Houston Hobby Shop Under Fire For Buying Out Costco Of Rare Pokémon Cards

A hobby store in Houston is facing intense backlash for purchasing hundreds of boxes of special-edition Pokémon cards from Costco. The owners of MadRat Toys posted photos on Facebook showing themselves pushing shopping carts full of exclusive two-pack Pokémon Zapdos EX and Alakazam EX cards.

“Master Rat and Lil’Rat brought the house down,” the hobby shop wrote in a social media post, according to the Houston Chronicle. “MadRat Toys is where it’s at for all your ratty needs.”

This type of act is similar to what happened at stores like Target and Walmart during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 where people would buy out the latest Topps and Panini releases to sell them at a higher price on the secondary market. The Houston Costco did not have a limit on how many boxes you can purchase.

Hundreds of collectors took to the Facebook post — which has since been taken down — to criticize MadRat Toys owner David Doehring for what he did. The Houston Chronicle reports the the store intends to open the packs and remove the most valuable Pokémon cards to sell them individually, raising collectors’ ire even more.

“We are having a lot of fun opening them,” Doehring told LoneStarLive.

Doehring explained to LoneStarLive he bought out Costco of the Pokémon cards because the packs were sold out elsewhere and he wasn’t able to get them through distributors.

“If it were available by distributors, we would have bought it that way. It’s been sold out for months,” Doehring told the site. “To satisfy demand, one must seek out deals.”

Following the blowback, MadRat Toys posted an apology on Facebook.

“We at MadRat Toys have made several colossal blunders in our first month of operating our retail store. We have failed ourselves, our customers, and most importantly, the community. Furthermore, we have received international criticism that is understandably deserved,” the store wrote in the post. “We acted inappropriately in acquiring product in large amounts from one location, publicly boasted about it, and lashed out after receiving such criticism. We have to meaningfully and purposefully do better. We sincerely apologize, wish to make amends, and seek a path to forgiveness.”

However, the apology is too little, too late among the Pokémon collecting community.

“People will pay a little bit more for a shop that they trust,” Reddit user Plenty_Deep, a Pokémon collector, told the Houston Chronicle. “But they mark their stuff up so much more than a lot of the other shops. They have bought all of this rare product. They’re opening a significant portion of it, if not all of it, and then selling it at an even higher price. It’s like, you didn’t save us a Costco membership because you’re just including it in the cost of what you’ve opened.”

Pokemon cards
Pokemon cards. (Photo by Thimo Pedersen on Unsplash)

Plenty_Deep added to the Houston Chronicle that MadRat Toys has already lost customers’ trust, which will be hard to get back.

“People that collect, buy and sell and trade Pokémon and other trading card games, we’re really like a community. And we try to take care of each other. So to have someone that was a trusted member of this community do something like this and treat everybody this way, is really kind of sad. And I think that’s why it blew up so much.”

MadRat Toys only opened up one month ago. It remains to be seen how much longer they’re able to stay open following the controversy.

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