I think the catalogue has got to be an easy second to the industrial revolution.
The catalogue is a large book, full of things for you buy, all in one place and without the need to leave the house. This was the way forward, window shopping in the comfort of your own home. Hours spent wishing and hoping your budget would cover this gorgeous dress and pair of shoes.
The stores soon realised people were quite happy to choose items from a photograph and so, Argos and Index took advantage of this fact and opened store across the country. In theory, the idea of going to a shop, not seeing the item you’re buying other than from a tiny photograph in a catalogue in a corner all sounds fairly laughable, but the concept actually worked really well in practice.
The success of it mainly came down to the ability to buy pretty much anything you wanted, all under one roof. Brilliant at Christmas (although a nightmare as everyone else has the same idea!).
As the items are all stored in the warehouse to the rear, the storefront itself can be quite small. Occasionally of course you’d get the size of the item completely wrong and only realised this when the staff brought this rather small package to the collection desk. “That can’t be mine surely?”
The other downside to all this were the long queues and let’s not forget the store not having the item you want in stock, but not to worry, the one 20 miles away does!
Now we’ve taken a massive step forward with online shopping, going back to catalogue shopping from the comfort of your own home. What’s even better is the amount of information online that’s available to help you choose what you want. Detailed reviews and even videos showcasing many of the items you can buy online, not just from this country but from abroad too.
Just put in Google your requirements and hey presto, the world is your oyster.