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Target to stop selling Pokemon cards in store 'out of an abundance of caution'

Customers will still be able to purchase Pokemon cards via Target's website.


Pokemon cards - along with a lot of other series of collectible trading cards - have become increasingly hard to find as demand has skyrocketed over the past year. This has led to an aggressive resell market, as fans descend upon retailers looking to buy up every possible card pack the moment they hit the shelves. Target is looking to take some affirmative action against the issue, as the company has now announced that it will suspend sales of Pokemon cards in its stores starting this week.

Target confirmed that it would halt the sale of Pokemon cards in its stores in an official statement provided to Bleeding Cool. "The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority. 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"

Pokemon isn’t the only brand of trading cards getting the boot, as the company has confirmed NFL, MLB, and NBA cards will be pulled from shelves as well. As Target said in its official statement, this decision is due to safety concerns for both employees and guests. The craze for trading cards is at a fever pitch, and has led some to go to violent lengths to secure them. It’s no surprise that Target wants to avoid such incidents at their stores.

Target will stop selling Pokemon cards as well as other forms of trading cards in its physical stores on Friday, May 14. There is no word on when/if the retailer plans to resume in-store sales of trading cards. However, fans can continue to purchase cards from the company’s website. For more on the Pokemon Trading Card Game, stick with us here on Shacknews.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 13, 2021 8:00 AM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Target to stop selling Pokemon cards in store 'out of an abundance of caution'

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      May 12, 2021 5:06 PM

      Target to stop selling Pokemon cards in store, citing employee safety.

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        May 12, 2021 5:08 PM

        Card flippers are buying pallets of cereal so they can get at the free pack in cards of the recent promotion. Stores have started to put anti-theft devices on cereal boxes too.

        People are literally mining cereal now.

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        May 12, 2021 5:49 PM

        Get away from my Rychu you BITCH!

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        May 12, 2021 6:33 PM

        I’ve been told that there are dudes that line up well before opening and harass the card vendors. It’s as if there were 3080s or PS5s in stock.

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        May 12, 2021 6:41 PM

        Looks like they are stopping MLB and NFL card sales as well…has the sports trading card game gotten that bad as well?

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          May 12, 2021 6:59 PM


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          May 12, 2021 7:30 PM

          It feels like a side effect of the NFT market. "Here's something that is an artificially scarce limited commodity, buy now with no potentially idea of its value in the future!"

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            May 13, 2021 1:31 AM

            Oh snap. I wonder if my late 80's to 90's Topps and Fleer collection at my parents house can be NFT'd and finally have some value!

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        May 12, 2021 6:47 PM

        Side-jack: Is there a website my son can go to look up the value of his current cards he owns? He doesn't play the game.. just a typical 7 year old collecting cards because some of his classmates do. I'm clueless with this business.

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          May 12, 2021 6:49 PM

 is probably your best bet to get a feel for singles prices.

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            May 12, 2021 7:42 PM

            How can I tell what set a card is from just by looking at it? There are so many to choose from and we don't know what we have.

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              May 13, 2021 6:26 AM

              I don’t know Pokémon but there should be a symbol on it somewhere that tells you what set it’s from. Try googling for Pokémon TCG set symbols, there has to be something out there.

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              May 13, 2021 9:18 AM

              They have a phone app where you can snap a picture and look it up automatically

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          May 13, 2021 4:41 AM

          eBay sold/completed sales is the only way to get the ACTUAL value of the card.

          Card prices can go up and down just like stocks depending on if the player has a good game or gets injured etc.

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        May 12, 2021 7:04 PM

        This shit makes bitcoin miners look like paragons of virtue

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          May 12, 2021 8:45 PM

          The hoarder reseller communities are wretched hives of scum and villainy. These people would rather waste hours of their lives in lines etc to make a paltry amount of profit. Making bank on a single console isn’t sustainable. A second job, quite more sustainable.

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            May 12, 2021 9:07 PM

            Speaking of hoarder resellers

            “Nearly 140,000 PlayStation 5 consoles have been sold by re-sellers on StockX, a popular shoe resale website”

            Not sure I can even comment on how shitty that is.

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            May 12, 2021 9:16 PM

            A dignan ponderously looks to the horizon.

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            May 12, 2021 9:45 PM

            Some of these guys do well for themselves but they started small, got lucky, and managed to feed back into their growing economic engine.

            One guy I know from Kickball league buys dozens of retail boxes for CCGs like MTG, Pokémon, etc and he makes six-figures going through and opening each one and reselling the most valuable ones second hand.

            Dude lives in silicon valley making as much as a Google engineer doing his hustle.

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              May 13, 2021 2:33 AM

              From a purely capitalist standpoint cool.

              From a grown ass man spending his free time hunting down pieces of paper for children to find shiny ones to trade for pieces of paper perspective, probably just to keep up with the joneses? Pretty sad.

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                May 13, 2021 11:49 AM

                He just got married last month too. They're not a bad looking couple. One of his prior girlfriends did dump him because she didn't like his choice of career haha.

                He stays home all the time receiving his shipments and leaving to ship whatever he sells. We were on the same kickball league and other stuff so he has a social life.

                He's one of the rare exceptions of making thousands a month working from home haha.

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              May 13, 2021 7:15 AM

              This post makes my brain hurt.

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              May 13, 2021 12:54 PM

              I can assure you he's full of shit if he's telling you he's doing that off of retail boxes of trading cards. The market bears a price that basically renders it mostly a wash as far as cracking packs goes.

              Even if you get the boxes cheap - which usually requires you actually operate a game store that runs tournaments and has a sizeable number of players to get the LOW low prices - you're still looking at thin margins. The scale you'd need would make your hands bleed.

              Shops make their money buying cards for cheaper than folks could sell them on the open market and flipping them. If he's doing *that* at scale, that might be a good hustle, but even still you're competing with places like Channel Fireball (in SV) which operate at a scale which would crush any small time competitor.

              tl;dr Your friend has some significant alternate sources of income.

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                May 13, 2021 1:16 PM

                Assuming Pokemon works like Magic the money in cracking packs generally comes from holding the contents for awhile. You're usually not going to just open English language cases of the latest set and sell the singles except right when a new set comes out and a bunch of people are overpaying for cards when supply is low. Generally you're going to hold the singles you think have long term value for awhile (months/years/decades) while selling last year's stock of singles or whatever. If the game is flourishing then in the future there will be more new players (more overall demand), more older players (demand from people with more money to spend) and lower supply of today's cards that are now out of print. Plus you'll buy boxes/cases of things that will have even lower long term supply that pushes their future prices up (ex premium versions of Russian language cards will be in quite short supply years from now due to their relatively low printing compared to English).

                Plus the person doing this is likely also scouring Craigslist/etc buying up old collections that are underpriced and then picking through them for value although this often involves doing a bunch of driving (and this has additional long term yields where you accrue a bunch of copies of bulk stuff that isn't worth anything now and then in a few years suddenly is). You'd maybe do the same for singles on eBay/TCGPlayer/etc you expect to be more valuable in the future (ex in Magic it's usually not too hard for people to identify cards that will be more valuable in the future to Commander players when the supply from a Standard printing has dried up). And then there's also opportunities to leverage regional arbitrage where certain cards are more valuable in Japan than here or vice versa and you can take advantage of that.

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                  May 13, 2021 2:08 PM

                  Yeah this guy has been doing it for years and seems to know what's up. I never really delved into the logistics of his hustle but he seems to know what he's doing.

                  His place is just like one giant archive of cards. Kind of the reason why his ex broke up haha.

                  He bought a house a couple years ago so he has much more space than his old apartment. Just got married within the last year too.

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            May 13, 2021 2:08 AM

            This is true but having a second job sucks ass and isn't nearly as fun as fist fighting with sweaty fat men and punk kids outside walmart at 4am to get your hands on that sweet sweet ps5 or Pokemenz.

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              May 13, 2021 2:34 AM

              It’s not illegal* to do this for fun without expecting anything in return.

              *I am not a lawyer

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            May 13, 2021 6:59 AM

            Personal repost from 2017

            My dad worked for a paper mill in my hometown until he retired.

            He would snatch up the recruiting assignments for Texas A&M (where they send people to college job fairs to find talent) both because it gave him an excuse to be in town to catch football games as well as later on give an opportunity to visit my sister and I while we were in college.

            He told me that one year they were interviewing this woman who was outstanding. Smart, funny, talented, solid 4.0, she was perfect and she was about to graduate so they really wanted to be the ones to hire her.

            She agreed to come on but she had a condition: they needed to give her fiancé a job too. Her fiancé who was in the same major, field, etc. And was not as smart, or talented, and was barely pulling off a 2.0.

            They wanted her so badly they agreed to hire her fiancé as well. Both because they really wanted to hire her but also because, sad to say, they've noticed when they hire a guy and his wife can't get a job in town then oh well life goes on, but when they hire a woman and her husband can't get a job they move to a city where he can get a job and they lose an employee. It's lame but it's the reality of what they've observed.

            So they hire them both and it works out exactly as they pictured: the woman is a rock star and her now-husband is not worth killing. She's kicking ass and he's falling asleep at his desk.

            Exactly six months and one day after they hire him he quits, breaking absolutely no hearts whatsoever. And it's no coincidence whatsoever that he quits as soon as he can without having to pay back the signing bonus.

            Later on they find out the reason he was always asleep at his desk: he was at Walmart at 2 in the morning all the time because that's when they would stock the toy shelves. He would buy all the Star Wars toys and resell them on eBay. For some reason this was lucrative. So lucrative in fact that it either paid more than he made at the mill or it was good enough considering his wife was doing so well.

            Bizarre, and I have to think, unsustainable. But oh well. At least they weren't paying to babysit her husband anymore.


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          May 13, 2021 2:35 AM


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        May 12, 2021 7:15 PM

        Man Target has been really earning my respect lately.

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        May 12, 2021 8:37 PM

        My kid has stacks of these he doesn't play with

        I do I figure out what they're worth and sell them?

        (Assuming he wants to)

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        May 12, 2021 9:20 PM

        I don't think there's any current phrase i hate more than "abundance of caution".

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        May 13, 2021 6:10 AM

        How did the stupidest country get so rich?

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          May 13, 2021 6:32 AM

          Because of this exact thing. You aren't seeing the people who made real money do this stuff, you are seeing the idiots who think they can make a quick buck. The people who made the money have all either moved on, or changed their business model.

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        May 13, 2021 8:37 AM

        Walmart has also now joined in Target to stop in-store sales.

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          May 13, 2021 10:26 AM

          Outside of social media; influencers are the easily the second worst thing so far this century.

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            May 13, 2021 10:57 AM

            What's even worse is that there is an entire generation that hang on their every word and will continue to until they are all old..

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        May 13, 2021 10:23 AM

        LOL it's like the early '90s all over again. When am I going to have three or four baseball card/comic book shops around me?

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      May 13, 2021 12:48 PM

      is there a supply chain squeeze causing fewer printings than the company would want or what?

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        May 13, 2021 12:49 PM

        Nope, simply that Pokemon cards have become a hot item like NFTs.

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          May 13, 2021 1:17 PM

          but why wouldn't the Pokemon company just print more to meet demand if they could? They don't gain anything from secondary market prices being way above what the company wants them to be.

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            May 13, 2021 1:25 PM

            They absolutely could - it is not like they are controlling that market (compared to , say, Magic cards to a degree) but we're still talking the stock being bought as soon as it hits shelves which is not Pokemon Company's problem, that's a retailing issue.

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        May 13, 2021 12:50 PM

        Every material imaginable seems to be in short supply right now, so I wouldn't be surprised.

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        May 13, 2021 3:22 PM

        Scarcity is the business model.

        There's a good Planet Money episode on MTG from years ago that addresses this as well as how rampant counterfeiting is.

        Looks like they very recently updated it again.

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      May 13, 2021 2:25 PM

      Hmm, I still have a set of Pokemon cards in a plastic case I randomly found at a Goodwill years ago. They're in ok shape, but not mint or it worth the effort throwing on eBay or do cards need to be new/mint??

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      May 13, 2021 3:23 PM

      Fuck Target. I was just talking to a Wal Mart manager in the bathroom about this.

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        May 13, 2021 4:06 PM

        Man taking away Craigslists casual encounters has really driven some people into unsafe activities.

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      May 13, 2021 3:42 PM

      lol beanie babies

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