7 Confessions Of A Sears Electronics Salesperson

A Sears electronics salesperson has generously offered to share some insider knowledge of how the game is played at Sears. Inside you’ll learn why you shouldn’t buy the extended warranty, why the salesperson keeps steering you towards one certain brand, and the pricing codes that tell you whether or not you’re buying a discontinued product. Enjoy!

1. MPA’s (Master Protection Agreements) for HDTV’s, Cameras and some Gaming Consoles

These are the biggest lie in the world! Never EVER believe what the associates tell you. The agreements cover nothing. When I started we were trained telling customers that the Master Protection Agreements would cover anything on the TV, including a single dead pixel on both LCD and Plasma TV’s. However since January, the warranty has stopped covering this, and numerous people have been returning TV’s for this very reason. If you read the fine print, all the Master Protection Agreement is an extension of the Manufacturer’s warranty. So for most companies, this covers only the defects that come from the factory and not “normal usage”. Also on TV’s, the Preventive Maintance Check is a joke. A tech will come to your house, but all they will do is turn on the TV and say it works. As for your cameras, its the same as the TV’s and if the techs even remotely think your camera was dropped, they will reject it and that would be end of your call. DO NOT BUY THESE they are useless, no matter what the salesman says.

2. Sears Credit Application

Never sign up for a new sears card. Associates are told to push credit no matter what. Even if there is a “0%” or a rebate its not worth it. If you forget about the 0%, most of the sears cards have a 25.8% Interest rate that will catch up with you. It is more than not worth it. Also, there is a high chance that unless you have stellar credit, you won’t get approved due to the Citi Bank issued cards now. Also, if you forget your Sears card and the associate says you’re not in the system MAKE SURE THEY SHOW YOU THE REGISTER SCREEN. Some stores have been so desperate to get credit that customers that have accounts and forgot their cards will look you up, your information will be there, but they will say its not and then make you apply for a new one. This is by far the worst aspect of sears and make sure that you read the whole fine print BEFORE you sign that dotted line.

3. Sears.com Returns

As an associate, I will say never buy anything off Sears.com. 99% of the time the .com orders will not include the proper documentation for a return. This then requires you to either find your email confirmation, or calling up Sears.com to get the information. Then if your lucky you’ll be able to do a return, but not first without proving who you are by State ID’s and also managers approval for the return. This whole process can take over an hour and I have had some that have lasted as long as 3. Also, the Consumerist is right when they say that orders get all screwed up, this happens so often, it makes Sears look like it’s online store is run by idiots.

4. Accessories

I will tell you that the HDMI cable you buy from Sears is overpriced and if you have a computer you should buy it online. Associates are trained to push accessories more than anything else. That cable will cost you almost 75% less from an online retailer than buying it in-store. Be educated about the product you’re buying, because associates are trained to push products that you don’t even need. Keep this all in mind before you buy the accessories. I will say though, some of sales that you may find with Memory cards can be less than online retailers, but always do your homework before buying.

5. Price Matching

This is the biggest misconception of all time. No where does a Sears ad say this, but for Sears to price match another store they MUST have the PRODUCT IN STOCK. and when I say in stock I mean in the store ready for you to buy. The associate has to call and find out if in fact it is there and if it isn’t, your out of luck. Also, Sears won’t take care of past products that were bought if in the 30 days the product goes lower two times, you only get one shot — not mentioned anywhere. So you can only price match one time for your product. And if your product goes to a discontinued or clearance, you can’t match it if you bought it at that price. Finally if something is a “Great Price” you can’t price match that either….. This leads me to my next point…

6. Price Codes

There are various codes that sears uses that even the consumer can figure out and see if an Associate is snowballing them or is giving them a good deal. Here is the chart. These are all based upon the cents in the dollar.

.88 – Discontinued. This means that Sears will no longer be carrying that model and 99.9% of the time you can’t get a new one.
.97 – Clearance. This means that it has gone beyond Discontinued and is on the fast track to being thrown out. Note that this is for Electronics. The other parts of the store use .97 instead of .88 (Exception is Appliances and Tools)
.93 – Clearance – Same as .97, except these products could be much older.
.99 – Normal Price/Sale
.00 – Great Price – Items bought at this price code can’t be price matched

7. Do your homework, very rarely trust the associate

Associates that work in Electronics are given an “Advanced Commission” sheet that gives them extra money for selling a certain product. Understand that they will always first show you all the TV’s or cameras that are on this list first before anything else. Know what you WANT and don’t listen to them when it comes to your electroics. However, most associates can tell you about the differences in TV’s and Cameras if you are confused, but trust consumer reports, cnet, Gizmodo etc before a sales associate.

Comments

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  1. BugMeNot2 says:

    Brilliant. Making someone apply for a 2nd card. Brilliantly evil, that is.

  2. CUBSWILLWIN says:

    This is gold. Thanks consumerist! Now I know all about the secrets of electronic retailers (well most)

  3. Scalvo2 says:

    The only thing I don’t agree with is the price matching. I worked in appliances. We price matched things not in stock, but we also push Kenmore which is Sears only.

    You also forgot to mention the life insurance that associates are made to push onto customers.

  4. jwarner132 says:

    Wow I almost thought I was reading an article about Best Buy.

  5. friendlynerd says:

    Last time I was in a Sears I was approached by a sales associate about vinyl siding while in the clothing department. Seriously?!?

  6. DeepFriar says:

    In other words – don’t buy electronics from Sears. Gotcha

    So if you’re keeping score at home, that makes
    - Appliances
    - Tools
    - Electronics

  7. Pro-Pain says:

    This is exactly why Sears is dying a slow retail death. I haven’t shopped there in years. When will CEO’s actually DO SOMETHING to HELP a chain other than just lead it to the retail funeral home while getting a big paycheck to do it. Sad. Twenty plus years ago Sears actually served a purpose. Now nobody cares. Bye Sears.

  8. @jwarner132: Naah. Sears is Best Buy’s grandpa. The original retail ripoff joint. The best thing to do there is ALWAYS PAY CASH.

    Anyway, I’m a hypocrite because I signed up for a card the last time I went there. Bought a $27 bucket of detergent and did the card because they gave me $15 off my first purchase. $12 for a five-gallon bucket of high-efficiency detergent good for 275 washes ain’t a bad deal. When I get the bill, I’ll pay it, shred the card, and close my account. Since I usually pay cash for stuff, there is virtually no chance I’ll do what I heard (from here) other people were doing, which was to forget they had a 0% interest deal on something big like a washing machine and buy something else before paying off the balance. Thanks, Consumerist, for reminding me of that hot tip.

  9. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @DeepFriar:

    In even fewer words, don’t buy anything from Sears.

  10. CMU_Bueller says:

    @DeepFriar: I’ll agree on everything except tools, mainly Craftsman and the lifetime warranty. It doesn’t matter how it broke, how obviously it was misused or how old the tool is, they have never asked questions. They just exchange it for a new one.

  11. consumersaur says:

    The real question is: Who buys anything from a Sears?

  12. Goatweed says:

    I would never buy electronics from Sears unless they had something that I knew was a solid product and at a great price to boot – which almost never happens.

    Regarding MPA’s though, I do recommend them for home appliances. I grew up with Kenmore appliances and they’re still regarded as fairly “solid” but when I bought my fridge I got the 5 year plan and made use of it within the first 6 months (the water feed line for the ice maker froze up because whoever installed the tube @ the factory, they did so by twisting it and caused an eventual blockage of ice to form). I also made use of the (at that time) Sears Mastercard for 0% financing and planned the payments to be paid in full within 10 months. I still have the cards today and plan on using it when I buy a new stove (assuming when I do so it also provides 0% over XX months).

    With regard to the original topic, I couldn’t agree more. Going to Sears and asking the Electronics people whats a good TV to buy is just asking for trouble, nevermind trusting them to give me a “great warranty plan”.

    Be informed, not misled!

  13. friendlynerd says:

    @Steaming Pile:
    It’s funny you mention the detergent, because it’s the ONLY reason I go there, ever. Thankfully with the amount of detergent in that tub, it’s very rare that I have to go.

  14. Scalvo2 says:

    @Goatweed: At my Sears the MPA doesn’t cover the ice maker.

  15. wellfleet says:

    @Steaming Pile: How absolutely idiotic! Applying for a new credit card to save $15 and then shutting it down looks like “erratic credit behavior” and does damage to your credit score. How can a Consumerist reader do that? Paying cash is a terrible idea. If you lose your receipt, odds are you’ll never be found in a system if you need to make a return. Plus, if you read refund policies of many major retailers, if you pay cash over a certain amount, they have to mail you a refund in the form of a check. For example, if you paid $375 cash for something at BBY, you cannot get a cash refund and must wait 7-10 days for a check. Bad, bad advice…

  16. satoru says:

    #7 is true in most commission based stores. Usually a specific product will have an additional commission for a week or two. Thus, the associate will try to convince you to purchase that product if possible.

    This can be disguised as ‘honest advice’ or a ‘tip’. Commonly they would say “Well if you want honest opinion, I really thing X is the best way to go.” or “I have X myself and I love it”. Alternatively “You know we get a lot of returns on Y. But almost no returns on X” if you’re flip flopping between 2 models.

    Before you really had to rely on the knowledge of the sales person to understand and compare items. But with the internet and review sites everywhere, you should really only go into the store to
    1) Try out a device before buying. It’s usually good to do this for cameras, to see if they feel right in your hand.
    2) Buy the device outright without consulting the sales people

  17. kenblakely says:

    @Steaming Pile: Wow. You consented to a hard credit pull for a measly 15 bux. You *are* a steaming pile…..

  18. scoosdad says:

    @Pro-Pain: And I’m just old enough to remember as a kid, the heyday of Sears where they had storefronts in most small towns with a business district (this is like 30-40 years ago). You’d find something in the catalog, call the local store, place the order over the phone, and in a week to ten days, the storekeeper would call to say your order was in. Most times you’d know the person by name since they were someone local.

    You’d walk in, step up the counter and give your name, and your stuff would be on a shelf behind the counter. And in ten minutes you’d be home again enjoying your purchases. If there was a problem, you’d call the local store or stop by when you were out running errands, and they’d take care of any issues or exchanges for you. We very rarely ever had to drive “to the city” to go to a real Sears store.

    And the internet has improved on this?

  19. unklegwar says:

    Working at sears also totally destroys your writing ability, it seems.

  20. Snarkysnake says:

    Seven confessions of a former Sears Customer:

    1)Your prices haven’t been competitive in years. That’s why you are a last resort,a place where you end up,not start out.

    2) Your stores have that dirty,run down,”halo of retail death” feeling.I know you’re going bust,and you know that I know. why play games ?

    3)Assfucking what few customers that you have left with your silly finance games is stu-pid. Why not try treating them the way you would like to be treated ?

    4) Sears Essentials is neither.Take this dog out behind the barn and kill it with an ax.The last time I went in the one nearby,there were six other customers in the store at 7:30 P.M. Six.

    5)You moved a lot of your U.S.A. sourcing to China.(especially tools) Smart move…The shit is cheap and flimsy,and you know it. The “cost savings” may “cost” you what little goodwill you may have had left.Hope it was worth it.

    6)The fashions belong at a low rent flea market in a third world country.Wear these and tell the world that you’re poor and not especially proud.

    7)You don’t give two shits about items 1-6,so why should we give a hoot in hell whether you survive ?

  21. eirrom says:

    What is the story with Sears and their detergent? I always thought that was a weird item for them to sell.

    That part about tricking the customer into applying for a 2nd (or 3rd or more) credit card is really priceless. Just a nice honest company. Glad to see they are doing so well also. Everyone I know shops there cuz they always have the cutting edge products :(

  22. alejo699 says:

    So I guess even a company that’s been around forever can’t learn the lesson that screwing the consumer isn’t the way to stay in business. Burn in hell, Sears.

  23. Goatweed says:

    @Scalvo2 : Maybe that’s a new directive, when I opted for it I made sure that the ice maker and control panel were covered (I was told that with these side-by-side models, those things are usually the trouble spots) and they were indeed covered. Ironically I recently discovered that the 5 year plan has since expired and I’m wondering why Sears didn’t call me 6 months prior to remind me and suggest renewing at a discount.

  24. humphrmi says:

    Back in the olden days, the Sears extended warranties were great. They even offered them on stuff you didn’t buy at Sears. And they were phenomenal. I once bought an on-display VGA monitor that had a dead green gun. Bought that for pennies on the dollar, plus the extended warrantee. Took it home, called Sears, said “I have a VGA monitor with a dead green gun”. Sears came out with a new one, confirmed the one I had was dead, did the swap there, and off they went to their next adventure. Brand new VGA monitor for about the price of the warrantee. Same thing with other appliances, one little thing went wrong and they were out to fix or replace it.

    If they still offered those, they would be the only exception to the “don’t buy the extended warrantee” rule. Too bad.

  25. catcherintheeye says:

    Sears anchor stores blow, but the hardware stores are still good – I’ve got one right by my place and wouldn’t go anywhere else.

  26. fukngrvn says:

    i bought my HDTV from sears along with the surround sound and i got a great deal. i didnt buy the cables etc because any self-respecting computer guy wouldnt pay $40 for a HDMI cable. but all-in-all i was satisified with my purchase and i even put it on my sears card to get the 0% interest. i have until 1/1/10 to pay it off and right now im on track to have it paid off in 6 months.

    its not all bad.

  27. ilovespammerz says:

    wow this is my first comment, I usually don’t like to make a post and wait like a day to see its results but this time it might be interesting.
    I worked at sears for a while and hated it due to the fact that sales people are not my kind of people. Anyways, most of the things this guy is saying is very unethical and isn’t actually pushed on the sales people. None of the guys I worked with pulled that double credit card scam. Also where I worked, they’ll let you return almost anything. It was overall very good customer service. I and another sales associate even went to people’s houses twice to assemble their tv stands and set it up for them for free.
    The only thing that was true was the lying about protection agreements. Even the top salesmen lied to me and insured me that it was protected when I pointed out to him some of the clauses. For all I know, he might’ve truly believed it himself. What is real though is the pressured culture of pushing sales people to sell protection agreements. It got to the point where my coworkers would make fun of me and other people for not being able to sell any protection agreements. I personally did not want to because it was too damn unethical and I’d usually advised them against it. And of course, lets not forget about the monster cables!
    Also, its almost impossible to get fired from this place. I could’ve sat on my ass all day and they’d just be mad at me. The manager was extremely good at dealing with people and extremely polite and easy going. I would never buy a protection agreement but I always bought electronics from there if I didn’t buy it online.

  28. christoj879 says:

    I guess they changed Great Price items from .98 to .00. I used to work at a Sears myself, and can attest to all of this. It’s a lot worse than the poster lets on, you can read about it here – [www.retail-worker.com] where the employees go to vent about everything. If you don’t work there, it’s a real eye-opener. If you do, it’s just another day in paradise.

  29. lonewolf333 says:

    I can’t remember the last time I set foot in a Sears store. Only people shop there.

  30. ViperBorg says:

    @jwarner132: No no no no… when you read articles like this with Best Buy as the store, you think it’s Sears. Sears is the original bullshitter in the business.

  31. lonewolf333 says:

    @lonewolf333: I can’t remember the last time I set foot in a Sears store. Only old people shop there.

  32. dragonfire81 says:

    Most of these rules apply to just about anywhere that sells electronics and has associates on commission sales.

  33. nikkomorocco says:

    i’m going to quiz my brother on this, he works in the tool dept at a sears. he says that the electronics guys are all sleazy idiots, but we shall see.

  34. backbroken says:

    @humphrmi: What is a dead green gun, and why did your monitor come with one?

  35. zentex says:

    @CMU_Bueller: amen. BUT realize that the lifetime, no questions exchange is on hand-tools only.

  36. Peeved Guy says:

    @lonewolf333: Thanks for clearing that up, I was confused for a minute.

  37. jadenton says:

    I like Sears. I walk through the store every time I go to the mall. They always have plenty of parking in their part of the lot.

  38. Jim says:

    @CMU_Bueller: I agree, every time somebody adds a helpful “Why does anyone still shop at Sears?” to the comments, I like to think of my garage full of Craftsman stuff. I hope some other retailer will pick up Craftsman when Sears dies. I have to think the Craftsman products are a major reason Sears still exists.

  39. Jim says:

    @zentex: But other exchanges are similarly hassle-free, from my experience, if you’re within the 90 days or whatever. I returned a battery last week caked in mud and didn’t get any trouble about it. They asked what happened, I told the kid I dropped it in the crawlspace, he checked my receipt for the date and swapped it out.

  40. hellbent says:

    wow, so much hate for sears… ive found some great bargains there recently, and i dont go to the mall often. most times i order things online but have found recently that shipping is getting jacked up to the point that buying locally makes more sense. i just got a sony 40″ hd lcd tv for under $1000

    i think alot of those confessions/rules posted apply to any electronics store. or any job that pays on commission really. when i worked selling alcohol on commission i sure did push whatever paid the most. and this was 10 years ago.

  41. Rode2008 says:

    Having worked seasonal at Sears – in Home Electronics – I can affirm all the above points of the O.P.

    On a weekly basis, all the associates who did not “make the Maintenance Agreement numbers” would have to attend a meeting wherein they would be forced to “role-play” hypothetical customer interactions. I never quite understood this – it was like the blind leading the blind because all the attendees were “losers” (to the extent that they failed to meet their quotas of protection agreements). What possible benefits could one learn in this environment of role-plays? Usually there was one “seasoned” manager overseeing the rituals who generally couldn’t sell anyway.

    SOme of the tricks shared (again by those who did not have luck deploying them – else they wouldn’t be in the meeting anyway) were like something out of the movie ‘Tin Men” (aluminum siding sales reps).

    It was an amazingly depressing experience! Working for a company on a death spiral, working amongst a group of underpaid, under-motivated schmucks (I was one, then).

  42. humphrmi says:

    @backbroken: Old VGA monitor technology was called roughly “RGB” – Red, Green, Blue – because each monitor had three “guns” inside which basically rendered one color on one or more pixels on the screen. By putting two colors next to each other, it fooled your eyes into seeing the color as a blend and thus you could get the full spectrum of colors. When one of the “guns” (sorry I don’t remember the technical name for them) died, you got a picture that was off-color. Basically it was a component that was broken, and while difficult to fix is very easy to identify. Hence it took the repair technician no more than 30 seconds to see that he needed to replace the monitor.

    Unfortunately, as far as the technology goes, I’ve been doing this for so long that I’ve forgotten more than I know.

  43. exhifiguy says:

    Well i spent 20 years (i’m 47) selling mid to high end hifi and video.
    It was a local place, family owned and for the longest time we focused on what was best for the customer. I really enjoyed selling something to someone that i would have bought myself. We sold extended warranties but never pushed them. We sold better cables but only to people that could appreciate their value. We took returns without a 3rd degree and restocking fees.
    I was on a salary and commission but didn’t try to nickel and dime people to death. Those were the good old days. Probably 5 years ago the store went with a model based more on what Sears or Best Buy do. Which is focus on selling accessories and warranties and custom install. They lost focus on what the customer needed. I left the business 3 years ago. Couldn’t take the new way of doing business. I still see people in town that i sold to over the years and they always tell me how much they still love their equipment. It’s a great feeling.

  44. @wellfleet: I have no further need for credit, so what do I care what the credit bureaus think about me? I’ve paid my bills on time for going on thirty years, and if that’s not good enough for them, then they can go f*** themselves.

  45. APowerCosmic says:

    Wow, I used to work for Sears as well and this guy forgot a fair bit! I could easily add 7 more to that list. For example, when you apply for a Sears card, you aren’t just getting your app run once, they do it twice. One for the Citibank, and once for HSBC. They have two versions of the Sears card, you see.

    Another thing he forgot to mention apparently is that there are separate return rules for products like telephones. You see, they also have a phone replacement program that is nigh impossible to take advantage of because you have to prove it was a manufacturer’s defect to get the replacement for free. And if that phone isn’t made anymore, you get a cheaper phone than the price you paid for the original.

    Consumerist, I can give you so much more! :)

  46. tkozikow says:

    We have a Sears card with a $2500 balance which we use a few times a year, often for tires or tools, but always keep the balance at $0. A few weeks ago we receieved a coupon good for $30 off a $100 purchase which we thought would be easy. Wrong! After nearly an hour wandering the store we had our $100 worth of stuff and left.

    Several of the items, however, were for our daughter and she didn’t like anything we bought. The next weekend I went to make the return (entering the store near hardware) and asked an associate where I could make a return and was told that I could use any register. As I approached the group of 3-5 associates and started to pull the items (bras, pair of jeans, sweater, winter jacket)one of the more senior employees told me that I needed to take this downstairs since it was not their department. I pointed to the sign above his head which said “returns” and told him that this was more convenient for me. He grudgingly made the return explaining that he would do this ‘just this one time’.

    My feeling is that the associates should take this up with management, not customers.

  47. u1itn0w2day says:

    2-Sears Credit Application-’make sure you see the screen’-I’ve had this happen alot at banks.

    Once I opened a new account an agent continued to ask me the same information:she said she was just entering it into the computer-about a week later I recieved the bank’s credit card.The second time I lost my ATM card and a customer service rep asked my information several times-she said it didn’t take the first time-I was able to see the screen-it was a credit application,she told me I was eligible for the banks credit card.

    Quotas and incentives equal pressure to lie,cheat and steal in any place.

  48. Wimpkins says:

    @DeepFriar:

    4. Automotive

  49. r4__ says:

    @humphrmi: yes, “gun” is the proper technical term. They’re electron guns, they shoot electrons at a screen. That causes the area you hit to light up.
    The gun is a vacuum tube, and thus one of the wonky ways for a CRT to die is that one color goes out (stops sending nearly as many electrons).
    (Another way it dies is by just dimming over time — if you have to maximize your TV’s contrast to the point that red is bleeding to the right in order to see it comfortably, you need a new TV.)

  50. sleepydumbdude says:

    Yeah I used to work there too. We would run the credit twice, once for the Mastercard then again for the sears card. We got 2 dollars (sometimes 3) per application at the time.
    Also their extended warranties are a joke, sometimes you can even talk the salesman into lowering the price if you buy it. I worked in hardware not in electronics though. We would get more money on the (PA)warranties so I was happy to call up my manager to do it. Then if you wanted bring it back within like 30 days I think and get the warranty taken off.
    Around Christmas we had many employees lower the price on goods and then add the warranty just to get more commission. Since they were mostly seasonal anyways they didn’t care if they got fired.

  51. ManPurse says:

    I will just ad to chorus of people saying Sears Sucks!

  52. Robobot says:

    My boyfriend just got a job as a Sears electronics salesperson. (A terrible job is better than no job at all.) He starts next Tuesday. I should print this out so he can get in some early training!

    The guy he is replacing is one of his close friends. This guy pulled every trick trying to sell us things we didn’t need and pushing products we didn’t want when we purchased a camera from him. He has known my boyfriend since middle school and he still acted like a slimeball and treated us like dirt!

  53. nickshutts says:

    I’m not quite sure where you get your information. How long have you worked for Sears? I’ve worked for Sears for almost three years and can invalidate most of the things you said without even doing research on it.

    1. MPA’s cover much, much more than the manufacturers warranty. Maybe you have not received the proper training, which wouldn’t surprise me, but you are very, very wrong. There is much more than meets the eye to an MPA. Original Manufacturer Warranties generally cover defects only, which generally happen very quickly after you begin using the product. MPA’s literally cover almost anything aside from knocking the TV to the floor. I have never had a customer complaint about service not covering their purchase, ever.

    2. This is total crap. By saying “some stores” you are saying that it isn’t your store, and if it isn’t your store, than you can’t be for sure. FLS get absolutely nothing for a non-decisionable application, ever. I don’t get my 2/4 dollars, the store gets nothing, everyone loses. Even more, a NDCA does not even effect parity or APO. No store would risk all that with something so unethical if there was no chance of gain.

    3. If you can’t call the .com and get a SC and RC, process the return and if need be get an approval in less than ten minutes, you might want to consider another career path. The Burger King in my town is accepting applications.

    4. Now would be a good time to let you know that I am currently an HI associate, but I’ll make this one real quick for you. You order that $14.99 HDMI cable off eBay, and compare it to your $49.99 one side-by-side. Thank you.

    5. I can’t say that I’ve ever ran into this problem with the “in-stock” policy. I have never once been told to make sure something was in stock. If this is the policy, so be it, that’s what a policy is for and maybe I need to review it. I am sure there is fine print for all of this somewhere, but like I said, this is all off the cuff. By the way, you most certainly can price-match a great price item. The price point of the item has nothing to do with the price matching policy. If you find any item at a local competitor cheaper, less shipping, than we will match the price and give you 10% of the difference. This has nothing to do with great price.

    6. You are not too far off on this one. Any creature with a brain can figure out the pricing codes. .98 is great price though, good try. If by chance in your market .00 is great price, then hats off to you on getting one thing right. Any associate that actually possesses some selling skill doesn’t need to try and snowball their customer. Maybe you’ve seen this personally because your department is a bunch of dimwits, but how dare you make it appear as a regular practice.

    7. Once again, this is not a problem with Sears, it is a common sense and moral issue. There are two ways to approach this, the fast money way, and the long term money way. I’ll break it down for you.

    A. You get your “Advanced Commission Sheets” and see that T.V. A is currently paying 5%. A customer comes in looking for something at a cheaper price point. Eventually, you pressure them into this one. Now you get two more options. You can either spend the commission you make on it, or you can leave it in the bank, because guess what? That T.V. is coming back. And their going to be so angry at you for selling something they didn’t need, their going to go over and talk to that other rookie in the department. Now, instead of a decent sale, you got greedy and in return you get no sale, nothing.

    B. You actually figure out the customer’s needs, set them up with a unit right for them, and enjoy the commission because 99% of the time, you get to keep it. Does the phrase “Discovery Question” mean anything to you. How about “Customers For Life”?

    In any case, I recommend choice B.

    Perhaps you should hit up some CyberScholar this weekend and leave the sales floor to someone who actually understands how it works and has the ability to run it.

    So before you try and run down your own employer, maybe you should sit back and reflect on your own personal selling strategies. I occasionally see things go on in my store that shouldn’t, but due to the positive energy in our store, I am talking once in a blue moon.

    In the end, guess who takes home the best dollar? Thats right, the real salesmen; the ones that are not only there for themselves, but are there for the customers.

    Good luck with your career if you decide to stay with Sears. I recommend you don’t, someone that goes behind the companies back to a website like this probably shouldn’t be hanging around. If you have a problem with something you see, grow a set and bring it up. If there’s one thing this company is lacking, it’s courage. Be brave, tell someone how you feel. Don’t become like the others you see act like this. Do something about it. Stand out, do the right decisions, and maybe, just maybe, you will actually make some money, and even pull off some decent metrics while you are at it.

    And on that note, as an inside joke to my store, and the HI department in general, I would like to close with two simple words.

    Epic Win

  54. wellfleet says:

    @Steaming Pile: oh, i dunno, if you want to refinance your home, buy a new home, buy a new car, apply for a bank loan to finance your uncle Bob’s dentures or your own dentures… either way, pretty dumb to get hard-pulled for $15…

  55. reykjavik says:

    People go to Sears?? Who are these people (mexicans and spinsters?)? and for electronics no less?!?!?

  56. Kopiok says:

    I also work for Sears (in the Electronics department, no less), and I have to confirm what nickshutts has said.

    Except for the HDMI cable part. I bought a cable for $1 off of Amazon, and I actually brought it in to Sears to use it on our demo TV instead of component cables. Noone ever says anything except “That picture looks amazing”.

    I also have to agree with him on the comments on #7. After upselling to a customer, it near ALWAYS returned, in which case you lose the commission. I live in fear of upselling, heh. I’d rather take a small commission than none at all.

  57. patiosetaah says:

    I am also concuring with mr shutts. We train our people to be little clones of ourselves. Dont upsale. Respect the public. I would LOVE to visit your store so I could tip over a rack or two for being so negative.

    Tell me something mr electronics person. How were YOUR metrics?

    mine our fine

  58. brosnan6 says:

    I used to work for Sears during my senior year of high school (2004) and here’s what I can say about it…I didn’t work in a commission earning position so I had nothing to gain by up selling, aside from looking good in my stats. I was arbitrarily assigned to the Tools section, yet I didn’t (and still don’t) know jackshit about tools.

    The biggest scam of all was the credit cards. I think it’s done differently now, but back in my time it was ridiculously easy to get approved for a basic Sears Card (in store use only, don’t remember about Visa or anything). Of course we were trained to push these CC apps like none other, yet we only got $2 per app (contrasted to $5-10 when I worked at Macys), so I had to make up for it in sheer volume. I definitely sold my ethical principles down the river when I worked for Sears though…my goal was to fleece as many “uneducated looking” people [read- people that dressed well and spoke eloquently I didn't generally waste too much time with since they were likely educated about credit] into signing up for the Sears cards with them knowing little to nothing about it. At that time, the application process was very easy and there was no real form to fill out-just a signature saying you read the terms and conditions (miniscule print on a 8.5×14 sheet of paper). All the information was entered directly into the computer by the associate so the customer wouldn’t be “inconvenienced with paperwork.”

    One of the modifications I made to the credit card process (probably illegal), was to have a stack of pre-folded terms and conditions under my register at all times, so customers wouldn’t see me pulling ou a giant legal size sheet of paper with tiny words and legalese. I had the papers folded so that only the signature area (small detachable portion at the top, maybe 3-4 inches tall) was showing, with the T&C folded under it accordion style. I only handed the detached T&C to the customer only after I had already entered everything in the computer and they had signed the form. I would also try to engage them in some bullshit small talk at this point to keep them distracted from the fact that there was a giant sheet of T&C they weren’t reading. This shady technique resulted in a significant # of application increases under my name (not a statistical survey, but just from what I noticed).

    Most of the time the customers had no idea what was going on since I would rapidly enter the information into the computer and it would instantly spit out an approval or denial notice. The best line I had going for me to convince people to open an account was “you know, this purchase could be free today if you open a Sears account.” At that time, there was a $10 signup bonus for opening an account, so for all under $10 transactions I would use that line. Also, I would never say “Sears Card” because that conjures up images of credit and credit cards and nobody wants a new credit card, right? Saying “Sears Account” was much easier on the ears and the target audience [see above for my target audience] generally didn’t even realize it was a credit card.

    Ethics and morality aside, I was consistently #1 or 2 in credit in my store [generally 5-10 apps each shift I worked], and blew past many of the old timers who worked there full time for many years (I would work a few hours a day a few days a week).That job was by far the most bullshit job I have ever had, and I’m glad that I went off to college and white-collar jobs after that because I would probably hate my life if I had to work in a place like that again. I’m also glad to say that Macys’ credit card process is nowhere as scummy as Sears’

    Feel free to flame away….

  59. wagon1010 says:

    nickshutts: To respond to your #1: have you ever read the terms and conditions pamphlet for the MPA?? Your whole argument is not based on anything factual. I dare anyone to go to there local sears and ask for a terms and conditions pamphlet and it will show that this guy is full of total complete crap.

    For starters it is not an extension of the manufactures warranty! The terms are totally different sorry to say but nickshutts is not telling you the truth at all. The only things listed it won’t cover is stuff that is common sense. Such as Acts of God, Lightning fire, flood, misuse, improper hookup, vandalism ect. Other than that it covers any parts and labor other than screen burn on a plasma TV or for fewer than 3 or 4 dead pixels in a quadrent on an LCD.

    For the record as far as dead pixels go I have worked for sears four years and have never had one single return for a one or two dead pixels on an LCD. Dead pixels on the screen are very very rare. More than likely the problems I see is circuit board related, and or the panel itself has gone bad causing the screen to go green or florescent colored. Most people even if they have a bad pixel will probably never notice it like I said innless they are sitting two feet from there LCD TV. Who the hell does that?

    I have called service directly they will cover three or four dead pixels in a quadrant. And sorry but my wife has a dead pixel on her laptop and you can barely even see it innless your looking for it it’s not a big deal to begin with. On a tv you won’t see a dead pixel from ten feet away innless you have eyes better than god and its only remotely noticeable if you are close to it.

    As far as Picture Burn In it’s really not an issue any more anyways since the new Panasonics have a new phosphor that is less powdery and very resistant to burn in the first place. You can still burn something in but you have to try very hard to do it, and to me if you do something that purposely than it’s your own fault if you leave the same static image on for fifteen or twenty hours. You can’t have a protection agreement cover something that someone can purposely break or take advantage of to receive a new product that’s just stupid as hell.

    I have witnessed many replacements under the PA. I remember one guy recently got a much better 1080p with higher contrast television because the one he purchased was no longer made and it was around what he paid for his original set. So yes sometimes TV’s can’t be fixed and need replaced.

    Anyways if you read the terms and conditions pamphlet it will show that they only don’t cover what’s common sense not to cover. It’s stated misuse or abuse is not covered. If they discover something new like burn in or something silly like one dead pixel they will reference that so people understand its not covered. It was never covered to begin with and I don’t lie to people and tell them that if they purposely break there tv by letting stuff burn in its covered under a service plan. If he was trained to do this than that was something to do with poor management at that particular store, where I work I’m not trained that way. I tell people what it does and does not cover.

  60. wagon1010 says:

    @brosnan6: nickshutts: To respond to your #1: have you ever read the terms and conditions pamphlet for the MPA?? Your whole argument is not based on anything factual. I dare anyone to go to there local sears and ask for a terms and conditions pamphlet and it will show that this guy is full of total complete crap.

    For starters it is not an extension of the manufactures warranty! The terms are totally different sorry to say but nickshutts is not telling you the truth at all. The only things listed it won’t cover is stuff that is common sense. Such as Acts of God, Lightning fire, flood, misuse, improper hookup, vandalism ect. Other than that it covers any parts and labor other than screen burn on a plasma TV or for fewer than 3 or 4 dead pixels in a quadrent on an LCD.

    For the record as far as dead pixels go I have worked for sears four years and have never had one single return for a one or two dead pixels on an LCD. Dead pixels on the screen are very very rare. More than likely the problems I see is circuit board related, and or the panel itself has gone bad causing the screen to go green or florescent colored. Most people even if they have a bad pixel will probably never notice it like I said innless they are sitting two feet from there LCD TV. Who the hell does that?

    I have called service directly they will cover three or four dead pixels in a quadrant. And sorry but my wife has a dead pixel on her laptop and you can barely even see it innless your looking for it it’s not a big deal to begin with. On a tv you won’t see a dead pixel from ten feet away innless you have eyes better than god and its only remotely noticeable if you are close to it.

    As far as Picture Burn In it’s really not an issue any more anyways since the new Panasonics have a new phosphor that is less powdery and very resistant to burn in the first place. You can still burn something in but you have to try very hard to do it, and to me if you do something that purposely than it’s your own fault if you leave the same static image on for fifteen or twenty hours. You can’t have a protection agreement cover something that someone can purposely break or take advantage of to receive a new product that’s just stupid as hell.

    I have witnessed many replacements under the PA. I remember one guy recently got a much better 1080p with higher contrast television because the one he purchased was no longer made and it was around what he paid for his original set. So yes sometimes TV’s can’t be fixed and need replaced.

    Anyways if you read the terms and conditions pamphlet it will show that they only don’t cover what’s common sense not to cover. It’s stated misuse or abuse is not covered. If they discover something new like burn in or something silly like one dead pixel they will reference that so people understand its not covered. It was never covered to begin with and I don’t lie to people and tell them that if they purposely break there tv by letting stuff burn in its covered under a service plan. If he was trained to do this than that was something to do with poor management at that particular store, where I work I’m not trained that way. I tell people what it does and does not cover.

  61. wickedpixel says:

    just testing this image include thing.
    [consumerist.com]

  62. nickshutts says:

    @wagon1010: For starters it is not an extension of the manufactures warranty! The terms are totally different sorry to say but nickshutts is not telling you the truth at all. The only things listed it won’t cover is stuff that is common sense. Such as Acts of God, Lightning fire, flood, misuse, improper hookup, vandalism ect. Other than that it covers any parts and labor other than screen burn on a plasma TV or for fewer than 3 or 4 dead pixels in a quadrent on an LCD.

    Did you even read my post? I said that it covers way more than the manufacturers warranty. And how can you say that it is not an extension. If a T.V. comes with a one year manufacturers, and the MPA is a 5 year in home, I believe that EXTENDS it by four years. Bafoon

    And I also said that it covers almost anything. Then you say that it only doesn’t cover “…..”. So if you can only list a few things it doesn’t cover, which are the obvious ones that I felt I didn’t need to mention, then wouldn’t that make me correct in stating that it covers almost anything? Anything is much greater than a few.

    You said “Other than that it covers any parts and labor other than screen burn on a plasma TV or for fewer than 3 or 4 dead pixels in a quadrent on an LCD.” Hmm, I think that is exactly what I said.

    So before you go trying to jump on the bandwagon and go to bat for the I hate Sears team, maybe you should pick a fight you can actually win.

    May I also suggest a language course, you speak horrible English. For starters, its unless, not “innless”

  63. engle22 says:

    I don’t know who you are, but you shouldn’t be going behind the company’s back. They are paying you to uphold and help their image not tear it apart. You’re probably a bad, complaining employee.
    To all out there, I am a cashier, so I know a lot about credit apps. First of all, if I do an account lookup and ask you to appy for another one, it’s because you may have a sears card, but not a sears gold mastercard, and vice versa.
    It does not help me to make you apply for a duplicate account. It’s called a non-decisionable application. I don’t scam my customers into anything. When I offer the gold mastercard from the sears card, I mention that not only do they save $15, when they were going to get no additional discount, but they get a higher credit limit and then with excellent credit it could be 4-8% less then the sears card. So I’m actually doing you a favor.
    Another thing, the phrase “No one shops at Sears.” Is not true, if that were true, why did I ring up $3000 dollars in sales? In softlines, no less. I have plenty of customers, young and old, white, black, and mexican. I have a little bit of every demographic.
    I admit that the company has made mistakes, big ones. But have you ever made a big mistake. Have you ever disappointed someone? Would you want to be forgiven? Treat Sears the way you would want to be treated.

  64. jezebelseven says:

    Another fellow Sears Electronics salesgirl here!

    NickShutts hits most of the points I thought as I was reading this article, but just to prove that many of these things vary by employee and store, I figured I’d throw in my two cents:

    1. MPAs do cover a lot more than the original post said. I’ve purchased them and have been satisfied with the service, but there are a few points which are worth noting.

    In my store, and I’ve heard several others, we are punished (forced to morning meetings where we have to be ‘re-educated’ on MPAs and whatnot, which are some of the most pointless meetings for some people– sometimes we just have a bad week and instead we’re treated as though we’re idiots and have forgotten how to sell MPAS!) when we don’t sell enough of these. I realize that’s fairly common for retail, but it has made me push harder for some MPAs on some items that I personally think the MPAs are a waste on– really this comes down to yourself and how much you value said item. I personally wouldn’t buy one on a vacuum, but have had many customers who were very thankful they got it because they come in months later with a clogged hose or broken bit.

    2. The 0% offers are worth it if you are a responsible credit user. They offer cash back options from time to time which are well worth it if you intended to pay with cash anyway– just pay the bill off that billing cycle and you’ve saved yourself even more money.
    As for your dodgy ‘tricking’ people into applying for the same card again, I don’t know how you think this is possible– When you apply for a card and you already have an existing one, it will come up telling you as such, and will refuse to let you open a second! I had this happen just today for a customer who thought he closed his account years ago– we attempted to apply for a new one, and up popped the prompt saying there was an existing account.
    The only thing I can think of is if they had them apply for the Sears Mastercard in addition to their Sears Store card– that is a bit shady if that’s the case, but the customer should be aware of what card they already have in my opinion.

    4: While I agree there are some great quality, low price HDMI cables online, some fine points to chip in on here– Associates are not trained to push accessories more than anything else. We’re trained to push the whole package to what a customer needs. Certain associates whose numbers aren’t up in certain areas (MPAs, MRAs, Accessories, Installs, Customer Service, etc) will be told to push those areas, so maybe the original poster just sucked at selling accessories. I’ve never been told to push them but my numbers have always been over parity. You’re also stretching the truth in saying we have to push things they don’t need– We’re trained to tell them what the best whole package includes, but fit that package to their needs. You wouldn’t sell someone a HDMI cable who has nothing to hook up to their TV, and no manager in their right mind would tell you to– It’s just going to come back returned!

    5. It states the policy quite clearly online, at least–

    If you find a lower price on an identical branded item with the same features currently available for sale at another local competitor retail store, Sears will match that price plus, give you 10% of the difference. Just bring in the original advertisement to a sales associate at the time of, or within 30 days after, your purchase.

    This does vary from store to store, however– I think because of employees who aren’t properly trained with the price match policy, really. I have known an associate (who’s been in trouble numerous times and has since been kicked to another department) who did fail to mention this little detail to customers who then came in wanting a price match on an out of stock item elsewhere who then went off on me– Again, this is not the fault of sears, this is the fault of an irresponsible employee.

    7. Like everyone else said, only an idiot would sell based on the commission book (my store can’t be the only one who never updates this thing– According to my book a 52″ Samsung that’s on closeout should’ve been a 5% but naturally it wasn’t!). Your returns must be out of this orbit if that’s how you decide what to sell.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting that an item is on sale but out of stock every where you look to include online. You check stores and try to order and have a 10 to 12 days delay which puts it out of the sale date, but you can pay first and pick it up. Wait you can have it delivered in2 to 7 days. Check zip-code and there is nothing for that zip code except for the store that it takes 10 to 12 days. After reading about the tricks of the trade it is as if Sears needs wants payment before ordering so as not to sell themselve short. Thanks for the inside look

  66. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like we have an individual who just could not cut it at store that has been around for over 100 years. What is even more amazing is hearing people talk about how poorly Sears is run, even though they themselves can not run a business. Sears is owned and operated by a successful hedge fund manager, a person who has made billions, the guy is an intelligent human being. Success many of you have not nor will ever see with the attitudes that you.

    To the individual who opens credit accounts to save $15. Everytime you do that an inquiry goes on your credit report also called a CBR. The more of them you have the lower your score goes. Also, every time you close a credit account on your report the new FICO algorithm looks at that in a negative fashion and your score will drop. So I am glad you pay everything with cash, because with this method you are using, your credit probably sucks.

    As with anything you buy, you should ALWAYS read the fine print. The MPA’s do cover a lot, but you have to determine if what you are buying warrants you adding protection to it. For example, if you buy a $600 TV, then no it doesn’t make sense. You spend $4k, then yeah you should protect yourself.

    Next up the Sears credit. As with any credit account you open it becomes your responsibility to handle your own credit. Stop blaming Sears (or anywhere else for that matter) because you do not know how to, or refuse to have the discipline to pay your bills on time. If you are poor with your finances avoid signing up for credit. Its not up to Sears or any other business to qualify you as being a responsible person, only to see if your credit qualifies you for their services.

    I have never experience anything remotely as bad as what this guy describes for Sears returns. But they do have a 15% restocking fee on electronics, why? because maybe they are tired of people bringing the 55″ LCDs back after the Superbowl, World Series and Stanley Cup.