Image: Mad magazine cover
This is the cover of issue #492 of the magazine. It contained a four-page spoof of Circuit City's weekly ad.
updated 8/4/2008 7:12:28 PM ET 2008-08-04T23:12:28

Ignoring Alfred E. Neuman's mantra of "What, me worry?," Circuit City Stores Inc. temporarily banished the irreverent MAD Magazine from its store's shelves for poking fun at the consumer electronics retailer.

But the Richmond-based company said Monday "some overly sensitive souls at our corporate headquarters" had the August issue removed from the 40 Circuit City stores that sell magazines after seeing the four-page spoof of "Sucker City."

"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," spokesman Jim Babb said in an e-mail response. "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."

The spoof features advertisements for items like HDTVs and video games, including the Nintendo Wii "Guaranteed In Stock ... if you're friends with an employee who hid it in the back for you. Otherwise, ooh, sorry, all sold out."

It also encourages readers to visit its new store "directly across the street from Best Buy" or "any of our other 600 stores directly across the street from 600 other Best Buys!" The ads selling HDTVs by "HIBACHI" at prices of $3599.99, "which incidentally was featured in last week's flyer for four hundred bucks more. Pity the suckers who bought it then!"

Babb jokingly wrote: "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."

Babb, who said he sent a note to the magazine's editors offering a $20 gift card toward the purchase of a Wii, also defended Circuit City's sense of humor, pointing to a link of a commercial on YouTube produced by the company. The two-minute ad features college students using a mobile video camera to document some classic school pranks.

John Ficarra, the magazine's editor, said in a statement: "We at MAD were shocked and confused by this entire incident — mainly because we had no idea that Circuit City even sells magazines. Nonetheless, we accept their apology but hold out hope that their gesture of a $20 gift card is only an opening offer."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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