There’s nothing new about ordering merchandise from the comfort of one’s home and having it delivered to the doorstep.
Generations of Americans – especially those living in isolation on farms and ranches – pored over the inches-thick catalogs that Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and other retailing behemoths issued each year.
During their heydays in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mail-order firms offered almost every necessity and luxury, even prefabricated houses and automobiles. Sears briefly sold a car it called the “Allstate.”
Mail-order sales waned in the post-World War II era as thousands of shopping centers popped up all across America and new mega-retailers such as Wal-Mart became dominant.
We’re now seeing the third wave of retail business – shopping via the internet – that is a refined version of the old catalog era and is killing brick-and-mortar stores. Several new companies, such as Carvana,even allow you to buy a used car on the internet and have it delivered to your door.
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BY DAN WALTERS | CALMATTERS COMMENTARY
MARCH 14, 2019