Suppose the horse-and-carriage industry not only survived the introduction of the automobile but actually flourished as cars grew commonplace? What if 8-track tapes were a billion-dollar business today, more popular than iPods and Zunes? Would that be any stranger than the fact that consumers have purchased millions and millions of calendars in the last few weeks?

According to Publishers Weekly, there were fewer than 200 calendars for sale in 1976. Today, there are more than 6,500 from which to choose. Part of this proliferation is due to the fact that we once got the bulk of our calendars for free, from banks, insurance companies, and other businesses eager to keep their phone numbers in front of their customers’ eyes throughout the year. But it’s not as if those businesses were giving away more than one copy to each… More…