With all the talk about shopping online, stores open on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, I have not heard anything about how much business is done shopping through mail order catalogs.  (I realize that these items can also be ordered online.)

Not everyone, and especially seniors, have computers and find it very convenient to order from these catalogs, using the U.S. Postal Service for delivery.

Years ago we looked forward to the Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs – the “wish books,” we called them.

As children, we would leaf through the pages and circle the items we hoped Santa would bring us.   Some of us continued this practice long after we stopped believing in him and knew our parents were the ones who gave them to us.  Hey, why ruin a good thing?  We’d leave the open catalogs lying about for them to find.  Some times it worked.

Now we receive many different catalogs.  A friend told me she received 19 – that’s NINETEEN – catalogs one day!

It is very tempting – almost hypnotic – to purchase clothing this way.  Effortless.  Every garment shown fits the model perfectly and looks so appealing.  If only it fit us so well.

Some firms dispense with shipping and handling charges.  Hello?  Isn’t that the normal cost of doing business this way?  Why should we pay extra for that in the first place?

If we return anything, we still have to pay shipping charges then, so what’s the big deal?

I recently ordered a small item that I could not find locally.  It only cost $4.97 and the shipping and handling charges were also $4.97!

Psychologically, wouldn’t it be better to hide this charge in the cost of the items?  Or is that what they are doing when they say “No S and H charges?”

The appeal in shopping this way is the ease with which we can do it.  No long walks shopping in large stores, fighting traffic in inclement weather, hunting for parking places in crowded lots, etc.

A word of caution though…It would be so easy to max out our credit card and wipe out our bank balance come January!