What he says. I’m asking the same thing.

But here’s another angle. Sony has obviously figured out that it can get just all sorts of free publicity by announcing release dates and then sending out fewer PlayStations than will be wanted.

OK, so the psychology experiment has worked. And worked. Just like with the release of Harry Potter books, people will line up at midnight even in horrible weather, if that is what it takes to get their hands on one of the first ones available.

But enough is enough.

Whereas the Harry Potter folks try to meet demand, Sony never even comes close, does it? Has it ever? (I honestly don’t know. The sense I get from the news coverage is that it’s legendarily difficult to get your hands on a new gamebox or whatever they’re called. And as the folklore professor is fond of saying, what is true doesn’t effect people nearly as much as what they think is true.)

And so there are fistfights and worse (there were shootings this year), and so I have a dumb question.

How do the execs in charge of this type of promotion look themselves in the mirror?

Do they think this is cute? A sign of success?

I see that some of the news stories note that Sony had “production problems” this year, which accounts for some of the shortfall.

So, maybe it’s time to stop with the highly publicized release dates and sell this stuff like a normal product? Or something?

I have limited sympathy for people who let themselves get all worked up over a toy. But since it’s been proven again and again that certain types of promotions lead to frenzied behavior, maybe it’s time to throw disapproving glances in the direction of Sony and maybe the stores that let themselves get suckered into going along with the scheme. (Yeah, I know, disapproving glances are so effective so much of the time. But I don’t want more legislation. Suggestions?)

This madness reminds me more than a little of the fatalities at that rock concert in Cincinnati back in 1979. That was also the result of getting people all worked up because they thought they might miss out on something, yes?

And, yes, people have a responsibility to not get pulled into odd behavior like this. They should take the time to look at what’s going on around them and move away if the situation is getting ugly. But people do get caught up in crazes. There are reasons they’re called crazes.