(ABC4) – Owing to a resurgence of popularity, an extremely limited supply, and, following a recent near-tragedy at a location in Wisconsin, Pokemon and sports trading cards are being pulled off the shelves at Targets nationwide.
Replying to an inquiry from ABC4, Target gave the following comment:
“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.”
A similar inquiry was made to Walmart, which has not yet responded directly to ABC4.
Last Friday, outside of a Target in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a 35-year-old man was assaulted by a group of four men as he left the store with several boxes of sports trading cards. During the assault, the victim, a valid concealed carry permit holder, raised his weapon and scared off his attackers. As a result, the store and a couple of other surrounding businesses went into lockdown. The attackers were later found and taken into custody, according to ABC4 affiliate WISN.
Sports trading cards, Pokemon cards, and other collectibles have seen a resurgence in popularity, especially during the pandemic. Lines in front of Target stores on Friday mornings, when the cards are put on shelves, have become more and more commonplace.
The trend has caught on locally as well. In an earlier story by ABC4 on the popularity of card-collecting, Jason Jung of Salt Lake City commented that those who wait for hours in front of stores like Target for the cards can attempt to hoard and buy armfuls at a time.
“The people at the front, they’re just grabbing like 10-12 boxes, likes as much as they could,” recalled Jung, guessing that those people were looking to flip the boxes for a profit.
Overtime Cards, a hobby shop in Murray, likened card trading and buying to buying a lottery ticket, with the prices of some rare and limited sports and Pokemon cards going in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
“With how the market is now, you’ve seen a lot of cards going in the million-dollar ranges which I think also brings more people in trying to find the golden ticket,” says Tanner Powell, who works at Overtime Cards.
With Target’s decision, other smaller card shops are hoping this will help them have more products in stock for their clientele.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare for us to get cards from our distributors. They’ve been prioritizing the big box stores over us so if one of those stores isn’t going to be carrying it anymore, I think it might help us have a decent stock,” says Dion Dealva, who works at Game Haven in West Jordan.