Thursday, December 1, 2016

You Can Buy a Replica of the Sears Catalog on

No big surprise here, isn't almost everything now on Amazon?  Just seems kinda meta, since the Sears Roebuck catalog was the Amazon of its day.

Cyber Monday and Cyber Week sales enticements got me looking at Amazon the past few days.  So much stuff, so little money!

Being genealogically oriented, I naturally wondered what shopping was like in the past and thought about Sears (and about Montgomery Ward, it's older rival, both original to Chicago) and it's historical importance for the mail order industry which lead to the ultimate development of online retail giants like Amazon.  Sears Roebuck catalogs had an amazing selection (available at Ancestry's Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993) of goods available to American consumers:

In a lot of ways warehouses don't change although the technology that Amazon uses for quick fulfillment was impossible back then, of course.

Sears Roebuck Hardware Department (Fall 1897 catalog).

Clothing Department (Fall 1897 Catalog)

Department of Boots, Shoes, and Rubbers (Fall 1897 Catalog).

Amazon warehouse (location unknown) (Robert Galbraith/Reuters image) from Business Insider's article "See what it's like inside Amazon's massive warehouses."

Dallas fulfillment center (from fulfillment center bringing 1,500 jobs to Dallas)

There were pages of testimonials published in the catalog (Fall 1897).  Sears controlled the message in this case to their advantage, as to be expected.

Amazon not only has a space for testimonials and reviews (one of their most compelling features in my opinion), but doesn't control the message, as evidenced by the tongue-in-cheek critical review of the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog.  We live in a much more amusing time!

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment