Update: The Pokémon Company has released an official statement addressing product availability and plans to, "Print more of the impacted Pokémon TCG products as quickly as possible and at maximum capacity to support this increased demand."
You can read the full statement here.
Immediately after the announcement and subsequent rollout of collectible Pokémon cards at McDonald’s, people expressed concern that scalpers might come in and buy up all the stock making it impossible for anyone else to get these cards and unfortunately... these concerns have proven valid.
Scalpers Are Already Buying Out McDonald’s Pokémon Cards
It seems like no matter the situation, scalpers will always find a way to take something fun and turn it into a mad scramble to make a profit. We saw it happen with PS5 consoles and the Nvidia RTX 3080, and now we’re seeing it again with McDonald’s Pokémon cards.
As reported today on sites including Polygon, Kotaku, and IGN, scalpers have been visiting various McDonald’s locations and buying as many card packs as they can which has made it difficult for anyone else to get a hold of them.
The cards are only being sold for a limited time as part of Pokémon's 25th anniversary celebrations, making them highly desirable to collectors and Pokemon fans. On eBay, you can now find listing after listing of McDonald's Pokémon card packs that were clearly bought in bulk being sold for insanely high prices.
One of the first listings we saw on eBay has 15 packs selling for a whopping $5,000! Although, compared to more egregious listings with 100+ sold in the original boxes shipped out to McDonald’s, 15 packs isn’t all that bad.
The idea that you could get $5,000 for 15 of these packs could potentially cause more people to go out and do things like buying 15 Happy Meals at once (at stores that don't allow individual toy purchases) and then throwing away the food, which sites like Polygon have mentioned in their coverage of this issue.
It's also possible some people don't know you don't have to buy the Happy Meal, you can sometimes just buy the toy, but again, it depends on what the store's individual policies are.
If you’re going to go down that route of buying 15+ Happy Meals for example – and we don’t condone it we think it’s scummy – at least give the food away to those in need rather than tossing it into the trash.
As an aside, some bulk buyers are saying they are in fact donating unwanted food to charity and that’s honestly how it should be done (not the bulk buying, but the not wasting food part), we’re happy to hear that much.
At the moment, some McDonald’s locations have begun limiting the number of individual card packs you can buy, and/or the number of Happy Meals you can order at once, but again it depends on the individual location. All scalpers have to do is drive around until they find a location where they can harvest card packs and they're set.
We imagine corporate hasn’t told these locations to do anything different in a more uniform way, it’s just been left up to them to decide whether they should limit the number of Happy Meals they sell, or allow things like purchasing card packs in bulk out of the very boxes they’re being shipped in.
Money is money, and no matter what, McDonald’s is profiting off this situation. As are scalpers it seems, though if you want to combat this madness the best suggestion we have is to avoid giving money to scalpers at all costs. Not just for McDonald's Pokemon cards, but for anything ever.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, and it certainly won’t be the last. As long as people are willing to buy things from scalpers at inflated prices and there's profit to be made, scalpers will continue to... er, scalp.