I have been searching for basic packs and tins to give out for Christmas this year. All the stores I went to are sold out of everything. I saw a couple of theme decks but that was it. Target, Walmart, GameStop. Went to numerous locations. All sold out.
Pokemon is super popular right now. I was too young to remember what availability was like back in 1999 with base set. But this is wild ! Fun for the hobby!
I’ve noticed the same phenomenon here in Finland, at least in my city (which is not big). In the past I could always see Pokemon packs in grocery stores here at magazine sections. But now, there’s none! No booster packs at all. One grocery store had some tins and theme decks left but it’s not surprising because those are super overpriced here if you purchase them from actual stores instead of buying online. But single boosters are all completely gone from every single store.
Yep, the stores here are completely sold out too, with one notable exception: Crimson Invasion ETBs!
Seriously, last time I went to Walmart there were 5 of those on the shelf, and not a single other Pokemon TCG product. I found this interesting, because I assume the typical kid has no idea that Crimson Invasion is a “bad” set. Even if they did know that, their parents looking for gifts almost certainly would not know that.
This suggests to me that the people clearing out the shelves are predominantly adult collectors and flippers. They are people with a little bit more knowledge about what they are purchasing, which makes sense given the surge in adults returning to the hobby this year.
I finally seen a new modern set for the first time at my local Walmart. They have been sold out for months. They had 4 Vivid Voltage ETB’s. But I’m not a fan of opening packs anymore because of the financial aspect. I simply buy singles. And I’m not going to be one of those people trying to list modern ETB’s at outrageous prices. I’m just glad I seen them just so I can know if I did want some I could have bought it. That hasn’t been the case with many sets lately. For example I still havnt seen even a collector box of Champions Path. Let alone a ETB. Darkness Ablaze sold out fast as well. But sometimes there a little around or scattered in collection boxes.
Hopefully Pokemon will print to demand again like it always has. The only slightly messed up part is these same people buying out stores to hoard them or flip them are going to make these print runs huge. Maybe even bigger then Evolutions lol
Growing up finding packs was easy. There’s never been a time like this in the history of the TCG! You could easily buy 1st edition base for a few solid weeks if not a month plus. Can’t remember exactly. Before it transitioned to Shadowless and unlimited. Then jungle and fossil first edition was available for a very long time before it went to unlimited. You could buy all 3 sets at once for $3 a pack! Those were the days haha but at least I have my memories!
So I went to Walmart the other day to grab a few packs for stocking stuffers for my kids (starting last year I decided they were going to get a nice chase/graded card in their stocking and some packs every year). So I was at the store and it just happened to be when the person who stocks the pokemon and sports cards was there. Standing around a clothing rack across the isle were 7 guys, all with empty shopping baskets at their feet watching her. Another guy was walking up and down the isle on a cell phone, peeking around the corner. I did more shopping and came back later when I thought she would be done and she was still there, but everyone was gone. I asked her if she had any singles packs (there was still nothing out). She said no, but then looked at my shopping basket and said she did have one box of singles (they were VV blister singles packs with a coin). She set the box down for me a and I grabbed a couple and thanked her, and told her what they were for. She then proceeded to tell me about “her fans” as she called them. She said they pounce and buy out almost everything she puts out every time she comes. Then the manager came over and told me they have told them to leave the last two times, before she can start putting stuff out.
I think we have a perfect storm of high collector interest and scalpers so it is hard to get anything. I remember when this happened with sports cards in the late 80s/early 1990s. My kids started collecting back in early 2019. They wanted to take their tins with cards to their baseball games so they could trade cards with kids on the playground after the games. That brought some nostalgia to me as I remember doing the same with sports cards as a kid. Then I saw they were trading with mostly older kids so I figured I had better start to understand things. We purchased a trainer deck and started playing the game and I started researching the cards so I could ensure my kids didn’t get cheated when trading. What ensued was a completely new hobby and passion for me and my kids. I’m just glad we started when we did so we were able to get a lot of great stuff before prices took off this year.
@kanesport15, nice story! Glad you managed to get your kids some packs & could offer the store staff some level-headed sane behaviour in the process, hah.
As far as cleaned shelves and online retailers go, I agree with the sentiment “I think we have a perfect storm of high collector interest and scalpers”. But, I think those who whine about scalpers (not saying that’s you!) underestimate the amount of massive collector interest the hobby is experiencing again. It’s not unfounded, either - there have been some really good modern sets released within the last 2-3 years, not to mention what Japan is offering in terms of exclusive products and promos. Couple this with a 2020 nostalgia bomb for vintage TCG product and we have 1999-levels of interest all over again. Honestly if you took scalpers out of the equation entirely, I doubt store shelves would look too much different. That said, given the vast financial opportunities there are to be had within PTCG, I guess scalpers are an inevitability that we have to adapt our collecting habits around.
Something we will never know . But for sure theres a lot of both in my opinion.
It’s very hard to get across pokemen product at retail stores, it’s been like that for some 2-3 months now but december is the pinnacle of scarcity, i just cant find vivid voltage at all (unless i dig and search online).
I don’t know much about the 1999 interest because I was in college and didn’t even know Pokemon existed until I saw the Chinpokomon episode of Southpark - even then I thought it was just action figures or plushes by the way it was depicted in the episode, and didn’t know it was a card game. You don’t know how many times I wished I knew what it was back then. The cool stuff I could have in my collection today… LOL
Mostly stonking from what I’ve seen but genuine interest is also at record high compared to prior sets as well. Real wildcard is what will happen once shining fates comes out which is essentially a HF 2.0. I guess people will start chasing both sets?
As I tell most people. Just buy the singles instead.
I have been checking my local Wal-Mart and Targets for Prizm football and I have not been able to get lucky and find any but the Pokemon supply here is stocked full. One Target had a huge selection up front, and also back by the toys/board games had another section packed full.
Just today during my lunch break I went to target in hopes of finding some vivid voltage single blisters. None. They didn’t even have the three pack blister which is slightly more expensive per pack than the single. The only vivid voltage they had was the single blister where you get a promo card and a coin for 5 bucks. I, happy to find packs but sad I had to pay an extra buck for the stupid coin and promo card, bought 6 to hold me over til some booster box’s I ordered come in the mail. Anyway, other then the blisters I bought the only other boosters they had were about 20 darkness ablaze and some random sun and moon etbs I don’t know.
So in addition to being pretty wiped out of pokemon, sports stuff was wiped clean as well. There were two dudes in their 50s waiting there kind of just lurking around. I ended up talking to one of them and he told me he was simply just waiting there in hopes the distributor MAY show up to restock sports cards. He said he had been there for an hour and a half! He said he was retired and had nothing else to do haha.
I didn’t pay attention to yugioh, but I did notice there was alot of magic booster packs available.
I’m airing on the side of people looking to flip this stuff is the reason as to why everything is wiped out. For those looking to make a quick easy buck it’s great but for collectors it really sucks. I wish there was a way to combat this but there simply doesn’t seem there could be a feasible method.