Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wish Book

VTG SEARS & ROEBUCK ORIG.CATALOG 1945-46 FALL & WINTER COVER BY A.D. GREER

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.



12 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

So nice to see catalogue rather than catalog; I'd thought that spelling long forgotten.

Sharkbytes said...

Lots of similar activity in many households! The Wish Book (Christmas edition) was still a staple when our kids were growing up. I love looking at really old ones.

vanilla said...

Jacquelineand, there are still a few old school adherents around.

Sharkey, I can still visualize the page with the ribbon candy.

Pearl said...

My sister and I would play the "you can have one thing from each page" game for hours with the Sears Roebuck catalog. :-) We were rich!!

Pearl

Vee said...

I still remember some of the wishes I had. But I lived without all of that "stuff."

Now I have the Amazon "catalogue," but I only use it if I have a need, not for wishing.

Secondary Roads said...

I remember well eagerly looking through the "wish book." We too always called that company Monkey Ward's.

vanilla said...

Pearl, blessed beyond measure, and it didn't cost the parents a dime!

Vee, the expired editions provided you with paper dolls, though?

Chuck, then there was Spiegel's, but I was already an adult when that entered my life. Bought a pair of kangaroo leather shoes from them once. People made fun of my "old man" shoes. Well, they'd be appropriate now.

Grace said...

Even tho I grew up in New York City - catalogues were unnecessary when you had every kind of store imaginable - my grandparents got Sear's catalogues - or maybe just the one - and we called it the wish book too. It was the only time I ever saw one as a kid. Now of course the only mail I get are catalogues - for some strange reason even tho you shop on-line they still think you need a paper catalogue. My idea of a wish book now is the Crate&Barrel catalogue!

Lin said...

Oh, remember pages and pages of toys in the Christmas catalog??? Aw, that was heaven....wishing...hoping...

vanilla said...

Grace, remember when it was predicted that computers would usher in a paperless society? Yeh, right.

Lin, oh, that Christmas catalogue! Many a wish born there. Good thing hope and imagination trumped reality.

Shelly said...

I, too, am glad to see catalogue used once again, even though spell check doesn't recognize it anymore. Now that book was the stuff of dreams~

vanilla said...

Shelly, I guess catalog, monolog, travelog are economical enough, but on my blogue, they are just not right. Oops; I mean "blog."