|1940 New Mexico: Ordering from the Sears Catalog, because of the distance to the nearest store. |
(Library Of Congress)
It used to be that every home had a Sears Roebuck Catalog. This was a large book containing every kind of item you could possibly need. It was a published mercantile for the home. We would fill out order forms and mail in our order; Then eagerly wait for the postal delivery! We children were often seen with the catalog, dreaming about the clothes, toys, and decorations we wanted.
Years later, they stopped publishing. New ways of shopping were coming into fashion, and perhaps mothers at home were becoming more mobile - more able to go out to the stores. Mass shopping, for fun and recreation, was gaining popularity. One of the saddest days in American family history, was the day Sears stopped printing their catalog.
In the late 1980's cable television started appearing in homes. This also brought a home shopping channel. We were able to sit under constant sales pitches, and put under pressure, to order within the next 5 minutes or the item would be "gone." Many bought jewelry, decorations and clothing through the telephone. The panic of the ending sale played with the emotions and made us feel like we had to have it now. . . This was the beginning of brainwashing (or brain-training) to turn the culture into a shopping- focused society, rather than a home- and- family focused society. Prudence, diligence, patience and hard work were being slowly eroded from our characters.
Today, we have Internet sales, and online shopping options. This is certainly helpful for those who are generally homebound, or unable to get out much. But we are still seeing the "buy now," and the "sale ending tonight" pressure that we never saw in the old Sears Catalog. If we are not aware of these sales gimmicks, and are not armed with knowledge to fight off the fear of not "getting that sale price," we will be sucked into the lure of shopping for recreation; buying things we don't need, and of shopping without hesitation or prudence.
Shopping from the comfort of one's home, with seed catalogs and Lehman's catalogs, while gathered around the kitchen table, are good ways of slowing down the spending process. We may dream over the items, plan what we will do with them, and carefully come up with a wise shopping decision. This is one way to counteract the consumer craze that has taken over our nation.
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"Dear Kitchen Saints: Letters from an Iowa Housewife" was written by Connie Hultquist. Her amazing marriage testimony was recently published in Above Rubies Magazine. Her book is a treasure of wisdom and encouragement!
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