Target Pulls Pokemon TCG Products from All U.S. Stores Amid Attack Incident

Target will officially remove all TCG products from their stores starting May 14th. We’ve confirmed the ban will impact all stores in the United States.

To ensure the safety of our guests and team members, MLB, NFL, NBA, and Pokemon Trading Cards will no longer be sold in stores until further notice.

The ban seems to be a response to an attack outside a Target on May 7th, which was over sports trading cards:

Police said a 35-year-old man was physically assaulted by four other men in the parking lot after an argument over sports trading cards. The victim pulled out a gun he was legally carrying and the four attackers then ran away. No shots were fired. The victim sustained minor injuries.

All four attackers – ranging in age from 23-25 – were later arrested, found near the store. Formal charges are pending. A fifth man was identified at the scene, but not arrested.

[…] Customers and employees hid in the woods behind the store, hearing something about a fight and a gun.

Scalping has been rampant during the pandemic. Most printing plants shut down last year due to Covid, which lead to product shortages. Demand for card games simultaneously went through the roof as people stayed home. The ensuing demand has lead to price hikes, a battle to find product, and fights among agitated customers. Even hobby stores are selling items well beyond MSRP due to shortages.

Last year scalpers were wiping out TCG aisles at big box retailers within minutes. To combat this, Target locked down the merchandise and allowed customers to wait in line on select days to purchase them. Lines became overrun, forcing stores to implement digital lines due to Covid safety concerns.

Last week some Walmart stores also began pulling Pokemon TCG products from their shelves due to customer behavior. At this time there hasn’t been a corporate-wide ban.

Japan has been experiencing severe scalping issues as well. Last night Creatures announced they will be  implementing a lottery system to ensure customers can purchase the next TCG set, Eevee Heroes. This came after the Pokemon Center website crashed only minutes after preorders went live. Most of the traffic came from bots.

But as I said the other day…