Sears Ignites Searing Blaze in Customer’s Skull

“I needed to buy a new water filter for my GE Refrigerator,” Bruce writes The Consumerist. “Although I could find better prices from internet merchants, my immediate desire for fresh water made me seek out a local source, and that was Sears.”

One of the last bastions the local retailers have against their internet competitors is their physical proximity to customers. Online, you might get same-day shipping, at a premium, but nothing beats jumping in the jalopy and snagging goods with your bare claws, “same hour delivery.” That said, the brick n’ mortar bazaar has to ante up on its natural advantages, like people in the flesh who can help customers with a smile, immediately address problems, suggest solutions and crack a joke about last night’s ball game.

Sears could have done that and more, but instead Bruce traversed a rigmarole of inanity and ended up right where he started: ordering from another supplier over the internet. Ire raised, a Sunday wasted, his tragic tale, after the jump…

Bruce writes:

    “I’ve ordered things from them before for local pickup, and their system isn’t too bad (or should I say wasn’t too bad in the past). When you shop, you get information on which local stores have the product in stock and the choice of picking your purchases up locally. They’re not too confident in their inventory system, so they instruct you not to head off to Sears immediately, but to wait until you receive a confirmation letter from Sears telling them your product is ready for pickup; I assume this is so a local picker can reserve the item and make sure that it actually is in stock. When you get the e-mail, you go down to your local Sears with your printed e-mail, run it under their scanner, and your merchandise comes out in about 5 minutes (they give you a $5 coupon on a future purchase if they take more than 5 minutes). They even have an overhead monitor that shows you how long you’ve been waiting and the average wait time to give you an idea whether you’re being singled out for karmic punishment or whether the clerks are just having a bad day.

    OK, so back to my water filter. I go through the usual procedure. Order, wait, get e-mail confirmation at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. I go down to pick it up at 3:00 p.m. that day. I scan my receipt and wait. Out comes a lawn mower for the customer before me. 5 minutes ticks by. Cha-ching! $5 coupon (or so I thought). 10 minutes passes. Out comes a vacuum cleaner for the customer after me. Finally, after 14 minutes and 26 seconds, I get the bad news…

    Clerk: “We don’t have it.”
    Me: “What?”
    Clerk: “It didn’t come in on the delivery truck today.”
    Me: “Huh? I got an e-mail saying it was ready for pickup.”
    Clerk: “Yeah, but it didn’t come in.”
    Me: “But your e-mail told me that it was already here.”
    Me: “When will it be here?”
    Clerk: “It’ll probably be here on Wednesday’s delivery truck.”
    Me: “Probably???”

    It was at this point that I became blind and deaf with rage and was unable to process anything else said by the clerk. I tried to make him spontaneously combust by telekinesis, but instead had to settle for heading back to my car cursing at Sears under my breath. Oh, yes. And I didn’t even get my $5 off coupon. DOH!

    On the plus side, I canceled my order and will order it from an internet source at a lower price, with no sales tax, and delivery that will probably beat the Sears delivery truck.