I received a package this morning and it made me think of a similar package from many years ago.
While this may not seem that remarkable, for me it was a journey back in time to the first clothes that I bought for myself some forty years ago. Last week I went to the store to buy some new work jeans as my current ones were starting to wear thin in a few places in a way that was becoming more and more noticeable as the outdoor temperature keeps dropping. What I discovered was that the work jeans display at the store had shrunk considerably and they no longer carried the style and size that I wanted (needed). After checking another store with no luck, I went online and found what I wanted so I ordered them and today I have new work jeans to wear.
While there is a lot of talk in many circles about online shopping causing the demise of so many “brick and mortar” stores, today’s package reminded me of a time when the “brick and mortar” stores were much smaller and many of the goods we have come to expect stores to stock were purchased for delivery from a store’s catalog . . . at least that’s the way it was in the rural America I grew up in. In fact, to a young boy on a farm, there was little that brought as much excitement into life like a certain mail delivery could each year. A delivery that brought a catalog, but not just any catalog, “The Catalog”!
This catalog each year was the beginning of many dreams and more than a few disappointments. It was also from a catalog like this that I filled out an order form and sent in a check in order to have the first clothing I had ever purchased on my own delivered to the mailbox at the end of our drive. It wasn’t anything fancy, just some pants and shirts, but it was something different from the homemade and hand-me-down clothes that most of my wardrobe consisted of at the time.
And so today brings me full circle, almost. While the print catalogs have nearly disappeared, an online catalog did for me what the catalogs of years gone by had done — brought me the goods I needed that a local store didn’t stock. Technology has brought changes, but in some ways; the more things change, the more they remain the same.