This is the first time I've seen the fad so obviously presented in The New Yorker. It's a Christmas advertisement for Wanamaker's Department Store in the December 8, 1928 issue.
The advertisement claims that Wanamaker's has analyzed the neurotic complexes of "the world and his wife" (!), and that you should purchase Christmas gifts for people based on their own personal complexes.
To start this game we hand you a little book which lists suggestions for gifts under psychological classifications...Forget the fact that behaviourism didn't believe in complexes per se, this could still be fun if they were using the good, old-fashioned, traditional Freudian complexes. Should you buy starchy underwear for the man with castration anxiety, or orthopedic shoes for sufferers of an Oedipus complex?
Start the game with your friends.
Play the game of choosing psycho-gifts. It is fascinating...
A treasure hunt, indeed, that will give you a greater Christmas thrill than you ever had before.
But no. As you'd expect, the "complexes" as illustrated are actually just a list of vague personality "types," making the astute observation that children only HAVE one type: "Children."
A treasure hunt that will give you a greater thrill? Nope, just another sad gimmick to get you to buy Christmas gifts. But I don't understand why the bellhop has an exposed catheter, let alone why the housewife is admiring cat poop on the brand new rug.