When it comes to video game hardware, anime merch, and collectible trading cards, speculative resellers continue to be the bane of genuine fans. Scalpers can reap an economic benefit from scouring shops as soon as whatever the hot new item is goes on sale, and so by the time actual fans finish work or school for the day and can make their way to the store, they’re often sold out.
So the problem becomes how to weed out resellers while still letting fans easily purchase the cool stuff they want, and two Pokemon card-selling stores in Japan have come up with a uniquely logical solution: make customers prove that they’re actually Pokemon fans before they can buy cards. One of the stores is the Omiya Sashiogi branch of media entertainment chain Tsutaya, in Saitama City.
The shop is currently taking preorders for the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield Fusion Arts expansion, and it’s informed would-be buyers of the conditions they have to agree to or meet before making a purchase, which include: “When placing your pre-order, you will be required to either show the Pokemon trading card game deck you currently use and/or correctly answer a Pokemon quiz.”
The left half of the store’s above tweet shows the quiz’s format, with pictures of four Pokemon species, but with their names covered. In order to prove you’re a fan (and thus be eligible to pre-order the Fusion Arts expansion), you have to be able to name at least two of the four. And if you’re worried that resellers can just look up the names of those four Pokemon and memorize them, the store has thought of that too, and says that the tweet only shows an example, and that the actual quizzes administered in-store will have different species.
The store also says that in certain cases, customers may be asked to both show their deck and pass the quiz before placing their pre-order. The pre-orders are also limited to one box per person, and the buyer has to agree to the shrink wrap being removed prior to receiving the box, an anti-reselling precaution some other stores in Japan have also started taking.
Tsutaya’s clever system has met with applause from many online commenters, who said:
“This is a fantastic idea, and I totally support it.”
“As a Pokemon card game player, this makes me really happy.”
“I wish more stores would do this.”
“Maybe you could make them answer what type the Pokemon are too?”
Meanwhile, two prefectures south from Saitama in Yokohama, Kanagawa’s prefectural capital, the local branch of electronics megastore Yodobashi Camera has also been making customers prove their Poke-credentials as well. When Twitter user @siro_gaming1 showed up to buy a box each of Eevee Heroes and Shiny Star V cards, customers had to first answer the question “Who’s the Pokemon partner of the series’ main character?”
Granted, you don’t have to be a Pokemon trivia master to know who Ash/Satoshi’s best Pokemon friend is, but it’s likely that suddenly being engaged in anything resembling a conversation about the franchise’s storyline is enough to mentally throw resellers off for a moment, letting the store’s clerks realize they’re up to something fishy and helping make sure even one more box of cards ends up in a true fan’s hands.
Sources: Twitter/@TSUTAYASASHIOGI, Twitter/@siro_gaming1 via Jin
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