When I was growing up, one of the most anticipated moments in the lead-up to Christmas was the arrival of the Sears Wish Book, their Christmas catalogue. The big fun for kids was to go through the toy section and circle what they wanted.
I never understood why it was such a big deal, myself. I mean, I’d take a quick boo through it, but going so far as to circle shit? Nah. I might, maybe, point out something I liked to my mother, but that was the extent of it.
Now, I might have had a touch of catalogue burnout. See, I had a friend who loved the Sears catalogue to an inordinate degree. (I call her a friend, but we were only thrown together because our parents were friends, and we were about the same age in a village with not a lot of children.) Her idea of a good time was to flip through the catalogue page-by-page and pick out the nicest outfit in the women’s wear section, the best looking guy in the men’s wear section, and cutest baby in the children’s section. She was a bit of a bully, so what she wanted to do, we did, and if I didn’t participate enthusiastically enough, she’d start to grill me on why I’d made the choices I had.
My choices were, of course, always the wrong ones.
I expect, though, it’s more that I’ve just never been much of a virtual shopper, and catalogue shopping was kind of the original version of scrolling online. Seeing a photo of the product doesn’t fire my imagination, and the descriptions never give enough information. Plus, they’re very dry and boring.
Unless you’re the Lee Valley catalogue, that is.
Lee Valley is a Canadian hardware store, and it’s just, like, the best place to go for a leisurely browse. Ron and I will stop in for something, and he’ll head for the woodworking tools while I head for the gardening tools, and eventually we’ll run into each other again and then show each other all the cool stuff we’ve found. Like, in my case, stainless steel clothespins. Seriously.
They do, of course, have a website. But if you want, you can still get physical catalogues delivered. And the Christmas one lands in the mailbox every year, regardless of whether you’ve opted for online or physical delivery. It’s just a little thing – more like a pamphlet than a catalogue – but I get way more excited about it than I ever did the Sears Wish Book.
Not because of the products.
Because of the advertising copy.
Clearly, Lee Valley hires someone with a good sense of humour to write the product descriptions, as the catalogue is filled with gems like this:
Three laws of the shop are:
1. Wood always moves.
2. Rust never sleeps.
3. Duct tape fixes everything.
Take that, Santa.
To see previous posts in my Quotes series, click here.