A snarled supply chain with cargo ships idling off the coast of California is causing shortages, higher prices and headaches nationwide.

But I have firsthand proof that there are no kinks in the supply chain of Christmas catalogs.

For at least a month, my mailbox has been awash with wish books. It’s been 35 years since I bought an Uncle Milton Ant Farm and accidentally drowned every inhabitant, but my name is still on the mailing list for the toy company.

Once a retailer gets your name and address, you’re correspondents for life. But you also inherit the catalogs mailed to your home’s previous occupant. These come addressed to the previous occupant or “Current Resident.”

This current resident has never ordered Packers Pine Tar Shampoo nor a red cotton union suit from The Vermont Country Store, but perhaps the previous homeowner did. As surely as Santa follows Rudolph, this current resident gets the general store’s catalog every Christmas. And each year it gets harder to resist the store’s maple-leaf-shaped shortbread cookies.

Likewise, current resident has never ordered any sweat-wicking, odor-suppressing, stain-repelling high-tech workout shorts from the sporting goods catalog that arrived last week. Current resident is still waiting for the magical high-tech fabric that does squats and crunches without any assistance from the wearer.

Treks to the mailbox often yield a surprise. I’ve received specialty catalogs for the food-obsessed, spice-obsessed and electronic-gadget-obsessed shopper. Do I want to spend $159.95 for a spa towel warmer so I can feel pampered? Nah. My ragged towels don’t deserve it. Room-temperature towels have always done the job and if I really want to feel like royalty I can toss them in the clothes dryer for free.

My favorite catalog so far is from The Container Store, which sells a bin or basket or other holder to organize everything under the current resident’s roof. The roll-out rack for lids is tempting because I tire of crawling into the bottom kitchen cabinet to dig out a lid that fits. And I admire the stadium seating for canned goods to make it easy to see all seven cans of French green beans at once.

But I’m most enamored with Marie Kondo’s $49 bamboo bin. It looks perfect for containing all these mail-order catalogs.

Marti Attoun’s “Booth 186: My Secondhand Career in Vintage Corsets, Moose Heads and Other Moth-Eaten Antiques” is available as an e-book on Amazon.

Trending Video