A few weeks ago, I read somewhere that there was a third ULTIMATE
BEANO HOLIDAY SPECIAL due to go on sale, so I went looking for it in my
local WH SMITH's. The previous two had been placed next to The Beano
weekly and therefore I'd had no difficulty in securing copies for myself.
However, when I went hunting for the third volume, it was nowhere to be
seen - although, curiously, there were new copies of the second edition
located on the same space on the shelf where I had obtained mine. These
were actually in a special display tray attached to the shelf, clearly marked
"Ultimate Beano Holiday Special".
I asked an assistant, but she didn't know anything about it - nor where the
new copies of #2 had sprung from. Over the next few weeks I asked again -
no joy, nobody could help. I was in WH Smith's again today and asked one
of the women responsible for the magazine section about it and she led me
along a trail to where obscure magazines were located - in a corner of the
shop and on a shelf at adult eye-level, marked "Bookazines".
"Wouldn't you be better placing them next to The Beano where kids
are more likely to look for them and where the first two editions were
situated?", I enquired. "Head office said they were to be stocked where
they were put!", she replied. "Well, why don't you put some of them next
to the weekly where Beano fans can see them, and leave some of them
where they are, and that way adults can see them and buy them for
their kids?", I suggested. "Might do!", was the reply. (Incidentally, the
special display tray at the comics section was now completely empty.)
It seems to me that the obvious place to position them is where
comic fans will automatically look for the thing, but also have some where
casual browsers can see them and perhaps buy a copy on impulse, either
for themselves or for their kids. (How come nobody else seems to have
that much common sense?) However, it seems pretty bloody stupid to put
them all where absolutely nobody who is actively looking for a copy can
actually see it - especially when a shelf-tray specifically designed to display
the mag is lying forlorn. D.C. THOMSON would be just as well printing
the damn things with invisible ink on invisible paper.
Anyway, if you've been looking for a copy in your local Smith's, chances
are that they're not where common sense dictates they ought to be (the
comics section), so keep searching.