This is why we can't have nice things.

By Tim Nelson
May 06, 2021
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As you may or may not know, Pokemon cards are back. And oh boy are some people really desperate to get a hold of them. Now, not even innocent boxes of cereal are safe. 

The saga starts back in March, when General Mills and The Pokemon Company announced a collaboration that would find three-packs of certain Pokemon cards in Golden Grahams, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Lucky Charms. There were 14 cards to collect in total, and every box would guarantee the happy kid supposedly eating the stuff would find one holographic Pikachu card, the rarer "shiny" cards you may remember coveting in your own childhood. Select retailers would also feature specific cards in their boxes.

Pikachus Parade At Yokohama's Summer Festival
Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi / Contributor / Getty Images

While that sort of marketing giveaway sounds straightforward and innocent enough, it's likely that neither Pokemon or General Mills properly prepared for what happened next. Inspired by a climate of get-rich-quick schemes in the era of NFTs, Dogecoin, and Gamestop stock, a mob of adults driven crazy by quarantine boredom savagely scoured entire towns to get their hands on what might be a valuable collectible they could flip for a profit.

That's manifested in some pretty sad scenes in cereal aisles across the country. Cereal boxes containing the cards were ripped open and rifled through, left on the shelf in what I'd imagine is an unsellable condition. 

In order to (literally) clamp down, stores have taken to wrapping up cereal boxes using the kind of loss prevention measures usually reserved for more expensive electronics. 

On top of that, others who can afford to are just kind of hoarding as many boxes as they can get their hands on. 

Sure, those seeking out Pokemon Cards like this may see what they're doing as "investing," but not really giving a whole lot of thought to all the food waste they stand to generate if they don't commit to either eating General Mills cereal for years or giving away the opened boxes. 

So if you see a curious shortage of your favorite General Mills cereals in the near future, know it's because some folks out there simply need to get their hands on Pokemon Cards. Let's just hope Kellogg's doesn't start shoving Beanie Babies in their cereal boxes, or we'd have a real Y2K+21 disaster on our hands.