My entire career since graduating from Indiana University in 1971 has been devoted to catalogs. There have been good years and off years. I can honestly say, however, that this is the most difficult and challenging year I’ve seen for catalogers. Gas prices, consumer debt and the national election all combine to create the perfect storm. In such tough economic times, it’s logical and necessary to reduce expenses and save where possible. But these cuts aren’t always made in the best places. Some catalogers have reduced page counts without doing a proper square-inch analysis. Many have eliminated mailings to Web-only buyers without proper testing.