pokemon trading cards

Wal-Mart, Target To Stop Selling Pokémon Cards After Violent Customer Behavior

Don't bring a gun to a Pokémon battle.
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In another installment of “Reasons Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” Wal-Mart and Target are discontinuing sales of trading cards after a series of aggressive and violent encounters with customers. Target will stop selling trading cards on May 14 after an incident in Brookfield, Wisconsin, where a man drew a gun during an altercation over sports trading cards. The man was being physically assaulted by four other adult men, during which he drew the gun but fired no shots. The Target went into lockdown, as did stores and offices in the immediate area.

Apparently, grown-ass adults getting violent over trading cards is a pervasive problem for big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Between scalpers buying up supplies to resell online, excessive card theft, and aggressive customers, these stores will not only discontinue the sports trading cards, but all other trading card games as well, including the popular Pokémon trading cards. And due to the blanket card ban, they will likely be banning the Digimon Card Game, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: the Gathering as well.

Target released a statement saying, “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.”

Wal-Mart and Target had previously tried to combat the problem by limiting card sales to specific days and placing a cap on how many decks a single person can purchase. But incidents have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People are bored and rediscovering card games and collecting. Add to that the fact that many brick-and-mortar comics and card stores have closed due to the pandemic, and you have flocks of card gamers hitting up local big box stores.

There’s also big money to be made in digging through your childhood card collections. A 1999 first edition holographic Charizard card recently sold for $311,800, and collectible cards in mint quality have raked in thousands of dollars.

Look, I know this had been a hard 15 months. We’re all stressed out and on edge. But I would like to invite these adults to get a goddamn grip and stop harassing Target employees AND EACH OTHER over card games designed for children. If you’re pulling a gun on someone over trading cards, you should probably have access to neither one of those things.

It’s especially sad for all the kids out there who genuinely love collecting cards. For so many of them, browsing the card shelf as their parents wait in the check-out line is a nerdy rite of passage, and something to look forward to on long errand runs. While adults remain enamored with the toys and games we loved as children, our obsession with collecting shouldn’t infringe on the joy of the next generation.

(via BleedingCool, WISN, image: screencap/Vice News)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.