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franklin county times

Mail-order equipment

By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
July 23, 2004
If you have ever ordered a single item of outdoor gear from a mail order company, you afterward get their seasonal catalogs in the mail with alarming frequency. You always thought there were four seasons, but the catalogs arrive for "Pre Spring," "Early Summer," "Mid Winter," and on and on until you are supplied with more seasonal catalogs than there are months in the year.
And the company from which you ordered that one fishing rod happily shared your name, address, phone number, credit rating, social security number, date of birth, church affiliation, dentist, barber and grocer to every other mail order firm in the nation and most of the civilized world. So the postman/woman struggles up to your door and dumps a stack of catalogs daily, except for sick days he or she takes for hernia surgeries and subsequent recuperations.
Eager customer
Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining. I am a catalog customer. I can't wait to scan the 82 different models of hunting boots that Bass Pro Shop lists to see if there could possibly have been created yet another style of shoe in which to put your adventurous feet while you go skipping about the woods. And I breathlessly flip the pages of Cabelas catalog, scanning the ATV pages to learn what else one could hang onto a 4-wheeler and what kind of magic it performs.
And I order stuff I can't live without from the colorful pages of these catalogs, thus ensuring forever the continued abuse of my postperson.
When I picked up my new Red Head catalog the other day, I was reminded of the thought that I silently verbalized as I stood outside the Bass Pro Shop headquarters and warehouse in the industrial district of Springfield, Missouri. My mental comment then was, "This here bass fishing has done got out of hand!" (I often think in improper English), as I viewed a tall building that stretched as far as my eyes could see.
The 686 pages of the newest Red Head Hunting catalog approximate the size of the wish books that formerly came from Montgomery Ward, Sears Roebuck and J. C. Penny. And this one just covers one aspect of the outdoor sports! There are 51 pages of shoes and boots! And that does not include 11 pages of hip boots and waders.
Big sales
The high quality, slick cover, multi-colored pages of these catalogs and their substantial size are evidence of the enormous market for items associated with fishing, hunting, camping, archery and all the outdoor sports. The popularity of these pursuits has never been higher. This of course is good news for business. And it says a lot about our judicious use of our spare time.
But the significant message here may be that we have the resources the fields and swamps and woodlands and streams and lakes and mountain trails to enjoy our chosen quest. And we have the freedom to chase our outdoor dreams in these wild places.

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