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The Catalog ConspiracyPosted Wednesday, August 22, 2007, at 8:14 AM
I have recently learned how easy it is to trigger an invasion of catalogs! A couple of months ago, I ordered a clever "Big Guy"/"Little Guy" set of t-shirts and caps for my son and grandson. In my limited exposure to the outside world, living as I do on a remote wooded hilltop, I had never seen such a cute, clever item, so I just had to buy it for my grandson's first birthday and his daddy's first Father's Day!
So far, so good. Paragon charged me an arm and leg, I thought, but I got what I wanted, and they look adorable in them.
Little did I realize that this innocent purchase, made in the privacy of my rural Advance home, would prompt an assault from the world of knick knack, brickabrac, just-gotta-have, most-useless-item-in-the-world nonsense!
I wrote in a recent heat-inspired blog about the "Casual Living: a lighthearted approach to life" catalog that I received, prompting me to daydream about deserting my hilltop home and spending a few weeks away on a pre-hurricane Gulf beach...
Well, it seems that the door has been opened, and I have received five more catalogs, not counting the ones I immediatly pitched. It's taken a while for me to realize that a conspiracy is in place.
Using my newly-discovered, favorite online "Psychology Today" mind set, I have had another epiphany! The advertising ploy is extremely clever! The idea is to focus your campaign on a specific lifestyle, tapping into the human mind's deep-seated desire for the "Good Life," - prosperity, social acceptance, beauty, and leisure (known on a practical, no-nonsense level as 'just wasting time.')
The "Casual Living" catalog used a subliminal appeal to women of casual elegance, whose primary activity seemed to be to lounge on their beach patios and have garden parties. It featured "shimmery tropical chimes," "glistening capri sets," "slimming swimsuits which make the legs look longer," and "chic suede loafers." Get it? "Loafers"? Yeah, loafing in luxury at the surfside getaway. Ahhhh! (Beautiful shot of the beach, the surf, shorebirds...)
What hot, harried, overworked, frowzie old gal like me can resist such a psychological assault? It took all my practically non-existant willpower to make me realize that even if I order that "glamourous '40's look maillot swimsuit," I will NOT look like the model in the catalog!
Yesterday, however, the catalog conspiracy continued with the delivery of two more glimpses into the world of the elegant Upper Crust. "NorthStyle" arrived all the way from Chelmsford, Maine. You guessed it! This appeal was designed to drag me off the beach and up to the North Country, perhaps all the way to Alaska! Looking through the earth-toned sweaters and "Cabin Life lamps," I can see myself, clad in an "Icelandic hand-embroidered snowflake jacket" or a "wandering moose fleece top," which will "chase away the cold." Add a "significant other," and the daydream is complete, girls!
Also arriving in yesterday's mail from Chelmsford, Maine is the ultimate in useless stuff - "Expressions: Autumn's Bounty of new ideas..treasures to admire, give & keep, throws to chase the chill, and no-fuss furnishings." The creative advertisers from Chelmsford have really missed the boat on this one, folks! Little do they realize that you don't send catalogs with $399 "mermaid and seahorse wall art" to a goat herder in Tillman, Missouri!
By now, I get it! Yeah, I get it! Advertisers have hired high-priced psychologists to help them formulate catalogs to appeal to Everyman's desire to have a certain lifestyle. Just look through the catalogs and pick out the lifestyle you can afford.
Do you think Dollar General has a catalog?
From the dry, cracking hills of Tillman, Madeline signing off...
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.