What the things we don't purchase say about us
Over the Top
by Neiman Marcus
$50.00 List Price
Almost every catalogue has a gimmick. The oddball prose and hand illustrations of J. Peterman. The sub–Ryan McGinley photography and adolescent moodiness of Urban Outfitters. The saddle-stitched punch line that is International Male. Effective mail-order catalogues are all about fantasy: They offer us the opportunity to project ourselves into a ready-made lifestyle, maybe one where we have a gamine haircut and make occasional trips to Paris (Anthropologie) or one where we unwind from our high-powered jobs by entertaining our sophisticated friends with elaborate meals (Williams-Sonoma). Catalogues are advertisements that we like enough to subscribe to, because they don't feel like ads, they feel like escapism.
Benjamin Franklin brought the mail-order business model to the New World in 1744, when he began circulating
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