The much-hyped Van Gogh Pokémon Pikachu promo card promotion is ending early, with museum staff citing their safety in the face of Poké-mobs.
People: They're bad! They ruin everything! And, in this instance, it's specifically the greed of scalpers and the secondary market that ruined as close to a good thing as you can get. Announced a month ago, a long-term promotion involving the Van Gogh Museum and a Pikachu promo card is now marred by overcrowding, scalpers, and an apparent fear for the safety of museum goers.
The Netherlands-based museum announced today on its website that it has removed the in-person promotion involved with its Pokémon exhibit and the Pikachu promo card. Initially a giveaway for those that did a fun, Pokémon-centric scavenger hunt at the museum, the promotion was overrun by scalpers and overzealous fans from day one.
And now? You get nothing. Good day, sir! I said, good day, sir!
What is the Van Gogh Pikachu promo card controversy?
Debuting on September 28, the Vincent Van Gogh x Pokémon exhibit features a number of homages to the beloved painter's works, but with a Poké-twist. However, the thing that gathered crowds more so was the merchandise announcement and reveal of a Pikachu promo card. Donned in the grey hat found in one of Van Gogh's most famous works, the fandom immediately fell in love.
And scalpers immediately saw an opportunity.
Not unlike some of the merchandise mobs seen at Disney World for rare swag, the museum was overrun with a deluge of patrons. A mix of art lovers, Pokémon fans, and those looking to take advantage of the secondary market, the museum staff were overwhelmed in a hurry. Multiple reports and videos showcase mobs of people swarming over the merchandise shop and, in general, ruining it for everyone. Stock of both the merch and the promo card were gone in minutes.
A similar flood of buyers hit the official Pokémon Center website. The online shop crashed within minutes of the merch and promo card going online, selling out instantly. The Pokémon Company is going to restock their site with the promo card--with far tighter restrictions and limits. However, the Van Gogh Museum clearly had its fill.
"The Van Gogh Museum and The Pokémon Company International take the safety and security of visitors and staff very seriously," the message says. Recently, a small group of individuals has created an undesirable situation that has led us to take the difficult decision to remove the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat promo card from the museum."
Catch em all on Ebay
Secondary reseller sites such as Ebay are flooded with the merchandise, but especially the promo card. Prices range anywhere from $30 to $300 USD. And while it would be easy to say that both the museum and The Pokémon Company planned poorly for the promotion, scalping culture feels far more to blame. The pandemic exacerbated a gold rush of sales in the collectible card game space, with Pokémon TCG leading the forefront.
Much like inflation costs rising, so too does the "value" of swag, merch, and collectible cards. Unfortunately, nobody wins in this situation except the scalpers. Van Gogh Museum staff saw the worst of a community hungry for unique items, but so did the whole world. However, if you want a shot at the Van Gogh Pikachu promo card you may still be able to score one from Pokémon Center.
This is why we don't get nice things, ya'll.
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