Target to Stop Selling Pokemon Cards in 'Abundance of Caution'

Trading cards are rising in value and spurring threats; store also won't sell MLB, NFL, NBA cards
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2021 10:05 AM CDT
Target to Stop Selling Pokemon Cards in 'Abundance of Caution'
In this 1999 file photo, Pokemon trading cards are displayed in Scituate, Mass.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)

If you're looking to add to your stash of Pokemon trading cards, don't head to your local Target: The retail giant has decided to no longer sell them after a violent confrontation last week in a Target parking lot. Starting Friday, Target will no longer sell trading cards from the Pokemon brand, nor MLB, NFL, or NBA sports cards, reports Bleeding Cool, a comics and games site. The decision appears to have been spurred by an incident in Wisconsin in which police say a 35-year-old man was assaulted by four others in a fight over sports trading cards, leading the victim—who had a concealed carry permit—to pull out his gun during the assault, per WISN. No shots were fired, and the victim suffered just minor injuries, but it was enough to spur Target to take action.

"The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority," the chain says in a statement. "Out of an abundance of caution, we've decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA, and Pokemon trading cards within our stores." The Guardian notes that Pokemon cards especially have seen a spike in their resale value during the pandemic, as consumers looked for ways to pass the time during lockdown, with that demand leading to "chaos and threats" against staff. Some cards have even brought in six figures in auctions, notes Reuters. "When COVID-19 hit, a lot of Gen X and millennials were looking for things to do and ... started playing Pokemon again because they grew up with it," Joe Maddalena, executive VP at Heritage Auctions, tells the news agency. Not that Target has completely abandoned its trading card sales: The company's statement notes that fans can still purchase the Pokemon cards, and the sports trading cards, via the chain's website. (Read more Target stories.)

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