An alternative energy experiment.


April 25, 2006, 08:21 PM
After today's trip to the mailbox, I've been thinking... considering the skyrocketing costs of energy, I believe I'm going to conduct an experiment.

I'm going to see if it's possible to get through the entire winter of 2006-07 heating my home solely by burning catalogs from Cheaper Than Dirt, The Sportsman's Guide, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabela's. I'll store them all year long (most are already stored in the bathroom for a week or two anyway) and start the experiment when the temperature drops this fall. If this winter turns out to be unusually harsh, I may break down and toss in the reams and reams of mail I get from the NRA.

Now if I could just figure out how to make my Jeep run on catalogs, I'd be all set...

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April 25, 2006, 08:22 PM
Order some stuff from Midway, too. Their catalogs are pretty thick.

April 25, 2006, 08:24 PM
Make yourself and your address known to AARP. They will send you enough junk mail to keep you warm all winter.

April 25, 2006, 09:34 PM

I'm a few years away yet from the AARP landslide, but I've seen it at my parent's house. While I'd have to agree it'd certainly make for a good fuel source, I have to have some standards, you know?

In all seriousness, though... I do kind of wonder about the business model some of these places use. I haven't ordered a product from a paper catalog since at least 1999. I use the web for practically every purchase. I shop online, and order online. So why do these places insist on sending me truly absurd quantities of their catalogs?

For example, I ordered one shirt (on clearance, no less) from Cabela's about 2 years ago. It was so cheap, that I'd be surprised if Cabela's made a dime from that sale. In return, I've now gotten at least $30 worth of catalogs from them. That just can't be smart business, can it? I know for a fact (I've been counting) that I've gotten no less than 17 catalogs from Bass Pro since the last time I bought anything from them. Both of those purchases were fully conducted online, mind you.

I know it's probably a silly little thing to obsess about, but it just never ceases to amaze me. The sheer staggering quantity that these people send out boggles my mind.

Art Eatman
April 25, 2006, 09:47 PM
J.C. Whitney darned near went out of business because of their overdone catalog mailings.


April 25, 2006, 10:14 PM
Order some stuff from Midway, too. Their catalogs are pretty thick.


Don't forget Brownells. Between the two you should be very well off.

model 649
April 25, 2006, 10:15 PM
I wonder if these Co.'s are able to glean some kind income, maybe tax-wise from all the "ad expenses"? Seems like they can go on forEVER sending me stuff.

April 25, 2006, 10:31 PM
Jeep run on catalogs, I'd be all set...

The Norwegians did it during WWII by developing a pyrolysis gas system that "burned" wood and paper scrap to produce gaseous fuel for vehicles and trains.

the naked prophet
April 25, 2006, 10:33 PM
I'm only 24 and I can't stop getting mail from AARP telling me to sign up. Even after I keep sending them letters telling them I won't join until they reverse their "disarm all seniors by law or otherwise" policy.

Pork Fat
April 26, 2006, 10:05 AM
Cabela's has to be the champ in terms of poundage. I don't get all that much stuff from them, a few pairs of boots , some Christmas shopping. I received the Spring Catalog Volume Two a few weeks ago, and it is basically the Spring Catalog Volume One. Same as the Fall Catalogs One and Two but with more fishing stuff. Fall+Winter, more hunting items, but a LOT of overlap.
Then there are the Special, Sale, and Clearance rags that show up weekly, sometimes 2 at a time. There's footwear, women's, winter, workwear, etc.

But the Granddaddy-Takes-The-Cake has to be the Master Catalogs. These monstrosities, for those that don't get them, are HARD BOUND! They have divider tabs between sections that fold out. They have basically the same stuff as the big seasonal catalogs, and I get 2 or 4 a year, plus all the other ones.

I love catalogs full of guy stuff, and when I was young would moon over a Cabelas til it fell apart- there were no replacements and supplements coming every 5 seconds. But I cannot imagine how much it costs to mail me 100 pounds of glossy paper every year. I feel guilty having them go to the recycling whenever my wife wonders if the coffee table is under that pile, but more are doubtless on the way. Sometimes I have a hard time finding my Smoky Mountain Knife Works and Brigade Quartermasters amongst all the Cabelas.:o

April 26, 2006, 10:25 AM
Hey, don't forget to join the NRA! Then you can burn all of the subsequent pleas for more $ from ILA and PVF...

April 26, 2006, 11:00 AM
I dunno what's wrong with you guys, I LOVE reading catalogs! :neener:

Sure, most of the junk in those things (especially in CTD. Man oh MAN is that stuff low rent!) is... uh.. _junk_, but it's better than reading nothing whilst making use of the facilities, and it's cheaper than the moneycost variety of gunrag.

Plus, you just never know when those sketchy mail-order weirdos are going to have some ridiculous deal you can't live without. Sportsman's guide usually has some pretty righteous deals on footwear.

Oop, nature's calling, gotta go commune with the CTD Catalog. :D


April 26, 2006, 11:50 AM
About ten years ago there was an article about a man in the upper penninsula of Michigan who did just what you are talking about. He put his name (and a couple of other names for good measure) on every mailing list he could find. The he let the USPS deliver all the paper fuel he would need for the entire winter. They have long harsh winters up there. It got to be funny for him until he accidentally started burning up bills that he needed to pay.

April 26, 2006, 12:04 PM
I think burning paper, expecially slick paper with lots of ink, can cause buildup of creosote and other chemicals in your chimney. Check it out before you do it, or you could have a fire where you don't want one.

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