The first of the big Toy Sales begins tomorrow and the Fibro is all aflutter. Not because the boys have any clear idea of sales dates and opening hours, but because it means The Season Of The Catalogue is upon us.
My children are obsessed with catalogues. Obsessed. They pore over them. Take them to bed and read them carefully (or ‘read’ them in Mr3’s case). They get out their pens and ‘ring’ the items they most desire. We still have copies of the 2007 Big W Toy Sale catalogue. True story.
I blame my mother for this.
Catalogue Addiction is a little-known but serious affliction, the cause of which can be solely lumped at the feet of genetics. Much as The Builder and I are morphing into weather-obsessed watchers of The Bill, so too the boys are tottering along in their grandmother’s footsteps with a worrying predilection for advertising material.
My mum is at the top of her game. Not a day goes by when a new mail order catalogue doesn’t drop into the mailbox. Rarely does a day go by when a rushed courier or laconic Australia Post worker doesn’t knock on the door with a delivery. If it’s a new and wonderful solution for an age-old problem, my mum will love it. If it’s warm and lightweight, she will love it. If it offers her the opportunity to try clothes on at home and return those she doesn’t like, she will love it.
Thank heavens she hasn’t got the hang of eBay yet.
The boys, of course, are mere apprentices. They’re only interested in the junk mail if it features toys. But give them time…
Sometimes, all this ‘ringing’ is useful. Take this evening. I am one of those people who has their Christmas shopping finished by October. Sue me. So I was perusing the catalogue, getting some ideas and considering a midnight run to Kmart (Fibrotown is 24-hour land when it comes to variety shopping) tomorrow night. I made a list of things I thought would be suitable.
The Builder, being much less dictatorial than me in these matters, suggested I give the catalogue to the boys to ‘ring’, so I could cross-check and be Super Santa this year. They sat together, freshly scrubbed in their flannel pyjamas, and carefully assessed each page before ringing the essentials.
I was way off. Hero item for Mr6 was a pack of nine Star Wars key chains that I hadn’t even noticed. Mr3 had, in his own inimitable fashion, gone for the Let’s Cook Chocolate Rotator (don’t even ask me what brought that on). Nobody bothered with the 200 connector textas, despite the fact that the 20 we have are on their last legs thanks to some radical Lids Off behaviour. The DS Lite that I thought would have Mr6’s scribble all over it was ignored in favour of a walking, talking Buzz Lightyear doll.
It seems I’m not as good at this as I thought. But I’m making no final decisions yet. That would be an amateur’s mistake, what with the Target and Big W catalogues still to come.
Makes you wonder how one old man in a red suit manages to get it so right, for so many, every year.