Catalog Spree delivers quick shopping fix

Spoiler alert! If you like to shop, you already have plenty of sources for online shopping. If you’re addicted to shopping, you always need more, and Catalog Spree is looking to be your quick fix. The number of catalogs are currently limited, but the app updates them as soon as a new one is printed. You can buy with a click and spend a fortune in seconds, just in time to save the economy for the next election. Four stars.

And lo, the angel appeared before the virgin Mary and said unto her, “Only 48 shopping days until Christmas so start looking for a manger because it’s less than two months before you usher forth the holy child. You’ll need clothes and wrapping paper, but most importantly toys because clothes for Christmas do sucketh royally.”

And the holy virgin sayeth unto the angel, “What is Christmas?”

And the angel sayeth, “Lo when you bring forth the child his birthday will be celebrated across the world with gifts and celebration and if everybody celebrates the merchants will call his birthday a success, but if they stay at home and play scrooge the merchants will be sore sad indeed.”

“How do I do this shopping?” Mary asketh.

And, lo, the angel sayeth, “Do not worry. There’s an app for that. Dozens of them, and this week’s shall be Catalog Spree.”

So the angel provideth Mary with her iPad and a WiFi connection and within weeks they were so poor they had to travel to Bethlehem to lodgeth with Joseph’s parents, stopping, along the way, at an inn. And the rest is Gospel.

Since the 2011 Christmas season is upon us, the two thousand and eleventh birthday of Jesus, it’s time to start thinking about shopping. The shopping app du jour is Catalog Spree, which delivers current and past versions of high end catalogs for you to peruse and order from while sipping coffee while hubby reads the sports page, sitting at the rail crossing waiting for the train to finally pass, or when your professor drifts into another lecture on the mating life of neanderthals and it looks like you’re taking notes on your iPad.

Catalog Spree allows you to browse current and back issues of high end catalogs. You can use the iTunes format or switch to a table view to see the covers.

You won’t be looking at Fingerhut, these are specialty catalogues including Hammacher Schlemmer and Crutchfield, food catalogs like the Popcorn Factory and MacKenzie Limited, wine enthusiast catalogs and even baby goods. Catalog Spree uses the standard iTunes/iOS browsing interface, although you can also switch to a table view to preview covers.

The interface is easy to use, but if you forget, each issue reviews the interface instructions next to the front page of each issue. You don’t really need them because the interface is as intuitive as it can get. Swipe to flip through pages, drag fingers apart to open a zoom-window or simply click on an item for a description and order info.

In addition to item description windows, Catalog Spree opens pop-up magnifying windows to allow you to see pictures in greater detail and read the fine print.

I have to say that Catalog Spree is even more evil than catalogues themselves. Carol and I only allow two to come to our house, because it’s so easy to order stuff we will wonder why we ordered six weeks from now. Browsing through Catalog Spree, I found myself struggling to resist the temptation to order 14 ounces of Beluga caviar for $1200, accompanied by an assortment of seafood patés and stuffed brie pastries for another $300, three dozen assorted brownie towers for $79, and a five pound tin of deluxe caramel corn for $50.

In fact I spent the last hour reading off lists of these delicacies to Carol only to have her say, “No…, I don’t think so…, you have to be kidding,” and “do they have the Dover or Ikea catalogues?”

Catalog Spree makes ordering even easier by opening the vendor’s browser page inside the application so you never need to switch between applications. You can streamline the process even further by designating “favorite” catalogues so you don’t even have to look at the boring baby stuff or the Artful Home.

You can order from an in-app browser window so that you never have to leave the app and be forced to take a few seconds to reconsider.

I’m tempted not to post this review, because I know I will be enabling serious shopping addicts. But what they hell? If you’re addicted and watching a commercial on TV while you read this, I doubt you can be enabled more than you already are.

Jenny Manytoes rates Catalog Spree

Jenny Manytoes would purr next to Catalog Spree. She might have gone for making biscuits, but there were no catalogs for cats. I tried to explain that she couldn’t order from a cat catalog anyway because she doesn’t have our credit card number, but you just can’t argue with a cat.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat

  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 4 Stars - Purr, Entertainment, Shopping and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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