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Will you miss the Argos catalogue?

Argos will no longer be printing its catalogue after nearly 50 years in production

After nearly half a century, Argos has announced it will no longer produce physical copies of its catalogue. Is it something you’ll miss, or something you can do without?

It’s the end of an era: Argos has announced that it will no longer produce the physical edition of its catalogues.  

This means, apart from physical Christmas gift guides distributed in store, the only way to browse the catalogue will be via the internet.

Given so much of our shopping has gone online though (even before the pandemic), were you still using the physical catalogue?

The joy of browsing

There can be a certain joy in having a physical catalogue. It runs closer to the experience of browsing in store: you can see the scope of what’s available and discover objects you’ve never known existed.  

Being around for so long generations have grown up using this as the go-to gift guide for birthdays, holidays, and more:

Will you miss it?

It is hard to ignore the convenience of an online catalogue though. A physical catalogue can’t tell you whether the product is on sale, or actually in stock at a store near you, or enable you to buy it right as you’ve seen it. 

With 3.9m copies of the 1,748 page catalogue printed in its most recent run, there’s also an environmental benefit to not having to print and distribute this across the country. 

What do you think? Will you miss having the physical book to browse through? Is the online catalogue a suitable replacement?

When it comes to browsing what a store has to offer, do you find a benefit to having a physical catalogue, or do you see them as unnecessary?

Do you prefer a physical store catalogue or an online catalogue?
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I remember RS catalogues delivered to work, 4 thick A4 volumes with thousands of pages, given away freely. Telephone directories – do we miss them? Next (was it?) used to regularly deposit a heavy volume on the doorstep for my daughter.

I do hope those small seed, bulb and garden plant booklets keep dropping through the letterbox. Nice to flick through them on a wet winter evening and plan how to produce next year’s glorious displays.

RS started off as Radiospares and they did not deal with the public until the launch of Doram Electronics in the mid-70s, which had a slim glossy catalogue listing a restricted range of RS products. The prices were high and the venture did not last long. I was able to buy RS products at trade prices through work but Farnell became more competitive. At some stage RS started selling to the public.

I wonder if Maplin might have survived if they had continued to give away their catalogue free, at least to regular customers.

Morning, personally I have no requirement for catalogues as I have Internet.

But, there are still folk out there who are not IT savy or do not have Internet.

By comparison, this may be a small group of folk but they are being excluded.

There is a compromise, if someone wants the catalogues they have to order one, collect pre-ordered catalogue from the store or have it delivered.

I have a feeling this will not happen due to the printing cost.

Ikea is also scrapping its printed catalogue: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-55220160

What would be very helpful would be for online retailers to make it easier to print pages of interest from their websites.

Wavechange – I heartily endorse that suggestion. Too often you have to print three or four pages when one would do, the images [if they print at all] bleed from one page to the next, some of the information is detached from the subject, and it’s hit-&-miss whether data in drop-down subsets appears [and it never all does when there are two or more subsets]. Very wasteful of paper, ink, electricity, and time . . . and there’s always an extra page with nothing much on it.

I share your frustration, John. With all the clever features on modern websites the problem is greater than it used to be.

You might find the Print Friendly service useful: https://www.printfriendly.com

With some websites, copying the page address (URL) into Print Friendly will produce a much better result than trying to print directly from a web page and this can be saved as a pdf. It does not always work and the Ikea catalogue produced an error message I have not seen before.

Thanks Wavechange. I have printed the Print Friendly web page for future reference. It’s a good example of the problem it’s addressing.

A quick solution can be to do a screen capture or simply to take a photograph of what is on the screen. Print Friendly is not as useful as it was before websites became more sophisticated. I’m open to other ideas, John.

Dragging the mouse across the screen to copy and paste sometimes works but usually collects too much garbage on the way. Copying smaller chunks can often work better.

I often use the snipping tool to copy chunks of the screen and paste into word or paint depending on what I want to do with it. It is then in picture format i.e. image.jpg

For some purchases, I snip the product as it looks on the page as a record of what I have bought and paste it into word. I might also snip parts of the pages as I check out.

If you are using MS Windows, you can do ALT and PRINT SCREEN on your keyboard to capture the whole screen then paste into PAINT.

I have a folder of Product Manuals where I download product manuals and store any other info on a product.

Wavechange’s suggestion of a photograph is very useful for messages that show up briefly in front of you often with a warning that you can never remember.

We do much the same things, Alfa, albeit in different ways because I use a Mac.

I tend to download manuals for products I own even if I have a printed copy. I want to make some rye bread and it was easier to check the pdf manual than to delve into a filing cabinet.

One of the most useful things I have learned is how easy it is to take a screen capture on my phone. As you say, some messages don’t stay for long.