Fridge Envy

Homesickness disguises itself in the most ridiculous forms. Today I had a pang of longing for catalogues. The ones that choke your mailbox on a Sunday morning – K Mart, Big W, Harvey Norman – all the big stores trying to woo you into their bargain lairs.

Growing up on a farm meant we had a P.O. Box instead a postman. So no catalogues! The Mothership would poach them from friends and we’d fight over them even if they were a month old. I’d spend hours gawking at all those crazy discounts; the weird prices like $5.49 or $9.87.

There were horrid appliquéd frocks, cordless drills, potted ferns and The World’s Largest Cotton Undies. I loved the models with their expressions permanently set to “delighted”. Toddlers tottered across the page with their pudgy fists in the air. Women with sensible bobs grinned despite their elasticated skirts. The blokes, chisel-jawed and wavy-haired, all looked like the Gift Shop models on Sale of the Century. It was so unsettling to see them in polo shirts and khaki shorts, instead of besuited beside the BMW and Cash Jackpot.

The Retravision and Harvey Norman catalogues enthralled me with their gleaming whitegoods and small appliances. Multi-disc CD players were all the rage in the mid-90s, so each stereo had a little logo indicating its capacity. I’d frantically flip through the pages trying to find the beefiest machine. 3 discs! 5 discs! 10 discs! Sweeeet! It was no wonder I ended up with a 25-disc changer for my 21st birthday. Which is really the stupidest invention ever, for by the time you feed it you can never remember what you put in.

Best of all were the fridge and freezer pages. I would stare longingly at the carefully styled shelves, trying to pick my Dream Fridge based on its contents. I loved the rows of condiments and posh bottled water, the celery lounging in the crisper, the watermelon wedge smiling on a platter. And there were always elaborate parfaits in tall glasses. I wanted a fridge with parfaits, dammit. And a freezer full of Ski frozen yogurt. They always had Ski frozen yogurt! We had half a cow and Home Brand Choc-Coated Ice Creams in our freezer. Meanwhile in the fridge, vegetables turned to liquid alongside the brown orange juice and last year’s salad dressing.

I daydreamed that somewhere out there, these pristine perfumed devices really existed. You just don’t get catalogues like in the UK. I’ll be home in three months, would someone save a few for me?

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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24 thoughts on “Fridge Envy

  1. Ooooooo yes! And did you used to play the game where you each had to pick one item only off each page? Some pages were easy, and others, soooo hard! The rollerblades? Or the 500 piece hair accessory set? How to decide??

  2. Has anyone told you that The Sale is back? I haven’t seen it yet, but it seems like a bastard child, called Temptation.

    I won’t be able to able to help with the catalogues, our household subscribes to the “No Junk Mail” approach. Sorry!

  3. Drool over this: last night I fished out of my mailbox a Big Wuh leaflet AND a Prouds Jewellers leaflet AND a Dan Murphy’s leaflet(Big Booze Discounter in Sydney – fairly new and I’ll be delighted to make its acquaintance soon, I’m sure)!

    Only when I’m very very poor and have ABSOLUTELY not a single cent to spend, will I pour over these pages and carefully select a dazzling array of the most amazing bargains…

    What about a “Disclosure” DVD for $12.95? McGuigan’s Black Label @ $4.05/bottle? A watch of timeless elegance with 5cm-wide Super Bling strap for only $49.95! And look at that “Onion” (or could have been “Lemon”) DVD/Video combo player at just $229!! All the stackable plastic trays to fill up your cupboards with for $2 each!!!

    I Thought I Was Sad And Alone… But The Consumer Society Made Me Whole Again.

    Hell, this winter is gonna be a long one….

  4. hehehehehe! We used to call them “wish books”. And there are still plenty around waiting for you Shauny! 😀

  5. Oh Shauna! On the news this morning they were reporting that it snowed in Bathurst last night and I thought of you!

    Although, I don’t know if snow in Bathurst is a regular thing or not.

    Hanita: The Dan Murphy’s where I live is bigger than the supermarkets! It’s fabulous!

  6. We accuse my brother of adopting “catalogue poses” for photos. You know the sort of thing – gazing into the distance in a manly fashion… It might be a bit mean, except that he totally plays up to it and will adopt “Catalogue Pose 437” (or whatever) to order.

    Actually, he is chisel-jawed and wavy-haired.

  7. Back in the good ole 90’s when i moved in with my ‘must have best gadet available’ boyfriend – what did i find – a 60 CD CHANGER!!! It came with a specially designed ‘CD Cover Holder’ . The theory is that you assign each CD a slot and then extract its inlay and ease it into the appropriately labled sleeve. Then just like a juke box you could peruse the CDs on offer.

    The CDs have long since all been copied onto the ‘iPod’ (the fancy 40gb one no less!) and the remote has been lost in one of the 12 house moves we’ve made. So the 60 CD CHANGER! is now a glorified transitor radio in the bedroom. Usurped from its entertainment cabinet position by the new component amplifier surround sound system.

  8. And I thought my siblings and I were the only ones who had to put up with home-brand choc-coated icecreams! Being typical Aussies who shorten everything because we simply couldn’t be arsed saying the whole phrase, we simply called them “choc-coated’s”, as in “Get me a choc-coated from the deep freeze. I think they’re under the fish fingers”.
    Aaaah, the good ol’ days…

  9. Just read the rest of the comments and I think Hanita must live very close to me as I just got the exact same catalogues in my mailbox yesterday!

  10. Ah the catalogue morning. Ah the even better morning when you walked out to discover the IKEA and Freedom catalogues, oh the imaginary all-growed-up house you furnished from them.

    Oh the disappointment when you saw said items in the shop!

    I’m afraid that, good as the Argos catalogue is, it just doesn’t cut it next to catalogue morning!

  11. I’m from Canada and we got a couple of lame catalogues…but I had a friend whose grandfather was from Germany and he got the coolest clothing catalogues.

    They were full of tall, blond, gorgeous men. We would pour through the catalogues picking out boyfriends!! hahahaha. (and trying to pronounce all of the German words)

    Loads of fun…

  12. Kirsten, there’s this party next weekend you have to come to…. but only if you bring the wavey-haired one!

  13. Pore!

    Best & Less is always the er, best. Somehow the chicks in it are alwasy the hottest – down to earth but with an air of sexiness about them. Ahem…

  14. Hanita, the bro’s taken, I’m afraid. Got a girlfriend to whom he’s very devoted. She probably doesn’t know about the “catalogue poses”.

    It always surprises me when female acquaintances tell me how cute they think he is – which they do on a regular basis. I still think of him as being about twelve…

  15. Ooh, me and my little sister used to cut out the pictures from the Index catalogue and make our own houses with them. Just a shame that nothing worked to scale though and that the bins were bigger than the sofas…. :-/

  16. Ahhh, now you can see you’re living in the big city – you have to LOOK for catalogues in the UK. KAYS was always the biggy in our house, loved the smell of it too… If you want to know about UK catalogues demand answers from someone living in Orkney, or the islands in general, they write heroic ballads about them up there. I think.

  17. hehe, orkney catalogue ballads. i love these comments. we called em choc coateds, too!

  18. You just know that 3 months after you get home, you’re going to cursing all the junk and throwing them up in the air in frustration!

  19. We only got those tubes of frozen juice at friends’ houses. I think they were called Freeze Pops in Scotland. You could get bits of polythene stuck between your teeth as you tried to suck the last bit of liquid out of the flat empty tube.

    At our house we had homemade ice lollies made in Tupperware moulds that you filled with juice and froze. Orange worked best, then apple. Ribena ended up darker at one end as the cordial settled out before it froze…

  20. Jebus, darl….

    the day that you are able to write an acceptable executive report in Dutch is the day I’ll feel contrite over my “pour/pore” error…

    Have a nice day!!

  21. We would get the catalogs in and me and my 3 other siblings would go through them and put our initials next to things we wanted. Not that I think my mom ever went through them to see what we might want for Christmas….but it was kinda cool to write your name next to things and hope that you might get it on your birthday or something….

    Side note when my brother was in middle school and discovering “women” he went through the JC Penny catalog and wrote his name next to pretty barely dressed ladies in the underwear section. My mom had to “have a talk” and that catalog was thrown out… (or was it put under my brothers bed…hmmm…he was sneaky like that!)

    Oh! And my dad had a 100 disc cd player… was ridiculous….he got it before he even had 100 cds to but in it….my dad loves gadgets especially new ones no one has…..except now he has an iPod….everyone has those….he must be slowing down!

  22. Ah, sorry, Ab! Webname, I’m afraid. But thank you for your fabulousness nonetheless.

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