Celebrating Catalogs

Window Shopping At Home

I know that some folks don’t quite understand how ‘catalogs’ and ‘window shopping from home’ differ from surfing the Internet shops and that’s okay. It might be a generational thing, I’m not sure.

When the holidays rolled around the usual catalog suspects arrived in my mail. Some are still lurking around the house waiting for our next meet up.

When I was growing up, long before there was even the smallest hint of a hint of anything near like the Internet, catalogs were the way folks shopped. Folks who did not have access to malls, large box stores (they didn’t exist then) or the “I’m bored, let’s go spend money!” trope. If it sounds like ancient history, in some ways it is.

The big ‘wishbooks’ would arrive in late October in time for families to do their individual and collective deep dives in order to order for the Holiday Shopping Spree. These things were Huge; several hundred pages. If you were lucky and lived close enough to a catalog center, you could pick up your order there – after you’d shopped the adjacent store. 🙂

Anything and everything you could imagine and a lot you had never thought about would be in those books.

Perhaps that is why I am still enthralled by the catalogs that come to me in the mail. Colors and patterns of things I might like to add to my home or have difficulty finding nearby to add to my home. Items that I really don’t need, but…

It is that ‘but’ that will get you every time. 🙂

I love getting the food catalogs just to see what they have on offer that I might be inclined to buy rather than make. Until I look at the prices and realize I can do it myself for much, much less. We won’t go to that space where the discussion is how long said items would have been sitting on a shelf in storage before shipping. There are a few things, however, that I like to order. I have a particular brand of cheese that I love to have on hand and the only way to get it is to order it.

One of my particular pet peeves is the way stores choose colors and styles based on the Latest Thing – whatever that might be. For those of us who don’t look good in the Latest Thing, this is Frustration squared.

Some catalogs, however, have items stocked that are in colors and styles that are flattering to me. And they don’t require a second mortgage or a car trip to acquire.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy shopping on the Internet. Trust me several hundred (thousand?) hours have been spent meandering through all sorts of stores looking at all kinds of things.

It is astounding how retail has changed (for good and for bad) in just a few decades. There is great convenience in being able to do the kind of shopping today that would have been impossible not that long ago.

But somehow, it just doesn’t compare with sitting down with a cup of coffee and a catalog contemplating the possibilities.

Do you love catalogs, too? Let me know!

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