As I was standing on my front porch this morning dead-heading my hanging flower basket, a man walked up the walkway and handed me my Christmas Wish Book from Sears. It is August 18th, my friends. The Wish Book….in August????
I started thinking that maybe it is a marketing ploy to get to the kids before they go back to school. The Wish Book arrives and suddenly, every child is quiet in the corner, flipping through the pages and folding down corners or circling items that they want. (For those of you unfamiliar with the Sears Wish Book, it is the annual Christmas line up of toys, clothes and specialty items that they are promoting for the holidays.)
I will confess to enjoying the Wish Book as a child, and even now, there is a little thrill upon seeing it arrive (even if it is in August). But this makes me think about catalogs in general and how they are used, or not used, these days.
Years ago, people mainly shopped at a store, and although catalogs were available, most people preferred to go to an actual building and see the merchandise before buying. The exception seemed to be Sears, originally with their hand-drawn catalogs and then to their now-glossy version. The draw with Sears is that there is usually a depot in every small town s well as the bigger cities, and you can return the merchandise without any hassles or costs. That’s a plus when shopping these days.
I do the majority of my shopping online now. I still like to see the catalogs when I can get them if only because I can pick it up and look at it at my leisure, but I do purchase online without catalogs from a variety of stores. Most times, stores offer great deals, the shipping is usually pretty good, and these days with the Canadian dollar being so strong, there isn’t a down-side to shopping online across the border. Even the return policies are pretty good these days. Even so, I still hear that people are afraid to buy online. They seem pretty sure that their identity or credit card numbers are going to be stolen, each person having a “friend” who has horror story about shopping online. But I think if you are a smart shopper, shopping online is a safe and fabulous alternative to going to the store. Plus, it saves gas and these days, that is a bonus in itself!
One of my favourite places to shop online is Ebay, which always has great deals, and you don’t just have to bid in auctions. They have buy-it-now options as well, and many of the things you are looking for are brand new. Plus, you don’t have to give out your financial information to someone you don’t know. Most sellers accept PayPal which is a fabulous site for online purchases, and they don’t share your information with anyone else. Ebay.ca is great to use in Canada, but you can also buy on Ebay.com. Many times, I have come across something I am looking for on one site but not the other, so don’t be afraid to look.
The other great site that I am in love with right now is Etsy.com. Etsy is the place for people who make handmade items to sell their wares. This is a growing site and the search possibilities are very creative. You can find an item by geographical zone, by colour or by name. This is going to be really big soon, so get in on it if you have a talent!
What will shopping be like for children of this generation? Will online shopping be the norm? Will they even remember catalogs? I’m not sure what’s coming.
So, even though we have just over four months to shop for presents, you might want to get a head start on it now. You might even get finished before September rolls around!