I've become a major online (window) shopping addict. It hasn't always been this way. I was an 80s mall rat like the rest of my generation, cruising the air-conditioned stores with my high school friends. But as I see it, several key events came together to turn me away from the stores and on to the little square screen. Catalogs were the first step.
In graduate school, catalogs were the only passive entertainment available to me. And between reading two books and grading 50 papers every week, I needed some passive entertainment. Television was not around, my internet was rudimentary (dial-up for God's sake!), and even my movies were foreign and required me to read.
I particularly loved the Oilily catalogs. They seemed magical to me, with little rosy-cheeked Dutch tots in a perfect world of colorful textiles and old-fashioned playthings.