The Actual News:
So we’re three weeks into the McDonald’s Pokémon promo, and I suspect we have just one week left before McDonald’s moves on—based on their past behavior of one toy per week and there being four “toys” total—and my local McDonald’s STILL has Pokémon Happy Meals! HUZZAH! However, they’ve since switched over to normal Happy Meal boxes—the plain red ones versus the Pikachu ones—so clearly time is winding down for this promotion.
But one of the problems that has plagued this promotion from the start was how quickly everything had sold out. Even when taking those lousy scalpers in mind, stock of the Promo Packs disappeared awfully quickly. Fortunately all relevant parties were quickly made aware of this and acted swiftly to resolve the promo deficits.
But maybe, just maybe, they acted a bit TOO swiftly. In several packs I got recently, most of the holos from them were clearly printed with a smidge too much black ink. Also one of the nonholo cards had a faint but still visible crease in it. Below are two of the best examples of the too much ink errors; the other ones had noticibly more black ink but were not nearly as extreme as these:
Unfortunately I couldn’t get the card with the crease in it to scan properly, so I guess you’ll just have to take my word on it.
For comparison, this is what they should look like (sans holofoil):
If you can’t quite tell what the issue is, here’s a detailed view of Bulbasaur’s attack info:
Now I don’t want to be the kind of jackass news reporter who writes crap like “corporations hates our guts and would prefer that we all died in a fire, and that’s a good thing”, but I’m also not a big fan of pessimism and criticism over minor issues especially when a bit of critical thinking can explain (if not justify) like 99% of the “problems”. The fact is that someone in quality control missed this one, and I’m sure a whole batch of them were like this. This isn’t something that any card game maker wants to see happen with their cards. BUT, clearly they were in need of product ASAP, and so they were willing to give this a pass given that the extreme popularity of these McDonald’s promo packs surprised everyone.
Therefore, to me this is more like an acceptable error. Frankly these are actually quite fun to collect; these aren’t my first errors like this in Pokémon, but they are the first time I got similar errors back-to-back like this, leading me to believe them to be part of the same batch. The Pokémon TCG isn’t alone in experiencing various printing or packing errors which get a lot of interest from collectors; Magic: the Gathering in particular has a long and storied history of these kinds of errors. This page here from the Misprinted Magic website covers pretty much the entire gamut of those errors; again, these are all things that any company would prefer to not happen, but hey, shit happens.
In the case of my Bulbasaur and Treecko errors, they would most likely be categorized as a “Bleeding” error, in the sense that clearly excess black ink got transferred onto the card.
So what does this all mean? Well, to me it means that clearly we’re seeing the second (or third or fourth) print runs of these McDonald’s promo packs. Like, they powers that be might just SAY they’re making more, but in their back rooms they’re secretly saying “lol ur sol”… but the fact that several of these errors make their way into packs tells me that they were just so adamant about maximizing the number of packs they could product that they were willing to let them slide. I’m so used to the idea of a big, rich and powerful corporation having the attitude of “you’re gonna buy our products no matter how little effort we put into it” that seeing one of them going to this extent in order to satisfy customer demand is fairly refreshing. … Well, I mean, I’m not gonna get into the ethics and politics of corporate behavior, but I’m not gonna let my cynicism concerning that ruin the very real fact that they clearly prefer NOT-angry customers.
Anyways, that’s all I got for now. Have YOU gotten an interesting error in your pack of McDonald’s cards? I mean, assuming you’ve been able to get any to begin with? Heck, have you actually been able to get any recently? Have you seen the fruits of their increased production of product labor?? Let me know in the comments!