in case you hadn’t noticed (and really, how could you not?) the holidays are upon us. the sandy survivors here in the northeast mostly missed halloween, either because of the devastation or because the reality of the storm’s destruction was much scarier than any halloween haunts could offer. then too, there was confusion as to when the kids should come out for halloween since there were so many municipalities without power. clever kids managed to get two or three nights of trick or treating in if they roamed from one township to another on designated nights.
now that thanksgiving is just about here, the christmas onslaught has begun (because as far as retailers are concerned there is no such thing as thanksgiving. try buying a chrysanthemum and you’ll be confronted with nothing but mini evergreens, pine rope and cinnamon soaked pine cones.)
with the mere mention of christmas comes an avalanche of catalogs. now, i’m a big time online shopper and i’m trying to cut down on wasting paper as much as i can. i read the digital paper during the week and only get the printed paper on sundays (sorry, i just have to have a sunday paper), i only buy books on kindle, i don’t even print out receipts for online purchases, i just copy them to a file. the catalog creators (who i think actually are job creators) do not care that i do not wish to generate this waste. they also do not care that i have received the exact same catalog every week since september.
these catalog creators are a clever lot. with photoshop, they can slap on a new cover photo, rearrange some of the pictures inside, and i suspect, insert items or remove items based on what they know about buying habits. you’re supposed to think it’s a new catalog with new stuff, so you’re less likely to dump it in the trash. the most clever one is the soft surroundings catalog where they actually photoshop an object related to the closest holiday into the hand of the model on the cover. except whoever does this is not very good at it, and the item in the hand is awkward or cut off or the model’s fingers are mangled or other assorted abnormalities. this cracks me up and it still doesn’t change the fact that this place charges waaaaaay too much for their clothing so i’m probably never going to buy anything there.
i actually enjoy these catalogs. there are about 30 of them in various stacks around the house and i’ll sit and leaf through every one just to see what’s there. some of them have surprisingly good copy writers whose descriptions transform the ‘who heck needs that’ into a ‘must have now”. the pictures and layouts of many of them look a lot more like magazines than catalogs, or maybe magazines are getting to look more and more like catalogs? (reference to the vogue fall edition with 658 pages of advertising)
the catalog onslaught began so early that some of them are now on round two or even three. i still leaf through them, but they’re headed for the recycle bin by the end of the night. i’ll save a few of them until two weeks before christmas just in case i want to order something, but really by that time i’m either done with the shopping or looking on amazon to find whatever i saw in the catalog for a better price.
still, it’s all part of the holiday ritual and outside of the wastefulness, i rather like the stacks of catalogs that show up every year.
even the worst catalog is better than the best election mail.