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Fri Apr 20, 2018, 05:52 PM

Amazon and Sears Roebuck

As a kid, I especially liked sitting on my mamaw's back porch and going through the stacks of old Sears catalogs. It was the 1950s, and Sears was still a vibrant retailer, and the offerings in the catalogs fascinated me. I spent hours trying to figure out what men's trusses were for. There were lots of mechanic-type implements, and farm machines, and pages and pages of children's clothing. My cousin and I used to cut out the dresses and make paper dolls for them. Mamaw had an old catalog, from 1917, which she gave me when I got married, which sold furniture and books and medicine and automobiles.

Sears sprang into the pre-eminent "convenience shopping" position around the turn of the last century, when railroads criss-crossed the country, moving freight long distances cheaply. The new technology--railroads--pretty much created Sears.

Amazon has capitalized on the new technology in a not dissimilar way, with not dissimilar results. I have felt guilty shopping online so much--it's so easy!--especially since my son, who sells flooring, complained about customers who came to the store to check out the merchandise before ordering it online--but no longer.

No one would want to interfere with the advance of technology that makes life so much better, whether for farm wives in 1920 who could order the latest style in Sunday bonnets, or for suburban women like me who can go online and find the exact model of the kitchen appliance I lust for--delivered for free!

Progress is inevitable, and I think it's only the speed at which Amazon has succeeded that is different from the story of Sears. Things move lots faster nowadays.

In 1970 I ordered wallpaper for the bathroom from Sears.

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Reply Amazon and Sears Roebuck (Original post)
cyclonefence Apr 2018 OP
Lars39 Apr 2018 #1
csziggy Apr 2018 #3
Lars39 Apr 2018 #4
hunter Apr 2018 #2

Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2018, 05:55 PM

1. Had an uncle who ordered a queen bee from Sears Roebuck.

They provided essentials for those out in the sticks.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 20, 2018, 11:11 PM

3. Sears used to sell ponies in their farm catalog

I always wanted to order one, but by the time my parents thought I was responsible enough to own an equine Sears had stopped - and I was too big for ponies.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 21, 2018, 02:33 AM

4. Ponies!

That would have been so neat!

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Response to cyclonefence (Original post)

Fri Apr 20, 2018, 07:07 PM

2. My mom's cousin to please his new bride bought electric pump, pipe, and kitchen faucet from Sears.

No need to go outside in winter blizzards to fetch water.

It was the very first indoor plumbing on the family homestead.

My great grandma thought it an extravagance that would bankrupt the family.

My great grandma was still angry that her husband had signed on to rural electrification, partly to satisfy his no-good radio hobby.

Sears could have been Amazon but they didn't see it coming.

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