USA Has Caught World Cup Soccer Sticker Fever

The World Cup sticker album from Panini has been one of fascination for kids and adults alike, and has been for at least every four years.

In 1998, on the heels of the World Cup, my dad bought me my first ever World Cup sticker album. Gluing stickers into an album seems elementary, but the excitement one gets when opening a pack and seeing that one card they’ve been missing is hard to duplicate.

The addiction is fun especially when you’re a kid. Your parents go and buy you the packs. You look over what you get and trade the cards you already have. However, when you’re in your 20s or even 30s, mom and dad aren’t buying your packs anymore and you see these 20 and 30-somethings spending money like water on World Cup stickers. I’ve seen people walk out with over 50 packs at one point.

You need 640 stickers to complete this summer’s World Cup album from Panini. However since they are sold in packs of 5-7 (depending on where you live), the amount of duplicates increases everytime you buy more stickers. FIFA TV made a calculation that states in order to have a complete album, you must have buy 4,505 stickers to ensure a complete album. That’s roughly $643 spent on buying packs of stickers!

When the 2014 World Cup Album was released, I rushed out to purchase one. And to my disbelief, I walked up to the counter to ask where they were and the cashier looked at me and said they were sold out.

The United States has clearly caught World Cup sticker fever. There’s no doubt. This year, many stores and people alike are doing sticker trading days where they go to a place with their duplicates in hopes of trading for stickers they need to complete their album.

During my first encounter with a Panini sticker album in 1998, I was still living in Brazil at the time. That year, my entire first grade class had an album. We would brag about getting players the others didn’t have, or we would brag about the “shiny-ees.” During that 1998 school year, we all became professional negotiators. “You want my shiny Brazil crest? Well that will cost you 5 regular stickers.”

We would play games with the duplicates we had. One game, in particular, was where we picked the cards from the other person that we needed, and they would do the same. Then, we would place them faced down on the table and we would hit the table in hopes some of the stickers you picked would flip up. If the stickers flipped, you kept them. If they didn’t… well, you didn’t get them.

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