Ordering from a Catalog in the 1970s

Go with God, little envelope.

Bev Potter
3 min readJun 17, 2024


The catalog comes in the mail. It comes every month because paper is cheap and the mail is cheap and there are only a few companies — Sears, JCPenney, Montgomery Ward.

Kids grow fast, and things are made to last, so the companies ask and ask and ask. The only way to sell their goods is through the mail and the mall.

The mail is easier than going to the mall. You flip through the pages which are crammed with attractive models and their feathered hair.

You find something you like. Will it fit? There’s no way to know. There may or may not be a size chart, which is useless. There are no online reviews. There’s no way to know whether things run big or small. There’s nobody’s opinion but yours.

You have to risk it.

The order form is saddle-stapled in the middle of the catalog. You gently rip it out, trying not to obliterate anything important.

You have to fill out the order form by hand with a blue pen, or a black pen, or a pencil. Whatever you can find. You carefully write in the order number, and the color, and the size.

And then you have to calculate shipping.



Bev Potter

Legal secretary by day, insomniac by night. Ally. BA, MA. Humor, pop culture, and things that make you think. My weekly-ish newsletter is