Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The evolution of the rack

Lately I've been mourning the fact that digests are getting fewer and farther between. Around my place the Mac's, IGA, Shoppers and Super-Valu used to all have several displayed proudly at all times. In recent months all four have cut back on their periodicals. I've also noticed that the new hardware each store has for magazines aren't conducive to more than one digest at a time. The racks all seem to be smaller and there's fewer of them. The Shoppers doesn't even carry Archie any more, their one digest slot is given to Soap Opera Digest. The Super-Valu only has Archie on two checkout lines now. It used to be on all of them, and the first checkout had a large dumper rack that would hold 6-8 digests. This was a golden age, to be sure. The IGA is down to two digests from six about a year ago.

Aside from the obvious availability issue, there is another problem here. It's always been very mildly embarrassing to buy Archie Digests. At both the IGA and the Super-Valu they don't scan, and the cashier has to punch them in. This always causes a lull in the line as they scour the cover for the price, or look up the code for assorted magazines. A few times I've just told them what the code is, and the price. This gets me really funny looks. All of this was a minor inconvenience, and one I was more than happy to tolerate for the cause. Now I have to get people to excuse me so I can get around them to look at the Archie selection, if I'm not going to be using the line where the digests are. I get some funny looks for this, but whatever. The other day I did this, but already had the two digests that were in the rack. The lady who let me in thought it was funny that I was looking at Archie in the first place, and when I didn't pick one up she said "What, do you have them all already?" and laughed. Sigh.

There is a point to all this.

I've been wondering why the Proposal story has been playing out in single issue Archie and not the digests. All the DNL stories are in digests, as are most other events (with the exception of "Freshman Year" which played out in single issues, but i haven't read it because I'm fucking sick of prequels) so it seemed like an odd marketing choice.

Then today, in the MAc's, IGA and Super-Valu I saw Archie 600 (the first proposal issue) in the magazine racks. A brilliant play by Jon and Nancy. Not only will they get a lot more legs out of the whole thing, but in all these places they're the only comic in sight. Getting the mag distributers to take on a comic book again was probably pretty easy with all the media attention this story has gotten.


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