Pokemon

Pokémon Trading Cards Are Insanely Popular Right Now

Many stores are sold out of popular Pokémon trading cards and people are going to great lengths to get them

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Pokémon fever is back, so much so that one big-box retailer has paused sales in stores over safety concerns.

Target pulled Pokémon trading cards from shelves after a fight reportedly broke out between customers over trading cards at a store in Wisconsin.

The company has also stopped selling MLB, NBA and NFL trading cards in stores.

Pokemon trading cards are diplayed on shelves at a local Target store in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2021. - US retail giant Target announced Friday it was suspending sales of Pokemon and other trading cards amid concerns that a buying frenzy is threatening the safety of shoppers and staff.
Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images
Pokemon trading cards are displayed on shelves at a local Target store in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2021. US retail giant Target announced Friday it was suspending sales of Pokémon and other trading cards amid concerns that a buying frenzy is threatening the safety of shoppers and staff.

Pokémon trading cards have been hard to come by since many stores have sold out and supply is limited.

It’s caused people to go to great lengths to try to get them.

There have been reports of people stealing Pokémon promotional cards from inside cereal boxes in stores as well as scalpers buying Pokémon Happy Meals for the card prize inside. The meals were reintroduced in the UK this week with restrictions in place to stop scalpers.

“We're going through so much of it that it’s kind of crazy,” said Jamison Sacks, owner of Common Ground Games in Dallas.

Sacks said fans waited well over an hour when a limited edition card pack was released in February.

He says keeping cards in stock has been a challenge.

Poor Cutiefly and Leafeon. We made a list of Pokemon, real and fake, and asked these U.S. Olympians to tell which was which. Some fared better than others.

“We’ve never had kind of the supply issues like this before where it’s so hard to get stuff. We're having to order from seven different distributors just to kind of keep it where we have something,” Sacks said.

What's behind the boom is a lot to unpack.

Sacks said it’s because of social media influencers, scalpers driving up prices and demand, and this year marking the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon trading card game.

While old cards have jumped in value, Sacks said demand now is for new packs and ‘secret rare’ cards like a couple in his store which sell for over $300.

“I don't think anyone could've predicted, as popular as Pokémon was, how big the card game would be,” Sacks said.

In a post to its website Thursday, Pokémon said it is aware of the limited availability and blamed high demand and global shipping constraints.

It said it is actively working to print more of the impacted products.

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