I’ve written in this space before about my fear…er, admiration of Martha Stewart. She’s a beacon of impossibility…I mean, hope for the millennial masses who long for more homespun times.
So it’s always with much interest that I read my copies of Martha by Mail. What will she have for us now? Ways to recycle kitty litter into festive holiday ornaments?
In the holiday 1999 edition, the extra-special something Martha gives her disciples is a computer-shaped icon beneath many of the items offered for sale. The icons are accompanied by invitations like See how easy it is to make a snowflake. Learn how and what to compost (or how to tie Martha’s favorite bow, etc.).
It’s an interesting gambit, directing print catalog shoppers to a Web site for more information. Will they feel alienated if they can’t navigate the site, or don’t even have a computer or Internet access?
I logged on to her domain (www.marthabymail.com – but isn’t the whole world really Martha’s domain?) and tried to find all of the other stencil designs she says are available online. Bored after only finding one other set, I clicked on the gardening section to find out why Martha really loves her clogs. Alas, I would need to download additional software to view the clog video.
I log off, disappointed that Martha has failed me. But wait. After flipping through the catalog, I find an explanation by the order form. I need to type in the product number to get the info. I log back on, and there’s the bonus information.
The Web connection is indeed a “good thing,” but Martha needs to remember that most of us aren’t as organized as her and might misplace a print catalog in our haste to get online. How about a button on the home page directing shoppers to the info promised in print? That would be an even better thing.