As the tattered Jigglypuff hologram cards blow about the alleyways alongside discarded Filet O' Fish wrappers, it's apparent that the Pokemon craze has officially joined the realm of the dead.
Brad Hamlin's comic book store, MYSTERY ISLAND (Sacramento, CA), has been feeling the effects for many weeks. As he rearranges plush Psyduck, Pikachu, and Meowch dolls on a table with a large "ALL POKEMON 50% OFF".
Hamlin says that last November and December he was selling the cards for $5.99 a pack like there was no tomorrow.
But when his distributor accidentally mailed him 50 cases a couple months ago, he demanded they took them back. "I could have sold those easily back in November, no way now."
Pokemon sales have dropped so much that he didn't even bother ordering the newer "Team Rocket" edition.
The kids know it, too. There was a point recently when Hamlin was getting 5-10 calls a day asking if he would buy Pokemon cards. "It got so bad I wasn't even answering my phone, just put a message on machine saying I'm not buying them."
Though many parents are glad the craze is over, it's certainly hit the retailers harder, as there hasn't been something new to replace the void.
Hamlin states that Magic: The Gathering, DIGIMON, and some other things sell a bit, but not enough to make up for the lost Pokemon dollars from around the holidays.
"At least I had that Pokemon thing going on, but now I'm spending 90% of my time working on eBay to make up for the lost cash."
Other folks are leading the funeral procession for Pokemon as well. In an article in the LA Times by Ray Rivenburg, Syracuse University Pop Culture expert Robert Thompson said, "The magic is over. The death knell of any children's fad is when the 8-10 year olds no longer think it's cool. The quickest way to turn off an 8-10 year old is when their 3-5 year old siblings discover their secret. Pokemon thrives on hte fourth-grade playground as a subculture and sub-economy all its own. When toddlers began to carry around Pikachu blankies, however, no self respecting 10 year old could keep from jumping off the bandwagon."
So apparently putting the latest hot thing on baby toys is the surefire way to kill a fad.
I hope you'll all support my investment in a company that makes N'SYNC, Britney Spears, and Ricky Martin bibs and pacifiers right away.