Has FoMO permanently tainted the collecting experience?

I just bought an item I’ve been waiting for for months on early-access and it dawned on me… Do I have Post-traumatic FoMO? My first experience with FoMO was amiibo, perhaps you know them. Back then in 2014(?) Nintendo under-estimated the demand and then speculation created even bigger problems. I’d never camped-out for any releases before, but I did multiple times for those things. Bots dubbed “sneaker-bots” are an entire industry now, dedicated to buying-out stock of ltd release items at release.
AND for Pokemon, there was the SD Bidoof, and then Stamp Promos, and then SD Zard… I’m sure I’m forgetting some. I have to wonder what psychological damage scalping has caused me, and if I will ever lose the urge to “buy it at launch for FoMO”… I never USED to have it? Does this also mean, the internet, as a vehicle, is largely responsible?


Just a thought, as one collector to others.
(On a side thought, do scalpers experience FoMO? Shouldn’t it just be business to them? Or are they really emotionally invested in the scalping too. I know some people invest emotionally, so… perhaps.)


Not for me. I just buy what I like and don’t allow anything/anyone else to pressure me into buying/not buying certain things. Other people having FOMO doesn’t ruin my personal experience.


Bidoof was completely random who got codes (just like Zard), but it was significantly more limited than Charizard or Pikachu. I don’t remember it being botted at the time. Zard codes were given out in multiple waves for over a month and people botted them so heavily (and pokemon made so many) that the market was flooded with them. It remains sub $50 and is widely available online. There were so many botted codes that people were selling them for under $10 near the end of December. SD Pikachu was also available for over a day when it came out in 2020. This was largely before the 2021 lack of product hype though.

SD Zard low for tcgplayer

I can’t speak as much about the Stamp promos, but I don’t really recall them being super limited, outside of the initial release where they did like 500 or something. (i dont remember the exact number but it was very limited). Eventually once the full wave came, they too flooded the market.

For English, everything is widely available and always has a stronger chance of being reprinted/restocked than not. Sometimes you have to pay MSRP or slightly above for things, but I don’t really see that as an issue if I am buying something I legitimately want.

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FOMO hit me pretty hard during the 2020 mania when it looked like things would just climb forever exponentially. But having come through that, I realised that there’s no need for FOMO to be a thing - especially in a hobby as big and broad as Pokémon, there’s always something else to focus on.

Be honest, do you really care if you don’t own a Special Delivery Bidoof? Or is it more that you’re annoyed that in retrospect you could have got a free $400 and you don’t actually care about the card?


I FOMO’ed on some stuff and while I didn’t lose out in the end financially, but the stuff I FOMO’ed on doesn’t particularly give me any pleasure. Nowadays I am content to buy even common cards and skip the popular chase stuff if the commons are what I genuinely want.


I think this is a great question. I’ve found that my fomoing ties directly to when I get “too deep” into collecting and lose perspective. Back in 2020, you bet I drove around to 7 Walmarts and Targets trying to find Champion’s Path. And when I found some pin collections, I was on top of the world. Thinking back on it, I was only excited because I had something other people wanted. I didn’t care for the set, I don’t even really like Charizard. And after getting them, I was immediately onto the next drop.

And I don’t know if that was even really fomo. There are so few modern products where you could actually miss out. The availability is still there, you just have to pay $100 for the ETB instead of $50, which is notable, but not the end of the world.

I’ve found my Fomo has decreased when I think about the time and energy that I used to put in for the usually inconsequential amount of money saved in the end.

Pokemon is also an area where there are so many awesome opportunities for new products, my fomo doesn’t last long. For example, I didn’t order a precious collector box, felt bad for a minute. But that was quickly erased when I thought about the new art rares, or some vintage cards I want, or the next signing event.

So in short, I would say no, fomo hasn’t ruined the collector experience for me. But when you’re knee deep in it, it can feel that way.


I personally don’t experience FOMO in Pokemon. I experienced it super intensely when I was trading NFTs so I know what it feels like. There really no need to FOMO unless you’re a full time flipper/trader/scalper/etc and your margins matter or you have very little to spend on cards and want to put in more sweat equity to get the ones you want. FOMO is more a function of your relationship to the hobby rather than something inevitable.


One of my fondest memories was when I went looking for Hidden Fates tins in 2019. I remember it was pouring down rain and I checked multiple stores to finally find some tins at Gamestop. I had a similar experience with Champion’s Path, but Hidden Fates was the first set I really went out of my way to look for. I wish I had bought more :pensive:

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I have definitely experienced FOMO since getting back into this hobby. It was particularly bad when I wasn’t as well-informed about sets, releases and grading because everything felt limited back then.

Now that I’ve been around the neighbourhood once or twice, I’m better at letting things pass and just collecting what I want. I’d imagine it would be different if I collected trophy cards or cards with double digit release numbers, but as a set card/promo collector I always try and take a step back and remind myself:

“there will always be another opportunity to acquire this card”

Sure, stuff may go up in price and low pop grades may only surface every few months. If something eventually becomes too unobtainable or causes anxiety and not pleasure, then that’s when I should reassess my collection goals.

Best advice I can give is to know yourself, your limits and your goals.


@thsigma @Cerulean What I meant by bringing up the various promo releases was the Fear that it would be limited, even if it didn’t turn out to be. I don’t think I properly communicated that. It’s not that these things are necessarily limited, or hard to get, but that I was afraid they would be.

Ultimately, I’m saying that I Never HAD FoMO until we started having bots buying stock and scalpers taking aim at items on release. Even if it was a limited item, perhaps it was a significant time in my life for some reason, but in all my time collecting, I’ve never felt it like I do now…

100%! Re-aligning your desires with what really matters is important, and I’m pretty good at that, but it’s interesting how much FoMO has become a first instinct (even if I don’t ultimately allow it to impact my decision. I never used to feel it as a kid though, and I imagine THAT is when it would be strongest…
*Maybe the non-tangible element of the internet makes it easier for our brains to imagine a limted supply, and trigger FoMO.

Agreed. I think it’s easier to get caught up in the FOMO when you’re starting out in the hobby. At least it was for me. Took me a while to realize the hunt is a lot of the fun. And let’s face it, other than a handful of cards there are about a gazillion cards out there that you’re looking for, probably already in the grade you want if you have a little patience. Cost me a lot of money though before I figured all this out :sweat_smile:


FOMO with modern this year stems from trying to ‘catch’em all’ with every exciting new release. The greater the list of goals you have, the more bountiful outside variables (distribution, reseller pricing, etc) haunt your path. It’s an acute reaction, but anything acute is short-lived as TPC has no intention of stopping their streak of great new products to entice us


My first experience with fomo and collectibles also started with amiibo. I had just purchased my first Pikachu amiibo and I remember reading an article online talking about how Marth, Wii Fit Trainer, and Villager were going out of print and were hard to find in stores. I then bought the trio off of eBay for like $50 or something just in case I wanted to go down the path of collecting them all. I mean, if I didn’t buy them at that moment I might never be able to get them!

I did end up buying more amiibo and I followed that craze pretty hard. I remember standing outside Target in a big line for Rosalina and Luma at release. I also remember waiting in a Walmart before midnight, sitting on the floor in Electronics waiting for Gold and Silver Mario to release. Honestly though, this was probably one of those times in my life I kind of look back on fondly because I definitely wouldn’t do the same thing for any release today.

Today I try to not get too emotionally invested if I miss out on something initially. Overall I feel like cards, action figures, and other collectibles have cooled off a bit, or at least even if the initial stock is gone, typically there’s more coming on most things. If I actually do miss out on something I’ll figure out how much it means to me to own that thing, and then I’ll pay the premium if there’s no other way.

I will say though that fomo has changed a bit the way I react to finding something in a store. For example today I went to Walmart and I saw the new Scyther figure I’ve been on the fence about. I bought it because I don’t know if or when I’ll see that figure again. A month ago I saw the new Sonic Chaos figure at Target and I passed on it and decided now that I actually do want it, but I’ve only seen the figure once so far and it’s over double the price online. I feel like I’m forced into buying the item immediately and then deciding later if I want to keep it. If I really don’t care then I’ll just return it to the store.

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I think this might be kind of a tough question to discern a completely accurate singular answer. It could easily be said that “I only buy what I like”, but I think as a collector I can also simultaneously “value” in some sense popularity/hype/financial prospects of a card or set outside of if I actually truly want the specific Pokemon/artwork/etc based on my own desires. It’s cool if I have a card that I think is really great, and it’s even more enticing if it also is popular among the masses. Perhaps not the best strategy for building your collection vice a collection dictated by the masses, and maybe others can completely soften the noise, but I’d personally be lying if I said exposure or popularity of an item doesn’t at all influence what is interesting to me. And, at a very minimum, if the horde of folks are attracted to an item, it might just be because the item is actually attractive. It also might be because humans are simple beasts, and new shiny cardboard grabs our eyeballs.

Further, I also think psychologically it’s inherent to nearly any serious collector (yeah I know, here we go with the vague term ‘serious’ again…just go with it) to want to have a well developed and inclusive collection. By extension it only seems natural to have your interest partially extended to the interest of the community at large (I know, I know, who defines ‘the community’? Another good question). Just beware as a buyer when popularity and hype don’t always stand the test of time both financially or for your own personal interests long term…unless your collection goal is to collect what is/was popular.

I think the point @ddk posted above is really useful to combat FOMO, at least for me, which is that generally speaking very few cards only come up once or twice that are at the most extreme side of the “rare and unobtainable” spectrum (Snap cards, No 1/2/3 Trainer, etc.). The overwhelming majority of cards will be available again. The kicker is the emotional element: logically, we can know this to be true, but emotionally when I see something I want nearly in my grasp, it’s hard to let the desire of snatching it up immediately not overwhelm my brain. I think this logical leap becomes more of a small step over time like most people have alluded to. I’ve definitely found myself going back looking at some the stuff I have bought in the past wondering why I did, to essentially recognize it was self-inflicted FOMO on cards that I definitely didn’t need to fear actually missing out on.

To your follow on point, yes, there’s no question the information flow of the internet (particularly social media) fuels a ton of this. Some of the scummier scalpers/flippers absolutely use this to their advantage to effectively ‘create FOMO’ (potentially to people who are less educated about a given card/release/set etc.), but even just people being a semi-recognizable figure or otherwise having followers can signal to someone “oh wow, if they are talking about it, it must be important.” Yay fabricated FOMO.

I started going on a tangent so not sure if any of this answers the original prompt :upside_down_face: Anyone else wanna go overspend on a PSA 10 Scream Pikachu with me?


I was definitely succumbing to FOMO during covid. Whenever I saw packs in store I had to get some because how rare I actually saw packs at retail considering every LGS doubled the price of packs (8 dollars battle styles packs :face_vomiting:). As packs become readily available again, particularly at cards stores, it took some time to get to a point where I didn’t feel the need to buy at least some packs every time I bought them. Now I almost never get packs, especially since I’ve moved to preferring japanese over english anyways.

As far as modern singles, there will continually be new cards made that I will want and I cannot have them all. I have my main collection goals in vintage that I will one day complete but for new cards, Ill get what I can and appreciate it at that. It is nearly impossible to get all of the cool new chase cards and thats fine, I’ve accepted that.

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I am relatively new so FOMO definitely had an affect earlier on when I didn’t know what was meant to be rare and what wasn’t. Since learning from experience, I normally wait to get singles now.

However when the latter backfired, I did feel FOMO as well. I don’t live in the US so the supply is not as plentiful and the singles market prices most often references Troll and Toad which is way above TCGPlayer and eBay. So when there were wild market swings - really jumps - for all the alt arts, late last year, I had to rush to get the remainder I didn’t already have. The prices haven’t come down - some continue to go up, but for most they seem to have stabilised so the whole fear of it becoming completely unattainable didn’t pan out. They may yet drop further if any reprints get announced.

I’ve also come to terms with not owning everything. I intended to get the FA Supporter collection done after my alt art chase but so many of the female supporters are at ridiculous prices now that it doesn’t make sense.


Edit: To add to the general discussion here, I just feel like FoMO, whether from scalpers or from supply shortages, is just another hurdle that collectors have to adjust to.

Dood! Those early wave amiibo had some serious shortages! Sheik, Ness, Corin… I also waited before midnight for a few times with my friend. (He was one of the guys that would camp-out at SD Comicon every year.)

We were there 14 hours ahead of time. For him, just another release event, but they were fond memories. Game stop team gave us free snacks and random pre-release stuff they had lying around. (Game stop probably woulda scalped it at some point anyway. :laughing: )

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I feel FOMO when I am searching for niche errors/variants because the population is genuinely unknown.

I often feel like a “deer in the headlights” as I take 30 seconds to decide: buy the card now at the listed price or wait an unknown amount of time for the next copy to show up. Often times I can’t fathom waiting another year or two, so I just bite the bullet and buy the card on the spot. Collecting indecision has burned me in the past, so now I try to be more thoughtful and quick.


Because I’ve only recently started collecting and do not actively collect modern–where I think more of the feelings of FOMO stem from–I haven’t had a large run in with FOMO. Instead, I generally tend to lean the other way, because I’ve been so averse to spending money for a long time and tend to overthink things (I hover over the “Buy it now”/“Bid” button for probably way too long, but unlike @Dyl, I tend to not pull the trigger :sweat_smile:). Definitely am still finding my place in the hobby, but I am also comfortable with the fact that there are a lot of cool cards out there that I probably won’t own because of increasing price points or missing out in some other way. Just have to keep in mind that there are a lot of cool cards that you do have or that are readily available to stave off those feelings of FOMO!

That being said, I don’t think I have a super strong collector’s mentality. I don’t feel compelled to be a completionist, for example, and view collecting as just something that is fun to do and that brings me joy, and for me, it’s more about the journey than the destination. Godspeed, though, for those full art supporter collectors that do have strong completionist compulsions and that don’t currently have EBD Lillie :saluting_face:


I don’t think that’s even #1. Giovanni and Team Rocket as well as The Masked Royal are also out of reach lol. That actually helps because from the start I knew it would be incomplete whereas all the SM/SWSH ‘alt arts’ are/were attainable.

Holding off on the JP Clefairy CHR has (for now) been a bad decision though.

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