camera, and whoever was on the other end of the chat was deciding whether to choose one oyster or to purchase the whole tray of five oysters at a discount. The person decided to purchase the whole tray, so the oyster breaker popped open the shells and squeezed out five different pearls. As each pearl came out she announced the color, then used digital calipers to measure it. Once the oysters were all opened, she held them up to the camera for a close-up shot, then packed them into baggies with the customer's name on them. Then she refilled the tray from her supply of oysters and repeated the process for the next customer on her list.
Going by the names and profile pictures I saw, the customer base was mostly women who are older than me. It was basically group breaking for old(er) ladies! It makes perfect sense when you think about it, but I'd just never thought about it. Pearls are a collectible with some perceived value. You don't know what kind of pearl the oyster holds until you open it. Why not sell people the chance to open an oyster, with the likelihood of an average pearl but the chance of a really nice one? Crazy. I wonder what other kinds of group breaks there are out there in the world?
This is my token card for the post. It's an Evan Gattis Studio Signature Blue parallel from 2016 Donruss Optic. This card has got a sticker autograph and is numbered # 30 / 50. Evan Gattis doesn't have a particularly complex autograph. It's really just initials. He is probably my favorite Astros player at the moment, but I've had a hard time committing to starting a player collection for him. I've gathered a few of his cards here and there when the price was right, but haven't made a strong push on that front. Even though Jon Singleton as an Astro seems like a lost cause, I've got so much invested in that player collection that inertia draws me into gathering more of Singleton's cardboard. I can't be adding another player to my plate, even if it is arguably a player I like more than my main Astros PC. What a web we collectors weave for ourselves.