Catalogs, not to be confused with cats or logs, are the bastions of democracy and capitalism. Do you want some shit? Look no further, friend. The catalogs will show you the way.
Back in the past, you would have to actively go out and search for something if you wanted it, or something would catch your eye in the shops. However, in the economic 1920s boom, two American chaps, Sears and Roebuck, discovered that people were willing to spend money if you actively showed them the shit they didn't need but kind of wanted.
You totally need this cigarette holder umbrella.
This, combined with the increase in new inventions and products for the average American to buy, necessatated some kind of booklet to showcase them. As a result of their dark discovery, Sears and Roebuck published the first catalogs, naming their booklets after two angels that appeared to them in a vision, taking the form of a cat and a log respectively. Sears & Roebuck was a success, and stereotypical 1920s American housewives loved browsing through the catalogs, and spending the money that their men were making on new fangled consumer goods, such as the vacumm cleaner, AKA the 'Hoover'.
Egads! What kind of dark magic is this?!
Since the internet has become increasingly more advanced in recent years, traditional mail-order catalogs have declined in number and impact. It is no longer as necessary to shove products in people's face via the catalog medium. Many companies prefer to spam you with TV ads, internet ads, and annoying leaflets in the mail.
"Don't you dare be putting leaflets in here, sir."
But it's not all bad for the catalog industry. Since its creation, more and more products have become possible to mail-order from catalogs. There's pretty much no product that cannot be ordered straight to your door, for a reasonable postage and packaging rate, of course.
Whatever you want, you can fucking get it. Who cares if the production of thousands upon thousands of catalogs for catalog-based companies such as Argos uses thousands of trees? Do trees let you buy shit? No, sir.
This tree itself is only $34.50, but the P&P is through the roof
They're dying. Have you seen the internet, yet? Of course you have. I bet you're also familiar with www.amazon.com. Amazon is one of numerous online shopping websites that are basically an online replacement to the tradional mail order catalog. It's much easier to search for what you want in a text box rather than looking for it alphabetically in an index and then flipping to the correct page.
Catalogs are dead, it's the internet's world now.
They have everything.