My View: Deluge of catalogs brings holiday headaches - The Buffalo News

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My View: Deluge of catalogs brings holiday headaches

By Sylvia Wisher

The last of the Thanksgiving leftovers have been served to a chorus of “oh no, not again!” The overnight snowfall reminds us of the coming of another holiday season to enjoy, a new year to prepare for. And so, as in the tradition of the Olympic games, heralds the announcement “Let the Holiday Games Begin!”

Up go the twinkly lights and the banister garland. Along the mantel go the stockings all hung with care, and the Shelf Elf takes his traditional spot near the fireplace. The furniture is rearranged to make room for the tree.

Now, with eggnog in hand, I brace myself for the deluge of holiday gift catalogs.

Unlike our cherished heirloom decorations and our secret shopping gift lists, the stream of catalogs is a postal nightmare, many not wanted, most never opened.

They start coming before Thanksgiving, slowly at first, maybe a couple a week, then four to five a week. As the calendar reaches early December, the mailbox will be weighted down daily with multiple catalogs. And so it goes right up to the days before Christmas.

Mail delivery people should get paid by the pound during holiday season as a bonus.

There’s the catalog that carries “the best, the only and the unexpected,” like the electric weed-killing steamer for those people on your list that already have everything. Or the catalog of the “sharpest” gifts that offers a pocket camera/recorder pen for shooting covert photos. Be wary of anyone in the locker room with a pocket protector, my friends.

I’ve gotten several copies of the New England catalog that carries stuff you can have fun shopping for locally at Vidler’s.

I order frequently from a catalog headquartered in Maine. They go the extra step to make things convenient; when you receive the items you ordered, they helpfully include in the box – you got it – another catalog! Just in case you were foolish enough to have discarded your first, second or third one.

The repeat catalogs are supplemented by urgent emails reminding you of special discount sales that are in effect only for the next two days, or free shipping if you order now with a purchase of $150 or more.

Remember when you were a kid … one letter to Santa with your wishes was all it took. I never sent a letter a week to the North Pole.

The financial pages tell us brick-and-mortar stores are suffering at the hands of e-shopping, even on Black Friday. For those of us that don’t partake in the sport of competitive shopping, it’s the way to go. You can do comparative shopping without leaving your desk chair. Find what you want, where its the best price and order! No driving, parking, walking one end of the mall to the other.

Unreliable sources report that even North Pole Enterprises may join the Amazon on-line services next year!

My suggestion for the catalog glut: Save the money spent on printing and mailing out duplicate catalogs and use it to lower the merchandise price or lop off the shipping fees.

What I’d really like to do this year is to collect all the catalogs I received this holiday season and then, starting the day after Christmas, mail them, one by one in a plain brown envelope, back to the marketing directors so they can enjoy the same holiday cheer they provided me. But, alas, I’m too cheap.

Instead I’ll prepare for next year by registering on the Do Not Mail list.

Happy New Year to all!

Sylvia Wisher, of Boston, gives a generous holiday gift to her mail carrier for delivering the burden of holiday catalogs to all.
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