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Brace yourselves. The Pokémon Happy Meals from McDonald's are said to arrive in the United Kingdom in a little over a month's time, so fingers crossed that they escape the clutches of scalpers.
These are not just any Pokémon Happy Meals. The promotion is for the celebration of 25 years of the monster hunting series, and will offer "four Pokémon Trading Card Game Cards featuring Pokémon from every region with every Happy Meal." There are 50 collectible cards in total and hidden amongst these sets of four might be an extremely rare holographic card, or two, if you're luckier than a black cat holding a four leafed clover. If you aren't convinced of the value of these pieces of paper, one of these 25th anniversary Pokémon Trading Game Cards sold on eBay for $500, and it wasn't even in perfectly pristine condition.
When the Happy Meals rolled out in McDonald's in the United States, it swiftly turned into a shambles. Scalpers, acquainted with the amount of money that these cards can accrue at auction, woke up at the crack of dawn to stake out their local McDonald's and buy up all of the meals that they were able to afford. There were reports that people were chucking the food that came with the promotion (an awful thing to do, frankly), and unsealed big boxes were popping up on second-hand sites showing that the cards never made it to the McDonald's in the first instance. According to VGC, it is thought that the Pokémon Happy Meals will arrive in the UK on May 19th, as the present promotion for SpongeBob SquarePants comes to an end on May 18th.
Even though we don't know what the Happy Meals will contain, they will not have a plastic Pokémon toy, because McDonald's announced it would swap this out for "either a soft toy, paper-based toy or book" to cut back on plastic waste in the UK and Ireland. Of course, that's an omission of the most iconic part of a Happy Meal but the planet is suffering, my friends, and this isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Here's hoping, however, that scalpers don't get the upper hand when it comes to celebrating the past, present and future of Pokémon and that children and adult collectors alike have an equal chance of snagging a super rare card.
Regarding the events in the US, McDonald's ended up responding to customers' actions and advised its restaurants to exercise moderation with the available stock. "With such significant demand for our promotional Pokémon TCG cards, and some fans even going to extreme lengths to get them, we're working quickly to address shortages and also strongly encouraging restaurants to set a reasonable limit on Happy Meals sold per customer," it said. "We want to offer the full Happy Meal experience to as many families as possible, and help ensure everyone is able to get in on the fun!" Resultantly, restaurants in the UK might have been given guidelines for the selling of the Happy Meals to avoid another headache for fans and staff. Now, where's that black cat with the four leafed clover gone?