Back before there was such a thing as internet shopping, people that wanted to buy anime and manga (and who weren’t lucky enough to live near one of the rare comic shops that stocked them) had to resort to mail order.
The process works like this: Customer sends a letter to a company asking for a catalog (many companies charge a nominal fee for this). Company sends catalog to customer. Customer makes selections, fills out a form (by hand), and then sends that order form back to the company along with a check. Company receives order form, and sends to the customer the desired products.
Total time to complete transaction: Two months.
Viz Media, who is now known for Naruto and Tiger & Bunny, was a big player back in those days as well, though at the time they were all about Ranma 1/2 (a series created by Inu Yasha‘s Rumiko Takahashi).
Here’s one of their catalogs from that era, specifically 1994. A few notes: Yes, you’re reading that right; two dubbed episodes of a TV series on VHS was selling for $29.95 (and there are no sales or discounts in mail order). I don’t know if the phone number is still active, but feel free to try. It’s not often you’ll see a watch described as ‘“swatch” – style.’ All the manga is the old-fashioned ‘flipped’ (reading left-to-right) kind. And lastly, the final page of the catalog is missing because I ordered stuff.