Adults are snatching McDonald’s Pokémon merch from children

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Children hug characters dressed as Pikachu
Photo: Ezra Acayan / Stringer (Getty Images)

This year marks Pokémon’s 25h anniversary, which means it’s the 25th anniversary of my mom forbidding me from joining the craze because she thought it seemed “noisy.” While I never got into Pokémon, I do have plenty of friends who dabble—but to my knowledge, none of them are ripping Pokémon merch from the hands of crying children.

Here’s the situation: select McDonald’s are marking the anniversary with a promotion that includes a Happy Meal box shaped like Pikachu’s face. The Happy Meal bundle includes collectible Pokémon cards, some of which are of the rare holographic variety. Now hordes of Pokémon-crazed adults are mass-buying Happy Meals to get their hands on them, leaving very little merch for the actual children who eat Happy Meals.


Polygon reports that adults are waking up early to stake out participating McDonald’s locations, even buying the Happy Meals en masse and just throwing out the food! Some McDonald’s are placing restrictions on the number of Happy Meals one person can purchase in an effort to quell scalpers who are selling individual cards for a markup. Polygon adds that entire boxes of the cards or sealed packs are going for hundreds of dollars on eBay, making it difficult to know who’s snapping up the merch. Are employees snagging the stuff behind the scenes? No one knows. Either way, we really, really can’t have nice things.