Customers rushing a Walmart store looking for Pokémon cards is the latest example of trading-card fever

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Target stopped selling Pokémon cards on May 14.

  • Customers rushed a Walmart store’s shelves on Friday after Pokémon cards were restocked.
  • Earlier in the month, Target stopped selling them after a man pulled a gun in the parking lot.
  • The value of Pokémon cards has skyrocketed since the pandemic started. One rare card sold for $360,000.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Customers rushed into a Walmart store on Friday morning, clearing out shelves full of Pokémon cards.

The customers gathered outside a Walmart store in Erie, Pennsylvania. When it opened they raced down the aisles after the Pokémon cards had just been restocked by employees, the Instagram user who took the video @tgc_grassi told Insider.

The value of Pokémon cards has skyrocketed since the pandemic started, as it has limited the sales of the products and as a result driven up prices for the cards on secondhand marketplaces.

In February, The Pokémon Company addressed the shortage and said it was printing cards at “maximum capacity.”

The cards can be bought at stores in packs for around $20 and many individual cards have been resold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mania over the trading cards has had collectors camping outside stores waiting for the cards to be restocked and forced companies like Target to impose limits on how many packs customers can buy and even call the cops on avid collectors, according to Vice.

The Walmart video was captured by @tcg_grassi, who told Insider he went to pick up a couple boxes of the cards. The video was initially posted on Instagram and then reposted by another user on Twitter. It quickly gained traction on social media.

“I knew it was going to be quick to get up to the card aisle but I would have never thought it would have turned into a frenzy the way it did. I was pretty shocked when everyone dove in,” @tcg_grassi told Insider. “I could tell the employees were just as surprised as I was, some of them even watching. One of the managers there was clearly frustrated by the situation.”

Earlier in the month, Target pulled the trading cards from its shelves after a fight broke out in a Wisconsin Target parking lot over Pokémon cards. During the fight, one man reportedly pulled out a gun after he was attacked by four men over the collectibles.

A Walmart spokesperson told Insider the company is in the process of deciding whether it might also pull the trading cards from its stores.

“As always, the safety of our customers and associates is a top priority,” the spokesperson said. “Like other retailers, we have seen increased customer demand, and we are determining if any changes are needed to meet customer demand while ensuring a safe and enjoyable shopping experience.”

The cards’ value has lead to several incidents at other stores. In March, a man was reportedly arrested in Tokyo after he climbed down from a building rooftop with a rope to bust into a store so that he could steal the trading cards. Two months earlier, an incredibly rare Pokémon Blastoise card sold for $360,000 at an online auction, New York Post reported.

The year before, a pair of Charizard cards sold for $369,000 each at Goldin Auctions. The sale beat the previous record, held by rapper Logic, who paid over $220,000 for a Charizard card in 2020, New York Post reported.

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Trading card company Topps apologizes and removes BTS card showing violent’ and ‘racist’ imagery after backlash

bts grammys 2021

  • Trading card maker Topps has removed and apologized for its “racist” and “tone deaf” BTS trading card.
  • The card depicts BTS members getting bruised and beaten during a whack-a-mole game.
  • The card’s controversial debut happened the day of a shooting that killed six Asian women.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trading card maker Topps has removed and apologized for its BTS sticker card after receiving a wave of backlash from Twitter users who have called the card “violent” and “racist.”

The BTS card originally debuted as a part of Topps’ “2021 Topps Garbage Pail Kids: The Shammy Awards” pack of sticker cards. The collection was unveiled shortly after the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, and featured caricatures of famous musicians, including Billie Eilish as “Buoyant Billie” and Bruno Mars as “U.F. Bruno.”

However, soon after Topps unveiled the Shammy Awards pack and its BTS card, eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in shootings across three Atlanta-area spas and massage parlors. The Atlanta Police Department is still investigating the motive behind this string of attacks, but the shootings have prompted a nationwide condemnation of hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the US, which have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic first began.

Read more: Dive Studios is trying to turn K-Pop fans into podcast listeners by grabbing their attention on social media

As a result, shortly after the pack was unveiled, people took to Twitter to air their disappointment in the BTS card, which depicted the Korean boy band getting beaten and bruised by a Grammy award in a whack-a-mole game.

BTS was the first K-pop band to ever perform its own song at the award show, but the group did not end the night with any Grammy wins.

Twitter user @almostdita, who identifies as a member of the “BTS Army” – a nickname for BTS fans –, noted that the card looked obviously different from the other caricatures in the pack, and said Topps was “supporting the hate against Asians.”

Similarly, Fatima Farha, an audience editor at USA Today, tweeted that the card was “downright racist” for its depiction of violence toward Asians.

Shortly after this barrage, Topps publicly apologized and announced it would be removing the BTS card.

“We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it,” Topps’ apology read.

However, several Twitter users did not find this apology to be adequate. This includes Jae-Ha Kim, a writer and columnist, who tweeted that the apology was “not accepted.”

Like Kim, Candace Epps-Robertson, an assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tweeted that the apology did not “feel like an attempt to acknowledge and understand the issue at hand.”

Between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate – an organization that monitors anti-Asian racism – logged almost 3,800 incidents of discrimination towards Asian-Americans, which includes: verbal harassment, shunning, physical or online assault, and civil rights violations.

Hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the US have hit an “alarming level” during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by United Nations officials. The report also placed part of the blame on former President Donald Trump, who has used racist terms like “China virus” in reference to COVID-19.

“We are further concerned by the documented increase in hate and misogynist speech, including incitement to hatred and racial discrimination in public places and online, and the contribution of the President of the United States in seemingly legitimizing these violations,” the report noted.

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