Numlock News: October 14, 2020 • Charizard, Ambies, Sleep
By Walt Hickey
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A mint-condition, first-edition Charizard Pokémon Trading Card sold at auction Friday for $183,812 to rapper Logic, the latest in collectible trading cards selling for more than their weight in platinum. In 2019, a Black Lotus card from Magic: The Gathering sold for $166,000 at auction, doubling the market value of the notoriously rare specimen. The Charizard — obviously holographic, get out of here with that rookie stuff, you know the card I’m talking about here — was rated GEM MINT 10 by experts, a condition that is incredibly difficult to obtain for a trading card game specifically marketed to grubby children in the late 1990s. The bidding started at $40,000 and the final price after buyer’s premium came to $220,574.40.
The Ball Game
A limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the World Series in person at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, and that has absolutely everyone thinking the same thing: wait, baseball is still on? The answer is yes and it is the cheapest it will likely ever be in any of our lifetimes to go to the World Series, in case you want to roll the bones on that particular experience. Tickets for the National League Championship Series games between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves sold for between $40 and $450, and the World Series games have sold out with tickets retailing for $75 to $450, which is 40 percent to 50 percent cheaper than last year. The MLB is keeping attendance at 11,500 per game, around 25 percent, selling tickets in groups of four and mandating masks.
The Podcast Academy will host its first-ever awards show this spring on March 28, when their 500 members will award prizes in 23 different podcast award categories based on genre and individual talent. I assume that does not include any special awards allocated by the board of governors, like their version of the film Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which I assume would be named after Paul F. Tompkins. If I know anything about award shows, the broadcast will run a little long, and if I know anything about podcasts, each successive edition of the broadcast will run longer than the previous one, until it’s several years later and it’s roughly three times as long as the original show.
Pop Up Shop
In what is basically “the hat store Lids, but for the pandemic,” a new store directly named Covid-19 Essentials has cropped up in malls, hawking goods specifically related to the needs of the pandemic era like fashionable masks, gadgets, sticks to push buttons in elevators and so on, sort of a cross between The Sharper Image and a Spirit Halloween popup but for the end of days. There are now eight locations nationwide, in New York, Denver, New Jersey, Las Vegas, and Philly. I feel like the malls kind of need this and also sartorially solid mask usage is actually a net social good, so good job, mall mask-mongers. I’m really into this, especially because the founder of the store literally is quoted in the New York Times saying, “I can’t wait to go out of business eventually,” which is an excellent attitude. This whole thing rules.
Teens who participated in a 1,523 respondent survey between May and July this year were assessed for various mental well-being measures including life satisfaction, happiness, depression symptoms and loneliness. Their responses were then compared to the results of the same survey in 2018, and much to the surprise of the researchers, the teens were pretty much on par, and the percentage of teens depressed or lonely was lower in 2020 than in 2018. This is not to say that teens escaped the malaise that gripped the nation, far from it: 63 percent were concerned about catching the virus, 27 percent said a parent lost their job, 29 percent knew someone who caught the virus. No, the reason for the shift is that those considerable sources of anxiety were compensated for by the fact that teens were finally sleeping the correct amount of time: in 2018, just 55 percent of teens slept seven or more hours a night, and this year 84 percent slept seven or more hours a night while school was in session. Because they were not completely sleep-deprived due to early commutes, they were less miserable than normal. Hey, maybe this is a valuable lesson we should think about and remember on the other side of this one, yeah?
According to data from fitness panopticon Strava, the total volume of cycling trips in a number of cities was up considerably year over year, even in places where biking around is notoriously rare. In Houston (where 0.5 percent of the population biked to work pre-pandemic) and Los Angeles (where 1 percent did), the total volume of cycling was vastly higher in May 2020 compared to May 2019, up 138 percent in Houston and up 93 percent in L.A. In New York, cycling was up 80 percent year over year in July, while Chicago saw an increase of 34 percent that period.
The sales style pioneered by QVC has gone online, with YouTube attempting to position itself as a place for video-based shopping and brands like Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger turning to video streaming to hawk their denim to the masses. This format’s already a hit in China — Tommy Hilfiger moved 1,300 hoodies in two minutes in one August livestream that hauled in 14 million viewers — and major retailers are trying to make it a hit stateside given the potential to improve clothing retailers’ online margins in an era where brick-and-mortar dressing rooms are not as highly-trafficked as they once were. Coresight Research projects that live-stream shopping events in the U.S. will generate $25 billion by 2023.
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