I’m not quite old enough to have torn a page out of the catalog to use in the outhouse. I don’t think I missed anything. I wonder if the youngsters of today would even know that actually happened.
The first “catalog” was just one printed page; put out by Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872. It eventually grew to 540 pages with 20,000 items. Sears soon followed with their first edition in 1896. The appeal was the middleman or store was eliminated so the prices were lower. By 1971 there was 250 million dollars in just postal revenue. That’s a whole lot of packages and excited faces when they arrived.
I remember both the Sear’s and Ward’s catalog arriving when I was a kid. It was usually early fall so you could order “in time for Christmas”. I would sit and go through it page by page with a magic marker circling all sorts of things I wanted. (Skipping the ladies lingerie.) Wanted is the key word there. My mother was a very practical person and we usually got one want and lots of needs. I still think that way. My kids hate shopping for me because I don’t do frivolous well. I ask for things like a hatchet, a tree branch trimmer, saw horses, fabric shop gift certificates. You get the picture; things I can use.
The big department store type catalogs have disappeared as we now go to our computer to shop on-line. It is so easy to type in the name of what we want, price check and often make our decision on who doesn’t charge for shipping. My latest large purchase was a new battery operated hedge trimmer. I shouldn’t admit how many times I cut the cord on my old one then had to splice the wires. The new one isn’t much lighter but it sure is less of a production to use when the mood strikes.
I still get excited when my new fabric catalogs arrive from different sources. If at all possible I shop at my local quilt shop, but every once in a while there is something in a catalog that I haven’t seen in a store and I succumb to temptation.
Since I retired I have gotten into the bad habit of staying in my pajamas unless I am going someplace. When I am expecting a package I get dressed early so I can go out and get the mail as soon as it arrives. The excited face when I see the box still happens. Some parts of me will never grow up.