Boston--Direct Marketing Association President-CEO H. Robert Wientzen placed legislative and government issues front and center in his opening address Tuesday at the 18th annual Catalog Conference & Exhibition at the John B. Hynes Convention Center in Boston. He focused on the U.S. Postal Service's recent rate hike in particular and urged catalogers to lobby their congressional delegations. "We are facing nothing short of a genuine crisis," Wientzen said. "This is what I call 'Alice in Wonderland' pricing. In other words, when business is down, especially in a soft economy, why not raise your prices ... so you can drive more customers out the door? It makes no sense." Wientzen also pointed out that despite the slowing economy, Web catalog sales continue to expand. Catalog sales via the Internet accounted for 13% of all catalog sales in 2000, up from 9% in 1999, according to DMA data. Internet taxation initiatives being discussed by the federal and state however, could seriously impede continued growth, Wientzen said.