It Beats Counting Sheep

As an insomniac, I spend lots of time staring up at my bedroom ceiling, pondering weighty matters. For instance:

  • Why is it so difficult to determine the length of a sweater or shirt when shopping from a catalog or the Internet? I’ve been on the hunt for baggy sweaters that fall well below my waist. But often clothes aren’t presented on a model, so you can’t see exactly how they fit. That would be fine if the product descriptions went beyond a few say-nothing adjectives. (J. Jill is one of the few marketers I’ve come across that includes in the description of its sweaters how long they are. Guess where I bought my last sweater?)

  • How does L.L. Bean get those puppies to pose so adorably amid the dog beds?

  • Why don’t toy catalogs organize their merchandise by age group? Nearly all of the ones I receive group the products by theme. I suppose that looks pretty, but it makes shopping onerous. (That said, cheers to Chinaberry, the cataloger of books for youngsters. Its offerings are categorized by reading level — and the descriptions are quite detailed to boot.)

  • How does the U.S. Postal Service justify paying $164 million in bonuses — sorry, “performance incentives” — when it lost $1.68 billion for fiscal 2001?

  • Why are so many models in women’s apparel catalogs posed with their eyes downward and one of their hands partially obscuring their face? They look as if they’re embarrassed to be seen in public.

As you can imagine, mulling these questions does eventually exhaust me enough that I drift off back to sleep. And if I’m still wide awake, I try to use the time productively — riffling through catalogs and shopping online.

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