Retail these days is all about smartphones and tablets. Stores are launching apps, holding sales through Facebook and going digital for everything.
Then why is Restoration Hardware going back to the 1980s?
Low Tech Catalog Hits Mailboxes
Restoration Hardware is mailing out 700-page boat anchor of a catalog to millions of homes right now, along with a smaller companion catalog that brings the total up to more than 900 pages.
It's reminiscent of the Sears Wish Book from the '70s and '80s, clocking in at more than 3 1/2 pounds, when we weighed it on our newsroom mail scale.
Back to the Future
Marketing experts say Restoration Hardware wants its epic catalog to make a statement, and become a living room coffee table book that people flip through all year long.
It's less likely to be thrown out after a week, the theory goes.
The small companion book? That's for the bathroom.
Environmental Groups Not Happy
But from the "doesn't that stink?" file: The furor this is causing in environmental circles.
The social action website Change.org has launched a petition drive urging the store to limit the mailing, saying if it ends up going into the trash can, that stinks.
Restoration Hardware, however, points out it is made from recycled paper and does not kill any trees.
One Group Thrilled
There is one good thing about this catalog that puts the bulk back into bulk mail.
The postal service is thrilled, because it keeps post offices very busy, at a time when they are losing billions of dollars to Internet commerce.
As always, don't waste your money.