The history of Atari from 1972 through 1984 is littered
with rumors and outlandish tales of Atari crushing, burying and outright
destroying massive amounts of perfectly good technology. Why???
Well, apparently Atari was faced on many occasions with problems such
as over-production, overstocking, space restraints, massive returns and
other odd reasons. Here are a few accounts of Atari's
own sanitation squads doing some clean ups:
1272 Borregas Street Facility. During the laying of the concrete slab for Atari's 2600 final assembly building tens of thousands of ROM chips were mixed into the cement and let harden into the buildings foundation slab. Perhaps this may have been a good luck gesture, perhaps it was just to add filler to the cement.
1977-1978 Borregas Street Warehouse. Atari Pongs, Video Pinball's and other dedicated game consoles were taken out to the parking lot where a semi tractor-trailer cab ran them over and destroyed them before they were thrown into the dumpsters.
1983-1984 "The Great Mass Burial". With assembly
lines choked with products that wouldn't sell due to hasty deadlines and
poor quality and massive amounts of returns from distributors who were
taken off of Atari's exclusive dealers list, Atari was burdened with large
quantities of unwanted and un-sellable product. Atari made regular
trips to the dump located down at the far end of Borregas Street and Caribbean Avenue to dump excess inventories of earlier Atari games which were no
longer selling as well as products that they were over-produced and taking
up valuable warehouse space. However these minor dumps
pale in comparison to the Great Mass Burial in Alomorgdo, New Mexico where
it was reported that hundreds of thousands, possible into the millions
of Atari ET's, Pac Man's and many other cartridges as well as computer
equipment and other items which were over-produced were dumped due to lack
of sales and overstocked warehouses. Atari denied these
rumors, however local witnesses as well as local dump scavengers found
many Atari items in both working and non-working condition.
Where oh where are all the 825's ??? Atari had a back log of orders for the Atari 825 80 column printers and was unable to fill orders since they were completely out of stock. Several years later while liquidating Atari's many warehouses scattered around the valley a warehouse was discovered to have from floor to ceiling thousands upon thousands of brand new, still on the palettes Atari 825 printers. Somehow or another the inventory managers for Atari had "Misplaced" these items!
You've got some Balls!!! Atari contacted a local dealer to see if they would be interested in purchasing a "Large Quantity" of Atari 5200 trakballs for several hundred dollars. Upon arriving at Atari's main warehouse, the dealer frantically called his partner to come inspect the Trakballs. Upon arriving the partner examined a tall 8 foot high palette of trakballs and explained that between the two of them with their trucks they could manage to haul their load back to the store. It wasn't until they went around to the side of the Atari warehouse and found 6 semi-tractor trailers filled with almost 18,000 Atari 5200 trakballs that they knew just how deep in trouble they were!!!! Atari however was gracious enough to allow them the use of the tractor-trailers to move their inventory back to the store. After the store was filled, they proceeded to the partners home where they filled his entire backyard from ground to gutter with Atari 5200 Trakballs. Over the course of the summer the business partner disassembled nearly 11,000 brand new trakballs, disposed of the cartons, recycled the plastics, sold the optical assemblies, bearings and cords for surplus and the best of all.... sold the balls themselves at swap-meets as cue balls and for gear shifter knobs!!!! Man, that's a lotta balls!!!!