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Celery: from silver vases and glass bowls, to tonics, malts and soda

If you've browsed collections of glassware from decades and centuries past, you might scratch your head and wonder, what exactly was the use of this item? This reverse glossary of vintage and antique terms may help, or it might confuse you further. For instance, why were there fine glass celery dishes and celery vases of glass and silver? Take a look back, at home in the nineteenth century with celery at the dining table. Celery was once a status symbol, due to its high cost (Google books preview), and was included in tonics and sold in the 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue in a malt compound (Google books preview). Kalamazoo even boasted of being the Celery City in the late 1800s and for a few decades to follow. But the craze faded as celery cultivation became easier. One of the few remaining products from the celery craze is Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda, an acquired taste.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 24, 2014 - 64 comments

'just pretend you're Santa.'

Since 1955 NORAD has been tracking Santa Claus on his annual trek around the world delivering presents (previously), but do you know why and how a grim, uber serious military organisation like NORAD, at the height of the Cold War started doing this? It turns out it's all because Sears used the wrong phone number in a Christmas advert and the officer on duty at NORAD had the presence of mind to play along.
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 25, 2013 - 24 comments

Low-wage workers fight to make bad jobs better.

A growing number of Americans is realizing that “good jobs” aren’t coming back, and that for things to get better, they’re going to have to fight to turn their McJobs into something better. (Via Jacobin) [more inside]
posted by klue on Oct 5, 2013 - 103 comments

"The bloodiest battles took place in the marketing meetings"

Plagued by the realities threatening many retail stores, Sears also faces a unique problem (alternate link): [CEO Eddie] Lampert. Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. If the company’s leaders were told to act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational manner, boosting overall performance.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jul 12, 2013 - 119 comments

Ghost of Christmas Past? Pac Man just ate her.

Electronic Toys From Holidays Long Past (274 picture SL imgur gallery)
posted by radwolf76 on Dec 24, 2012 - 77 comments

Catalogs of Horror

Christmas and Toy Catalogs: 1942-1992 (Warning: heinousness inside). But wait, there's more vintage Christmas advertising.
posted by bwg on Dec 19, 2010 - 35 comments

End Disposable Marriage

Leah Ward Sears, former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, on the destruction of fatherhood in Western society. This may sound like heresy, but I believe the United States and a host of Western democracies are engaged in an unintended campaign to diminish the importance of marriage and fatherhood. By refusing to do everything we can to stem the rising rate of divorce and unwed childbearing, our country often isolates fathers (and sometimes mothers) from their children and their families.
posted by smoothvirus on Jul 2, 2009 - 127 comments

Sears Wants To Hack Your Computer

Online communities to become more 'all-encompassing.' If you join the SHC community on Sears.com, all web traffic to and from your computer thereafter will be copied and sent to a third party marketing research firm - including, for example, your secure sessions with your bank! The Sears.com proxy will send your logins and passwords along with a cleartext copy of all the supposedly secure data. But wait, it gets better: you can only view the true TOS once the proxy has already been installed. [more inside]
posted by ikkyu2 on Jan 3, 2008 - 70 comments

Wishbook Web -- Christmas Catalogs through the 20th Century

Wishbook Web. Christmas catalogs scanned in their entirety from the 1944 Wards Catalog (152 pages) to the 1985 Sears Catalog (648 pages!). The site looks like it was built circa '97, but the scans are quite interesting. via - Similar posts to this one: 1, 2.
posted by Ufez Jones on Aug 27, 2007 - 28 comments

Just say charge it!

It came from the 1971 Sears Catalog!! Child models of the damned! Tacky bedspreads. Gracious women.The Nursery of Death. Lamps and awful paintings. At home wear - you wouldn't be caught dead outside the house wearing these. Pages and pages of incredibly yucky things people bought and put in their homes. I know, I was there. (Underwear links questionable at work, maybe.)
posted by pyramid termite on Mar 20, 2005 - 64 comments

As long as you're at Sears to get your child's school uniforms, you can also attend to...uh...other problems.
posted by plinth on Sep 8, 2000 - 7 comments

Sears Expands Web Business, nobody notices

Sears Expands Web Business, nobody notices Sears claims they've doubled their product categories. Well, they now offer one MP3 player. What did they have before, half of one?
posted by Outlawyr on Jul 25, 2000 - 0 comments

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