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Minnesota Musing: Email Marketing - How Do They Get Your Email to Bug You

Montgomery Wards Catalog

I received a catalog in the mail the other day. From Montgomery Wards.

Montgomery Wards. This name brings back memories of the store that was located in St. Peter, Minnesota, that my mother did business with in the mid seventies. It was an office, basically, and all they did there was place orders for you and receive shipments of products.

It's not there, anymore, so it was very strange to get a catalog from them the other day. I thought they were out of business. Apparently not. I mean, Montgomery Wards in general.


Regardless. How did they get my address?

It was mailed to me. Through the postal system. But, they had to get my address from someone. I have not ordered from them at all. Ever. Did not know they were in business. It is certainly questionable about how they obtained my address.

I did not give it to them.

Bigger Catalogs in the 1970's

I have fond memories of the large catalogs that Montgomery Wards, and perhaps Sears Roebuck had in the years that I was growing up.

Those catalogs were huge. I remember mom would get it and she'd hand it to me and comment that I should look in it for my Christmas present. They had lots of things for sale that I personally thought were very interesting.

Telescopes, clothes, toys, games. My mother was more interested in household things like towels and the regular stuff that she was accustomed to ordering. It was all very convenient. She'd order stuff and she'd pick the stuff up at the receiving department.

A Letter from my Sister Dated 1974

I was rummaging through a box of papers that belonged to my sister and there was a notebook completely filled with a letter to me. It was dated 1974 and handwritten. My sister passed away a few years ago, so it's interesting and shocking to find things in her stuff that are addressed to me.

I'm 55 now, and this letter would have been written to me when I was 12 years old. It's interesting now, since she wrote it about what she was doing in her life at the time. At that time, I was a kid and didn't care, but now that I am 55, and interested, it's interesting to reread her letter and think about her.

My sister was 9 years older than myself, and she moved away from home when I was in fifth grade. We became fairly good friends when I was in fourth grade so the shock of losing her was pretty steep.

Letters from the Past

As I read the letter, I google names and places.

Some are still around. Some are not. One, a travel agency page, had collected one hundred dollars from my sister and she wanted her money back. She had signed up to travel the world, and I do not know why they needed her money, but, in 1974, one hundred dollars was a lot of cash.

I see they have a website and when you go there, they have a "Win a Trip Sweepstakes' that you can enter. You have to enter your name and address and wait for your chance to win some dream trip.

Let me repeat that. They want your email address and the name and address associated with it.

There is also a link to click for their privacy policy. Apparently, all though the original page promises to never share your information, the company that they use to collect your information, does share your information.



Old Business

As I google Montgomey Wards, I find that they closed down in 2001. An interesting thing I learned, that in 1939, Robert Lewis May (July 27, 1905 – August 10, 1976) was the creator of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

He was a staff copywriter for Montgomery Wards and he was requested to write ad copy that included an animal.

Well, to make a long story short, Rudolph is a well known reindeer. Who doesn't sing the song about him at Christmas time?


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