Tuesday, March 18, 2014
From shoes to houses to auto parts. You could get it all through Sears catalogue. Without doubt, it was the goal of Sears, Roebuck and Co.1 to be all things to all people. And Monkey Ward2 did all in their power to best Sears.
Both of these giants published humungous catalogues which were delivered to customers' homes via the mail twice a year-- Spring and Summer edition, Fall and Winter edition, not to mention that eagerly awaited special number, The Christmas Catalogue.
The arrival of a catalogue in our home when we were children meant many hours of lying on the floor, chin in hand, book in front, pages being slowly turned, dreams and fantasies of what might be swirling through our heads.
For many years, Sears used the "good, better, best" marketing ploy, dreamed up, no doubt long before companies had "marketing" departments. Or for that matter, before the term was coined, for all I know.3 As I recall, and who knows how reliable that recall is, a page might show an item marked "Good" and priced at $2.98, a "Better" item of nearly identical appearance priced at $3.49, and finally the "Best" priced at $3.98. What parent is going to buy the cheapest item, when their offspring deserve only the best? Well, perhaps the parent for whom that extra dollar might represent two-days' wages. But only if it were a real need in the first place.
"Wish Book" was the designation applied to each of these things in our home, and apt it was, too. You may wish all you want, but chances are. . .
1Also designated "Sit Up and Rear Back" in our childhood world.
2Officially, Montgomery, Ward & Co. But we always called it "Monkey Wards."
3Term apparently coined in the 16th century.