On Feb. 9, 2021, McDonald’s partnered with the Pokémon company to release special Happy Meals. The Happy Meals resemble the Pokémon franchise’s beloved character, Pikachu, the face of the brand, and is complete with stickers and cards. Fans are eagerly searching their local McDonald’s for the Happy Meals, but many stores are completely sold out.
Adult card collectors continue to buy the Happy Meals in bulk, stripping many stores completely out of stock. Some McDonald’s locations are restricting the number of Happy Meals one can buy. Those buying in bulk are trying to sell the cards online at a much higher price to profit off the cheap Happy Meals. Parents argue that their children can’t get cards with their meal while adults are trying to profit off of them.
Happy Meals typically range from $3 to $5, yet online sellers are listing the packs of cards for at least $10 and are selling cards in bulk for over $1000. McDonald’s states that they’re working to distribute more cards to its locations that have run out, and are even resorting to back-up toys. The rarest card is the holographic version of Pikachu, based on eBay prices. Each Happy Meal comes with a single pack of four cards, however, there are 50 individual cards in total, further tempting scalpers to purchase as many meals as they can.
Another issue of buying Happy Meals in bulk is the waste of food. Many of those purchasing don’t eat all of the food in the Happy Meals because they only bought them for the cards, critics frown upon them as the wasted food could’ve been used to feed those who actually need it.
Despite the number of people wasting food, Ryan, a man who bought Happy Meals in bulk to give cards to his girlfriend, donated the food to hundreds at the People’s City Mission. In total, he had 150 Happy Meals to donate after taking the Pokémon cards out.
For something that’s supposed to be affordable, it’s frustrating to hear about how others are profiting from the cards. Furthermore, the Happy Meals are meant for children, and while adult fans purchasing them is fine, it goes over the line when they’re selling out the toys. Happy Meals are meant for children, and families won’t be able to enjoy them for their actual purpose.