Thursday, December 17, 2015
Remember the Christmas Catalog...
Mama pitched the cat out in the back yard and I don't think he got his ears scratched for a whole week as punishment. Then she turned around and gave his that look that said if we wanted to stay in the house we'd better take real good care of the Christmas catalog.
These days we get a least a catalog of some kind a day. Shop from your easy chair with a credit card and you never have to face the crowds, wear shoes or even fix your hair.
Since I'm not one for big crowds of noisy, rushing people, a few years back I decided to give this shop-at-home a try. I searched under the couches, in the magazine, on the back of the potty in the bathroom, stuffed down the side of the recliner, under the pillows on the bed, in the bottom of the sock drawer and on top of the refrigerator until I had ever catalog with Ho-Ho-Ho or a Christmas wreath on the front.
I did need a candy bar and a Diet Coke when I finished but everyone knows if you drink diet soda pop with candy, it nullifies the calories. Even with all that effort, it sure beat searching driving 25 miles to the mall and searching for a parking spot in the pouring down rain.
I lined them up on the kitchen table by age groups. This pile was for the grandkids who still played with toys. That one was for the men who wore flannel shirts or heavy jackets. This one for the family members who had everything under the sun--except for a little fountain to set on their entry table that had a cute little wheel barrow at the base. It took a while to get them all organized but an hour wasn't too bad. It would take that long to drive to the mall and find the parking spot...in the driving rain. And it sure beat rushing from one store to the other looking for a scarf or a fancy box of chocolates for Great Aunt Gert, who I was sure would love that little fountain.
I felt right smug when I'd turned down all the pages (shhh...don't tell Mama...even though she's enjoying Christmas among the clouds this year, I still have nightmares about that cat) and made my lists.
This fantastic catalog system was available 24/7. The operators on the other end didn't care if I looked like a bag lady with PMS and a head cold on a bad hair day. If I could rattle off my credit card numbers without turning any of them around, that's all that mattered.
I poured myself a cup of tea and dialed the first number. If I talked to someone it would be more like checking out in a store. Ordering from the computer just didn't seem personal enough for Christmas. After listening to the Chipmunks sing all the Christmas carols in the world while I waited for "the next available operator", it was finally my turn.
"This is Sue. Credit card number first." She sounded like Mama the day she pitched that cat out the door. How in the world did Sue know I'd turned down the pages in the Christmas catalog?
I rattled them off without stuttering one time.
"First Item?" She said and I read off the numbers to find out that toy had sold out a week ago. So was the next one and the next and the next. Finally, I told her that I had turned down the pages and she hung up on me.
That's when I took it to the computer. At least there, it would show me exactly if the item was in stock. Twenty two hours later, my eyes were blood shot and my fingers stiff. I found out that there were nothing on my list would arrive by Christmas. Not even that ugly afghan with sequins sewn on it and the little wheel barrow fountain would arrive!
What was this anyway? It was only eight days until Christmas. I could go to the store on Christmas Eve and buy things.
I toted all six hundred catalogs to the dumpster and tossed a bunch of coffee grounds on them to hide the turned down pages. I still don't like waking up from a nightmare about sleeping under the back porch in an ice storm.
I got dressed, fixed my hair, put on shoes and drove to the mall to search for a parking spot. To fight with the crowds and hustle around the racks and to wait in a line that stretched from the counter to the first red light on Main Street. At least the teller wouldn't tell me that the item I had in my hand was "sold out" or that it wouldn't arrive before Christmas.
Have you got your shopping done? It's only eight days until Christmas!