It’s that time of year again…when an overwhelming number of print catalogs clog up your mailbox every day. Responsibly, you react to this glut of paper with sadness at the utter decimation of our forests by these retailers. But then you assure yourself that most catalogs are printed on recycled paper stock probably, endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council— and, you could use a few ideas for your holiday shopping list.
Guilt-free, you spend time flipping through the pages, dog-earring them, tearing them out, and sorting possibilities that deserve a second look. That second look takes you to a website to study the details of a product only to find yourself wandering the site for other gift possibilities. And what started out as casual catalog browsing over a cup of coffee inspires a full-scale shopping mission.
However, as a smart consumer, you know you have options so your mission doesn’t end at the retailer’s website. Your next step is of course a web search for lower prices, promotional coupons, or similar items on other sites. The thrill of the hunt runs through your fingers, with each click feeling you’re that much closer to the best deal.
Some time later, after a thorough investigation, you reflect upon your web search which has now taken you to numerous sites and exposed you to a myriad of gift possibilities, and perhaps even a few for yourself.
Elated with your finds, you subtly send the links of these personal gems to your significant other. Or, you might PIN a few of your finds or tweet about them to your friends spreading good cheer and expanding their shopping horizons. And then…you remember the purpose of your original mission and circle back to bookmarked sites navigating to your filled cyber shopping carts, you hit the order buttons and find satisfaction in the fact that a few items on your holiday shopping list can be crossed off.
As more catalogs arrive and promotions pop into your digital mailbox, this cycle, this magic of the web, this marriage of paper and cyberspace, repeats over and over again until your shopping list has been completed, the retailers coffers have been filled, and the catalogs make their way back to the recycling bin…until next year.
This annual holiday exercise reminds us of the powerful interdependence of print and electronic mediums (who said print is dead, anyway?). It confirms yet another way we gather and interpret information through the use of our senses. Another way we think and feel.