Friday, November 18, 2005

Signs of the Holiday Season: A Mailbox Stuffed with Catalogs

'Tis the season to have a mailbox full of catalogs. It seems like every time I order online from anyone other than Amazon, they send me a hard copy catalog. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I ordered it ONLINE the one and only time they ever heard from me. Perhaps that should be a clue that I don't order from paper catalogs? Come on folks, save a few trees!

I only miss one catalog. That's the Sears Wish Book. Every year, when I was growing up, we'd get one. My sister and I would spend hours pouring over each page. We lived out in the middle of a desert on an Air Force Base 30 miles from the nearest town and over 100 miles to the nearest 'big city mall' - when they finally had those.

I ordered stuff last year for my mom from the online store of one of the ten billion paper catalogs piling up at my parents' home. Dad circled something in the catalogs, cut out the pages and stuck them to the side of the fridge. Then, last Thanksgiving, we kids picked off what we were going to get for Mom - it was a clever idea that got her things she wanted and avoided duplicate gifts from her children.

Now I get that catalog and all it's cousins. The target audience for these is about 20 - 30+ years my senior. I don't need orthopedic shoes. I'm not interested in a wide selection of cotton-poly blend snap front printed housecoats with matching slippers and babushkas. Business casual hasn't devolved that far yet where I work. Dilbert teeshirts and jeans are ok if you're a techie. Me, I stick with nice polo shirts, sweaters and dockers most of the time.

The other thing is the knick-knack catalogs. I guess the prevailing mail order wisdom is if you've shopped from The Tog Shop, you like knick-knacks, too. These catalogs, unlike the clothing ones, aren't quarterly (spring, summer, fall, winter) they're bi-monthly. Honest - they might come under a couple different names, but I think it's one huge porcelain conglomerate.

If I were into decopage of Hummel figurines I could have covered my entire house by now with the cutouts from the catalogs I get. Or blown glass animals. Or "Precious Moments".

How many baskets of fruit a month is too many? I also get catalogs about cheese, steaks, nuts and chocolate. I suppose if I ordered the "gift a month" from all of these *and* the wine catalog I'd never have to go to the grocery store again. Hmm. Strike that, I don't get a catalog with a 'toilet paper of the month' club.

Finally, let's not talk about that one catalog with the great deals on support hose, trusses, bifocals and other kinds of, um, gear for the seasoned citizen - I'll be needing that stuff all together too soon and I'm in denial.

This Christmas I'm either getting it from Amazon or sending a Visa Debit gift card. I think the nephews will like that they can choose what to buy and where they buy it from. Maybe next year I'll get some extra room in my mailbox and recyling bin.

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Mark Pettus said...


My mom ordered from a catalog once... and when she retired and became a full-time RVer she had her mail forwarded to my brother. I had no idea there were so many catalogs, and some of them are for things I can't imagine my mother ever wanting or needing. My personal favorite is a catalog of Stupid Stuff. It is. All of it.

p.s. I've been scarce lately, but I've watched some of the things you are doing with great interest. Good work.

Dawno said...

Thanks Mark. Great to see you around, you were missed!

Thumper said...

I like catalogs! I look forward to them this time of year, especially the cheesy dorky ones. It's just too much fun to get snarky over the crap people probably buy.

Oh but I hate Visa gift cards. Most of them are declining value, and even if you use them before they start losing value, you get down to that last buck or two and never spend it...Visa then rakes in millions every year from unspent change left in allllll those cards.

We're giving some of the kids cash. that way we know they can spend every last cent if they want.

Mac said...

Oh my gosh. I'd almost forgotten about the big Sears wishbook. I miss that one, too.

I grew up on a ranch in northeaster Montana. Winters were friggin' brutal, and the nearest place to shop was just under 40 miles away.

My sister and I would spend hours every evening pouring over the Christmas catalog.

Patricia said...

Hey, Sparkly--I loved the "olden days" when catalogs were beautiful enough to display as part of Christmas decorations.

Humph! They need to query addresses to see if there are any men residents that would appreciate the current cleavage display on covers. :o)

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

My mom has an entire bookcase full of catalogs. Some of them date back to 1940. Hmmm. I wonder if they might still be in business. There are some pretty great deals in them, back then. :)

Dawno said...

Joanne, I have one word for you about those old catalogs: Ebay.

But before you do, wouldn't those be great resources for a writer? Seeing what was in style, how much it I'd love to look at some of those! Can I come visit?

By the way, how are you feeling?? I wish I could come and give you a hand - it's such a helpless feeling to have a friend who's so far away!

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

LOL Dawno. I've done the Ebay thing with a lot of knick knacks and things no longer needed. Antiques, nostalgia items (including these catalogs) :) I tend to keep around. Have loads of old Workbasket magazines too. You never know when a writer might need a resource like that.

About the old Sears catalog you mentioned in your email to me, I used to have a reproduction of an old Sears catalog. Next time I go home, I'll have to check my bookshelves to see if it's still around. I can't remember if I still have it. If I do, I'll let you know.