Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where America Shops

I like catalogs.  No, let me clarify, I LOVE catalogs.  I've always loved catalogs.  I don't always order things out of catalogs, mostly because I'd go broke if I did and end up having enough stuff to hold a garage sale, but I love me some catalogs.

I used to get tons of catalogs in my mailbox all the time.  Harriet Carter, Lillian Vernon, Wireless, Newport News, Signals, etc. and there was always something I simply HAD to have.  And there was always things I had to ask myself, "Who in their right mind would EVER want something like this?"  

One of the best catalogs I ever got was called, "Ruby Montana's Pinto Pony" and it was full of Swell Stuff.  Really.  It said so on the cover, "Swell Stuff."  I loved RMPP and one time, when I was up in Seattle, I had to stop in at her store and I actually met Ruby herself.  I told her I came all the way from California just to visit her store and she was all, "That's great, you whackjob, get a life!" Ok, she didn't really say that but I know that's what she was thinking.  I was sad when Ruby closed up shop.

I received a catalog in the mail the other day called, "As We Change" and it's aimed at women who are, oh, let's call us "Pre-and-Post Menopausal."  And along with the clothing and undergarments and spa-type of things, there's some, how shall I put this, interesting items offered in this here catalog.  Oh sure, they have fancy names for these items, like "Feminine Personal Trainer" and the "Kegelcisor" but we all know what they REALLY are.  There's even some pyramid looking thing called "The Cone" that on one hand I'm dying to know how this thing works but on the other hand I'm not sure that I do because it looks pretty dang uncomfortable.  And weird.  And it's supposed to be for both men AND women and I'm all, "Uh, ok?"

I also got the Vermont Country Store catalog and talk about nostalgia.  I saw a dozen things in there that I don't need but am simply itching to have and not one of them is a Kindle.  I know, that's just crazy!

Speaking of books (books, Kindle = same thing), years ago (early 80's) I received a catalog from a bookseller I had never heard of.  There were so many great books in that catalog that I never saw at my local bookstore.  I thought I had died and gone to Book Heaven.  And based on the number of books I ordered and the amount of money I spent, I'm pretty sure I'm responsible for Barnes & Noble's success today.

One of the things about ordering from a catalog is that you get put on mailing lists for other catalogs and sometimes, you get a catalog that comes in a plain brown paper wrapper and you have to hide it from the kids and when you do look at it you're all, "No WAY!" and wonder if people actually DO that kind of stuff and then you go to throw it away but then you worry that the trashman is going to see it and tell all the other trash guys that the people who live at my address have some pretty weird and kinky tastes even though you know that the trash men don't even get out of the truck to empty the trash cans anymore because it's done with a robotic arm so that the trash guy never even SEES what he's dumping but what if he did?  A spiced up sex life is just not worth the stress is what I'm saying.

And who can forget the ne plus ultra of catalogs, the Catalog to end all Catalogs, the Catalog that every. single. kid in the USofA waited anxiously for every year.  That's right, the Sears Christmas Wish Book.  The Wish Book was the greatest catalog ever made.  Ever.  Forget Needless Markup Neiman Marcus with their luxury items and His-and-Her examples of Conspicuous Capitalist Consumption.  The Sears Wish Book had toys.  Hundreds of pages of toys.  And craft stuff and sporting goods and really tacky home decor items and musical instruments and dress up costumes like a Miss America costume with a tiara and sash and cape and silver-and-gold "toned" jewelry and oh!  All sorts of Christmas decorations so that you could make your house look like the North Pole vomited up on it, what with plastic Santa sleighs with reindeer and boy and girl choir singers and giant candles and that thing you put on your front door to make it look like Santa Claus himself has just opened the door to welcome you in, although that door thing always kind of scared me for some reason.

Ah, Sears.  It's where America Shopped.


  1. Congrats from another catalog addict. Great Blog.
    (I figure I saved a fortune in gasoline and car wear and tear, then spent it all and more on return shipping....oh well......still love catalogs.)

  2. Catalogs, I remember getting them in our mailbox. My mom always thought things weren't important. Though, we somehow managed to get them.
    Great post...:)