ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Competitive pressure and consumer requests forced Wegmans Food Markets to break street date on "Jurassic Park," said spokeswoman Jo Natale. "We believe in street dates. We have always supported them in the past and intend to in the future, but other competitors started selling it four days early," she said. "It is certainly a key title and not the kind you can keep under the counter, especially since it is a top Steven Spielberg production." Many customers had prepurchased the title and wondered why it wasn't available at Wegmans, said Natale.
"They had paid in advance and wanted to come in and pick it up after they had seen it in other retailers' stores prior to the street date," she said. "We began to hear as early as Friday, Sept. 30, that major video competitors in our area were selling 'Jurassic Park,"' she added. When Wegmans learned that the other retailers had broken the street date, the retailer contacted MCA/Universal Home Video, Universal City, Calif., and asked the studio to intervene, said Natale.
"But while they were sympathetic to our position, they said they were unable to guarantee that further sales before the street date would be curtailed. "So, for competitive reasons, we felt we had to make the video available to our customers in advance of the street date. We hope we are never again faced with a decision like this," she said. Stores began putting out copies of "Jurassic Park" in advance of street date only after the retailer had contacted MCA/Universal. "It varied by store, but it was not as early as Friday," said Natale. MCA/Universal did not indicate to Wegmans "what steps they are planning to prevent this situation from happening in the future. It's a situation MCA will have to address as our stores are surrounded by very competitive video retailers," she said. Wegmans continues to view street dating "as a very viable system that is needed to maintain the orderly distribution of product. We believe it is a fair method, but when faced with a competitive situation like this, we felt we had no choice," she said.