2021 has already been a bad year for video game scalping, but it has gotten worse. McDonald’s Happy Meals, which now contain Pokémon cards in the US, have become the latest target for resellers.
This year is the 25th anniversary of Pokémon, and naturally there are Pokémon trading card packs in McDonald’s Happy Meals to celebrate.
Unfortunately, fans trying to catch them all are buying every $ 2.49 Happy Meal available for the cards inside. And then because people are horrible, they are selling those cards for profit.
Polygon has collected stories of fans buying dozens and dozens of Happy Meals, so many that some McDonald’s restaurants are now limiting their purchase as some fans simply put away the cards and throw away the food.
Tonight at 8PM EST we will open some @McDonalds #Pokemon 25th Anniversary Packs along with Rebel Clash Packs and the rest of the #MTGKaldheim reinforcement box. Live #Twitch: https://t.co/Y3miig2LjJ pic.twitter.com/lUFREKdzpa
– LumberJackFrost (@LumberJackFrost) February 9, 2021
@McDonalds @Pokemon I hope you do some sort of inventory control for your promotional Pokémon cards, as some of your stock is sold in sealed boxes, which means they won’t even make it to your stores. Although it also happened the same with Tim Hortons Hockey. Retail .99? pic.twitter.com/kX8qZyRX2V
– redphoenix sports cards (@ redphoenix cards) February 9, 2021
Pokémon cards have recently seen a major resurgence in popularity as big-name YouTubers bought some of the few remaining unopened boxes of original cards, sparking an interest surge that only drives the prices of these cards even higher.
Now, individual McDonald’s Happy Meal promotion cards are popping up on eBay for hugely inflated sums, some in the hundreds of dollars. Large boxes of stock shipped to McDonald’s locations containing hundreds of the cards are also for sale, raising questions about how they were obtained.
While it’s unclear exactly how many of these cards are selling at such high prices, there are many accounts from families showing up hoping to get a Happy Meal, but are left sad instead.