Circuit City Orders All Stores To Destroy Issue Of Mad Magazine Parodying "Sucker City"

Circuit City headquarters has ordered their stores to “destroy all copies” of the latest issue of Mad Magazine, according to an anonymous tipster. The retailer apparently isn’t amused by the 4-page spoof of “Sucker City.” Inside, Mad’s 1-page preview and headquarters’ response.

UPDATE: Circuit City Sorry For Commanding Employees To Destroy Mad Mag’s “Sucker City” Parody

The spoof:

The response:

What’s wrong Circuit City? It’s funny because it’s true!

Issue #492 [Mad Magazine]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ben Popken says:

    My favorite part is the map showing a Best Buy across the street.

  2. PinkBox says:

    @Ben Popken: Same here, incredibly accurate!

  3. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    When did Circuit City carry Mad Magazine, or magazines in general?

  4. EmperorOfCanada says:

    I like the bit about the employees hiding wii`s in the back room

  5. humorbot says:

    Man, when did Mad Magazine get so egregiously unfunny? They have as much sense of humor as Circuit City, apparently.

  6. TonyTriple says:

    @cubensis: I happen to be a sales drone there, and I’ve never been hassled to get any CCA on any magazines.

  7. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    @TonyTriple: I don’t know what that means, CCA?

  8. Nick1693 says:

    lol, I have a copy of this, when I first say it, i just thought it was true.

  9. Paul D says:

    Yeah, Mad Magazine hasn’t been funny in years.

    Or maybe I simply grew up.

  10. seismic007 says:

    I guess the only way Circuit City can make a buck is by selling Mad Magazine?

  11. evslin says:

    @humorbot: It doesn’t happen at any specific point in time, per se – just whenever you pass the seventh grade.

  12. Most excellent, Mad, well done. Love the Epilepsy Victim Wii game!

    Can’t take a joke, eh, Circuit City?

  13. HomersBrain says:

    Clemens on the Shiitake TV shot is a nice touch

  14. se7a7n7 says:

    with a video of Hitler, inside Fox News, inside Spongebob Squarepants.

  15. Not Alvis says:

    Now everyone knows magazines don’t get inventoried.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if unscrupulous employees gave themselves a few free subscriptions.

  16. corbyz says:

    Ahhh, Mad Magazine hasn’t been good since around 1993 anyway. No big loss.

  17. blitzcat says:

    That’s exactly how I got my Wii, and the only thing I’ve bought at CC in 8 years. Hah!

  18. steinwaytony says:

    Unfortunately for Circuit City, I never would have read this tragically unfunny bit were it not for their over-the-top

  19. ColoradoShark says:

    The information in the memo is practically and invitation to employees to steal magazines. They are not inventoried so there is no “shrink” when they go missing. Maybe they should advertise that on employment applications as an employee benefit!

  20. Imaginary_Friend says:

    -picture in picture in picture in picture. Nice!

    Dear Circuit City Investors,

    The reason why your stock is tanking might have something to do with the fact that there is a person in Corporate Operations who is being paid to sit on her ass and tell employees to remove magazines from the shelves. You know, “s-h-e-l-v-e-s” …those horizontal planks that should contain awesome products that customers actually want to buy. Cause the few times I’ve been in there since Xmas 07, I couldn’t find a darned thing reasonable priced or interesting enough to use my $100.00 gift card on. Just a heads up :) KTHXBAI!


    Ex-Circuit City Shopper Who Now Frequents Costco.

  21. oneliketadow says:

    Since when did CC start selling Mad Magazine?

  22. Azmodan says:

    Is anyone else going to go to Circuit City and ask where to find the Mad Magazine’s?

  23. HykCraft_Returns says:

    This is GREAT! Nice find!


  24. Ben Popken says:

    I’m just as shocked at Circuit City’s search and destroy policy as I am at Mad Magazine for printing a piece that hasn’t already been regurgitated three times from their archives.

  25. CSUSam says:

    I’ve never seen a magazine there for the year and half I’ve worked there. The format for the message fits our internal message system, so either it is real or the person who made it works there.

  26. bbernardini says:

    I use to be a “Mad” man, when I was a young lad. “Cracked” was okay, but just not the same. These days, I find a lot of the content of the new online “Cracked” to be quite amusing…although I miss that janitor character.

  27. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Wow, somebody just can’t take a joke, can they?

  28. badgeman46 says:

    Perhaps they are upset because it really isnt parody, but the truth!

  29. mhlaxp says:

    Way to go, Circuit City. Your response to this means it’s the first time anybody has paid attention to Mad Magazine in fifteen years.

  30. evslin says:

    @mhlaxp: The Streisand effect is in play!


  31. W24x192 says:

    Shircut City just got parodied on The Simpsons, too…will they pull their already incomplete stock of Simpsons DVD’s?

    Oh damn well…they still have some DVD’s for less that Wal-Mart. I’ll never figure that out…

  32. Trai_Dep says:

    “Destroy all copies. They are not inventoried, and your store will not incur shrink.”

    So aren’t they saying to take all copies without paying Mad Magazine, Inc for “using” them, then taking advantage of the fact that Mad Magazine trusts them enough not to make them account for every copy? In other words, isn’t Circuit City scamming Mad Magazine?

    If they choose to destroy them, they should have to pay Mad. You break it, you bought it!

  33. shufflemoomin says:

    I’m surprised so many people didn’t find this amusing. I didn’t laugh out loud, but I saw the humour in it.

  34. justinleon says:

    I LOL’D at this. Circuit Shitty needs to learn how satire works.

  35. JulesWinnfield says:

    I haven’t laughed that hard at something in Mad Magazine in over 40 years, which just about corresponds with the time I started reading National Lampoon . . . and I haven’t laughed at anything in the latter in over 30 years.

  36. Breach says:

    Why, because Mad Magazine is right?

  37. quail says:

    I saw this in my son’s issue of Mad a few weeks ago. There’s several pages of funny stuff there.

  38. oldtaku says:

    This is one of those things where you wouldn’t really think it that funny (or at least I wouldn’t), but the panicky over-reaction makes it hilarious, because as I’m reading the ad I’m imagining various incompetent stuffed suits back at corporate going ‘holy crap they’re on to us, we’ve got to shut this down!’ And then by trying to shut it down they make people 10 times more aware of it.

    Now that’s funny.

  39. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Trai_Dep: They probably don’t pay for them at all. Magazine’s are notoriously ad-driven. I’ve had a combination of four or five free magazine subscriptions ever since I discovered the intarnets.

  40. aristan says:


    Paperback books and Magazines generally aren’t stocked by major stores, they have a service which comes in and takes care of it for them. Carrying magazines never results in a loss, because you “destroy” the unsold copies by taking the front cover off and mail that back to your Magazine distributor or give it to the magazine service. If you get 6 copies of Mad in and mail back 5 covers, you’re only charged for the one issue you sold.

    You’ll see a notice in paperbacks that says something along the lines of:

    “If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as unsold and destroyed to the publisher.”

    Circuit City is pulling all copies of Mad off the shelf, pulling the covers off and reporting them all as unsold because they lose absolutely no money by doing so.

  41. ShadowFalls says:

    I didn’t even know that magazine still existed or that Circuit City sold magazines… or people shopped at Circuit City…

    Was funny in its own way though, wouldn’t call it hysterical though.

  42. BillyShears says:

    Since when did Circuit City *sell* Mad Magazine?

  43. Blue says:

    Just sent a “Congratulations!!!!! Your famous” note to them. link included

    I love doing that.

  44. Televiper says:

    Mad Magazine does a parody of Ciruit City, some of the Mad Magazine readers notice it.

    Circuit City removes Mad Magazine from their shelfs, and the whole Internet reads it.

    Circuit City 0
    … well no one won here, Circuit City just shot themselves in the foot.

  45. aristan says:

    @BillyShears: perhaps it’s notification of a plot to break into other stores and steal their magazines. CC Ninjas.

    No, Circuit City sells magazines here, as does Best Buy. Mostly Gadget Mags (PC Magazine, Wired), Lad Mags (Maxim, FHM), Gaming magazines, and other stuff that appeals to 15 year old boys.

  46. DeafLEGO says:

    Being an avid MAD Magazine reader… CC can go fuck themselves. I was laughing at the products not the seller but now I am laughing at CC. Who the heck runs their PR dept? Ahh… what do I care, they will be out of business in a few more months anyway.

  47. dragonfire81 says:

    That’s freaking hilarious, Circuit city’s reaction is even funnier.

  48. Tom Servo says:

    Hehe, I’m going to have to go to the local CC and ask for the latest MAD Magazine now …

  49. TACP says:

    This is so true. Best Buy just opened a store here last year 30 FEET from Circuit City. The delivery trucks only have to turn around in the parking lot to make both deliveries.

  50. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    @cubensis: Circuit City Advantage–their warranty/replacement/service plan crap.

  51. LittleCupcakes says:

    That parody ad is very funny indeed. Go Gang of Idiots Go!

  52. shor0814 says:

    True, unsold books/magazines have covers ripped off, but do you see anything in the memo to indicate that? I doubt any of the people in the store are going to do that much work, I would bet on just filling the dumpster with them.

  53. jamesuss says:

    I work at Circuit City, I have yet to see a single store that carries magazines? Maybe they just don’t exist in my area? We didn’t receive any such memo either.

  54. madanthony says:

    Is Circuit City destroying magazines that make fun of them any different than, say, the Consumerist Comment Code prohibiting posts asking why this is on The Consumerist?

    OK, so Circuit City isn’t showing much of a sense of humor, but I can understand that they would be reluctant to have stuff that makes fun of them in the store.

    And I have to admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for Circuit City, for the simple reason that they are not Best Buy (and that they at least give BB a little competition).

  55. cametall says:

    So true about being across from BestBuy.

    When I worked at Circuit Shitty we never carried magazines though.

  56. Wow, I have to pick up the magazine, or at least the OTHER THREE PAGES. I haven’t laughed so hard all day.

  57. floatinglist says:

    This is common practice among retailers. I suspect there is some contractual agreement covering this, but I have no clue. I remember removing magazines from Staples when they had poor reviews of the store.

  58. 3drage says:

    I’m getting myself a 2 year mad magazine subscription tomorrow just for this.

  59. badhatharry says:

    What, them worry?

  60. dumblonde says:

    This is right on point. Just today I was looking through one of their shoppers. They were selling a 512MB SDRAM card for desktops at $29.99 and that was their sale price. Regular price was $54.99. To give you an idea of how off this is, nowadays laptop ram that’s twice as fast and twice in capacity (1GB) costs about the same or less than the sale price. Laptop ram is always more expensive too. RIP OFF

  61. Justin42 says:

    @dumblonde: It was probably DDR1 SDRAM which is fairly rare and getting pretty expensive…

    Not to stick up for Circuit City but DDR1 is creeping up everywhere..

  62. ? graffiksguru says:

    Hilarious! Although 4299 for a 96″ 1080p LCD ain’t too shabby.

  63. Normal corporate response.

    I have seen companies pull their advertising from their ad agency just because of poor ad placement in a single magazine, the typical corporate response to a negative article is always far worse.

    The flip side, I just love the reference to Best Buy. IN my town BB is building a new store on the main mall entrance road to CC… one can’t get to CC without passing BB.

  64. Lordstrom says:

    If this isn’t an act of desperation from a dying company, I don’t know what is.

  65. Trai_Dep says:

    @aristan: Thanks for the explanation. I get that they CAN do it. But only b/c the publisher assumes that unsold = nonpurchased copies, not vandalized by the store’s. But if a fairly high exec sends a priority email publicly (now, thanks to Consumerist – AWEsome!), can’t Mad, Inc twist the knife in by citing the email, then saying, “Prove the copies you HAVEN’T shredded – you owe us the balance.”

    Were I representing CC’s PR efforts, I’d have returned them, not shredded them, chortling publicly about how we won’t get caught. It seems they’re opening themselves for quite reasonable claims from Mad Inc demanding they prove the unsold copies were in fact, unsold.

    Which would be a great comeuppance. Genuinely, a Steisand Effect writ large.

  66. JustThatGuy3 says:


    “Being an avid MAD Magazine reader”

    I think you mean “the,” not “an.”

  67. I can see this is cause for concern. After making so many customers wait 24 minutes for the online order IN the store… they need something to look at to kill the time.

    What’s worse… is that MAD isn’t really picking on Best Buy… what gives!

  68. weave says:

    What? MAD is no longer 35 cents?

    Not cheap.

  69. TangDrinker says:

    I love that they’re both located on Elm St. Too bad Freddy wasn’t involved in this.

  70. Angryrider says:

    Magazines in a Circuit City? The only reading you should be doing there are the crappy signs, and the outrageous prices that’ll make your eyes bulge.

  71. Zagroseckt says:

    hehe i used to run a back room comic simeler to this.

    Welcome to Circuit Shitty Where Sevice is state of the FART.

    did most of it in printshop but allways gave folks a good laugh.

    pissed off the managers cus it mainly made fun of them ;p

  72. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @humorbot: I don’t know, but this looks like classic MAD to me. It made my day when I saw it.

    Now, if they’d dare do a Walmart* flyer like that…

    Seriously, when did everyone lose their sense of humor. I’d have a copy of the page on every employee bulletin board in the company. Of course, if I ran Sucker City, we wouldn’t be ludicrously inept enough for MAD to lampoon, and we’d be looking at at Worst Buy lampoon ad instead.

  73. acknight says:

    Now, now… the directly across the street isn’t _quite_ right; Syracuse, NY’s Circuit City is one floor below Syracuse’s Best Buy (in a mall)… ;-)

  74. nycaviation says:

    I think there’s a strong possibility the suit who wrote that message is not aware that Circuit City does not sell magazines.

  75. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Mad was only 25¢ when I started buying it.

  76. Rachacha says:

    The only thing that would make this PR blunder more entertaining would be if some environmentalist group got ahold of this story 1) CC is advising its stores to THROW AWAY the magazines (not recycle them), and 2) they are throwing them away before anyone could read them therefore wasting the resources (paper, ink, electricity and fuel) that it took to create them (before any benefit could be obtained from them) which makes the situation almost as bad as cutting down old growth trees, shredding them, and placing the wood chips in non-biodegradable containers and throwing them in a landfill…100% wasteful!

  77. @lorddave:

    If this isn’t an act of desperation from a dying company, I don’t know what is.

    Standard operating procedure for any store interested in protecting their brand?

    I don’t blame Circuit for doing this. They don’t need any more hits to their legitimacy, and this is just the sort of thing that really does stay in people’s minds.

    Also, it could just be to avoid financially supporting MAD magazine, who is biting one of the hands that feeds them.

  78. Puck says:

    Hey Circuit City,


  79. EricaKane says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen magazines at Circuit City.

    I don’t this email sounds fake.

  80. EricaKane says:

    err, I don’t think this email is genuine..sorry.

  81. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @cubensis: That was my first reaction to this. For a second I pictured groups of rogue Circuit City employees running into stores armed with torches and paper shredders.

  82. EmperorOfCanada says:


    I dont this email sounds fake too

    • AL Briones says:


      I worked at store 0422 and we were in the first wave of layoffs. And we were still using that system that you see in the photo.
      I worked there for a long time, but I had never seen mad magazine there.

  83. Underpants Gnome says:

    Is nobody else concerned that a supposed “technology company” is using pine/elm as their e-mail client? or am I dating myself by even acknowledging I know what those programs are?

  84. Zerkaboid says:

    I had been under the impression for years now that Circuit City didn’t care about their public image, due to their behavior in general.

  85. Jesse says:

    They tried to change the strategy in my area and open one across the street from a Nebraska Furniture Mart 10 years ago. It was only open a few years.

  86. rodeo40 says:

    Look at their shitty terminal-based email client…not what I would expect from a “tech” company.

  87. temporaryerror says:

    @Underpants Gnome:
    Hey, I remember Pine. My first year of college we used Pine/telnet for our email. This was ’98-’99…

  88. ptkdude says:

    I’m seriously tempted to take a copy of this into a Circuit City store and demand a Shiitake 96″ TV for $4300 just to see what the reaction is.

  89. kthxbai says:

    I still swear by circit city… the one on 5th ave in NYC is the greatest…. it is right next to a best buy… not even accross the street…. RIGHT NEXT DOOR

  90. Saboth says:

    @Underpants Gnome:

    Wow we used that when I was in college….back in 93.

  91. Difdi says:


    It’s not that they stopped printing funny stuff. They just tend to appeal to teenagers. Go back and reread issues you found to be rolling-on-the-floor hilarious at 14-15 years old. They won’t be quite so funny now you’re older…

  92. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @Ben Popken: Same here. My local Circut City actually picked up and moved to the next town over just to be across the street from Best Buy. This struck me as the most unnecessary move I’d ever seen.

  93. Squeezer99 says:

    OMG that is the funniest thing i’ve seen in a LONG time

  94. Orv says:

    @rodeo40: If you look carefully at the point-of-sale software in most stores you’ll find it’s usually quite ancient. Fry’s, for example, has some text-based system they run in terminal emulators. A bank I worked at in 1995 was still using a text-based Unisys mainframe system. Businesses are conservative, and if they’ve put a lot of money into developing a system that works for them they’re not going to ditch it just because it’s old.

  95. Dyscord says:


    If it works, don’t fix/replace it. Newer doesn’t always mean better. Look at Vista.

    At any rate, It’s a joke. I’m surprised that CC is making a big deal about this.

  96. Kitteridge says:

    I don’t frequent CC any more, ever since they laid off a mass amount of experienced employees who might have actually been making a living wage, and replaced them with minimum-wage folks who don’t know a thing about the products.

  97. Sockatume says:

    On one hand, Circuit City show a distinct humour failure by requesting the magazines are shedded. On the other hand, Mad’s writers seem to have suffered a catastrophic humour failure of their own, so I dare say CC comes out on top.

  98. goodkitty says:

    @Jesse: There’s got to be a good joke there about how CC sucks so bad, even a furniture store sold more TVs than they do.

    @HurtsSoGood: I suppose that the PR person simply took this one “seriously,” I mean personally. Probably a really bad hotheaded move. I never would have even known this existed without this publicity. Of course, I pretty much say the same things to myself when I read a CC advert. “Sale price? That’s the regular price! New game? That was out a month ago! Need a map? Why, I can just look for the Best Buy (or Costco) across the street!”

  99. Jesse says:


    Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) is a huge retailer in the region. Unlike the big box retailer’s relatively static pricing model, NFM will deal with you. Part of that is because they employ traditional salespeople. Also, their financing deals often blow Best Buy out of the water.

    The downside though is NFM’s credit card is secured credit, which means they can seize the asset if you default. Also, they are higher up on the creditor foodchain if you go into bankruptcy.

  100. Three words:

    “Lurch and Seizure”


  101. carlogesualdo says:

    @rodeo40: Actually, that is what you expect of any retail store, techie or not. Their employees don’t generally get “real” internet access.

    For everyone else, believe it or not, Best Buy sells some books. I walk right by them when I go there to buy computer equipment. Why wouldn’t CC sell Mad Magazine? I think they’re impulse purchase things because they’re positioned near the checkout counter. You’re supposed to look while you’re standing in line, I guess, since sometimes you can spend quite a while in line.

    FWIW, I hope CC stays in business. It keeps Best Buy working harder to keep my business. They don’t know I’ll NEVER go back to CC.

  102. billso says:

    I love the Wii bitestick controller. And the image in the $3600 HDTV? That’s called “synergy”. :)

  103. weissadam says:

    Viral marketing on the part of Mad Magazine.

    Ok, so the flyer itself, not that funny.

    Making up a fake takedown notice, having the thing go viral (Digg + Consumerist) duping everyone, hilarious!

    The irony that the Consumerist fell for it…. Even more hilarious!

    Brilliant, really.

  104. weissadam says:

    Aww… Just read the comments.

    This damn world is never is as cool as I wish it was…

  105. weissadam says:

    er, update.

  106. Daggertrout says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen magazines at Circuit City. But that’s probably because I hardly ever shop there.

    The new Best Buy herds you around a corner past a rack of magazines while you’re waiting at the checkout though.

  107. Doggiedude says:


    I am so glad SOMEONE on this thread mentioned this. For those of you who don’t know, a few years ago Circuit City, in an attempt to save money, laid-off the majority of their in store employees who had THE MOST senority because they made too much money.

    So, for those of you who have gone into a CC and been frustrated by the lack of product knowledge by the employees, you can thank CC for getting rid of anyone who had been loyal enough to hang around & become knowledgable.

    The day after CC made this announcment I paid off my CC credit card, cut it into little bits & mailed it to their corporate office with a letter. I have never stepped foot into a CC since.

    Oh, and that Mad Magazine ad was funny as chit!! I haven’t seen a Mad Mag in 30 years but now I’m thinking about getting a subscription to it for my son.

  108. Doggiedude says:

    I did a bit of surfing on this issue & ran across this:


    It seems Circuit City isn’t as humorless as it seems.

  109. skylights says:

    Those who think this isn’t funny must be sockpuppets of Circuit City PR. C’mon, bitestick controller? Freakin hilarious.

  110. iCanhasLs2plz says:


    Yeah that was some pretty shady stuff. I was a third party vendor and had to be laid off because of the lack of employees in the store to even initiate PC sales

  111. Mad Magazine is like that kid who keeps making fun of you with stupid jokes until you can’t take it, except when Circuit City flipped out the whole world knew. hahaha, that’s EXACTLY what they wanted. Mad Magazine +1.

  112. milesabove says:

    As much as I amusingly disapprove of Tucker Max, his motto seems appropriate here: “If you don’t have a sense of humor, f*** you.” Circuit City is just pissed because its a terrible store with largely incompetent employees and a great deal of overstocked items that nobody is ever going to buy, no matter how cheap.

  113. capraiii says:

    Do you guys really think the Circuit City response is true?

    If only stores would have the good sense to destroy all copies of MAD.

  114. capraiii says:

    @capraiii: Oh, well, I guess it is true. Grats to CC!

  115. Dusty Wilson says:

    @EmperorOfCanada: The funny thing is that’s the only way I got my Wii not so long after it launched. It helps to know a guy that works at the store.