Old-fashioned catalogs overwhelming in age of internet

This was published in the April 21, 2018 edition of the Joplin Globe.

They keep coming.

Day after day after day.

Sure, I try to keep up with them, and when I can’t, I try to get rid of some of them, but it doesn’t help.

They keep coming.

At first it was OK. When the first few showed up, I figured, “What the heck, we can handle of few of these.”

But then more started coming, and after a while, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to keep track of them or how to get rid of them without causing major problems.

In a way, it’s sort of like working in the White House. But instead of having to deal with scandals, I’m having to deal with catalogs.

That’s right. Catalogs.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Mike, I didn’t think they made catalogs anymore.”

To some of you thinking that, I say, “I know, right?”

Actually, I don’t say, “I know, right?” because I hate that expression. The first time I heard someone say, “I know, right?” was about 10 years ago, and I hated it then. But I figured it was such a stupid expression that it would die out in a couple months.

But I was wrong. It’s still around. Just like expressions such as, “it is what it is,” “at the end of the day” and that favorite of those on cable news channels, “doubled down.”

I hate all of them, yet they’re still here.

But I guess I sort of digress.

When I was a kid, one of the most important days of the year was the day the Sears Roebuck catalog arrived at our house. The Sears Roebuck catalog was our ticket to the outside world. It told us what the cool clothes were going to be and, more importantly, what the cool toys were going to be.

Of course, we seldom got the cool clothes or cool toys, but a kid can dream, can’t he?

It’s been a long time since I was a kid. One day, I was looking at a G.I. Joe doll — I mean action figure — and the next thing I knew, I was wondering what happened to all the catalogs.

Basically, what happened to catalogs was the internet. With the internet, stores didn’t have to send bulky, expensive catalogs to your house. They could email them to you instead.

But something happened at our house. We started getting catalogs in the mail. At first, the catalogs came from stores I was familiar with because my wife and our 20-year-old daughter, Emma, shopped in them.

When they first started arriving, I asked my wife and Emma why they were coming to our house.

“That’s nice,” my wife said.

“I’m literally watching a movie,” Emma said.

Nobody pays much attention to me at our house.

After a while, we started getting catalogs from stores and companies I had never heard of.

“Why are we getting these?” I asked my wife and Emma.

“That’s nice,” my wife said.

“What part of ‘literally watching a movie’ do you not understand?” Emma said.

Today, we received catalogs from the following companies: Pier 1, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Carbon2Cobalt, Personal Creations and Ulta.

Of those, the only company I have heard of is Pier 1, and the only reason I’ve heard of it is because every time we go to Joplin, my wife suddenly remembers she needs to go there.

I just took a minute to thumb through the Frontgate catalog. What I saw frightened me. Here is what I saw: a picture of something called an “Athena bistro table” that cost $1,995.

Look, I don’t come from $1,995 Athena bistro table people. So why am I getting catalogs that feature them?

All I can say is, it is what it is.

I know, right?

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