It’d only work for single locations, but our Poké-fan reporter thinks this might be an easy and effective strategy.

On Wednesday, Japanese donut chain Mister Donut released their new set of Pokémon donuts. Poké-donuts have become an annual late-autumn tradition at Mister Donut, one that fans look forward to all year long.

▼ The Pokémon donuts are such a big deal that they’re even more prominently displayed than Mister Donut’s Christmas donuts, which went on sale the same day.

However, it’s not just Pokémon fans and dessert enthusiasts who look forward to the release of these special sweets, but scalpers too.

That’s because they’re always accompanied by a new selection of exclusive, limited time Pokémon merch, and the unfortunate state of the world we live in is that we can’t have nice things without speculative resellers trying to snatch up as much as they can, exploiting the same scarcity they play a part in creating in order to turn a profit.

▼ This year’s merch, which is offered as a bundle with the Pokémon donuts, consists of a blanket that rolls up into a Poké Ball-shaped cushion, a two-tier bento lunch box with an illustrated top and carrying pouch, and a kid-sized shoulder bag.

Our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun is not a reseller. He’s just, like so many other people, a guy who likes both Pokémon and donuts. He figured if he wanted to get any of this year’s merch, he’d have to get to a Mister Donut branch as early as he could on release day, so on Wednesday morning, he got to a branch of Mister Donut in Tokyo at about 11:10 a.m., just 10 minutes after they’d opened for the day. Even then, he was afraid he was going to be too late, and braced himself to see a giant line of would-be scalpers who’d been camped out for hours before opening.

As he got up to the Mister Donut branch, though, the exact-opposite scene was waiting for him: no line at all. P.K.’s heart sank, as he thought this meant that the scalpers had already arrived and picked the branch clean. Peeking inside, though, he could see bags of the Pokémon merch lined up behind the counter, making his true-fan soul soar with hope. When he asked the staff what was going on, they explained that the merchandise is only being offered in sets that include the Pokémon donuts, but that they hadn’t baked any of them yet. The Pokémon donuts would be ready sometime around 1 o’clock that afternoon, they said, and then, and only then, would customers be able to buy the merch sets.

Though the staff didn’t mention this being an intentional strategy to shut down resellers, P.K. couldn’t help thinking that it’d had that effect. Any resellers who’d camped out before the branch opened would have then been told they were going to have to wait two more hours if they wanted to buy the merch, two hours during which, ostensibly, other competing resellers were already getting their hands on the items and selling them to the highest bidders. Faced with that sort of dilemma, P.K. figures scalpers would then head elsewhere to try to score the items, leaving this branch’s supply intact until a time later in the day when ordinary fans would have a chance to obtain them at their suggested retail price, like P.K. eventually did.

Again, the staff didn’t say they purposefully delayed their start of sales for the Pokémon donuts to protect their stock of Pokémon merch. It does seem strange, though, that they wouldn’t have a batch of Pokémon donuts ready to sell first thing in the morning, given how popular they are every year, unless they felt like there was some sort of benefit in holding off until the afternoon.

Unfortunately, this sort of policy wouldn’t be effective on a chain-wide scale, since P.K.’s theory is that the key part is making scalpers go to other branches because they think they’ll be able to snatch up merch sooner than if they wait for this one to start selling it. As a single-location strategy, though, P.K. thinks there’s potential with a branch holding off just a bit longer on when they start selling limited-edition merch in order to help make sure fans are the ones who end up with it.

Merchandise image: Mister Donut
All other photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!