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Walmart and Target stop selling Pokémon cards due to fears of violence

The trading card market has skyrocketed in recent months, with fans blaming scalpers.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Published May 14, 2021   Updated May 22, 2021, 11:16 am CDT

What’s the most dangerous and worrying thing you can buy at a big box store? According Target and Walmart, the answer is apparently Pokémon cards. Both chains have suspended sales in collectible cards due to “safety concerns.”

The temporary suspension follows a violent altercation at a Target store in Wisconsin. According to CNN, a man was assaulted by four others during a dispute over sports trading cards. This comes after certain collectible cards began to surge in value. Last year a rare Charizard card sold for $183,000, and this February YouTuber Logan Paul dropped $2 million on Pokémon cards, bringing further attention to the market.

Trading card fans are pointing the finger at scalpers for the skyrocketing prices. Target and Walmart stores reportedly sell out of collectible cards on a regular basis, with fans blaming scalpers who bulk-buy and then attempt to resell the cards at a profit.

This trading card trend coincided with the pandemic, with more people looking for indoor hobbies during lockdown—and adopting new get-rich-quick schemes during a time of economic turmoil.

Along with semi-professional scalpers (a widely loathed phenomenon in trading card fandoms), some collectors are explicitly seeking out rare cards as an investment. Hence the existence of subreddits like PokeInvesting. It’s not exactly a new idea, but the sudden surge in trading card sales is clearly causing some concerns for Target and Walmart. With that much money at stake, it’s easy to see how dangerous situations might arise in stores.

While trading cards will (for now) be removed from shelves at Target and Walmart, collectors can still buy them online.

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*First Published: May 14, 2021, 6:19 am CDT