Back to 1970’s Delivery

When I was a kid we would pour over the FAO Schwarz toy catalog which came in a September. It was the Christmas wish book for us. Every year I would marvel over the same two items which cost the most in the whole book and were essentially the same price, a live pony and a rolling life sized stuffed pony with cart. How could they be the same price? I wondered if they had the live ponies in a cage at the warehouse where all the other toys were stored.

The catalog came in September so that parents had plenty of time to mail in their order form and wait the few weeks for the toys to be delivered. You really had to be organized back then. There was no way to phone in an order and there was no overnight delivery.

We thought nothing of waiting weeks for something ordered from a catalog. Perhaps that is why we mostly shopped at local store where we could have instant gratification.

Fast forward fifty years and we have practically instant gratification while ordering from Online catalogs. Of course they are nothing like the FAO Schwarz way of shopping where all the items had a long descriptive copy written beside the tiny photos. At one point I thought I might want to be both a copy writer and an art director because I loved reading catalogs.

We have become so spoiled with nearly instant delivery. Companies, in order to compete, were practically forced into offering inexpensive overnight delivery, no matter what it actually costs. Enter Covid-19.

Now that we are staying home we have no choice but to order online and wait for things to be delivered, but suddenly everything is taking so much longer. I understand that warehouses might not have exactly the same staffing they had before and that maybe employees have to be further apart, but the actually delivery mechanism that has been in place for years now has slowed down to 1970’s levels.

I had to order more plain fabric to make masks and it took three weeks to arrive, when two months ago it would have taken three days. My friend Suzanne said that she son’s “Welcome to Brown” big college acceptance envelope came five weeks after the email giving him the good news of his being offered a spot. The post mark proved it.

I have been awaiting elastic I ordered in March. Unknowingly I ordered five different spools from five different vendors. One arrived two weeks ago and I have used it up. A second should come this week, eight weeks after the original order. The other three are coming weeks from now. These deliveries are akin to ordering the live pony from the FAO Schwarz catalog. I figure if I am going to be getting anyone a Christmas present I better start shopping now. Should Carter get the love of stuffed pony?

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