What's Wrong With Sears?

Sears’ earnings are down 99% and there’s really no denying that something is going wrong with the retailer. Same store sales, the most important indicator of the health of a store, fell 4.2 percent in the third quarter.

Sears Holdings (which includes Kmart) “earned $2 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with $196 million, or $1.27 per share, in the quarter a year earlier. Sales slumped 3.3 percent, to $11.5 billion,” says Portfolio.

What’s the problem? Why aren’t you shopping at Sears? Is it the website? The store itself? The prices? The horrendous customer service? The repair devision? The stupid logo? Are you just broke?

Tell us! What’s wrong with Sears?

Sears Falls Hard [Portfolio]
(Photo:AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Comments

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  1. TexasScout says:

    They suck, pure and simple…

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving company.

  2. TexasScout says:

    Oh yeah….

    I got first…

  3. bunnymen says:

    My boyfriend buys tools there sometimes, but other than that I feel kind of creepy even being there. They sell no products that appeal to me (a woman in her mid-twenties).

  4. Clarkins says:

    Bought a stove and dishwasher there earlier this year. Didn’t have any trouble getting anyone to help etc.
    The DVD’s, games etc I’ve seen there are much higher than elsewhere.
    The price for toys at Christmas is outrageous.

  5. scoobydoo says:

    There is just no reason to ever shop there. No deals, no decent products, no service, no clean stores, nothing. Not a damn thing Sears does interests me.

    The last time I spent a penny with them was 4 years ago.

    I’ll still walk into a store now and then but always leave empty handed.

  6. RomeoPapaDelta says:

    I went there to buy a lawn mower. I stood at the counter for 30 mins while 3 people worked on some complex transaction. Went across the street to Lowes and bought my lawnmower in 5 minutes.

    I used to think Sears was good for tools and appliances. I’ll never go there again.

  7. backbroken says:

    Sears is so 20th century. Feels too much like my parents (or grandparents) should be shopping there. I think its just a tired brand. Whenever I contemplate a purchase, Sears just doesn’t come to mind.

    Never occured to me that Sears might even have a website.

  8. FromThisSoil says:

    The last time I bought something at Sears was last Christmas season. I wanted a digital camera they had on sale for my grandparents. Went to electronics and paid for it, I was told to go downstairs and pick it up.

    Problem 1 – The customer shouldn’t have to go out of their way to get a small item – why can’t they just stock these things?

    Problem 2 – When I went down there, the item was out of stock. How can they sell me an out of stock item? I was told to go back upstairs to get a refund or I could wait until the next shipment. I chose to wait.

    Problem 3 – I went there when the next shipment came in, the item didn’t come in. At this point, it was so close to the holiday’s I had no choice but to get my refund and try elsewhere.

    Problem 4 – It takes a week to get a refund back onto your debit card.

    I vowed to never buy electronics from Sears again, and I haven’t.

    They only good thing that Sears has going is Craftsman and they don’t even manufacture their own stuff.

  9. DrGirlfriend says:

    I have a really hard time getting anyone to help me when I’m in the tools section. And when I do, I get really condescending advice.

    The clothes are, let us say, not my style, nor the shoes. So that’s out.

    I can usually find better prices and brands for home electronics elsewhere, as well as for other home items, so that’s out too. So basically, I may go there for tools, but I don’t buy those on a regular basis.

    I once placed an order for a chest freezer on their website (that purchase went well, no problems). But now I’m on their email list, and I probably get one email a day from them with info on sales, discounts, coupons, etc. I was just thinking that it’s bordering on the desperate, and now I see why.

  10. missjulied says:

    We bought our washer and dryer from them about 5 years back, and then just 3 years ago we bought a dishwasher from them. Were satisfied on both counts.

    But when I tried to buy a vacuum cleaner (a highly-rated one on CR) from them, I was so angry at the piss-poor customer service that I didn’t buy it and swore I’d never buy anything there again.

  11. UpsetPanda says:

    Sears is kind of synonymous with low-quality and unfashionable when it comes to clothing. They were more known for their tools, but now Home Depot and Lowes are taking over that department because they have more space and stocks more. When they tried to “show the softer side of Sears” they didn’t do a good job because image of low-quality is worse than J.C. Penney.

  12. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    99%?!?

    Wow. Just give up & die already.

  13. vaxman says:

    me, i’m just broke, but even if i wasn’t, i’d still rather buy from the bay… cheaper

  14. 7j6cei says:

    Their problem is they focus on to many things. It feels like a trumped up KMART inside their stores, and their selection of what they do have SUCKS!!!!

    You don’t find lawn mowers or tools at Nordstrom’s or Macy’s… know why, cause they know they cannot compete with stores that focus on those items.

    Sears is the next Monkey Wards, old and out of date.

  15. Munsoned says:

    I’ll give you one good thing about Sears:

    Sears is an anchor tenant at my local mall (it’s actually a pretty good mall as they go). The best place to park is in the Sears parking lot because nobody actually goes to the mall to shop at Sears–the parking lot is *much* less crowded, thus, I can get a parking spot right next to the entrance almost every time.

  16. headon says:

    Sears should just call it a day. Fold the thing up. It should be held up as the go to model for poor salmanship and customer service. College business majors should be forced to study the company so as not to repeat Sears errors during their carrers. A great American brand name shot to shit by ineptitude.

  17. The Stork says:

    It’s sad that the nation’s most historic retailer is in such a pathetic state, but as the chorus has said there’s just no reason to shop there. They relied on so many different businesses, and they’ve all been cherry picked by specialty retailers:

    Electronics: lost first to CC and then BBY.
    Hardware: lost to Home Depot & Lowes
    Appliances: losing to HD, Lowes and BBY
    Clothing: what business the had they lost to many, especially JCP and Kohls in the Midwest

    They specialize in nothing; they excel in nothing. Tis sad.

  18. mexifelio says:

    I think I bought my vacuum cleaner from a Sears about 3 years ago. Other than that, I can’t ever really recall making any purchases from them.
    I also agree that it seems more of a parent’s or grandparents type of store.
    With stuff like Ikea, Lowes, and Kohls to compete with it just seems like they aren’t even trying to lure in ANY sort of new customer base.

  19. AlisonAshleigh says:

    I used to shop at sears, a LOT. I mean weekly. I bought all my clothes, xmas gifts, etc there. From about 14-19 literally every article of clothing came from there. At the time, they had a lot of styles that appealed to me, and the price was right. They always had a really great selection. I’d always end up leaving with something I didn’t come in for, a picnic basket set, body sprays, sneakers…I remember them having little round tables in the main aisles that always had neat sale items on them.

    I stopped shopping there for a few reasons. One being they seem to have edged out semi-stylish clothing & shoes entirely. Everything seems more geared towards “old ladies”. While the mens sweaters aren’t so bad, I can’t say I’d shop for me there. The prices also seem to have gone up quite a bit, and the selection has gone down. If I happen to be walking through there and see a good deal, I’ll pick it up. I recently got a new bedding set and some sheer curtains, and both were really great deals. Another reason I no longer shop there? My grandmother has had a Sears credit card for probably 12 years now. Last year she missed ONE payment because she was in the hospital. The jacked up her interested rate, hit her with a late charge, and now her minimum balance has almost tripled. I’m not such a fan of Sears anymore.

  20. facework says:

    They have a crummy, unappealing selection because they try to sell a little of everything rather than specializing in some key area. They probably also don’t have a solid identity because of that approach.

  21. topgun says:

    I see another stock scam coming. About 6 or 7 years ago as K-Mart was on a downswing I bought a butt load of their stock. After all would K-Mart ever really go belly up? Well no they didn’t, but the K-Mart financial suits had it all figured out. They did some inside manipulating of the stock and to satisfy the terms of the bankruptcy the stock I owned became worthless. Unless of course you consider all the phone calls I got from my broker wanting me to waive any rights I had to this worthless paper so “they could clear it off the books”.
    Before too long K-Mart is so healthy it’s buying Sears!!!!! WOW. If the guys at K-Mart were only running the Fed!

  22. world-inferno says:

    when i think of sears, i think of dusty outdated products being sold by 60 year old salesmen wearing plaid sports jackets. why the hell would anyone go into a sears? what the hell do they sell there that you can’t get elsewhere cheaper and better?

    do they still have the auto department that can hardly perform an oil change and or the place where you can get a family photograph with lazer beams as the background?

  23. b612markt says:

    I swear I saw a car the other day that said “Land’s End edition” or something like that.

    I just laughed. It basically says “Look, my car is from K-Mart!”

  24. karmaghost says:

    You know, it’s funny because whenever I called them to see if they’d PM a BF deal, I asked whether I should go to the customer service desk for help. Their reply? “Sears doesn’t have a customer service area; each department is, apparently, a customer service section.” I thought that was a great idea, but from the sounds of it, it’s not working out so well for them.

    Are the poor sales from Sears, Kmart, or both? Every Kmart I’ve ever been in lately is a complete dump, but the Sears are ok. I mentioned this before, but I had a REALLY easy time PMing a Sharp TV there on Black Friday; I thought I was going to have to be confrontational, but the guy just said “yup!” and rung me up.

  25. goller321 says:

    Besides all the reasons listed above (and Craftsmen tools SUCK BTW) when they took over KMart, they treated the KMart staff for crap. A close friend’s mother worked for KMart for over 30 years. When they took over, she had to re-apply for her job at the starting wage for a Sears employee and was guaranteed no specific spot in the store. Not much was changed in the store other than bringing in some Craftsmen crap, but everyone got the boot. And to re-apply for the job she had to sign a non-compete waiver! I haven’t set foot inside a KMart or Sears since.

  26. famboozled says:

    Sears, Roebuck & Co. is a company from another age. An ange where Sears actually manufactured some of the things that they sold. The days when 30% margin was good enough, they stood behind that which they sold. A time when people even bought home kits via mail order a a fair price from a longtime who actually gave a damn.

    This was also a time when CEO and their multi-million dollar pay packages did not exist.

    Sears makes nothing, sells nothing of quality, offers their employees low pay, no benefits and alot of heartache.

    I would say to the real question should be what does Sears do right? I have no idea because they have work ed very hard to erase the positive impression I had of them that my parents helped foster during childhood.

    Good luck Sears, this is the f***ing you get for the F***ing you gave your customers.

  27. goller321 says:

    Actually KMart bought Sears and di it to their own staff… the end result was the same….

  28. goller321 says:

    Side note, I wish we could edit our posts- if only temporarily. I HATE seeing my mistakes after I post!

  29. bombaxstar says:

    Some of us in the hardware department discussed this one day – we think Sears is probably gonna last five more years. Maybe.

    Hopefully we’ll be out of Sears by then.

    =]

  30. Lawchick says:

    The one thing I was always able to get at Sears was a decent can of paint. However, the paint department is nearly non-existent now and good luck trying to find someone to actually mix you a gallon. It’s a shame, since it was one of the best paints on the market.

  31. goller321 says:

    Sears and most other retailers need to take a page from Costco… they’re doing well and have happy employees…

  32. Celticlady says:

    We bought our power tools there, but not much else. The website is horrible. If they don’t have it in stock in the store, they shouldn’t sell it. Sounds simple in this computerized age, right? Not so much.

    I gave up on appliances there years back. I used to be a HUGE Sears Appliance fan. (ya know, mom and dad did well there….) ANYWAY, I was trying to buy just a regular dryer. Extra-large capacity and no extra bells and whistles. (you never use them anyway.) The sales force was literally standing in FRONT of the cheaper one. Yeah, I left.

    Another problem, they dumped their Big and Tall department.

    Alas Poor Sears, I knew them Horatio…….

  33. nutrigm says:

    That is scary stuff about their sales numbers. There are certain hardware that only Sears has so that is what’s keeping them alive if you ask me. My dad shops there for the craftsmen’s tools etc. But other than that, we normally go to Home Depot. They have great deals on treadmills though, $299 for the crappiest one and $399 for a decent one. I wouldn’t mind picking that up from them but I need to do better myself with my bidness! :D

  34. mopar_man says:

    I bought several major appliances there a few years ago (awesome deals on all of them) and never had any problems with them. I buy all my tools there as well but that’s the extent of my spending at Sears since the local store is small and carries nothing else. I can see why their sales are down though with the stories that pop up on here though. I shop at the local K-Mart all the time. It’s clean, prices are comparable to the shithole Wal-Mart next door and the employees actually seem to enjoy working there (again, opposite the store next door). I’ll happily pay more for those 2 things along with the isles not being clogged full of backwoods morons.

  35. odoketa says:

    I think BACKBROKEN had it right – the brand is tired. When I think of Sears, it’s usually after JCPenny, as an ‘also-ran’. And I don’t think of JCPenny very often. I think there’s one in our local mall. I may have been there. I don’t know, because there was nothing to differentiate it.

  36. JMH says:

    There’s still Sears?

  37. wolfjack says:

    I feel that Sears definitely is on a down swing in quality. I remember growing up Sears was the store to check out and was still pretty good up to a couple of years ago (They were doing that thing with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) but recently my local store has just gone downhill fast. My wife and I were in there a couple of weeks ago browsing for a new refrigerator and no fewer than three of the refrigerators on the floor contained the remains of what we could only assume were employee lunches. It was rather than disgusting. Then on our way out we saw two of the display bedding sets they had out had numerous rips and tears. Really not something to inspire potential customer confidence.

  38. cmdr.sass says:

    I have used their internet order/store pick up option four times in six years to buy a lawnmower, air conditioner, humidifier, and shop vac. I’ve been satisfied with those purchases and received efficient, helpful service when picking them up. However, I have no reason set foot in the store except to pick up compactor bags once a year for my trash compactor.

  39. lostalaska says:

    Sears doesn’t seem to have the quality it used to. Also , it only takes a few bad experiences before you just decide to go elsewhere. All of that combined with the fact that it took them way too long to embrace the entire online shopping “fad” which seemed weird since their bread and butter used to be catalog sales which isn’t that different from online shopping.

    They basically have the image of a dinosaur on its way to extinction. Honestly when people start talking about Sears my first thought is usually “Are they still even around?”

  40. raminka says:

    I really like sears. I buy all my appliances and most of my tools there. Sears is fine, it’s their CEO who is the biggest moron in the world. As other comments suggest, Sears management has gone out of their way to create a store climate that devalues their loyal costumer base. They just need a new CEO. Remember the Home Depot almost tanking, the HD workers used to actually run away from costumers because their CEO could not be bothered by retail. Now you actually talk to a whole bunch of HD workers who actually want to are able to help you. Sears could refocus and change, they just need a qualified CEO who actually knows how not to run a company into the ground. Although the HD CEO made out like a bandit….

  41. ideagirl says:

    sears = clothes for the 60-something set and overproced electronics.

  42. bohemian says:

    I had to buy a small set of wrenches last month. Years ago I bought almost all my tools at Sears since Craftsman has a forever warranty, this is great if you actually break something.
    Now they are selling cheap off brand tools side by side with the Craftsman ones. The Craftsman ones are now like professional tools (snap-on, Matco) expensive.
    When I went to check out the majority of the transaction was me arguing repeatedly with the teenage sales clerk that I didn’t want to sign up for a Sears charge card. He pitched it three times and when I told him know he came up with reasons why I should get one. I was paying cash for the tools but paying for them took longer than finding them. WTF?!?

    I have gone in a few times and looked at clothes (kids and adult) we never find anything interesting, quality equal to the high price or that would fit.
    They basically don’t have a repair department anymore and they stock no parts on site.
    I hear horror story after horror story about their appliances both in quality and service.

    So no, they have nothing I want to buy. Future tools will be bought at Lowes.

  43. To add to the sears sucks chain…

    i tried to buy two treadmills from sears… both times they canceled my order a week later because they were out of stock.

    I went to the manufacturer’s website and bought it for less, free shipping, not tax, and got it delivered before even the first available delivery date sears had when I first ordered the damn treadmill.

  44. el_smurfo says:

    clothes – it’s no big secret why all the signs are in spanish. why would i buy jeans in the “caballero” section?

    appliances – price matching doesn’t outweigh sleazy salesmen and crooked repairmen…’nuff said.

    tools – great quality/warranty, but i can get 10 sets of chinese crap for the price and break them for years.

    worked great when there wasn’t any competition, but i could not imagine ever purchasing a major appliance from them again after the ordeals i and many consumerist readers have gone through. hope these posts end up on the front page of google…

  45. majortom1981 says:

    When everything is a lot more expensive then other stores then yes your profits will go down.

    I am not talking walmart is cheaper I am talking I can get it cheaper in Best Buy and othe r big retailer stores. The one by me has very little selection in every department.

  46. majortom1981 says:

    I must say sears hardware stores rock though.

  47. irid3sc3nt says:

    My husband and I received a gift card to Sears last year from a family gift card exchange and we were entirely unsure what to do with it. I finally went to the Sears here thinking that I could get some towels or a plastic shelf storage unit.
    The store seemed… creepy. There weren’t very many people in it. Those that were there were elderly and had probably been shopping at that store for a while. I have not problem with that, but it echoes what others have been saying on this board.
    I walked around the store, could not find anything, and went back home to order the storage shelving online. Within ten minutes I received a message saying that I could pick it up at the store. No problems at all.
    Still, we opted out of the family gift card exchange in case we received one from Sears, JC Penney, random other department stores, K-Mart, or, worst of all, Wal-Mart.

  48. quagmire0 says:

    Sears is just wayyyy too behind on things. About the only thing they still have going for them is the Craftsman brand. The clothes selection is terrible, basically every section in the stores by me seem overpriced with a poor selection of items. To top it all off, they compete against themselves by having separate Sears electronics/appliances and Sears Hardware stores along with the big stores – all in the same area. I think if they were serious about surviving, they would revamp everything – the technology they use, the products they sell, and their current strategy. I also don’t get the whole bilingual thing in areas that aren’t predominantly hispanic.

  49. TurboWagon00 says:

    Im not going to retread my Sears repair horror story from this past summer on every bash-Sears thread, but suffice to say, other than their dedicated Sears Hardware store near me (which is still very nice) Sears is dead to me. My kitchen was furnished with all Kenmore appliances by the previous owner (mostly rebadged GE) but if/when they fail, I’ll buy them *anywhere* else.

  50. Hawkins says:

    Let’s not forget the extraordinary level of incompetence and outright fraud in the once-proud Sears Auto department.

    A Google search for “sears auto fraud” yields a cornucopia of class-action suits, settlements with attorneys-general, and stories about crooked service writers on commission, from Florida to California and back.

    Do they even have an auto department any more?

  51. ARP says:

    If I were to personify Sears, they’d be a drunk washed up movie star from the 70’s who constantly talks about how great he/she was. They treat people like crap because they think they still have the panache’ that they had when they were famous. They do crap roles to make money but still pretend its beneath them. This past glory blinds them to their current state. It’s only when they lose everything will they relize that they’ve been obsolete long ago.

  52. Leofan7 says:

    Everything about Sears is bad except for the tool, appliance, and auto departments. The clothes are okay, but not that great, and the electronics are hopelessly overpriced. Also, I really don’t like to shop for cookware or a sport coat in a store that smells of tire rubber and grease.

  53. HRHKingFriday says:

    My dad gets his jeans there. That’s about it.

    The only thing I’d get there would be electronics, but they just don’t have the selection to give me a range of prices I’m looking for. And, after hearing the customer service horror stories here, I don’t think I’ll be getting my large appliances there in the future.

  54. SaraAB87 says:

    Well judging by the stories on here and other websites its large appliance sales where they really have a problem. Also, their clothes are UGLY, I go in there and I cannot even find one pair of jeans in my size that will look reasonable on me (a 26 year old female). I really don’t want to buy old lady pants thank you. They don’t have bad tops or coats but their selection of pants is seriously lacking, I can find more pants at Wal-mart or K-mart and that is not saying much. Their shoes are completely overpriced to the max unless they are on clearance. Basically Sears is another K-mart, (which is not surprising since they are the same company now), you have to wait till item x goes on clearance until it gets down to a competitive price.

    The only thing good about Sears is they have a plus-sized children’s department (and they are the only store I know of that has one), with decent quality children’s clothes in it, something which I think every retail store needs to have nowadays!

  55. HRHKingFriday says:

    PS- this is great karma for all the mom and pop shops they put out of business in the 1950s! haha.

  56. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    When I was a little girl in the 60s and early 70s, my parents practically lived at Sears. My dad, a Hungarian immigrant, felt so good there because it made all of the most trustworthy staples affordable for young families. When I was growing up, he told me always to buy my household goods, appliances, and tools there. He stopped saying so about the time I left college. Now he tells me he “wouldn’t spend a plugged nickel” there. They used to be the best of everything for modest, decent working people, and now they’re just phoning it in, if not actually preying on the people they used to serve so well.

  57. Swifty says:

    It all comes down to identity.

    In this day and age, you either have the niche store or the super-mega general merchandise store. Seras doesn’t know what it wants to be.

    Secondly, they haven’t found a way to integrate Sears and Kmart since their merger.

    Personally, I think they need to clearly define their niches – going so far as to separate the clothing from the hardware and appliances. Turn existing Kmarts into a hardware and appliance store to compete with Home Depot & Lowes, and turn existing Sears stores into a fashionable and trendy, yet low-priced clothing/department store.

  58. oldtaku says:

    I still occasionally buy day to day jeans there just because the anchor store at UTC is convenient, oh, and I bought a leather belt that was on sale, but I never buy anything else because frankly nothing really excites me, especially for the prices they’re charging.

    I also really hate being pressured to apply for a @#$#ing Sears card every time I buy something. Making it unpleasant to buy things from you is not a good idea.

  59. quagmire0 says:

    I wouldn’t compare JCP to Sears. JCP usually has decent clothes for men, usually some great deals on Clearance. They’ve actually built some stand alone stores by me and tried to compete aggressively with Kohl’s (speaking of overpriced! :) ) Sears, on the other hand, has moved at a snails pace and seems confused as to why it is being buried by all these other stores. Honestly, if Sears could find a way to offer a wide variety of products at a competitive price, I’d shop there again.

    The funny thing is, I think Sears was the Walmart of its day way back when. I remember my family had a replica catalog from the 1900’s and they sold EVERYTHING you could think of, for cheap. I guess they are just another case of a retail giant who grew old and died.

  60. foghat81 says:

    I say they dump the whole thing and just leave Sears Hardware stores. That’s the only thing with even a shred of brand equity. Keep the home/appliance repair biz as well since that it’s seemingly doing good business.

  61. ManiacDan says:

    This could probably be a consumerist post in itself, but I’ll put it here so I don’t waste people’s time.

    My wife and I tried to purchase a TV in 2005. We read reviews, checked prices, went on multiple store runs, and settled on a Phillips from Sears. Turns out both decisions were a mistake.

    (The Phillips TV had a “known issue” where a power converter would blow after about 500 power cycles and wasn’t covered under warranty).

    We went to Sears to buy the TV, but they didn’t have it. They told us to go to Sears.com. When we got home, we went on Sears.com and purchased it, no problems.

    Three days later I received a short, cryptic email from Sears:

    Dear ,
    Your order with Sears.com has been canceled. Thank you for shopping at Sears!

    And that’s why I don’t dare shop at Sears online anymore.

    As for the reason why I won’t shop at Sears physical locations, that’s a much shorter story: I bought 4 Craftsman tools from my local sears, brand new in the box. When I got them home and opened, 3 of the 4 were heavily used. It took two more trips to the store to get actual new products from them.

  62. klondikedog says:

    We just redid our kitchen and bought all our appliances from Sears. Service was okay, but the whole scheduling system was totally outdated. I had to go back a few times for price adjustments and stuff. Each time a manager had to get involved to ring me out. When they installed our oven, the installation people sent us a bill for $60 (because “It was a lot of work.”). Had to buy a lightbulb for my car (a recent Volvo) and the clerk insisted they didn’t stock it and had to get a manger to find it.

  63. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Well… customer service stinks, they cheat you on what should be covered repairs, the sales staff is condescending, they don’t sell clothes I would wear, and they aren’t a great bargain when it’s all taken into account.

    Plus, they wrung a service call fee out of a friend whose under-warranty appliance had broken in a clearly obvious way, but she still needed to pay their fee, wait days & days, only to be told what she already knew & wait some more for the part. So, they are really dishonest, too.

    Oh! And they (as K-Mart) stole .28 from a little old lady in Pennsylvania by trying to collect taxes on toilet tissue, which they can’t do by law, but which they did anyway. Rather than correct their “mistake”, they’ve chosen to fight it out in court, which says that even when they are demonstrably wrong, they will try to cheat the consumer just because.

    So… yeah. Sears and K-Mart are dead to me.

  64. Giant_of_Landover says:

    First off let me point out that I am 19 and I do not see Sears as a place for my grandparents.

    My problem with Sears and Kmart is that all their stores are dirty and customer service is kind of gone. Often the only serivce you get is from a pushy sales guy making sure you don’t leave without buying a TV. Kmart is worse… at least most of Sears stores are bright and somewhat clean. Most Kmart stores have not even seen a paint job since the 1980s.

    I think Sears and Kmart could make it if they remodel their stores and invest in customer service.

    P.S. – while for the most part I like Sears clothes, there is the fact that many of their clothes you can buy almost anywhere else.

  65. quagmire0 says:

    You can’t tax toilet paper? :D Did not know that…

  66. Parting says:

    Ouch, the funny part, Canadian part of Sears is doing good. They should just fire whoever manages US division and hire someone more competent.

    Or just do what they still do in Canada : clean stores, trained staff and good customer service.

    Honestly, I don’t know anyone having major complaints about Sears, here in Quebec.

  67. The_Truth says:

    I have never even been in a Sears, all the comments I have seen above apply to me too, it seems old, cheap and dull. The parking lot is almost always empty.

    However I do wonder if they had focussed on building an American image they might have done better, ie:

    Selling well made American goods, not bowing to buying cheap crap from China etc they could have built a strong image of supporting America, and as people got more and more pissed with the low quality crap coming from every other store they could have rode the wave out, as opposed to just following the herd and pumping out the same old cheap ass stuff.

    Ah well, I never knew you Sears and am quite happy I never did!

  68. marsneedsrabbits says:

    @quagmire0:
    It depends on the state, but in Pennsylvania, the answer is apparently “no”.
    In the face of having collected the money wrongly (and illegally) they didn’t back down and give her back the 28 cents.

    Here’s the story: [www.wjla.com]

    It’s not the .28, it’s the attitude that we can’t be wrong ’cause we’re a big company & there’s not a darned thing you can do about it, so there that gets me.

  69. CityGuySailing says:

    I have always bought major appliances at Sears (30 years now), and many smaller items. It was said that it was harder to get a Sears Credit Card than an American Express card (this goes back to 1980 or so). I noticed that they started to go downhill when they forced me to get off of the original Sears Credit Card and onto the new crappy terms Master Card (or whatever it is). I stopped using it, and stopped all smaller in-store purchases from that point. I still buy large appliances from Sears and I get service from Sears. I haven’t ever had a problem with servicing from Sears (I know this is the exact opposite from many of you, and I apologize in advance). My last purchase was this year a large dryer, and before that, this year, a Sony Bravia (or however it is spelled) Flat Panel TV. I only purchase top of the line stuff (long ago, I determined only to buy quality and force myself to smile paying for it, knowing that I spend a few more bucks now and save with the additional years a thing lasts) and I pay for it in one or two payments at the most.

  70. chrisgeleven says:

    Sears used to be known for their excellent customer service but pissed it away completely. They staff the various departments with people who know nothing about the products in that department, their service staff absolutely stinks (impossible to schedule an appointment and if your that lucky to get it done, impossible to get a timely solution), and the prices are high to boot!

    I went there with the full intentions of buying a mattress but after a 1/2 hour of watching the people in that section try to figure out the computer system, they told me I couldn’t use a gift card and a credit card to fund the purchase…I had to use one or the other.

    Needless to say, I walked right out.

    The only time I use Sears now is for their auto department. Since the local Sears is at the mall, I can get my shopping done while my car is getting an oil change or new tires. Good price and never had a problem with their auto service.

  71. benko29 says:

    i’ve always thought rather highly of sears, but admittedly i’m realizing it’s mostly because my parents always bought appliances and tools there. growing up, my folks had lots of kenmore appliances, most of which lasted my entire childhood, and that of my sister who is five years my senior. my dad had a craftsman lawnmower that lasted at least 20 years.

    granted, i grew up in a small city whose small, solitary mall housed a sears, and the city lacked any other department stores of that size, other than woolco, which was bought out and became wal-mart in the mid 90s.

    it’s kind of a sad reality that good old sears is on its way out, but honestly, when i go to the eaton center here in toronto, sears is a mere thoroughfare to get out of the cold and make my way down the block to the bay.

  72. econobiker says:

    Changes in demographics and competition have made it hard for them. Back when they slammed the catalog down just when catalog sales were taking off. Screw the malls and go big box… Look at Lowes taking on appliances.

    The whole deal with a “back room” or “warehouse” is so 1970’s. Wal-Mart et al don’t do warehouse or back room anymore. Sears has not embraced the technologies nor have they played on a level playing field in regards to dealing with their vendors. Wal-Mart is evil and forces offshoring- Sears? who knows…

    And even with KMart they seem to be struggling. The Kmart local to me (and right off the interstate – visible from it!!!) closes at 9pm during non-holiday times. The local Walmart is open 24-7 and is not nearly as accessable to the interstate. The store layout of the local KMart also stinks but is better than the layout prior to Sears.

    Truth be told, I think the fact that these guys are in middle America (IL) is going to sink them as they do not have a picture of how the rest of the country buying demographics work…

  73. thunderstruck says:

    Almost 2 years ago, we bought a treadmill during a “no percent interest on your Sears card” after xmas sale. From day one, they charged interest. We complained; the manager said he’d look into it and get back with us. He never did. We paid the card off and haven’t purchased there since.

    If Sears wants my business back, they need to seriously update themselves top to bottom, and stop treating customers like dopes.

  74. Landru says:

    I’ve always kind of liked Sears. I bought a vacuum there and some jeans. I bought tools there and a washer/dryer from the Scratch ‘n Dent and was satisfied. Their repair service used to be great. Not so any more – hard to schedule and expensive; and no wonder, because it takes two trips to fix anything.

    I’ll probably buy my next washer at Lowes or something. Costco, maybe.

  75. Zombietime says:

    Sears was great years and years ago when the playstation 1 came out. It was sold out everywhere at the mall except Sears. I figured it was because no young person would be caught dead there so I went and they had stacks of systems. For some reason the video game section was in the baby clothing dept. Strange.

    Sears has some really nice tools that I can’t afford. :(

  76. liquisoft says:

    There is nothing I can buy at Sears that I can’t buy, for cheaper, at a different store.

    I just moved into a new house, and all of our appliances were purchased from Pacific Sales. Sears couldn’t come anywhere near the prices I got from Pacific Sales, and they delivered our new stuff and picked up the old stuff for free.

    Sears has nothing I want.

  77. phantomfly says:

    I shop at Kmart occasionally because it’s the closest “big-box” store to my house, but before I moved here I hadn’t gone there in years. It’s dumpy and disorganized and hasn’t been renovated or updated in a long time. Same for Sears… other clothing/department stores just have better, nicer stuff, and the other stores look better.

  78. TWSS says:

    The last time I was in Sears, it was because it was the easiest place at the mall to park and one of my friends was idly looking at dishwashers. In the appliance and hardware departments, aggressive staff outnumbered customers by two to one. The pushiness bordered on threatening. On our way out, I took a detour through the clothes, which were mostly cheaply made. It took me five minutes to find someone to help me get into an otherwise empty dressing room, where a used feminine hygiene product greeted me from the floor. I ran away and haven’t been back since.

    I generally operate under the objective of buying less, but making sure it’s better quality. I figure that since just about everything is being made overseas nowadays, if I spend more to get something that will last, as opposed to spending less on a bunch of stuff that’ll fall apart, I’ll break even in terms of cost but have less environmental impact. Stores like Sears, JC Penney, Kohl’s, and yes, even Target, don’t really make the cut for me anymore. I love saving money, but not if it means wasting my time replacing cheap crap when it prematurely falls apart and getting treated poorly by customer service in the process.

  79. Catperson says:

    I used to think they were good for appliances and such, but my husband and I received one of their Kenmore canister vacuums for our wedding shower 5 years ago and we’ve had to repair it three times already, and it looks like the wiring is going bad. My mother had the same model and hers broke so many times I can’t even tell you a number. She would take it to Sears for repair and they always wanted to charge her some exorbitant price and she always had to wait for parts to come (we opted to do all our repairs ourselves because of this). The problems I had were the same as ones she had, so the machines were poorly made, plain and simple. They’re made mostly of cheap plastics that crack and cause multiple problems. Not what I’m looking for out of a vacuum that cost over $300.

    I have to go there occasionally to get vacuum canister bags and I never see anything that interests me, plus the atmosphere of the store is horrid. Everything is so bright and garish, it reminds me of being in Kmart or Walmart (actually, some of the Walmarts around here have remodeled and look a lot nicer than Sears).

    I got excited when they started carrying Lands End clothes because they have good basics like coats and button down shirts, but everything I’ve tried on is just as ill-fitting as the rest of Sears’ crap.

  80. econobiker says:

    Sears is heading down the road of Woolworths and other regional stores: Bradlees, Caldor’s, Jamesways, Clover, etc…

    Go in a KMart/Sears on a Friday night and you hear crickets chirping. Go to Wal-Mart or Target and the registers are pumping.

    I even forgot to mention in my earlier post that Target is probably the one place that has siphoned off the greatest amount of younger Sears demographic customers.

  81. el_smurfo says:

    I think it’s pretty strange that another Sears holding, OSH, seems to do it right. They have clean stores, well stocked with helpful employees. The prices aren’t always that great, but often cheaper than Home Despot. Maybe Sears should just rebrand all their stores OSH (the OSH Dickies selection even beats most of Sears clothing offerings).

  82. parad0x360 says:

    Last time i went into Sears was for an ipod a couple years ago (or so). I wanted the brand new ipod video 30 gig.

    Well all they had in stock was the 4g 30 gig HP Ipod which..didnt play video. I would settle because I dont watch video, i just wanted an ipod. They said $350 and i walked away quickly.

    I went to Circuit City where I got an ipod video 30 gig for I believe $250. Oddly enough that same day someone at another hated store called RadioShack tried to get me to put a $60 deposit on said ipod, saying there is a 6 week waiting list and there is zero chance I will get one anywhere else, he also said his store gets more shipments then any store around…well i showed him cause CC had about 150 of them right on the sales floor in a nice glass case.

  83. kittenfoo says:

    sears stores are just plain depressing: the ugly fluorescent lighting, the tool/new tire smell that permeates the entire store, the unappealing merchandise. plus the feng shui is all kinds of messed up.

  84. memphis9 says:

    Sears’ online site had exercise equipment at “doorbuster” prices a few months back.

    I placed an order, then got the runaround for close to 2 months. (Waiting on word from vendor? riiiiight.) Finally Sears cancelled my order, just within the “window” that I had to dispute with my credit card company. (Which I would have done before that window closed, rather than cancel. They took my money (no, no as a “hold” on the CC) and owed me what they had billed me for.

    Hope Sears enjoyed the free 2 month loan. I’ll take it as a fee for “lesson learned” and avoid Sears in the future. Well, except maybe for Land’s End, not that I buy much there anymore. (It may just be the weak dollar, but quality and pricing started to diverge practically the day Sears acquired LE.)

    Now if Sears goes down, what hope is there for (fill in your favorite crappy retailer)? The consumer is pulling back in the wake of the real estate/credit bubble, and product line/retailer loyalty is rightfully dead.

    End game? All Hail Walmart, overlord of the universe!

  85. DojiStar says:

    I bought a lawn mower there last week.

    Ordered it online and chose store pickup.

    I received the email 8 hours later stating that my order was ready for pickup and went to the store.

    When I arrived, they said the item wasn’t in stock.

    I argued that why did I get an email stating that the item was ready when it wasn’t even in stock.

    I requested that they offer me the next model up for the same price.

    I received that request. It was a $429 mower onsale for $329. I got it for $289.

    Kudos to sears for fixing the problem.

    FYI, I didn’t get their rip off extended waranty.

  86. stopthegears says:

    Sears.com. I ordered a washer and dryer on Thanksgiving. My order wasn’t processed until the following Wednesday. The order was set for next day delivery.

    Long story short. I took off work for delivery and no one called or showed despite the website giving me the delivery date. I spent 3 hours on the phone with customer service being transfered from people in the US and people in India. The order was discounted 10% and when I finally did get a confirmation email it was a cancellation email. Then another call. On and on and on it goes.

    Hopefully it arrives on Saturday.

  87. TWinter says:

    @econobiker: Truth be told, I think the fact that these guys are in middle America (IL) is going to sink them as they do not have a picture of how the rest of the country buying demographics work…

    I don’t think being in middle America has anything at all to do with it. I’m an easterner who now lives in the midwest, but I’m back east several times a year. I can’t imagine the buying demographics of midwestern cities are really that much different than those of similar sized cities on the coasts. Chicago, Minneapolis, etc… are months not years behind the coasts.

    In my small midwestern college town, the Sears parking lot is always empty, and the Lowes parking lot is always full. The 20-somethings are all buying their clothes at Hollister, A&F, Express etc… or they order them off the net because that’s what you have to do get the really cool stuff. And they wouldn’t be caught dead in anything from Sears.

    The coasts are clearly still ahead in setting the fashions, but the media and the internet have made the transmission of style much faster and made stylish goods much more readily available for those who want them.

  88. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    We (my family) buys large appliances from sears. We recently bought a washing machine. Their customer service is kinda poor and when I walk in I just see people standing around doing nothing, but then again there are no customers around either.

    I bought a upconvert DVD player from sears a couple of months back. I plugged it in that night and it wouldn’t play DVD’s. Actually it wouldn’t play anything. So I took it back and the guy put a clearance sticker on it. I asked why and if he was going to put it back out. He gave me some BS answer that people in the back take it apart and look at it. Yeah right.

    I dont take my car to them anymore ever since I had to wait until 11:30pm to get it reparied when they originally told me 4pm. Turns out that 2 people quit that day and that even though I had an appointment they took walk-ins in front of me. Then they charged me and told me it would be done in a few minutes. I looked and asked if they had replaced the rear suspension like I paid for and they forgot to, which took another 90 minutes.

    Sears is a joke now. Its turned into a low rate discount store. It’s not wallmarts fault, its not targets fault, its their own fault. Shoddy merchandise coupled with crappy CSR = no sales. Only things good that are left are their tools and large appliances.

  89. UpsetPanda says:

    @TWSS: That could be one of the most horrific mall stories I’ve ever heard.

  90. Techguy1138 says:

    The tire tool smell is the reason to go to Sears.

    Maybe they tried to be to much like Walmart. When I lived near a Sears and had a car I always bought my tools there.

    They had great service and a good return policy so If I accidentally picked up the wrong tool for the job it was easy to get the right one.

    They seem to be in the best position to leverage an “America Made” image.

    Putting a $6 wrench set next to a $22 craftsmen set is not a good idea. One you sell a $6 wrench SET and when those wrenches strip out, warp or break, you get customers associating your brand with crap.

    K-Mart was dead a long time ago. Once Walmart went straight for the lowest class of customers Kmart was dead.

  91. WayDownRiver says:

    I remember my mother dragging me to Sears as a child. That was in the Midwest. I haven’t thought about that store in decades. (Yeah I’m old.)

    I find it mind-boggling that anyone with access to the internet tubing system (or even another store) would ever shop there.

  92. thewriteguy says:

    “Put on your Sunday best, kids — we’re going to Sears!” –Mike Brady

    That, in a nutshell, is why Sears is doing so bad, folks. It’s not cool to the kids; it’s a joke. Same thing happened to K-Mart when it was referenced negatively in the movie Rain Man.

  93. ICWiener says:

    I used to work at Sears about 3yrs ago in the shoe department. We had all our stock in the back, but some genius at corp. thought it would be a good idea to have them all out on the floor. They made me work graveyards to move our stock from the back to the floor. Right after they canned me, reason being was restructuring. I can’t say I feel sorry for them.

  94. eeebee says:

    My dad was a loyal, loyal customer of Sears. I grew up in a house full of Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools. Unfortunately, he’s been dead for 15 years, which is what has probably happened to a lot of Sears’ customer base.

  95. Bobg says:

    This forum is really depressing. I’ve spent many a dollar at Sears. After reading all of the posts it dawned on me; I haven’t been in a Sears store in about ten years even though there are two close to me. It wasn’t a conscious thing; they just weren’t the store I wanted to shop at anymore. As for K-mart; are thgey still around. I haven’t been in one of them in about fifteen years.

  96. factotum says:

    SearsMart is going the way of Montgomery Wards. Remember them? Nearly everything SearsMart sells I can get from Amazon cheaper, delivered to my door, and without tax.

  97. SaraAB87 says:

    @TWinter: Sears attempts to have a juniors/trendy department but they fail miserably. Probably 90% of the trendy college kids here buy their clothes at A&F, Hollister or a similar store, or they buy these brands online at discounted prices so they can afford them, there are tons of almost new condition A&F clothes on ebay right now for low prices. I live in a Northeastern town. They are not going to go to Sears or any other store when A&F clearly have the market, especially a store like Sears that sells ugly clothes. Pretty much every other clothing store in the big malls here are empty except for A&F, Hollister and similar brands. Sears and Macy’s and any other clothing stores just don’t stand a chance because they simply don’t offer the trendy brands people want. Heck even 8-10 year olds are now shopping at A&F and refuse to wear other clothing.

    Even a person like me who despises A&F and Hollister and would rather go out in pajama’s then wear those clothes doesn’t shop at Sears because their clothes are just ugly and overpriced. I kind of have my own style of clothes, just buy whatever when it fits and if its cheap..

  98. Mi1ez says:

    I worked for Sears years ago (around 1995) in the computer department. I wasn’t particularly impressed with working there. They began cheapening up in every way and the service wasn’t the best anymore. As a salesperson, we used to concentrate on SALES and were payed on a drawer system–effectively, you love purely on commissions. That was before the changes. They began having salespeople do other duties without any base pay for the time spent doing these extra duties–still earning pure commissions–very unfair. As a salesperson, I used to think that it was a decent place to shop but a lousy place to work. Fast forward to 2007 and I can barely walk into one. They don’t carry anything of good quality anymore–it’s more expensive than everyone else and the salespeople are either not around, irrelevant or they lack any professional knowledge of the products they are supposed to sell. Around 1995–I think I was JUST about witnessing what could have been Sears coming down from being relevant to irrelevant and showed everyone that it doesn’t want to listen to their employees nor customers when they both clamored for something better.

    I ended up working at a JCPenney store support center back in 2004 and I could definitely tell that JCPenney was willing to spend the money to update their sorting architecture, their products and to embrace the online catalog as an extension of the classic JCPenney catalog. I have a lot to criticize JCPenney for but I’m reasonably certain that remaining irrelevant isn’t one of them. They were at least interested in what customer’s said even if they weren’t entirely interested in their employees. I never worked in sales so I can’t speak to how professional they are and I’ve never needed one for what I’ve needed to buy there. As an IT person in a warehouse, though, they were reasonably interested in progress even if they weren’t the best at implementing it. It seemed as if they managed to at least get half of it right–that’s how I’ve perceived it.

  99. Blueoysterjoe says:

    I just bought a washer, dryer, and plasma TV there, and it all worked out really well. The plasma TV was an insanely good deal on a great TV, and I needed two cheap washers and dryers, and they had both.

    So, I have had a happy experience there … BUT … I almost never shop there. I am not 100% sure why, but SEARS does kind of have this geriatric vibe to it. If I were them, I would dump all the clothing crap and go after appliances, electronics and tools, followed by a complete re-vamping of their image. I am DYING to shop somewhere other than $*@)(#@ Best Buy or Circuit City, and Sears might be a great place for me, if they put a lightning bolt in their logo or something. Cuz, like, I buy stuff if lightning tells me to.

  100. almaden says:

    This comment says it all:

    >>They specialize in nothing; they excel in nothing. Tis sad.

    Sears/Kmart is losing business on both ends; specialty stores and web sites do a better job at catering to niche products, and larger merchants like Target and Costco do a better job at being fresh and relevant. And how can you complete with WalMart on price?

    I think store location is part of the problem too. I can drive to three Target stores that are closer to my house than the one Sears store in the area. They’ve closed Kmart stores without replacing them with something newer or more appealing as well.

    Sears/Kmart has also lost the mindshare of younger buyers. Most people say the last time they were there was “when my father went to Sears…”.

  101. twstinkers says:

    My recent experiences with Sears have sucked. First of all, I bought a rather expensive stainless steel refrigerator back in 2004. The motor died, outside of the 1 year warranty, and I had to fork over $320 for its repair (who knew that you need an extended warranty for a refrigerator). The damn thing is still gimpy, not even staying cool enough to prevent my milk from spoiling within 3 days. So, I am saving up to call the repair man and get shafted yet again. I also bought an LCD flat screen tv from them and the floor salesman tried to convince us that they were sold out when in actuality they had 6 sets in the back. His lazy ass wouldn’t even go back there to check until we called his manager. Sears will never ever get a dime outta me again.

  102. yadatothethirdpower says:

    Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen any significant freshening of the brand in recent memory; maybe it’s the fact that they actually came up with the old/busted/1972 idea of resurrecting their “Wish Book” catalogue to revive interest (note to Sears: some whippersnappers came up with a newfangled idea called the internet. Mailing dead trees ain’t the best idea for scrounging up sales these days); maybe it’s the fact that they’re just associated with an earlier time in my mind….you know, they seem kinda….*fusty*.

    Whatever the reason, I just don’t think of them very often. I generally think of more specialized stores for clothes, housewares, and electronics, ’cause there are now sooooooo many other stores with better selection and competitive prices.

    The exception? Craftsman tools (still amazed there are no spin-off stores, although Home Depot’d prolly rip ‘em a new one). Quality is solid, and a lifetime warranty doesn’t suck.

  103. ihateauditions says:

    Sears isn’t good at anything anymore.

    Cheap clothes and home furnishings? Target, Wal-Mart, etc.

    Hardware? Home Depot and Lowes.

    The only time I’ve looked at Sears was when I was buying a washer, dryer or refrigerator, and even there, I ended up buying elsewhere.

  104. Chocotanya says:

    My recent experiences with (Canadian) Sears have been a hassle from start to finish. (If not completely satisfied, you are entitled to a refund within 90 days, unless we decide to try and repair the item twice instead, and ignore your requests for a refund unless you have time for a 40-minute argument with a less than helpful manager!) Since I’m not a sucker for punishment, I won’t be lining up for more. It’s sad to see a once-decent institution deteriorate, but the poor merchandising, depressing stores, and terrible customer service have pretty much sealed its fate.

  105. SpaceCat85 says:

    What’s wrong? Just walk into the stores themselves.

    All of the Sears in my area at least (Delaware Valley, NJ/PA) are generally skeevy-looking, and half the time I go in there they seem to have a humidity-control problem, too. It reminds me of being in a department store that is going out of business: mediocre clothes, a grungy and out-of-date looking interior, scarily decrepit changing rooms, an odd musty smell, and merchandise put out without any deep thought into customers’ physical & psychological comfort. Even the K-Marts near me are much less off-putting, and they as a chain have had that same problem with trying to cram as much into as little floor space as possible since they “upgraded” their stores to Big K-Marts.

    When I’m at the mall and shopping in that price bracket, I’d rather go into a J.C. Penney’s or Boscov’s. Sears doesn’t have anything that makes me wish I went there more.

  106. Bobg says:

    A follow up to my previous post-does K-Mart really stock their stores with a fork lift or do they throw everything in through the front door and hope it lands in the right department.

  107. mcobill says:

    I bought my vacuum cleaner at my local Sears in Orlando and ALL of my kitchen appliances at the Sears Outlet. Reason? Price.

    Clothes? Housewares? Hardware? Electronics? Never, ever, ever. Why? Because they cannot compete on selection, style, price, presentation or the experience. I LIKE shopping at Lowe’s or Best Buy or Target. They sell things I like and the experience is satisfying.

    Sears is a jumble of half-dead concepts. They specialize in nothing, excel at nothing and succeed at nothing. They are LITERALLY the last vestige of the full-line department store and a perfect example of why that concept is dead. K-Mart? I’d rather die than spend five more minutes of my life in the only retail chain that is worse than Sears.

    Please just shut them both down and let’s move on…

  108. dirtymoney says:

    I used to buy my levis jeans there when I was a kid into my teens (late 80s/early 90s)… also once bought 4 tires in the auto dept & it took them 4 hours to put them on my truck (you could see the “mechanics” through the glass window horsing around & actually NOT working. Also…. my mother bought a gas-powered weed wacker (from sears)that died, sent it off to sear to get it repaired under warranty…. took half a year & they never even repaired it. Last time I used sears for anything!

    I now buy ultra-cheap jeans from wal-mart & tires from a private business that sells tires amazingly cheap (because of the mexican labor?).

    I noticed that the old neighborhood k-mart was turned into a sear store a while back…. didnt even bother to go in…. ever.

  109. Majisto says:

    Sears is basically only worth its Craftsman tools. And they have a kick a$$ scratch and dent store that sells appliances (LI area). We got a $900+ fridge for 70% off!! For that alone I will miss Sears. Everything else there is ick!

  110. Abbott says:

    I like K-Mart but probably not for the reasons they want. It’s closest to my house so I can walk there, and it’s got this totally grubby, humble character. They’re always in the abandoned, poor neighborhoods, it’s kind of charming somehow.

    Oh and they have the world’s most hilarious credit card promo at mine: “sign up for a Sears card, get a free two-liter bottle of soda!”

  111. vdragonmpc says:

    OH good lord, Ill tell you what happened to SEARS:
    Dumb CEOS, Stockholders, buyers and corp staff.

    Craftsman used to be a great brand to buy and was replaced without a blink if a tool broke or wore out. Now if you take a tool in you get the third degree on what killed the tool and the power tools last less time than a harbor freight product.

    For some reason they killed the electronics department where they only really sell TVs and DVD players… No speakers or surround sound systems… Computers are gone save a compaq display (who wants that trouble in a box?)

    Then there is service: I bought a very expensive refridgerator from them and to get a 10% discount I had to apply for and finance through a Sears Visa. Well I know who services their credit cards so I bought the fridge on the card and paid it off at a register while waiting for the warehouse guy to deliver the product “from the warehouse” Then I cancelled the card. What was the point of the card?

    I bought a lawnmower after obliterating the previous craftsman mower for trying to give me a stroke starting it (one pull start yeah right)… I get it home and mow the grass ONE FREAKIN TIME! And I get to rebuild the carbeurator. Nice… There was some kind of substance in the gas tank which I found in the float bowl and had to clean out (runs great now)

    I went to buy a power washer and they made me wait damn near an hour to get it from the ‘warehouse’

    Repeat on the tool box that is rusting WTF!?!?!? A craftsman tool box less than 4 years old is rusting COME ON??

    I also dont know what possessed the corp fools to put cheap tools with the craftsman stuff… Tradesman? Uhm you just killed your cash cow.

    Im done with Sears. They died for me last year with the haunted lawn mower.

  112. SilverStar95 says:

    The sears in my city took out their Big&Tall section. Which is rather troubling, since I’m both big(fat) and tall(over 6 foot).

    So, with no big&tall, they have no clothes that would fit me. And the last time I was shopping there, their little section had no less than 4 customers shopping in it. A higher density than anywhere else in the store at the time. Seems like they weren’t making enough money, so they removed it. Nearest Sears with such a section is out in the boonies.

    So, instead of getting my business suit there and spending 200 bucks or so, I went off to another store, spent half that, and got better quality. Go figure.

  113. scoobs says:

    I shopped Sears Black Friday with my mom. We walked in near the clothing department, on our way to buy a Tool Chest for my dad. She couldn’t believe the mens clothes in there. Her comments were to the effect of, when I was your age you bought church clothes at Sears, today the clothes you buy at Sears looks nothing like elgible for church wear.

    Then when we were checking out with our tool chest, we had to explain to the cashier what we wanted. Knowing Sears doesn’t hire people like my dad (just an average guy who likes tools) to sell tools (they hire 18 year old kids they can pay $8/hr for), I had to correct him at least 3 times that he was ringing up the wrong items. After all, how does he know what 3 parts compose the 3 piece tool chest? At one point I even had to take the pen from him and write down the proper numbers on the sheet of paper because he couldn’t seem to figure it out by looking at the tags like I did.

    Ugh. Sears. If they didn’t have an okay Kenmore and Craftsman line I doubt they would have made that 1 cent per share.

  114. christoj879 says:

    @socalrob: The clearance sticker is used because Sears is too cheap to have separate stickers for repair. No price goes on the sticker when you return a broken item, it only says Send to PMT (Preventive Maintenance Technician – probably the only person in the store who does anything).

    Yes, I did use to work there. More than happy to watch them fall.

  115. galatae says:

    I only shop Sears for appliances and electronics. I love parking there at the mall because you can get right next to the entrance every time. Even on Black Friday. Twice.

  116. ogman says:

    The horrendous customer service. Lousy merchandise. The horrendous customer service. Out of stock merchandise. The horrendous customer service. Crooks in the auto department. The horrendous customer service. Bad warranty coverage on everything. The horrendous customer service. Butt-ugly stores. The horrendous customer service.

  117. humphrmi says:

    Ironically my sister-in-law works for the Sears in corporate, so I suppose I should shop there more often.

    I had decided this year not to get up and stand in line for Black Friday, but instead shop online on Friday. Sears.com had so many problems that I just didn’t trust it. Turns out I was right ([consumerist.com])

    I used to actually like K-Mart, until they closed all of them down within a 45-minute drive from my house.

    Who am I shopping instead? Online, so far the clear winner this year (for me) has been amazon.com.

  118. ThirstyEar2 says:

    I work at Sears electronics as seasonal and I have to say that Sears sucks. We never have anything in stock and we can hardly ever order anything. Young people don’t shop there anymore. It’s weird to be 20 years old and there are all these 60 year old people coming in and leaving disappointed most of the time. And the Sears I work at doesn’t even sell computers!

  119. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Maybe if they stopped using rabid commission salespeople, I might shop there. I can’t walk into Sears store and browse without being stopped 18 times by salespeople that roam around in packs. (Although, ironically, if you walk in knowing what you want, there won’t be a saleperson in sight to help you).

    I did buy Kenmore appliances when I redid my kitchen and I hear that I’m probably going to be very sorry when something breaks :/

    Oh, would you like to by the extended service plan on that screwdriver?

  120. ninjatales says:

    Sears is a big supporter of the right-wing government. Haven’t shopped there in years after finding that out.

  121. nardo218 says:

    I don’t know what you guys are talking about, Sears does have an old lady department but I buy all my Anthropologie work clothes there. Shoes, too. They’re the only place I could find non-cigarette khakis, too. They have sales all the time and even when they don’t, the clothes aren’t exorbitantly prices. (Sorry, no, a pair of jeans does not deserve my $60.)

  122. flintstone03 says:

    “devision” is not a word! C’mon use a damn spell checker!

  123. cannedpizza says:

    @junior:
    Haha, same here! Getting into the local mall through the Sears is the easiest way because there’s never anyone there.

    Just like its trashy little sister K-Mart, every Sears I’ve ever been in was dingy, disheveled, and seemingly half-abandoned. A depressing atmosphere doesn’t make me want to stick around and spend money. As others mentioned, there’s just no real reason to shop there. I think it’s still around mainly because so many older people grew up with it and go there out of habit.

  124. goller321 says:

    @raminka: I have to disagree about the HD thing. HD USED to be decent, then Nardelli took over and completely demoralized the company but cutting pay almost in half and cutting staffing more than half. There was a slight rebound after he was axed, but since they aren’t really changing anything I doubt that will continue. It’s still a bunch of people that haven’t a clue about how to actually use the products they sell…. just like Sears. And people wonder why service has gone downhill this days.

  125. MSUHitman says:

    My recent bad experience was with KMart, but that is now part of Sears Holdings. I sent my story to the consumerist, but long story short, I tried to buy a video game 10 days early because they put it out on the shelf and after my credit card rang through, another employee took the games (tried to buy 3 copies) away saying I would be ARRESTED and thrown in JAIL if I bought the games because it’s ILLEGAL. They also lied to me about contacting the district manager and other things.

    I’ve lived in St. Louis for 4 years and that was the first and last time I’ll go into K-Mart, and I haven’t bought anything from Sears in probably as long a time.

  126. goller321 says:

    @Catperson: I forgot they bought out Lands End… That was a company that treated their employees well and made their clothes in America. Sears bought them out and now the reason the stuff doesn’t fit is because it’s imported crap from sweat shops in some Asian country.

  127. Jasoco says:

    Looks like I got out just in time. I worked for Kmart for 4 years and left last month because of how the store had fallen apart.

    I had planned on sticking with the company so I could watch it fall apart from the inside, but was pushed to the edge by the lies and deceit. I really don’t care if the company lasts into 2009 at this point. I betcha Wal-Mart would probably buy out the empty store if they left.

  128. n8srq says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Craftsman wrenches now say “Forged in USA” instead of “Made in USA”. My guess is that they have a forging plant in Texas or Oklahoma and then they ship the raw castings to Mexico for machining.

  129. bonzombiekitty says:

    I’m hesitant to shop at Sears again. It was such a fiasco trying to buy a vacuum cleaner and a table from them. The vacuum cleaner went OK, but the table was where the real problem was. I was going to open a credit account with sears and put the vacuum cleaner and the table on it since it was 0% interest for a year. the girl put gave me the credit and put the vacuum cleaner on it. But she didn’t have the table in the system when she did the credit application. So the credit I was given didn’t cover the table as well. It took over an hour to figure out that was the problem and I eventually just gave up and put it on my normal credit card. Then they delivered two chairs instead of the table. When they tried to refund me, they messed that up, putting a security hold on my card. Once that got straightened out and I re-ordered the table, they messed up trying to put the charge on my card, which put ANOTHER security hold on the card (they had been using the wrong expiration date).

  130. consumer_viewer says:

    Amazing timing, I was at Sears last night for the Photo Portrait Studio and had such a bad experience I planned to send in a comment to Consumerist. They had 2 people taking pictures who had little to no experience taking pictures or even working with little kids. They overbooked and had lots of people waiting with screaming kids, etc.

    After my photos were taken, which were not very good I was told to wait to get them. 30 minutes later I was still waiting as more and more people showed up to have pictures taken based on their appointments. I guess the appointments are just open since there seemed to be no limit to people coming.

    Once I told the girl I was leaving, she became agitated and even aggressive in her comments to me. I guess I just needed to wait a few hours for lousy pictures. I have had enough of Sears.

  131. mcrbpc says:

    I hate Sears and only go there with my boyfriend who only goes there for Craftsman tools. I purchased three tools for him (not doorbusters) on Monday morning at 8 am online and FINALLY got my confirmation email this morning (4 days later). Maybe I’m just used to other online retailers where the confirmation email is instantaneous…but that seemed ridiculous to me. I was beginning to worry that they just lost my order. I hear similar things have happenened due to Black Friday, but still…if you want to get your sales figures up, make it easy for customers to shop on your website.

  132. erratapage says:

    I hope Sears has someone watching Consumerist. I think that they need to do a serious brand re-positioning, focusing on the history of the brand and on the things they have always done well (appliances and hardware/tools). I’ve never been impressed with Sears customer service and have always put up with it to get quality products at reasonable prices.

    They seem to be in some Montgomery Wards place with their soft goods right now. I suspect that developing a Lands End (consider the void left by the departure of Casual Corner) type brand for women’s work clothes and a Victoria’s Secret styled brand for lingerie and then putting things together more like other department stores might solve that problem.

    I hope they turn things around. I’d really like to have someplace other than Macy’s and J.C. Penney to shop for clothes and Home Depot and Best Buy to shop for appliances.

  133. Propaniac says:

    It never occurs to me to go to a Sears for anything. I’m not even sure of all the stuff they sell. I did go to one recently with my dad, because he wanted to compare two Panasonic HDTV models and Best Buy only had one of them available. Panasonic had the other one, but the salesman (although he seemed quite nice) seemed very unfamiliar with the technology and the models available. They did have the TV my dad liked for a good price, though, so he bought it, but I would never have thought myself of going there to look at TVs.

    All the horrible customer service stories I’ve heard are a huge deterrent as well, of course. Also, even if I had no negative impression of their products or prices or service, my impression that they’re a company going down the tubes would be a deterrent, because I hate going into a store and being one of only a few customers; I feel pressured to buy stuff just because I feel sorry for the salesmen, I guess. I would rather go somewhere where I can be anonymous.

  134. Toast442 says:

    My last purchase at Sears was two years ago – a Craftsman lawn mower. Consumer Reports gave it a good review, but didn’t mention I had to sit in an non-air-conditioned prison cell (aka, waiting room) for two hours while they dug it out of the warehouse.

    Never again.

  135. dantsea says:

    Sears is much like the late Montgomery Ward: No longer relevant or able to effectively complete in today’s marketplace, having almost completely squandered their brand loyalty and quality.

    Ward’s investors and suppliers eventually realized the only sensible thing to do was close shop. Hopefully Sears will come to the same realization before things get really ugly.

  136. anatak says:

    Wow. 132 comments. This really struck a nerve. A lot of these are dead-on.

  137. catmomma says:

    I worked for Sears for 10 years, my mom worked there for 15 and my Dad for 35. My family watched that company go down the toilet and we all left in around 1998. Next March I will celebrate 10 years away from retail hell.

    I shopped there regularly when I worked there and growing up because of the discount and the family connection with the company. Now I go into a store (I have a Sears Essentials near me) and it is just depressing. It is dirty, the products are crap, the employees are not happy campers.

    Now I only go there for appliances and that just does not happen all that often anymore. I bought a stove last year elsewhere because Sears could not help me.

  138. ideagirl says:

    @chouchou: “Or just do what they still do in Canada : clean stores, trained staff and good customer service.”

    That is much too obvious of a solution for the average US corporate leader…

  139. assirac says:

    I acutally buy a lot of clothes from Lands’ End, which was purchased by Sears a few years ago. (I guess that makes me an old lady?) I was excited to hear that Sears would start carrying the clothes in stores, but it’s been a let-down. They never have the size and styles I want, so I just went back to ordering directly from the L.E. website.

    On another note, I registered for wedding gifts at Sears this year, since the hubby and I had plenty of dishes but needed tools and small appliances. The majority of employees there had no clue how to use the registry system. As a result, we received duplicates of lots of gifts, presumably because the cashiers didn’t bother to mark the items as purchased from a registry.

    Trying to return the duplicate gifts was a total nightmare. They were unopened, on the registry, and we were only trying to exchange them for gift cards, for heaven’s sake. I had to escalate all the way up to the store manager and suffer through a patronizing lecture about how I should have demanded the receipts from my wedding guests. It was unbelievable, considering that my registry brought them a lot of business.

    Maybe they should consider being nice to their customers, and maybe we’ll come back again.

  140. TWSS says:

    Oh dear. My husband and I are planning to shop for a new mattress and he just sent me a link to one at… wait for it… SEARS. Yeah, no.

  141. pyloff says:

    I used to shop at sears. The craftsman brand was good. But they changed their tape measures. Now you can’t return them for a replacement…

    That shook up the construction industry for a bit.

  142. pyloff says:

    Contrary to all the marketing homo’s who posted before me…

  143. pyloff says:

    “freshening of the brand”…

  144. dchat says:

    While Sears does have many challenges, there are a lot of upsides. If you notice in this years Consumer Reports, Sears was rated ahead of stores like Lowes, BestBuy, HomeDepot, and Circuit City as best place to buy electronics and appliances.

    Furthermore, Sears website consistently ranks in the top five of online retail sites for monthly hits. Having shopped from many different sites, Sears has at least as good as website as other competition.

    In appliances, it’s true that Sears has lost market share to Lowes and HomeDepot. However, Sears continues to have the largest market share by a long shot (over 34%). Kenmore is still the number one selling brand of appliances. And of course, Kenmore has more number 1 rated appliances in Consumer Reports in comparison to any brand.

    #1 electric stove

    #1 dishwasher

    #1 canister vac and upright vac

    #1microwave

    #2 top load washer

    … plus many others rated in the top five. No other brand of appliances comes close to matching the reputation, value, and market share of Kenmore.

    Sears does have lots of work to do. But that’s true of any retailer. So, maybe it’s time to take a second look.

  145. Rode2008 says:

    Their credit cards have rates comparable to Pay Day loan companies.

    “Sears Tower” is an anagram for “Worse Rates”

    Check it out -use all the letters and rearrange them.
    Sears tower is an anagram for Worse Rates. How revealing

  146. Fizzle000 says:

    Quite a while ago I spent $600 on new tires at Sears. The right front
    promptly blew out causing major damage to the rim when it hit the pavement.

    Sears agreed to replace the tire with one that did not match the other
    3 (out of stock) and flat-out refused to pay for the damage to the rim.

    Bottom line: I never went back there to shop for anything more than a $10 gift.

  147. reykjavik says:

    their stores look like concrete gulags. No paint, no pictures, absolutely nothing inviting about their stores. They have 50 thousand different exists to each store, and each exist is filled with wind swept crap and potential muggings.

    This is absolutely 100% a brand that is desperately in need of a facelift and full overhaul. But it won’t happen because Sears is classically on autopilot and not at all innovative. Concrete earth-tone bare-walled stores was cool in the 70’s. Last time I checked, its not the 70’s anymore despite the VietNam war still going on in Iraq.

  148. Kounji says:

    In order to survive as a business you must excel at some aspect. If its not prices, than its quality. If its not location than its perhaps technology. If its not customer service than its operations. It seems that sears current management forgot what it takes to gain a competitive advantage in the 21st century. Paying employee purely on a commission may have been a way of motivating workers in the past but it will not work in a world filled with unions or combination pay ( commission + base) that’s not how you’re going to attract a competitive work force.

    I could even start a list on what they need to compete.

    1) Rebranding. Brand yourself as america’s store emphasize craftsman and don’t settle for selling cheap tools, make yourself the envy of other retailers. Set a focus, don’t try to compete in too many business in one set of store space. Reinvest stores bring them up to date. Take the bottom floor of any sears and make that into its own store and create a competitive advantage there. Tools and Electronics, and home ware items. Spin off the sears clothing side into a completely new brand and hire new buyers. Clothing lives and dies on youth, especially young girls. Higher younger buyers and be willing to take chances on clothing.

    2) Customer Service- Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes have better employees because they invest in their employee livelihood. A pure commission based store will not cut it. Especially if you want to hang on to the older crowd. Customers should be able to take smaller items off the shelf, and if they are expensive and require lock up the employees should be the ones retrieving and not the customer, either that or the customer should receive the product has soon as they get to the register, just like how the appliances are handled.

    3) Invest- If you decide to keep kmart you need to take advantage of prevailing technology and processes in retailing that make sure you have items in stock, and allow you to have lower margins to stay competitive.This is will cost money but that’s what needs to be done. Give K-Marts complete remodels I can’t stand to walk in that store anymore its just dirty, the tile is old the flourescent lighting makes my eyes hurt K-mart stores should have a consistent warm color scheme ala target or walmart that doesn’t push you out of the store fast.

    4) Advertize-

    5) Make online work better- Sears power is in the catalog, the modern day catalog is online. They jumped on the bandwagon late but that doesn’t mean online should be completely phoned in.

    (Firing your current c.e.o and hiring someone younger who might be willing to change, or trying to buy someone who actually was successful in bringing Lowe’s ,Target, or even Wal-Mart into the modern age.

  149. ON_WISCONSIN says:

    @econobiker:
    Last time I checked the Midwest wasn’t a bunch of farmers and yoopers. Been to Chicago or Minneapolis lately? Even up here around Brew City we don’t dress like Green Acres. People know how to indulge on expensive, trendy clothing. Believe it or not many Midwesterners have a connection to the outside world…we’ve had it as long as you ‘coasters’ have.

    Anyway, I’m in the same boat that hasn’t been to a Sears in years. Had a microwave go out on us about 6 years or so back; haven’t been inside one since.

    Why? No reason. Can get the same stuff cheaper at different stores. One location in a mall outside of Milwaukee and that’s all (20min away), while there’s a Costco & Target that just went up only 5 min away, and soon to be Best Buy (although I won’t go to the latter due to a wonder thing called the Internet…). I wouldn’t care if that location (sears) would close. Same with our KMart (and that was in our town).

  150. muchalotto says:

    I have worked for Sears since 1993. Please let me clear up some misconceptions from the comments I have read.
    1.) Kmart did not buy Sears … Sears did not buy Kmart. Edward Lampert who owned a holding property corp. of which Kmart was one of it’s properties, purchased a substantial percentage of Sears shares and proposed a merger. The merger was approved by Sears stockholders and the SEC. We are now sister companies under a new holding company called Sears Holding Corporation SHLD. Edward Lampert is the director.
    2.) Post merger some employees at Sears and Kmart were replaced or directed to reapply for their positions not just Kmart employees. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon practice while restructuring after an M&A.
    3.) Sears never has manufactured anything in its 100 year plus history! It is a retailer like Target, Lowes, Pennys etc… it never has been or will ever be a manufacturer.
    4.) Sears has not owned a credit card division in close to ten years now it sold out to Citi Card many years ago they set the interest and late fee policy not Sears.
    5.) The quality of products that Sears sells is comparable to other retailers as we sell brand names like Sharp, Hitachi, Whirlpool, Maytag, Dewalt etc … and we sell a few that are exclusive to our stores (Kenmore, Craftsman etc…) but again we do not manufacture anything.
    6.) If you have purchased a product that develops a problem, and it’s outside of the return period or manufacturer warranty you’ll have to pay for the repair. It works that way for every retailer in the world. Some retailers have longer return periods some have the same but once you breech that period it’s between you and the manufacturer or if out of warranty it’s the buyers responsibility.
    7.) We (as do many other retailers) offer extended contracts on items we sell and Sears can support it with over 6000 in-home service technicians we make more than one million service calls a month no other service provider can make that claim we are the largest in the United States. If you want that added protection on your products no matter where you buy them from our repair service is available.
    8.) Sears does indeed have a website and we were one of the first of the mega retailers that I know of to have a site indexed to our extensive product base with a fully functional POS interface. Lowes. Target and Home depot were just semi-functional look-up sites at the time. We broke that barrier first.
    9.) The fashions at Sears are not designed only for “Old Women” and they’re probably not going to appeal to teenagers either. I haven’t worked in retail clothing however I get a sense that our clothes style targets young to middle age working professionals, children’s, toddlers etc… and probably wont appeal to those with avant-garde fashion in mind. I don’t believe this is driven by us being “old fashioned” it’s simply a demographic that we try to reach. Maybe it’s time to extend that market we sure could use the sales.
    10.) Customer service issues at Sears are real and it’s very sad. As an employee shopping at Sears I have witnessed it many times especially in the last 5 years or so. No excuses here we need to get a lot better at serving the customer.
    Based on the comments I read customer service is pretty much the underlying theme and if that experience is unpleasant shoppers have many other choices available. We use to have a motto “Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back”. Personally I believe that motto greatly contributed to Sears success story over the last century. I for one would like to see our company’s mission statement change to “Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed” again. Hopefully we can make it to the 22nd century living by that one.

  151. pilif12p says:

    I was just at sears and i wanted to buy a water filter. We were alos looking at lawnmowers. We were there looking at mowers for at least 20 minutes, nobody even offered to help us. We went for the filter abd almost paid for it but, we got a thing in the mail for some money off. It didn’t work so we went to another checkout and asked for the manager and all they said is, “Uh… We don’t know who it is at this time.” We just left. Sears don’t give a crap about (most) of their costomers.

  152. Anonymous says:

    My husband had a Kenmore washer purchased from Sears when we married, it needed repair. I called and was told it would take 4 days for an appt and was given an 9 hour window. The appt date comes and I wait 5 hrs, I see the Sears truck drive by twice but it doesn’t stop and no one calls. I call to verify arrival time and the jerk on the phone couldn’t speak english clearly, I asked where the call center was located and was hung up on. I called back, asked for a manager, yet another english challenged individual starts drilling me with questions, I insisted on speaking to a manager. FINALLY someone that speaks english gets on the phone and they proceed to tell me that no appt was made when I initially called and I was offerred an appt 2 weeks out from my initial call. I was livid that I had wasted an entire day waiting for an appt that was never scheduled and had been hung up on. I also complained about the inability of the phone staff being able to communicate clearly in english and was advised by the sears “manager” that I was racist and sears was an EEO, I replied that maybe if their EEO employees could properly speak and understand english that maybe sears wouldn’t have wasted my time and failed to provide any service. I am ready to toss any and every product remotely connected to Sears in the trash and replace it with merchandise from a company that RESPECTS any customer that spends money in their business. Sears is the most unprofessional company I have EVERY encountered and if they close their doors, it won’t have any impact in the retail industry. Shame on you Sears, in this economy, you should not only attempt to provide reasonable service but do it with out insulting your customers.