Yesterday the stack of catalogs on my desk keeled over, smacked into a manuscript that I had printed out (all 320 pages) and knocked into the neatly ordered stack. My desk looked like a cyclone had hit it. The shiny covers promised fulfillment of holiday materialism. They were too slippery to provide a stable foundation. But I wax in allegory.
Every fall the catalog companies crank out their holiday issues and my mailbox becomes burdened. Those pertaining to children I immediately throw out. I’m certain the companies keep track of my socio-economic data, and even though I’m old enough to be a grandmother, I’m not, so perhaps they think their children’s catalogs interests me. I could have young nieces and nephews, but mine are adults.
I admit that I’m not a great shopper. If catalogs substitute for a trip to the mall, I thank all of these companies. But I don’t buy much of their merchandise. Reading about the materials used, looking at the colors and finding the right sizes without using my senses provokes my skepticism. Although driving to the mall costs gas and car depreciation, the shipping costs exceed those expenses. When a catalog boasts free shipping, I look through the catalog closely checking if any of their merchandise would appeal to my kith and kin.
I have to admit to paging through most of them, but then I quickly toss them in the waste bin without a second glance. Sometimes I wonder if catalogs are surpassing books in publication. For those who lack a computer, access to the Internet (gasp!) or those who can’t drive anymore to shop, catalogs are essential. But I think those people are in the minority. I’d rather get a pretty postcard advertising their website and online catalog rather than waste trees on publications that go from the mail to my trashcan often without entering my house.
My sister is the queen of catalogs. While at the beach, I glanced through some of them. Her catalogs contain exotic merchandise not readily available in stores. I saw $500 boots (yes, they were beautiful) and a Scandinavian down jacket that I’m sure was well worth the $1000 price tag, but my author’s pay won’t allow me those luxuries. Neither can my sister afford them, but then she’s interested from a professional perspective since she used to buy for a department store. She also had celebrity catalogs. One put out by Robert Redford, of course, was titled Sundance. And to think I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid three times—but then Paul Newman couldn’t be beat, not even by Bob.
My favorite gifts are books. My favorite store: Buxton Village Books, an indie. The owner advertised a new book on Torpedo Junction, aka, The Graveyard of the Atlantic, those waters off the Outer Banks where German U boats waged war during WWI and WWII. My husband will receive that one (and I’ll read it too). As a last resort, I’ll give Amazon gift cards, which I always hope are spent on books. Do you shop by catalog?