Friday, April 28, 2006

Sears Wishbook...

Sears Wishbook. I remember as a kid reading the Sears Wishbook – especially around Christmas – to circle the toys/gadgets of interest (just to help Santa out of course).

Someone has scanned some of the old ones and put them on flickr. They have the 1983, 1975, and 1979 editions online. I peeked at the 1975 one, I was about as old as these guys at that time:



And yes, I had some clothes that looked a lot like that – ouch. Lots of plaid back then. Peeking around the other pages, you can find some real bargains – like these fancy “Solid State” digital electronic watches for men:



They cost only $50 back then (if you adjust for inflation – that would be over $130 today). Or how about a calculator for $40 (over $100 today) – that can basically add, subtract, multiply and divide (and was quite huge):



A blast from the past – the clothes are quite frightening as you look through them. I just wonder if in 30 years the stuff we wear today will look as bad.
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14 Comments:

Blogger Roderick said....

Oh gawd!!!
My mother shopped at Sears and bought outfits like that for the whole family. And worse, as the youngest, many of my clothes were hand-me-downs and guaranteed to be out of style.
I never felt comfortable in my corduroy pants (that made a loud shooshing sound whenever I walked). Meanwhile everyone else wore Wrangler jeans or Ben Davis overalls. I wore Winner II sneakers when everyone else wore Converse. Then the crowning achievement was being the only kid on the block with a burgundy jacket from "Derby of SF" when black was the only accepted color.
Maybe I was doomed to the computer science path much earlier than I thought.... [sigh]

Fri Apr 28, 04:48:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Neil jarvis said....

Great watches!! Are they still available?
I remember, you were the 'bees knees' if you had a LCD watch. The only problem with the watches was your bicep in your left arm got much larger that your right.
And calculators' power supply kept the room warm in winter

Fri Apr 28, 06:35:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous John Hurley said....

When we were growing up ( East Lansing Michigan ) going to a Sears store was huge ( Frandor mall ).
The 2 most important things - each Sears store had a candy section where they sold chocolate stuff, cashews, etc ... but the best part was something called chocolate breakup ... huge pieces. Even better every fall a huge area of the store was cleared out and became the Toy section for 3 months leading up to Xmas of course.

Fri Apr 28, 08:28:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Tom Fox said....

Check out the fancy calculators at the bottom. Ah, yes, Commodore Business Machines. Reminds me of my C-64 and the 5.25" drive. Yeah, I was hi-tech.

Fri Apr 28, 09:21:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Joel Garry said....

What I miss are the Guarantees. One-coat paint - if it didn't cover in one coat, they gave you more for free.
Car batteries - the battery in my '63 Vette was way down in the fender well under the coolant recovery tank, which tended to overheat batteries, and was some work to exchange. They eventually changed their free installation policy, then later tightened up the replacement policy.
Hand tools - once we broke a huge breaker bar trying to remove a VW rear hub. No question replacement, though the fellow did mention he had never seen that.
Kenmore branded appliances used to mean quality.

I think I still have my 1972 vintage Corvus 500 calculator in the basement somewhere. 71077345 and 58008918 just aren't the same anymore.

1975 I was in college, so I lucked out on the clothes issue.

safpk - I suppose there could be an unsafe one.

Fri Apr 28, 10:04:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

I was almost nauseous (two words: Bell Bottoms). But it was nostalgic as well. Loved this one:
http://tinyurl.com/olsho
(Tele-games, and ONLY $100! wouldn't get touched in my house now). But at the risk of showing my age, when I was a small child this was (according to mother anyway) my favorite toy:
http://tinyurl.com/lo6wv

Go figure.
:-D

Fri Apr 28, 10:54:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Kevin Krause said....

Sears candy store - wow, I had forgotten that! They had delicious candy.

Thanks Tom for making us feel old.

Fri Apr 28, 11:10:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Gary S said....

That made me feel sentimental -- yech.

As to "Great watches!! Are they still available?" -- My mother-in-law has a digital Accutron that she has been wanting to sell. Since it uses a tuning fork as a timing device, I don't think it would count as "Solid State" though.

I have a giant desk calculator that uses nixies for the display (vacuum tubes with the numbers stacked internally; they glow orange). It reminded me of the Nixie display on the propane truck that came out when our tank ran low. Yes, I'm a sentimental fool.

Fri Apr 28, 01:52:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Joel Garry said...
"71077345 and 58008918 just aren't the same anymore."

It took me a few seconds, but I figured it out.

Ah, the Wish Book. Santa never could have brought all the things I circled, but it didn't hurt to dream.

Fri Apr 28, 02:13:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

Joel Garry said....
71077345 and 58008918 just aren't the same anymore.


There was another good one as well -
3704558 (upside down of course). Knew a guy who used that to page someone on call who wasn't responding.

:-D

won't even repeat my word verification.

Fri Apr 28, 02:41:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Rachel said....

Joel Garry said

Kenmore branded appliances used to mean quality

boy did they... I have a Kenmore washer/dryer combo that is over 12 years old (bought it from the previous owners that long ago) and it's still going strong. And Sears will still sell me (and service) maintenance on it!

We didn't shop Sears though, NYC kid -- Klein's and Gertz and A&S and Macy's all the way...

Fri Apr 28, 08:08:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Cynthia said....

My best friend and I would load up on Sears candy before sleepovers...swedish fish and bridge mix. They also had popcorn.

This was at the Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, CA. We'd ride the bus from Foster City. I had a pair of purple plaid Toughskins.

Fri May 04, 04:47:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Bleyenburg in San Francisco said....

I was just telling a younger co-worker about when Sears used to sell candy and he couldn't believe it. I set out to find photographic proof of the Sears candy counter and found your blog. LOL, I miss that darn "Wish Book".

Thu Dec 20, 06:44:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Trying to remember the name and find a candy from the Sears candy counter. My father would buy them by the box(lke a box of file folders).They were similar to KitKats, milk or dark chocolate covering a wafer inside. They were delicious. Vita or vida sticks rings a bell. Does anybody remember? We found them once at an Amish booth at a flea market in Belle Mead, NJ

Tue Jun 03, 12:47:00 PM EDT  

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