There once was a time when the mailman was every kids’ best friend, especially around the holidays. That was when the “Wish Book” came in the mail and every kid could tear through the pages and check out the latest toys coming out and find the GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip, or the Big Wheel, or the Star Wars Lego sets or what have you. For those who couldn’t wait for the mail, you could always pick up a copy of the wish book at the local Sears store. This was at a time when Sears sold everything, unlike today when they have limited their inventory. Did you know there was once a time when you could buy a house from a Sears Catalogue?
The Sears catalogue was not just the Christmas wish book, though that was the “biggie” that kids loved because it included all the toys. Sears once put out several catalogues during the year-each for a different department. I remember many days as a child simply laying on the floor of the den, flipping through the glossy, full-color pages looking at all the toys and pestering my mom for the one’s that caught my eye (and a good many of them caught my eye back then) and having her tell me that I might get them for Christmas…if I was good. But my mom would spend more time throughout the year looking at the linen catalogue or the fashions catalogue or the home furnishings catalogue.
Of course, we also got catalogues from JC Penny and Montgomery Ward (RIP) and others. As I think of it, I don’t know if we actually ordered anything from those catalogues. We mostly shopped and then went to the mall to buy. Looking into the wish book was more of an exercise in virtual window shopping. It was like surfing the Sears website before there was such a thing as the internet or even a personal computer.
This Christmas I was in Sears and my wife noticed what looked like a weekly circular in a display by the mall entrance. When we picked it up, I got choked up. It was the Sears Wish book, 2009 edition. Where it used to be 9 by 11 inches, it is now maybe 10 b 6 inches. And where it used to be more than 500 pages chock full of full-color pictures of products, it is now about 50 pages of some products, but not even the full complement of stock available in the store. And there were no toys.
I cannot even see how kids would even care about a wish book in this time of online retailers and Amazon and Wal-Mart. But even if they were interested, there is no real Wish book for them to wish about anymore. Of course in this day of instant gratification, kids don’t really have to wish anymore. Most kids get what they want when they want anyway so there’s nothing to get them for Christmas.
But for me, I will honor the memory of perusing the wish book by perusing the websites for my favorite toys. I know that Microcenter.com has a cool NAS with 4 terabytes and RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. And I know that Fry’s.com has the cool new ATI video card with crossfire technology. And even Sears.con has a sliding compound miter saw and the Jaw Horse work bench for my woodshop. These websites are only a click away, so I can view all these new wish books online. Call them Wish pages and they sell everything you can think of. Did you know you can buy a house online? And if you’re good, you can get your wishes for Christmas.