Monday, August 16, 2004

Giving Products "Future" Dates

I'll come back to Star Wars in a minute.

I can't stand these "future" dates on products. This is the phenominon where a product is launched with some sort of date stamped to it, but that date has not yet occured, and may not occur for a while. The biggest offender is magazines. One of my favorite magazines comes out monthly. It's supposed to be placed on newstands on the first of the month (subscribers get it a few days early) and any unsold copies removed from newsstands at the end of the month.

So why is the issue that ships in March, is placed on newsstands on April 1, and removed on April 30th called THE MAY ISSUE? This has bugged me for years.

I'd like to comment further on this, offering possible explanations on why the April issue is called the May issue - maybe offering theories about how the purpose is to sell a few more magazines past the freshness-date, but I can't. It's just too stupid. Charging gas station customers for 99% of a cent is only mildly stupid compared to this. It goes on the shelf April 1st. It departs April 30th. It's the April issue.

How about cars? The 2005's are here! All right! It's like the future! Only now!

And let's not forget video games, one of my favorite hobbies. The sports titles take huge liberties with the dates. All the football games that are released in summer and fall carry the next years date. EVEN THOUGH THE FOOTBALL SEASON IS 95% CONTAINED WITHIN THE YEAR.

Let's penetrate to the source of my frustration here. I think I can trace this anger back to the "presumption of idiocy" syndrome. Someone out in marketing land has determined that I, the customer, am an idiot, and therefore he will pander to my idiocy. So we get this baseball game. It was released in March of 2004. It is supposed to coincide with the 2004 Baseball season. The baseball season does not extend into 2005. In fact, by the time 2005 arrives, the game will be hopelessly obsolete, and a replacement will be on the way.

Despite how obvious those facts are, I'm supposed to feel a little thrill that an artifact from the future has arrived in my local Target or Kay-B-Toys. It's so advanced, calling it MLB 2004 just wouldn't be right. I mean, hello? 2004? Yawn!

I say, screw all these crap products who rely on this lame headfake to squeeze a few extra dollars out in the subsequent year. You know, if it's a magazine like Cosmo or Horse-Fancy, or something like that, it doesn't really matter if you post date the issue. One issue of Cosmo is just like any other. But if it's a magazine that reports on current events, then what are they thinking?

No comments: