thanx for the serious responses... i guess to answer what one person said above, the price point is much less for retail so for base cards anyway and to some extent inserts, i think you'd be better off with retail. 24 packs 4 cards per pack i think and for half the price. for everything else, i'd have to think hobby. that being said, people seem to really like the greens and you can only get those in retail.
i guess another factor seems to be that there are areas where there are no lcs' and if you don't want to order online it makes sense to get a quick pack or box at walmart, makes sense.
overall though i haven't busted much retail wax in my day but i recommend the hobby, i busted a case (which i do very rarely) i kept about 10-15 for the pc and sold/selling the rest but i got 3 golds which are really nice cards and 1 auto refractor /25. plenty of key rookies and some cool refractors including a kobe. fun stuff but yes of course in hobby u get some weak rookies and u will also not get ur value back.
I make a good amount of f/s and f/t threads, check em out! I'll always listen to reasonable OBO. I'm all about mid/high end basketball and baseball prospects. I love this hobby!