These days you hear a lot about the decline of print culture, and I think we all know what’s at fault: not enough mail-order products being sold in contemporary magazines. As a favour to all current and future publishing houses, I have taken the liberty of listing and ranking everything for sale in a 1977 issue of Archie, so that we all may learn by example.
1. 100 Little Dolls for $2.00
“Little dolls” are definitely one of those things where you can either own 0 or you can own 100, and there is nothing and no one that exists in between. Frankly, I’ve already lived my life for too long in the first camp, and I think it’s time I explore the second.
The best part of this ad is how much stock the copywriter puts in the HARD SYNTHETIC RUBBER and HIGH-IMPACT SYNTHETIC PLASTIC that these dolls are made of. The worst part is probably how determinedly they assume that I’m buying these for a child somewhere. Can’t a girl buy 100 HARD SYNTHETIC RUBBER dolls for her personal use without being made to feel self-conscious?
“I can’t wait to see if these dolls are all you say they are.”
Neither can I, sirs. Neither can I.
2. A 32-Page Upholstery and Decorating School Brochure
What liberal arts grad hasn’t considered putting their dreams aside and settling into a stable career in upholstery decorating? Anyone that isn’t immediately sold on this just needs to take a closer look at the graduate testimonials:
That’s Lorenzo Du Pont, everybody! A satisfied customer, indeed.
3. Nature’s Mysterious Hungry Plant
This is definitely the perfect thing to keep on one’s bedside table to sexually intimidate prospective suitors.
PLANT EATS MEAT
But will it eat ground meat from my fingers?
WILL IT EVER!
4. Super Bodybuilding Course
The fellows at my local Cross-Fit gym will be green with envy! The testimonials for this bodybuilding course might not be as good as the ones in the upholstery-decorating ad, but they’re darn close:
“I find that my power has doubled. In sports I am a winner in everything I do.”
You give hope to the masses, B. Daniels.
5. Junior Sales Club of America (J.S.C.A) Membership
I really do want to like this, but I’m bothered by how seductively the J.S.C.A. Jolly Giant is looking at me with his button nose and lace-up booties. Still, the prizes they’re offering are pretty great! Sometimes I wish that university more worked like this, and that I could trade in my heretofore-useless biogeography credits for a spin fishing outfit or a 4-player croquet set.
6. “Blair Products” Dealer Kit
Stop it with your home business plans, 1977 Archie comic! It’s like you know how poor I am! Also, “Tim Newcomer” is by far the worst nom de plume in this whole ding-dong issue. If you can’t put in the effort to come up with a “Lorenzo Du Pont” or better, then I really have no desire to do business with you.
7. Sea Monkeys
Have you ever bought sea monkeys? They are so, so disappointing. I definitely owned them at a couple of points during my childhood, and at no point was I ever satisfied with my purchase.
According to Wikipedia, I was not alone! Sea monkeys–originally called “brine shrimp”–were:
“[…] Intensely marketed in comic books using illustrations by the comic-book illustrator Joe Orlando. These showed humanoid animals that bear no resemblance to the crustaceans. Many purchasers were disappointed by the dissimilarity, and by the short lifespan of the animals.”
This is possibly the truest sentence I have ever read in my life. Seven-year-old me was disappointed by the dissimilarity, and by the short lifespan of the animals. Still, I gotta give some bonus points for the groovy drawing of the smiling, genital-free Sea Monkey nuclear family in the ad, and for the honest use of quotation marks in the sentence “they can be ‘trained’!”
Plus, even knowing what I now know about sea monkeys, there’s a little part of me that wants to order some right now and hatch them in my bathtub.
8. Start Your Own “Grit” Business
Enough, Archie Comic, stop knowing my secrets! I am both broke and anti-social and I’d thank you to stop pointing it out.
I will not be buying this.