Catalogs roll in throughout the year, but heading into the holiday season, I never fail to get new ones from companies of which I’ve never heard before. Sure, mail order/catalog companies trade/sell their mailing lists, and have for many decades. I can understand receiving the ones from hunting outfitters, because I do buy from them occasionally, but the ones from all these gourmet food places seem a little odd.
It always makes me wonder which catalog company sold my name and address. I have ordered, and continue to order gourmet chocolates from John & Kira’s, but never in my life have I ordered popcorn gift baskets online, or by phone, nor have I ordered cheese and charcuterie items. I can find all of that at Wegman’s, if I want to assemble my own gift basket assortment, knowing it won’t be stale, or moldy.
For some reason, Harry & David dropped me from their mailing list, although I have ordered fruit baskets from them within the past year. John & Kira’s chocolates make good hostess gifts when neighbors invite us to parties, the people in my other half’s office really love those chocolate gift towers when I send one in for Chanukah, and the small boxes of favorites (Bees, Ladybugs, or ganache filled figs) make good stocking stuffers for Christmas.
Also, I somehow got back on The Sharper Image catalog mailing list, although I’ve never bought anything from them in my life. If I want something that can pick up and move a large, heavy outdoors planter from one end of the patio to the other, I’ll use the 800 lb. capacity convertible handcart I bought from a U-Haul store for $34, before I’d cough up $120 plus shipping for a one trick pony from The Sharper Image. I can get a perfectly serviceable heating pad for my neck and shoulders at any pharmacy for ~1/3-1/2 the cost of one from The Sharper Image. The only reason I can think of that they stay in business is that they sell to people who get out and about so seldom that they have no clue these items are readily available elsewhere for far less.
My mom’s pretty clueless about where to buy some things. She had no clue where to buy a replacement toilet seat, for instance, until I told her we could get one at Home Depot for ~$6-8, and install it ourselves for her. She thought she’d have to hire a contractor to fix her garage wall, when she drove her car too far into it, and punched a nice big hole in the drywall. She was too embarrassed to admit she’d done it herself, so she told her home health care aide that I did it, even though I’ve never driven her car in my life. We spackled it all up for her, sanded it down after it dried, and even swept up all the spackle dust. The funny thing is that when we did that, we could tell that someone else had done the same thing before, because we could see the less than stellar repair job that was done in that spot, next to where mom hit it. Still, I cannot imagine my mom ordering anything from The Sharper Image. She’d browse through the catalog, think, “oh, that’s nifty,” but would choke at the price. Over the past decade, she’s sent me running all over god’s little green 400+ square miles to find her something someone told her she had to have, only to make me return it after she decided she didn’t want it after all. Grrrrrrr.
Can’t wait to see what next week’s catalog dump is going to contain. Some are interesting. Some make my sides ache with laughter. Others are … dafuq?
The ones I really want are the gardening/seed catalogs. Those typically start rolling in in mid-January.