Target has announced that it will no longer sell Pokémon cards as of tomorrow (Friday, May 14), a move it says comes out of “an abundance of caution” for both store workers and guests. It will also stop selling MLB, NFL, and NBA playing cards.
Demand for Pokémon cards has skyrocketed over the last few months. Resale prices have increased drastically, YouTube “card opening” videos are drawing millions of views, and retailers are selling out as soon as the cards are in stock. The Pokémon Company is frantically trying to print more cards to satisfy fans, but to little avail.
Incredible demand brings problems beyond not being able to buy a product. On May 7, someone pulled a gun during a fight over sports playing cards in a Target parking lot in Brookfield, Wisconsin. “It’s just kind of sad for the kids. It just sounds kind of ridiculous that adults got into a fight in the parking lot about trading cards,” said a shopper who was at Target during the time of the incident.
There have also been incidents of shoppers opening cereal boxes in stores to get at the Pokémon cards, and people were mass buying McDonald’s Happy Meals to get their hands on the collectibles. In Japan, a 28-year-old man was arrested after climbing down a six-story building using a rope to steal $9,000 worth of Pokémon cards.
The situation got so out of hand that Target started limiting the number of cards customers can buy to three and then one. It also threatened to call the police on those camping outside the stores overnight. Now, it has decided to remove them from shelves.
“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority,” Target told Bleeding Cool. “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14. Guests can continue to shop these cards online at Target.com.”
It appears that Target isn’t alone in implementing this policy. There have also been reports of some Walmart stores removing trading cards from shop floors due to “inappropriate customer behavior and increased demand.”