Living: Ordering the Ultimate

Sensible people usually shop by catalogue for definite, affordable needs. There are, however, restless dreamers who cannot confine themselves to such a mundane activity and plunge wrist-deep into the pages of the glossier catalogues, fantasizing over offerings that are dizzyingly expensive. This pleasant addiction, though, is harmless and may even be cheaper than going to see a movie in the shopping mall cinema. No lines, no waiting: instant extravaganzas of luxury.

Mail-order magnates are well aware of customers' cravings for extraordinary items and use them to lend a glamorous cachet to listings of...

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