Print Catalogs Are A Thing Again?!

That big fat Sears mail-order catalog that they used to send in a by-gone era had another purpose: In the days of pioneer farmers living out on the prairie, parents used it as a textbook to larn their young-uns their reading and arithmetic.

With so many kids out of school these days, for various reasons, maybe that’s coming back into vogue.

Nah - they are usually printed on glossy paper. Free newspapers on the other hand…

Not the old-style mail-order catalogs from stores like Sears, which were about the size of a big-city telephone directory (remember those?) and printed on similar plain thin paper, but often with color pictures of the merch. The latest one would be used for teaching the kids reading and arithmetic, while the earlier ones would be saved for toilet paper.

ETA: Page with a picture of a Sears catalog, showing how big they were:

More ETA: Sample picture of a page showing some merch. Note the prices, showing sales tax too (or whatever that second number is below some of the prices), and to 20% discount at the top of the page. All this is why these catalogs were such good textbooks for larnin’ the young-uns their arithmetic:

For me they never really went away. Just more convenient to flick through and a better experience than scrolling online.

Also more convenient to keep in the bathroom for throne reading.

I get seed catalogs every year and I love them. I look at the pictures and read the descriptions and find something I really REALLY want, then look at the required growing zone and start over again. I can entertain myself for hours like this.

I always make sure to order from at least different companies to be sure that my catalogs keep coming.

And today, I received that one. Many nice things in it, but nothing that jumped off the page at me. Still, it did make me think of a few other things, and I just might get in touch with my bookseller to see if she has them, or if not, to put them on my wishlist.

Oh man the early 90s, I’m pretty sure I had that exact outfit B…

I get print catalogs for clothing companies all the damn time. They go right in the trash. You buy thing one time and you’re on their lists forever.

We just got one too. Unfortunately I didn’t see any spaniel-indestructible toys in it, so it went into recycling.

Your address is probably sold to a variety of garden-related companies, ensuring a mini-deluge of related catalogs. In order to get the expensive full-color ones, repeat purchases may be necessary, although I’m still getting White Flower Farm catalogs many years after my only purchase from them (a gift amaryllis bulb for my father).

I love them. I also like paper books, not e-books.

I regularly buy from all the time. I get lots of their catalogs.

OKOKOK, I know its just my lame excuse to waste a few bucks on posies that won’t do well in the desert, but its still cheap entertainment!

Yes, exactly. They are dream books, where you see something and go- wow, I would love that!.

Online shopping is more looking for something you already know you want.

Even when I already have a pretty good idea of what I want, it’s usually faster and easier to find it in a print catalog. It’s only usually faster to find it online if I already know a specific part number or brand and model number/style name.

Printed, yes, but they don’t deign to tell you anything about the toy, including the price, unless you scan the picture with your phone. Where they have you. So, screw them.

So what are you doing right that I’m not doing?

The good thing about catalogs, and we get some, not nearly as many as a decade ago, is that once or twice a season you see something interesting you wouldn’t have stumbled across online.
I suspect the smaller retailers would never even get visited if they didn’t send a catalog.
Of course when you do see something good you can usually find it a lot cheaper somewhere else by doing a search.

Just lucky, I guess.

Catalogs can also be used to teach genetics. Invariably some catalogs delete letters or put in the wrong letters in my name. Those errors are retained in all the subsequent catelogs who buy that mailing list. By tracing errors in my name I can track who sells my name to whom. After several “generations” i.e. years, my name on the seed/outdoors catalogs is very different from my name on the clothing version. Just like 2 different species evolving from the same ancestor. For several years I was Kritcher Sky in one line and Shy Kritcher in another.

I’ve heard it said that whenever you sign up for something, you should always use a different middle initial. That way you’ll know where the junk mail got your name from.

We get a few from cheese-and-sausage places, because a relative sent us one of their products for Christmas. Now we know how much they spend!

My favorite print catalog is the one from Lego. It’s fun to see what new sets they have (sets from The Big Bang Theory-which my kids bought for me, Friends, Seinfeld, etc.), plus all of the $500 sets. Those make me drool.

Does anyone else remember those catalogs they’d send out which was entirely all kitschy krap or old people products like weekly pill planners, alarm clocks with giant numbers, or nude playing cards, but then randomly in the middle of the catalog was a two page section that advertised entirely dildos?