A representative for Target confirmed on Twitter that the retailer will stop selling most sports and Pokémon cards beginning May 14.
To ensure the safety of guests and team members, effective May 14th, MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokemon Trading Cards will no longer be sold in stores until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience. Have a great day!
— AskTarget (@AskTarget) May 12, 2021
This move has been a long time in the making. For over a year now, people have been going to Walmart and Target and buying all the boxed and packaged cards. They then immediately post them for sale on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. They charge a substantial markup, sometimes four times what they paid Walmart or Target for the same product. This activity has a name. It’s called flipping. People who do this are called flippers.
Flippers are going to flip
Before flipping became a reality, people would buy boxes, open the packs, and try to sell the best cards they pulled from the packs. Flippers don’t do that because that would be too much work. Plus, what would they do with all the extra cards, collect them? Instead, they stockpile unopened, sealed boxes and multi-packs.
With each stimulus check, flippers have more disposable income. The same is true with the people who buy unopened products from flippers. This has lead to more people trying to get into the flipping lifestyle. This higher demand leads to aggressive behavior at Target. The retailer responded by limiting when new MLB, NFL, NBA, and Pokémon cards would be put on the shelf. People wanting to buy these products had to go to Target on Fridays at 8 am to buy them. MLB, NFL, NBA, and Pokémon cards would not be put on the shelf until then.
This policy lead to even more aggressive behavior. Flippers began lining up at the door of Target on Friday morning hours before they opened. Recently a fight broke out at a Wisconsin Target after a man was able to buy a box of cards. As he attempted to get into his car, he was attacked by four other men. As fate would have it, the victim had a gun and he used it to scare away his attackers. No shots were fired, but Target evacuated the store.
This move by Target doesn’t really affect me. I stopped buying sports cards at the retail level over a year ago. I instead just buy the individual cards I want on eBay. It’s cheaper and much more efficient. I think Target is doing the right thing. Aggressive flippers scare away normal people. Target wants normal people to feel safe in their stores.