Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An alternate Toy Story

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.

Bah humbug.


  1. It's 11.30pm now as I'm reading your post. While I sit here warm and snug in front of my heater, I know that there are frantic mothers lined up ready to charge into the Big W only 10 minutes from my home as soon as the staff open the doors. Last year my sister-in-law was one of them. She's still having flashbacks & I'm tempted to recommend she look into treatment for PTSD (Post Traumatic Shopping Disorder)

    My kids are usually all over the catalogues, but they don't seem to have noticed them this year (either that or they've worked out that I don't pay any attention to their not-so-subtle hints about the items that interest them). Christmas is 6 months away. They have time for at least 2 more obsessions to come and go before they fix on the one thing that they simply Must Have for Christmas.

    Good luck to all those mums lined up to take advantage of the Toy Sale Bargains. And good luck to the hardworking staff that man the cash registers and lay-by counters at this time of year. The latter in particular should get danger money.

  2. I did my first toy sale last July....i was 5 months pregnant and took my 18 month old toddler with me....very stupid! and i said never again!

    my 2and a half year old is also a big fan of "reading" the toy catalogue! as is his nanna. she even brings all her city catalogues to us when she visits...

    And i always watch The Bill on sat nights, just as my mum does...hee hee

  3. Dangerous stuff, sale shopping. What if they change their minds! What if they go off something between now and the big day? I couldn't risk it. My son has been badgering me for a lifetime membership to an online game - pleading that he's going to love it for ever and ever and will still be playing it when he's 90 and I was thinking of getting it for him for Christmas but today....killed his avatar.

    Do you think the chocolate rotator is because of Masterchef? Has it been seeping into his consciousness?

    Mu mum would get on with your Mum. She buys a lot of things from a company called Lakeland - gadgets, cleaning behind the radiator brushes, that sort of thing. And we all used to ring what we were going to watch in the TV listings.

  4. I don't like catalogues - they end up in piles, they litter the front lawn and, well I just don't like them. My dear husband on the other hand, loves them. He treats them as reverentially as a subscription magazine and is inconsolable if someone transports them direct from the letterbox to the recycling bin.(That could be a slight exaggeration but I am just trying to highlight his affection for them.)

    I am fearful that the children will pick up on this catalogue-love and even more fearful that they will hear about the 'ringing' procedure you have described and so cramp my shopping-style. Two of the three of them are old enough to connect the catalogue with Santa's decision-making so I am never showing them your blog, sorry.

    Can you get all my shopping done by October too please? Thanks.

  5. About to head to Toy R Us just by luck the sale match with my kids birthday next week. But feeling it is going to be similar to going to Ikea on a weekend. Possibility of a physical, spiritual and emotional breakdown is high!

  6. Well, catalogues don't get delivered to our house :( So I wait to get them from my mum, or I hop on the net to check them out. I'm staying home today, not going anywhere near kmart or big W whose sales both start today! I did the midnight dash once, it was mayhem, I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon!

  7. I just love this post. The order that catalogues promise - the lists, the endless lists - is too, too exciting. The thought of those two little boys pouring over the toy catalogue with pen in hand is adorable.

  8. I once had a neighbour who loved catalogues so much she actually nicked ours. Even caught her red-handed rummaging through our mailbox. God love her and all you other cataloguephiles :)

  9. Hello? Another toy catalogue LOVER here. For me, it was the Target catalogue I couldn't wait for each week. Wednesday. Every Wednesday. And I can't throw them out until I've had even a quick flick, just in case I miss something on special!

    My boys have asking for stuff from the latest Kmart one. Especially the 3yo. He seems to think we have this huge supply of cash as well as enough space to stock a drum set, a kitchenette, a desk and a keyboard with microphone and stool.

    Ah, nup.

  10. It absolutely MUST be heritary. My two big boys have already cut out their favourites from the Target catalogue and made a neat little picture list for me in two columns, Nugget and Doo Dah. It is hysterical! Unlike you, I will not be tackling the Xmas shopping until the month starts with a D. x


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