I was in the supermarket check-out line last week, and I absent-mindedly glanced at the impulse-buy items as I’ve done hundreds of times. Yet, on this occasion, for some unknown reason, I actually paid attention to what I was seeing. And what I saw—or, at least what I noticed—were the items you see to the right.
Jughead’s Double Digest and the Betty & Veronica Double Digest were both displayed prominently among the limited periodicals that were mostly commemorative editions of some sort or another, or recipe or craft books.
What I’m trying to piece together is who is supposed to purchase these Archie digests. And I can’t come up with a good answer.
Archie comics probably peaked in popularity sometime around, I don’t know, 1960? 1964? 1952? Certainly not anytime in the last 25 years.
The point is that this is a specialty item. But, unlike something like “Best Halloween Treats” that might appeal to a random passerby, Jughead’s Double Digest will only even make sense to someone who is familiar with the series. Is that person still reading comic books? Unlikely. And is the child or grandchild of that person going to be reading Archie comics? Perhaps even less likely. A person who has interest in these books would probably have a subscription or would purchase them online or from a specialty shop.
It just seems like the circumstances that would have to align for a random person to buy those comics is so improbable as to border on the impossible.
Yet, there they are. Every time. A stack of these comics.
It made me a little sad in an odd sort of way. I remember my late grandmother had some old Archie comics that I would read when I would go to visit her as a child. But the comics seemed dated even then, and this was when I was about eight years old in the mid-1980s.
I guess I was sad because the notion of selling these things to the general public seems misguided, as the folks who might have been interested in making such a spontaneous purchase are largely . . . well . . . dead.
I’ll just hope that I’m wrong. And I’ll try not to make the mistake of paying attention to my surroundings when I next find myself in the check-out line.