The best quick-buck scheme of the year isn’t GameStop stock, cryptocurrency, or reselling next-gen consoles. It’s...Pokémon Oreos? Oreos emblazoned with designs of Mew, the psychic-type feline Pokémon, are currently selling for hundreds if not thousands of dollars on eBay.
Earlier this month, Oreo announced a limited-edition run of its signature sandwich cookies with Pokémon-themed designs. The full suite of offerings falls far short of Pokémon’s full 6,298,524-monster roster, featuring 16 Pokémon from across several generations: Bulbasaur, Charmander, Cyndaquil, Dratini, Grookey, Jigglypuff, Lapras, Mew, Pancham, Pikachu, Piplup, Rowlett, Sableye, Sandshrew, Snivy, and Squirtle.
Honestly, it’d be a pretty cool cross-brand collab, if, y’know, employees at Nabisco (which produces Oreos) hadn’t been on a well-publicized strike since earlier this summer.
Of the 16 available designs, Mew is far and away the rarest. This tracks with source material; in the game, Mew is an exceptionally rare Pokémon. Typically, there was only one in each game, and you’d have to use something like a GameShark or some other in-game glitch to acquire the elusive creature. According to Pokémon info-trove site Serebii, Mew has a capture rate—the likelihood that your Poké Ball will successfully catch a Pokémon—of 45. For comparison’s sake, a cannon-fodder Poké like Rattata has a catch rate of 255. So yeah, the little purple psychic-powered Pokémon is Mew and far between.
That rarity has now been reflected in the real world of internet cookie commerce. The bidding site eBay is awash in listings with truly eye-popping figures: $20, $200, $623.33 (???), $2,000, and so on, all the way up to five-figure sums. And these aren’t all bunk listings, where something goes up and just languishes without bids for a dog’s age. In fact, as of this writing, one listing, which has received 34 bids, is currently fielding bids of $13,300. (The proceeds benefit charity.) Many of these have dozens of “watchers,” or people who’ve added these items to their watch list, indicating interest in bidding.
According to the food resource site Eat By Date, Oreos have a shelf life of less than a month.
But is this really all so surprising? C’mon, it’s Pokémon! Of course this was gonna spiral out of control into a collector’s free-for-all with ludicrous price tags and unexpected behavior. Spurred by a number of factors, including production woes as a result of covid-19, the Pokémon Company can’t print cards fast enough to keep up with demand.
The scarcity has spurred some unacceptable physical behavior as well. Recall a viral video from earlier this summer, when dozens of shoppers stormed a Pennsylvania Walmart at the opening bell in an effort to score some cards. (Target temporarily halted physical sales of Pokémon cards to quash fights and other similar behavior.) And last week, in Hiroshima, Japan, a man assaulted and then robbed a college student of a 150-card box.
Gotta catch ‘em all, I guess, no matter the price.