So Many Adults Swarmed for McDonald’s Happy Meal Pokémon Cards Kids Can’t Even Find Them

Because of collectors and scalpers, the chain is hilariously limiting purchases per customer.

February 11, 2021

After much speculation, McDonald’s launched a special promotion in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pokémon. As part of the promo, which began Tuesday, the fast-food giant has released a special-edition Happy Meal box designed to look like Pokémon-favorite Pikachu.

The little yellow box, which even boasts Pikachu’s pointy ears, includes a kid-friendly meal as well as a special booster pack of Pokémon Trading Card Game cards. Each card package includes four collectable cards and consumers can collect 50 cards in all — 25 standard cards featuring individual Pokémon characters and 25 foil versions of the same cards.

And that’s where things get messy. According to numerous reports, a certain sect of Pokémon-loving adults (many of whom are collectors or scalpers) across the country have been scooping up these special-edition Happy Meals in order to collect as many Pokémon cards as they can and then resell them for lots of money.

The result? People are buying dozens of Happy Meals at a time and the coveted Pokémon cards are now for sale on sites like Twitter and eBay. At the same time, many parents have had trouble finding the Pokémon-themed meals for their excited kiddos.

What’s more? Some McDonalds’ outposts are apparently letting customers purchase a pack of cards as a “side order” without also ordering a meal, so the special-edition items are disappearing at a rapid rate.

The situation has apparently gotten so out of control that McDonald’s is now “strongly encouraging” individual restaurants to prevent scalping by putting a limit on how many card packs they sell to individual customers.

“We love seeing fans’ passion for our limited-time Happy Meal promotion celebrating 25 years of Pokémon. With such significant demand for our promotional Pokémon TCG cards, and some fans even going to extreme lengths to get them, we’re working quickly to address shortages and also strongly encouraging restaurants to set a reasonable limit on Happy Meals sold per customer,” a rep for the Golden Arches said in a statement to IGN. “We want to offer the full Happy Meal experience to as many families as possible, and help ensure everyone is able to get in on the fun!”

The restaurant chain is also working to deliver more Pokémon cards to restaurants that have run out, and has said it will offer Happy Meals with back-up toys in locations with no cards left.

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