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Street Date Still Murky in Practice

2 Dec, 2002 By: Stephanie Prange

Among the biggest retailer pet peeves are street date violations. Studios often claim that violations are spotty and unintentional, but they certainly seem to persist.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I got to talking about DVD with my neighbors and learned that one mom had already picked up a copy of Lilo and Stitch from a mass merchant.

Being in the industry, I was aware that the title wasn't due to be sold until today, Dec. 3. What surprised me was that the purchasing mom knew it as well. It was only the clerk who seemed in the dark about the street date issue.

“I knew she wasn't supposed to give it to me, but they were out of the title I wanted, so she offered it to me instead,” the mom commented. Happy to receive the title early, the mom didn't enlighten the clerk.

Street date violators often mount the “uninformed clerk” defense, but I, for one, find it to be a bit of a stretch. If a harried suburban mom can keep the dates straight, why can't the store clerk? The clerk's job is stocking and selling the correct inventory.

While generally ignorance of a law is no defense, it's the common one for street date violators. And until the studios assess some real punishment for violations, it seems certain clerks will continue to ignore the calendar.

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