50-Year Sears Customer Vows 'Never Again'

Nicholas in California has shopped at Sears for his entire life. His parents shopped at Sears. His grandparents shopped at Sears. Now, after a recent experience, he says he won’t ever shop there again. What kind of experience would drive a customer to say that? He copied Consumerist–and his entire e-mail contacts list–on his letter to Sears. Spoiler alert: it involves incompetent customer service.

Dear Sears,

My family and myself have been shopping at sears for my entire life and then some. 50 years plus. I’m originally from Tacoma, WA. We’ve shopped at sears, owned sears charge cards, used sears auto services. I’ve bought tools, appliances, clothing and electronics from your company for 20 years. My parents even longer, and their parents before them.

After my experience last night, I will not be shopping at sears again. I will tell all my family, friends, and anyone else I can to also not shop at sears.

I went to [redacted] Sears on 4/27/11. I went with my girl friend who received her income tax refund and wanted to buy a new LED-LCD flat screen TV to replace the TV we bought from SEARS 9 years ago. We had a very specific model in mind. We checked online and it was in stock. We arrived at the store and went looking for it on the shelves.

It wasn’t on display. I asked for assitance from the nearest associate. He stated he wasn’t from the department, but would call for assistance for us. We waited 20 minutes. No one came to help us.

Eventually the same person came over and looked up the model number of the TV we wanted. Basically confirming what I saw online that it was in stock. He then spent 5 minutes wandering around looking on shelves for the TV thinking it might be displayed somewhere. He then confirmed what I already knew, that it was NOT DISPLAYED. He stated he wasn’t from that department again and again and again.

We finally were so fed up waiting around we attempted to leave. Reaching the escalator someone arrived from HARDWARE, to help us. Again, someone not from the department and didn’t know where it was. We asked to speak to the manager. The associate from hardware took us downstairs to the door leading to the employee offices, and break room.

He asked us to wait at customer service while he went to get the manager. We waited 10 more minutes. Finally the associate from hardware returned stating the manager was in an interview, and would be with us when it was finished. He then proceeded to help another customer in hardware.

Another 10 minutes elapse.

Finally an assistant manager, or someone claiming to be one, walked up to us with the associate who as we learned was supposed to be in electronics but had been on break.(For 30+ minutes while we’d been upstairs waiting)

We began to explain the situation with the manager only to be interrupted repeatedly by the associate from electronics, with lame excuses that he was on break, and that he HAD to eat a bag of chips.

My girlfriend being quite irritated with the associate from electronics told him to leave, so that we could speak with the assistant manager. The associate then had the nerve or the idiocy to say, “we can call security if you’d like”.

If the assistant manager hadn’t pulled the associate away and told him to return to his department, I have a feeling that this letter would be reaching you via a lawyer.

We finally finished explaining the situation to the assistant manager once he returned. He looked up the model of TV and said he’d give us a discount on the item, for all the hassle we’d had to endure.

Now this probably would have been the end of it. Being that it was a TV with a retail price of $999.99 dollars we wanted to see it actually working before we purchased it. After all we’d gone through I was not going to purchase an item that I hadn’t seen with my own eyes functioning properly before I took it home.

The assistant manager looked it up again, and then told us he was not authorized to open the box and that it was not an option for us to see it plugged in.

So, at least an hour and half into arriving at your store. We were leaving. Upset, irritated, and angry. We did not get what we came for.

I have BCC’d this email to my entire contacts list. So that everyone I know can understand just how poorly Sears has handled this situation. Sears used to be the store to go to for just about anything anyone would want. Tools, clothing, appliances, electronics, and auto. I have to say, the quality of your stores, the way people are treated, and the lack of even basic understanding of just how irritated we were has lost you this customer and anyone else who receives this email and agrees with it.

Have a wonderful day.

When we post something about Sears, one of the friendly and hardworking Sears social media reps steps in, offering to help the customer. That’s really great and often very helpful to our readers experiencing problems with Sears. But there are surely many, many more customers like Nicholas who don’t know how to or choose not to share their stories online, and who will simply never return to Sears without telling anyone why. To save the company, Sears doesn’t just need to reach new customers: they need to stop alienating the ones they’ve had for generations.

(Update: the passage from Nicholas’s letter insulting the mentally impaired has been removed.)