I dont know where you are Cindy, but in my small region the coffee roasters do the same thing. I just go by the roast date, if there isnt anything recent out I ask the proprietor, he can generally produce something that has been roasted but not yet bagged.
I figure that there are a only few thousand of us and we cant keep all the roasters in business, and that a lot of people would say "Im not buying this specialty coffee, it wont last as long as the supermarket stuff." So its in the small roasters interest to have the longer use by date. At least your guy put the roast date on, giving you something to go by - a lot of places dont do that.
Ask this guy next time you go by - he would probably be very happy to have another customer who knows what theyre talking about. I dont think people would set up a small roastery only for profit, they would have a passion for coffee as well. :)