Safety concerns have elevated to a point where both Target and Walmart have removed Pokemon cards from store shelves in the United States. A Target document shared this week that all stores will “pause selling MLB, NFL, NBA, and Pokemon trading cards” starting on May 14, 2021. Any product already shipped to stores must be kept in a secure location “with camera coverage until further notice.”
UPDATE: A Walmart representative provided a statement on the subject this afternoon (May 14, 2021). “We have not suspended the sale of any trading cards. Like other retailers, we have seen increased customer demand, and we are determining what, if any, changes are needed to meet customer demand while ensuring a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”
Because of “escalating safety incidents,” Pokemon cards (and some other collectable cards) will no longer be sold at Target stores and Walmart stores across the United States. The Target notification to Target store leaders (leaked, as such) suggests that “the safety of our TMs, guests, and Excell vendor reps remains our priority.”
To those customers and Target location owners who take issue with the removal of availability of these cards, regardless of location, Target had the following to say. “While not every store may be experiencing an increase in incidents, all stores must pause selling select trading cards.”
Target also suggested that they will “communicate more information on the availability of these cards at a later date.”
It would APPEAR that other cards will continue to be sold, including NHL, NASCAR, UFC, and Magic: The Gathering. It would not be a shock to find Magic removed next – but we shall see!
Walmart signage found at a variety of Walmart locations across the United States* suggest that “the trading card categories” are removed from the sales floor and will not be available for purchase in physical locations. This is due to “inappropriate customer behavior and increased demand.”
*UPDATE: While signs did appear in the wild, Walmart now suggests that no such official suspension took place at stores across the United States.
NOTE: If you head in to a Target or Walmart right now, it’s unlikely you’ll find a pack of Pokemon cards. Even if you do, it’s not likely that you’ll find any sort of pack that’s not available at store locations online. In other words: DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE – it’s not worth your safety and the safety of those around you!