Do you have a weakness for catalogues? Millions do. When you do your semi-annual sort and purge of the magazine stacks, do some of your favorite catalogues manage to survive your reign of terror? Are you apt to pluck the SkyMall catalogue from the seat pocket in front of you and slip it into your carry-on bag before leaving the aircraft? Why shouldn’t you love catalogues? They are irresistible; satisfying the retail urges for anything from pet accessories, to mountain climbing apparel to travel packs that protect you from bed bug infestation when you are on the road.
In working with clients, we have observed catalogues manifest a double-whammy C.R.U.D. effect. Allow us to enlighten. Catalogues are responsible for C.R.U.D. infestation in two ways; catalogues are yet another form of paper. Paper, like everything else, generally requires that you do something with it. Whether a catalogue hangs out in the bathroom as “quick read” material or lives at the very bottom of a stack of bills, overdue notices and other “to do’s” in your home office, you minimally have the responsibility to at least store it where you can find it, for when you need it. Even before the current issue expires, you receive the next season’s or a special sale version. Before you know it, your catalogue collection swells to epic proportions.
The other way catalogues spell doom for the space-challenged has to do with impulse control. Catalogue merchandisers can make anything sound worth having. How else can you explain the presence of fruit hammocks, meatball shapers and quilted appliance cover sets in so many North American kitchens? What about pet doorbell sets in the shape of paws? Or, even if you can’t trace your own ancestry, never fear. There will be no mistaking your dog’s bloodline – if you order the dog DNA testing genealogy kits.
Whether it’s the 28-day mascara or your own personal luggage scale that tickles your fancy, the result is a collection of some of the most useless products the world has ever conceived. You work much too hard for your money than to piss it away on something as arcane as a grapefruit saver, when you don’t even eat grapefruits. As for your luggage, the airlines will gladly weigh it for free when you check in. Want to know if the weight exceeds the restrictions set by the airline before you go to the airport? Your bathroom scale will fill the bill.
You need to invoke a two-pronged solution to this problem. The first is very simple. If you cancel your subscriptions, the catalogs will cease to arrive. Even if you can’t resist the urge to shop, as all the majors are available on the Internet, at least you will no longer be adding to the reserves of your paper to be recycled. Less work for you overall.
The other aspect is more complex. Catalogues offer a relaxed retail experience in the privacy of your own home or workplace. But, before you submit your next order, take a moment to contemplate the larger implications of your actions. Can your over-crowded storage areas handle any more miraculous gadgets? Are you duplicating functionality that you already possess? How big of a balance is currently riding on your credit cards? These questions apply to any purchasing decisions, of course.
When you run into un-opened products whose charms you have succumbed to from previous catalogue shopping sprees, you do have options. If they are neither worthy of donation or re-gifting, why not mount them as exhibits in your own virtual C.R.U.D. museum like we have on the www.goodriddance.ca website. Take a photo, give it a caption and visit your shopping faux pas whenever you wish.