The Reason Some Stores Are Putting Security Tags On General Mills Cereal

A few months ago, McDonald's began to limit the amount of Happy Meals it gave out in an attempt to address the shortage caused by adults who wanted to collect the unique Pokemon cards included. Now, Food & Wine reports General Mills has attached security tags to their cereal boxes to stop people from opening and rifling through them while still in the store, in the hopes of finding a similar souvenir.

"We've actually gotten to this stage?" Pokemon Giveaways, an independent collector who runs their own Pokemon card giveaways, asked on Twitter. The issue of people ruining cereals in stores has generated substantial food waste and even left General Mills at risk of a product shortage, Food & Wine explains.

In their explanation of what treasure these cereal boxes hold, Forbes writes that General Mills joined McDonald's celebration of Pokemon's 25th anniversary by including a booster pack of three cards, one of which, a Pikachu, bears a stamp marking it as a commemoration for the 25 years. Another five are holographic reprints of preexisting cards. "They're nice to have as a memento of Pokémon's 25th Anniversary," the piece concludes, "but don't go breaking the bank trying to find them." Evidently, no one heeded their opinion.

Gotta catch (and profit from) 'em all

In the right circumstances, one could make a lot of money from selling Pokemon trading cards.

One of the most notable examples of reaping such riches is when, as Hypebeast describes, a holographic Charizard card from the nineties reached over $300,000 on eBay in March 2021. This particular card tends to do well — in 2020, another holographic Charizard card netted $480,000, according to Man of Many.

That valuable, two decades-old Charizard card exists at the intersection of nostalgia and scarcity. The cards scalped from McDonald's and General Mills tend to command prices closer to $500 than $500,000. And, as Game Rant reported in February, even that $500 price tag is due to artificial inflation caused by scalpers, not the more natural value of a genuinely popular and rare card, as overpriced as many may find it. Still, that $500 marks a profit of hundreds of dollars, so for the foreseeable future General Mills will have to secure their cereal boxes like luxury goods or follow Walmart in their decision, as reported by IGN, to stop selling Pokemon cards altogether.