Sears catalog days were much simpler

Published 2:30 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Shopping was so simple before we had the internet. Back in those golden days, you decided you needed/wanted something and you went to town and bought it.

If you couldn’t find it at your local store, you got the Sears catalog and looked there. When you found it, you ordered it and waited six to eight weeks for it to arrive. Seemed like a reasonable thing.

Maybe, you drove out of town and searched in a larger town. At my house, this didn’t happen much, if at all. Didn’t find it downtown or at Sears — well maybe you didn’t need it anyway.

Oh but now, we have the internet and its endless opportunities for shopping. It’s enough to drive someone like me nuts.

For example, I need/want a new vacuum cleaner, one that is lighter and can be a canister and an upright. First, I did what good support-the-local-economy folks do, I looked at our one big store that usually has everything.

Nope, they don’t have anything close to what I desire. Yes, I could order it from them, but oh no, that’s much too simple.

So, I go online and start looking. This is a head-spinning experience for me, the person who tries to save every penny possible while still getting the best product. Trust me; it can take me a long time to make a decision when I have too many options.

For example, it took me about three years and lots of agony before I bought living room furniture. I looked at so many couches I was seeing them in my dreams.

Then I needed to pick out chairs to go with that couch. I decided and changed my mind and then shopped some more. My husband was so tired of hearing about it.

He is much more decisive. He finds what he wants and buys it, no second-guessing, and no endlessly looking for a better deal. I can’t even imagine shopping that way.

Well, anyway, back to the vacuum. I found what looks like a good option, but is it? I’ve found three different prices for what appears to be the same product.

How can they do that to me? How can I tell if they are the same? Why is one five dollars less than the other one?

I spent the better part of a morning going back and forth between websites. I sent emails to the sellers trying to find out what exactly comes with each model because I don’t trust the pictures.

One seller had a phone number listed. Yes, I called and spoke with a very nice man who answered my questions. Did I order from him? Nope. Wanted to keep my options open a while longer.

Now I see they offer different colors. NO. Don’t do that to me. I finally figure out what model I like and you tell me they come in different colors.

Then I discover refurbished products. Wow, I could save some bucks with one of those. But refurbished opens a big can of worms.

What does refurbished really mean? Is there a warranty? Is there cosmetic damage or is the packaging the problem? I can’t jump into that ocean of confusion. Maybe I need to stay with new never furbished stuff.

A message popped up now from one of the sellers I emailed. All it said was that they got my message and would answer my question within two days.

TWO DAYS? Seriously, I want to end this and get on to other things. Already, I’ve spent about a week trying to make this decision.

I am online again trying to enlarge the picture of accessories enough to see if the model I decided is the best price comes with the caddy I must have.

Part of me wants to close my eyes and click purchase. That’s way too easy. What if I do and then find a better deal?

Curse you, internet, with your endless options. I miss you, Sears Catalog.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.