Van Gogh Museum's event gets gatecrashed by Pokemon TCG scalpers in a prime example of 'why we can't have nice things'

Pikachu, a Pokemon mascot, rendered in Van Gogh's signature style.
(Image credit: The Pokemon Company / The Van Gogh Museum)

As reported by VGC, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam was recently swarmed by scalpers, looking to make a quick buck off Pikachu and his cute grey hat during a limited-time event.

"Go on a Pokémon Adventure along Van Gogh's paintings," the website for the museum describes in a description for an event celebrating the museum's 50th anniversary. "Discover the stories about the masterpieces. Follow the clues, complete the quest, and hand in your answers for a special Pikachu x Van Gogh Museum promo card to add to your Pokémon collection (subject to availability)."

While I do have conflicted feelings about seeing Pikachu rendered in Van Gogh's style, seeing as the little critter's custom-designed to sell cards packs, toys, and games—this mostly strikes me as a harmless way to expose kids and Pokemon enthusiasts to a bit of culture. In theory.

In reality, offering up a trading card seems to have been a mistake. Videos have been cropping up of the event getting swarmed by scalpers looking to sell the merch on ebay. Shared by monkeloidtv on Twitter, the video shows a throng of grown adults pushing for the merch like a school of piranhas smelling blood.

Joe Merrick, who heads up a Pokemon news website Serebii, also quote-tweeted the post, writing: "This makes me so sad and is why we can’t have nice things. I saw so many wanting to go over in the first few days just to get any card and merch to resell. This is not an acceptable practice. If you do that, shame on you." 

Sewpoke, a plushie artist who specialises in Pokemon (and a variety of other cute stuff), wrote: "I've collected Pokémon cards for twenty years and the hobby has been utterly, utterly ruined over the last 3 years." Even pkmnMusicImages, a meme account with over 17,000 followers that mostly makes videos with Pokemon music over them, broke character to say scalpers "deserve to go bankrupt for ruining the fun."

Depressingly enough, the card's already up on eBay, going for anywhere between $85 and over $400 at the time of writing for an item that, again, is meant to be part of an event for families, fans, and children. I get the sneaking suspicion Professor Oak would be very disappointed.

The exhibit itself will run until January 7, so hopefully families and art enthusiasts will be able to enjoy it once the scalpers have done their grim, unwanted work.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.