The temperature is dropping, the days are getting shorter and a new season has arrived. No, I’m not referring to autumn. Nor am I referring to Halloween or even the somewhat revolting fact that there are Christmas decorations sitting right alongside witches’ hats in Target.
Instead I’m referring to Catalog Season. That time of year when magically my mailbox, and I’m guessing many other RW’s mailboxes, are stuffed with something beyond the usual bills and direct mail cards. It is as if a distant bell rings, and the hounds of print are released. Some magic trip cord pulls open the shoot and we are drowned in colorful pages of products that various companies believe we “must” have.
I am well aware that I sealed my own fate. A few years ago, feeling pressed for time, I ventured into the land of holiday shopping by catalog. It only took a few orders, and –poof—instantly I’m on every mailing list known to man. My name and address has spread through the world of print retail faster than a popular teen girl’s name whips through high school texts.
And oh, my, the variety! I get catalogs of bizarre stuff that I would never dream of ordering. From the comfort of my living room, I can flip through pages to see anything and everything from food items to tacky joke gifts, to high-end electronics to T-shirts to calendars and books to sporting goods to….. you get the idea. Some days I wonder what kind of catalogs arrive at the home of celebrities and wealthy socialites. I’m guessing they get more Hammacher Schlemmer and less Betty’s Attic.
I have to chuckle when I hear marketers (myself included!) talk about how print is dying, that electronic media is where it’s at… and about how the high cost of postage is forcing cut backs to mailings, and how “no one” reads direct mail anymore. If all of that is true, then why am I still receiving an average of 3 catalogs per day during this season? Someone must be reading and using catalogs still, even if I’m not.
I do admit that I have turned away a bit from my old print friends. Sure, when I have time to sit and put my feet up (wait, does that ever happen?) I will thumb through a particular catalog that has caught my eye and maybe even fold down a few pages of ideas. But I have found a new love who meets virtually all my needs for my from-home ordering. I even have a new mantra: You can find anything on Amazon. (And no, this is not a paid endorsement…. darn…) At first I was tentative…but then I put them to the test by finding a particular item in a unique catalog, searching to see if my friends at the big A could offer it to me as well. To my amazement, not only did they have the item, but offered it to me at less cost. My relationship with this enchanted retail portal has even moved to a new level so I get free shipping. What’s not to love?
Still…. There is something to be said for holding glossy pages in my hands, flipping through with a bit of excitement to see what images and descriptions will appear on the next pages. And you just can’t beat the creativity of the season. I mean, who wouldn’t be a bit fascinated by a Holographic Santa’s Sleigh Tree Topper? Sure, the quantity of catalogs can verge on the ridiculous and I’m guessing the people who truly hate this season are mail carriers and the folks who collect our recyclables each week.
But for the rest of us, it is time to grab a cup of cocoa and settle in for some shopping in our jammies.