Damn you Wishbook.com, for keeping me up way past my bedtime.

November 13, 2008

Geez, not to date myself too much, but for some reason, the Sears and Wards catalogs were really a big memory for me. Seems like my Mom probably ordered a lot of our Christmas gifts from Wards over the years.
I can remember looking at the catalog at a given toy, geegaw or gimrack and finally gathering up the courage to ask for it. Invariably, my Mom would make a noise about the price or something or other. Sometimes I got the thing in question, and sometimes I got a substitute from the Sears catalog.

Look here, and see my first ever boombox on the lower left side (C). Every boy had to have a boombox in 1981. It was cheap and not too loud, but served me well for years.

Look here and see my first ever electric guitar (It’s the really silly looking one marked ‘D’ – not bought from Wards or Sears – but found at a junk and furniture store on Grand and Evergreen, in Vancouver Washington. I paid $50 dollars for it, which was about $30 more than it was worth. I begged my Mom to front me my allowance to get it and didn’t have a clue how to play it or make it work or anything. I assumed an electric guitar just made all those Jimi Hendrix sounds just by plucking at random strings.
It had strings that were about 5/8ths of an inch off the fretboard and really weak pickups. I never learned how to play until I got a better guitar (and even then…..)

Looking at some of these 1981 prices, it’s no wonder my Mom and Dad complained about the cost of some of these things.
There’s a spiffy-looking DJ setup for 500 clams and some kind of PA amplifier for $420. I think a kid can actually get a pretty decent guitar for under 100 dollars today, compared to the crap canoe paddles with strings they sold back then.
In this particular catalog, there’s a few decent ones. The Japanese/Korean floodgates o’ craptastic guitars must’ve swung shut and only workable facsimiles of more famous and functional guitars were being allowed into Ward’s and Sear’s America.

Look at more old catalogs here.


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