Fact Check

Did Target Temporarily Halt Pokemon Card Sales Over Safety Concerns?

The decision reportedly came after an altercation in a parking lot.

Published May 16, 2021

Updated May 16, 2021
A sign warning customers that Pokemon trading cards will no longer be sold until further notice is displayed at a local Target store in Los Angeles, California on May 14, 2021. - US retail giant Target announced Friday it was suspending sales of Pokemon and other trading cards amid concerns that a buying frenzy is threatening the safety of shoppers and staff. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images) (Chris Delmas/Contributor)
Image Via Chris Delmas/Contributor
In early May 2021, Target announced that it would no longer sell Pokemon cards over safety concerns.

Following a physical altercation in Wisconsin, Target announced on May 14, 2021, that it would no longer carry and distribute Pokemon cards due to safety concerns.

The decision came after a man was reportedly injured after a fight with four individuals in the parking lot of a Target in Brookfield, Wisconsin, over a disagreement about the trading cards, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The man suffered minor injuries that did not require medical attention, and police stated that they would pursue battery, strangulation and disorderly conduct charges.

"The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14," a spokesperson for Target told Snopes in an email. "Guests can continue to shop these cards online at Target.com."

It is not yet known what the altercation was over, but collectible card games and trading cards saw a 142 percent surge in domestic sales in 2020 over the previous year, eBay reported in its State of the Trading Cards report.

“Last year saw an industry-wide surge in collecting and flipping trading cards due in large part to people staying home and finding new ways to spend their time, turning to cards while there was a lack of sports on TV. In addition, new collectors are entering the trading cards space as another avenue of investment to diversify their portfolios,” said Nicole Colombo, general manager of Collectibles & Trading Cards at ‎eBay.

“We anticipate that this trajectory will keep pace in 2021, and to meet this demand, we’re continuing to build on new ways to enhance the eBay experience for buyers and sellers, especially in the collectibles space.”

Walmart, Target's main competitor, intended to continue selling the cars as of this writing, reported The Verge. Snopes contacted Target to find out how long the suspension will last, and will update this story if we hear back.


UPDATE [May 17, 2021]: This article was updated to include comments from Target.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.