McDonald’s Pokemon Cards are Selling Out Because of Scalpers
Scalpers are taking advantage of a McDonald’s loophole to snap up Pokemon 25th anniversary trading card packs inside Happy Meals, then selling them online for extortionate prices, leaving fans disappointed.
McDonald’s customers (as reported by Kotaku and Polygon) have taken to social media to vent their fury at the practice, which has seen boxes of Pokemon cards posted on websites, such as eBay, for eyewatering fees of up to $1,500.
@McDonalds @Pokemon I sure hope you do some form of inventory control for your promo Pokémon cards as some of your stock is being sold in sealed boxes which means they’re not even making it to your stores Though same thing happened with Tim Hortons Hockey too. Retail $1.99 pic.twitter.com/kX8qZyRX2V
— redphoenixsportscards (@redphoenixcards) February 9, 2021
The limited-edition packs, which are being sold at select McDonald’s restaurants as part of the franchise’s landmark birthday, are supposed to come as part of McDonald’s Happy Meals. Per the Pokemon website‘s official announcement, Happy Meal purchasers will receive a 25th anniversary trading card booster pack that contains four exclusive cards. There are 50 cards for fans to collect – all 24 starter Pokemon and Pikachu in standard and foil versions – but, like other Pokemon trading cards packs, the ones you get are entirely random. Buying McDonald’s Happy Meals should be the only way to collect them all, but scalpers are bypassing this, via a loophole, that allows them to buy the packs in bulk.
According to Kotaku, each McDonald’s restaurant seems to have a different policy on how these packs are being sold, which is enabling scalpers to get their hands on them with relative ease. Some are buying Happy Meals en masse to get the packs before throwing the food away. Others, meanwhile, are simply showing up at McDonald’s and asking to buy whole boxes, or turning up at 5 AM so they can purchase packs before anyone else.
Naturally, angry parents and other trading card fans have taken to Twitter to express their dismay at how the packs are being sold. Clearly, there’s only a certain amount of stock to go around, and children and other ardent Pokemon fans are missing – or even being priced – out of acquiring the cards for themselves.
Some Twitter users, including @The3Composer, have claimed that some McDonald’s outlets are restricting people to five packs at a time, but even those limits have only been put in place after one scalper bought over 450 packs in a single visit.
My mom works at a McDonalds in southern Indiana, and her store is limited to only selling 5 packs per person per day, because someone bought 3 cases (around 450~ packs) from another area store, which was all they had
— Jake Jacobson (@Th3Composer) February 9, 2021
Plenty of Twitter users have demanded that McDonald’s implements a company wide limit on how many packs one person can purchase, but so far their efforts have fallen on deaf ears. We’ve contacted McDonald’s for comment.
In other ‘extremely expensive Pokemon cards’ news, a box of original Pokemon TCG booster packs recently sold for $400,000, and rapper Logic bought a single shiny Charizard for over $200,000 last year.
Tom Power is a UK-based freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter.