Santa’s not the only one making a list of who’s naughty and who’s nice. While trying to complete my holiday shopping without stepping foot in a store, I devised my own file of catalogers who deserve lumps of coal and those worthy of extra plums in their pudding.
The Naughty List
On a spread of dollhouses in its Wish Book catalog, Sears offers two doll families: one white and one “ethnic.” The “ethnic” family is clearly African-American. Why not just label the dolls as such, rather than assume Hispanic, Asians, and other nonwhites would prefer those dolls to the others?
When trying to order gifts online, every time I typed in the HearthSong URL, I called up a page that was almost blank save for a link to parent company 1-800-Flowers.com. I’d select the link, get to the 1-800-Flowers home page, and have to scroll down to find a link to HearthSong. Only after selecting that link was I directed to the HearthSong home page!
The institutional copy on page 2 of the Holiday Gifts edition directs me to the order form for information about express delivery, should I need any last-minute gifts. So what does the order form say? “Ask your operator for details.” That sort of runaround is not nice at all.
The Nice List
- Sears again
Sprinkled throughout the Wish Book is an icon labeled “Get batteries. See page 112.” And on 112, the same page that includes the ordering and service information, batteries of all sizes are for sale. Here’s an effortless way to gain incremental sales, while providing a valuable service to boot. (Surely I’m not the only one who has forgotten to buy batteries until one’s child tries to play with her new, “batteries not included” toy.)
- Wine Country Gift Baskets
“Order now! We will ship and bill on date requested” declares a cover line on the Holiday edition. The offer is promoted on every spread as well. Encouraging shoppers to order while they have the book in hand — even if it’s weeks ahead of the holiday — helps even out the work flow in the warehouse and salvages sales that might be lost due to forgetfulness. Perhaps other catalogers also offer the service…but do they promote it so prominently?
- C. Crane Co.
Subtitled “Radio, Light, and Sound,” this cataloger has a significant number of visually impaired customers. So it offers a free audio version of the print catalog to accommodate them. As if that’s not nice enough, C. Crane’s prices include ground shipping — no sticker shock when it’s time to check out and you realize how much you’re paying for S&H.
Oh heck, it’s been a tough year — I’m putting everyone on my Nice List. Don’t expect much in the way of five golden rings or Hanukkah gelt from me, though. The best that I and the rest of the Catalog Age staff can offer is our sincere wishes for a happy holiday season and our promise to continue giving you the best magazine we can produce. (Think of it as a gift that keeps on giving.)
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