Yesterday, Josh Nelson reported for Bleeding Cool about Target stores in North America that had decided to follow in Wal-Mart's footsteps. After "bottlenecking" sales of trading cards, sports cards, and similar, Target has decided to halt in-store trading card sales in their entirety from tomorrow. This followed a confrontation in a Target parking lot in Wisconsin over a dispute stemming from sports card purchasing limitations. Target told us that "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. Guests can continue to shop these cards online at Target.com."
One Target employee wrote to Bleeding Cool telling us of their hellish experience dealing with trading card buyers, as the boom in sales took everyone by surprise.
I work at one and it has been a NIGHTMARE. We have fully grown adult men clogging up the front lanes, breathing down the neck of our poor vendor, waiting for her to finish restocking so they can snag as many as them, their bored wives, and broods of cranky children (that may not even be theirs) are allowed to buy.
If they're not buying them, they're stealing them. We've had to put certain card packs in actual lockup because of the insane theft rate. Our vendor gets followed home on a regular basis. We've had near fistfights erupt because of these flippers. They're a nuisance, and take up a LOT of space and force other guests to move around them, not to mention how hard it is to maneuver around them to do our jobs.
Half of them even work at the local card shop, so they're buying OUR merch at retail price and probably taking it to their business to sell at market price. I am fully in support of them getting these guys out of our stores, and as a collector myself, I have zero sympathy for flippers.
It's unfortunate that the people who are really being punished here are the legitimate collectors and players, but these guys are a plague. It's not just because of one guy having to pull a gun to defend himself from flippers trying to rob him, this has been an ongoing issue for MONTHS and the response to it has been tightening over time.
We also hear that some people are realizing they can buy such cards at comic book stores as well as Target or Walmart. This is going to get uglier before it gets better.