FanFest is overwhelming. There are a ton of different things going on at once in a giant convention center hall. But there's one safe area to go and be at peace. The Fan Shop.
The problem with the Fan Shop — and it's not just unique to this one — is that everything is too expensive. Everything.
But fear not, we've done our research, and have a plan for how to (and how not to) spend your money as well as some interesting items you can buy.
The most efficient way to spend $20
Ok kids, your parents just gave you a nice crisp 20 from the ATM over in the corner and told you to be back in 15 minutes. That's not nearly enough time to scour the whole Fan Shop and find the best things to buy. Don't worry. We've spent hours in the Fan Shop researching for this very situation.
We're going for variety here. We could theoretically just get five All-Star Game buttons to wear, but that's no fun. We could blow it all on one item: a pair of socks, a shirt, a small stuffed animal, a mug. Unless one of those things are the greatest of that thing you've ever seen, let's not make that our only purchase.
Let's go with an All-Star Game decal for $6.99 to start. You can put that on your car, laptop, refrigerator, or basically anything. The possibilities are endless. With our remaining $13, we don't have a lot of options if we want to buy more than one thing, and we do. To make that happen, we're buying an All-Star Game coozie for $6.99, snagging a button for $3.99 and walking back to mom and dad with some change.
The most efficient way to spend $50
Well it's our lucky day. Somebody just got paid and sent you into the Fan Shop with a green Ulysses S. Grant. Now you can actually buy legitimately useful things.
An All-Star Game t-shirt is a must. You can wear it over and over to show off how cool you are. That'll cost $30, though, so now we've got to scramble again.
Do you hear that? It's a shot glass calling your name. Even if you're not 21, it's probably more fun to drink that nasty, liquid children's cough medicine out of a shot glass than the plastic cup that comes with the bottle. Pony up the $8 and move along.
All the cool kids have sweet key straps nowadays, and the one that's hanging on the rack five feet to your right is only $10. Go get it, put some keys on it and get twirling like that cute lifeguard at the pool.
The most efficient way to spend $100
Let's get one thing out of the way. If you can't efficiently spend $100, then before reading this you should probably go get some help.
That being said, it's summer and you need to keep the sun out of your face. Go get a $35 hat.
One very nice store attendant was kind enough to point out that they were selling the same socks the players will wear for both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. You have to get them. They're $25, and we've got $40 left.
It's time to be a kid again. A 17-pack of baseball cards is only $10, and maybe one of those guys will make your great-great-great-great grandson some money when he finds the card in a box in the attic in like 150 years. Who knows, but the potential return on investment seems worth a 10-spot.
Oh wow you just remembered your aunt just had a baby a few months ago. You know what that baby wants? A stuffed animal. Grab that one over by the checkout counter for $20. While you're over there, spend your last $10 on a mug.
The most and least expensive items in the Fan Shop
This one took some digging. But after several hours searching through the depths of the Fan Shop, we're confident we've found the most and least expensive things you can buy.
The most expensive item wasn't that hard, honestly, given it screams "I'M SUPER EXPENSIVE."
That's right, this Dooney & Bourke custom team gigantic bag is $399.99. Now, if you're insane and/or wealthy enough to spend that kind of dough on a bag that has your favorite baseball team on it, be my guest. My advice would be to save your money for something better, like 66 beers at one of the concessions stands. Remember, you're the one with the problem, not I.
The cheapest item was much harder to find for a few reasons. First, it's tiny and nowhere near the entrance. Second, it's something people generally won't be looking for because it's a button and, well, who wants a button? Nobody. Nobody wants a button.
This button costs only $3.99 plus however many hospital trips you have to make because you can't stop stabbing yourself with the pointy edge of the fastener. On second thought, this may deceptively be the most expensive item in the Fan Shop. Well played, MLB Fan Shop, well played.