Sunday, June 5, 2005

A Vast Directory of Wonderful Things

Description of a vast store of goods -- listings:
"had run to over a thousand pages, listing tens of thousands of items in twenty-four departments: music... stoves... drugs, vehicles, shoes... sewing machines... sporting goods, dry goods, hardware, groceries, furniture and baby [toys], jewelry, optical goods, books... men's clothing, men's furnishings, bicycles... Each page was a distinct site, offering a reader in- depth explanations and descriptions well beyond what he would expect if he went to a store, talked to a sales clerk, and personally examined a product."
(Courtesy of Malcolm Gladwell [apologies, I do not mean to make this blog the cult of Gladwell])

Gosh, which store is this? Sounds a lot like Amazon.com, doesn't it?

Actually, the store being described above was


the Sears catalog in 1900.