Pokémon: Gotta catch ’em all! Just not at Target Stores, apparently.
Target, a major US retail store chain, announced it would no longer be stocking or selling Pokémon cards at its brick-and-mortar locations.
Recently the popular trading card game has been seeing a renaissance of sorts, even making its way onto official post office stamps, but the retailer explained it’s making the decision to ban the product out of an “abundance of caution” following several incidents of fighting and violence breaking out during disputes over cards between customers in their physical stores.
One fight in particular got very nasty at a Target location in Brookfield, Wisconsin where a 35-year-old man was assaulted by four men in a Target parking lot following an argument about a set of sports trading cards he purchased from the store.
During the altercation, the 35-year-old man pulled out a gun he was legally carrying in self-defense. He didn’t fire the weapon, and in the end the four assailants were arrested by local police with charges currently pending.
What could’ve sparked such an overblown reaction from the four men? Why would grown men resort to violence over trading cards? Well, there are a multitude of factors. A major one being that rare cards can command high prices at resale auctions online.
COVID-19 has contributed even more to the skyrocketing prices of trading cards on the reseller’s market, as more and more people have gotten into tabletop games as a hobby during the stay-at-home era.
For example, a single Charizard card in mint condition sold for $300,000 at auction recently. In 2019, that same card would’ve only pulled in a comparatively paltry $16,000. And that’s just one example among many of a market that’s been growing exponentially over the past year.
And the trend doesn’t only apply to Pokémon cards – the entire trading card community has been affected. Indeed, Target’s decision applies to pretty much all trading card games sold in their physical stores.
“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 Target.com.” the company said in a statement.
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