It's something we all think about. Check out the posts over at Houston Card Collector.
If you are a player or team collector there is no reason to bust wax because you will end up with so many useless and unwanted cards. Cards you cannot make your money back. The hard part is actually spending $100 -$200 on singles when you can get 3-5 boxes. The draw of the wax, the thrill of the chase will often draw us in regardless.
Consider the following: This half case break of 2009 Finest Football. The guy pretty much pulled the card of the set at this point. He bought four boxes and probably paid $80 or so for them. First, let me say that I think Chrome and Finest are two products that you can come close to breaking even on a case or making a profit on. The refractors are popular, the rookies are always sought after. Second, as well as this guy did, check out this case break. The second guy did ok too because Finest is a good product.
That 4 box break of Finest makes all of us want to run out and buy as much of the stuff as we can, but if you are a sanchez collector, you are best bet is still to pony up the dough and buy all the sanchez cards you want as singles. Your odds of pulling that card were astronomical, now they are non existent. A case of Finest runs $700. How many sanchez and other rookies can you buy for that much cash? How many Sanchez's did the guy get in that 8 box case? From the scans he didn't get any. See the current auctions here and the complete auctions here.
My point is, just like Houston collector did, don't waste your time and money on wax just buy the singles. You might still come out ok with a product like finest, but what about Goodwin, triple threads, and others that have been weak breaks?
Where the issue gets murky is with collectors like me. I'm not a player collector nor a team collector. My single buying tends to be scattered. I enjoy busting wax and am usually not looking for any particular cards. Only a few times have I actually pulled a card I really really wanted. I also usually find sets I want to collect based upon my box busting. Is busting wax a waste of money? Yes, but that is how I collect. I go through single buying stages and that's what I have been doing lately. That's why you haven't seen box breaks on here lately..
Don't get me started on people that try to flip cases. Without them, we wouldn't have singles to buy. This is obvious to those of us that write these blogs and have been collecting a long time, but those beckett readers and message board posters don't seem to get it. They scream Mojo, comment nasty, and sick about every $2-5 hit they or someone else pulls.