This morning at work, I paged through a junkmail catalog racistly named “Oriental Trading.” I assure you this is a current publication. Perhaps not for much longer.
When I glanced at the photos of beaming, I-got-paid-to-look-joyful models in Christmas aprons and felt snowman costumes, I was instantly transported to my childhood, specifically to my first house, oddly enough; I remembered pouring over Toys R’ Us catalogues looking for desirable Christmas presents and Ninja Turtle figures I almost certainly didn’t need. I was instructed to mark the ones I wanted with a penned-in “x”; I might as well have ripped out whole pages and handed them to my mother in a folder labeled “WANT.”
What struck me about this morning’s catalog was the fact that the layout has changed very little in the almost 20 years since I remember seeing them. The quality of the photos, the overuse of circles and stars in the background as attempts at a “theme”, even the damn font of the descriptions appears to be the same. Perhaps its the takeover of internet-based buying that has halted the evolution of these ink-and-paper relics, but I like to believe that the Oriental Traders of old know what works, and doggedly stick to it. I find that admirable, reindeer headbands and all.