80 Years of Oops
Surely, those phones would be ringing off the hook if the same scheme were employed today; there's nothing consumers like to do more than follow up on possibly defective junk mail.
Next is not so much a bad prediction as an interesting early take on e-commerce. Some people forget that the concept of electronic shopping predates the advent of Web-based e-commerce sites in the mid-1990s. Many years before, retailers ("brick and mortars" in today's dot-com parlance) had fears that they could be left out in the cold by direct electronic sales over the telephone or via television. A 1982 story focuses on "the prophet of electronic buying," Walter Forbes, president of Comp-U-Card of America, which offered not only CE telephone-buying services for consumers but also Comp-U-Store, "a terminal-based interactive shopping service for use in retail stores which, for a variable monthly charge, lets the smaller retailer expand his offerings to include Comp-U-Card's 30,000 items."
Said Forbes: "This is not a fad. This is an irreversible move toward electronic stores." A Dealerscope editorial reported, "Teletext-capable televisions will soon be a staple on every TV dealer's sales floor," adding that such TVs would "give the homebound shopper the ability to bypass the retail store." Then, as now, the basic principles for retail survival remain: Sell the products that enable electronic shopping, and provide higher levels of service and a personal touch in retail outlets.