The Consumerist recently called out Circuit City and their lack of sense of humor when a high-level executive, unbeknownst to the in-house PR guy, ordered all copies of the latest issue of Mad Magazine be removed from store shelves. Apparently he got wind that it contained an (all too true) spoof on a typical Circuit City ad, changing the name to Sucker City and featuring specials for item such as the Nintendo Wii with the tagline "guaranteed in stock... if you're friends with an employee who hid it in the back for you. Otherwise, ooh, sorry, all sold out."
The best part about the whole situation was that once this got back to Jim Babb in Sucker, I mean Circuit City's communications department, he issued this response which turned the whole situation around:
I spotted the article about Circuit City and MAD Magazine on your site.
fyi, I became aware of this "situation" only this morning, and I have sent a note today to the Editors of MAD Magazine.
Speaking as "an embarrassed corporate PR Guy," I apologized for the fact that some overly-sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters ordered the removal of the August issue of MAD Magazine from our stores. Please keep in mind that only 40 of our 700 stores sell magazines at all.
The parody of our newspaper ad in the August MAD was very clever. Most of us at Circuit City share a rich sense of humor and irony...but there are occasional temporary lapses.
We apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and have issued a retraction order; the affected stores are being directed to put the magazines back on sale.
As a gesture of our apology and deep respect for the folks at MAD Magazine, we are creating a cross-departmental task force to study the importance of humor in the corporate workplace and expect the resulting Powerpoint presentation to top out at least 300 pages, chock full of charts, graphs and company action plans.
In addition I have offered to send the MAD Magazine Editor a $20.00 Circuit City Gift Card, toward the purchase of a Nintendo Wii....if he can find one!
All the best,
Circuit City Stores, Inc.
So, the person who initially ordered the magazine removed still looks like a sucker but at least we can all learn a little about the benefits of being able to laugh at ourselves occasionally.