I Found It Impossible To Buy A PS3 At Sears

If Sears isn’t happy with its sales figures, it can blame itself by looking at the example of the way it treated Teresa — a frustrated would-be customer who tried and failed several times to buy a PlayStation 3 from the store.

Her absurdist tale of existentialist angst and befuddlement is worthy of Albert Camus:

On 12/8/2009 at around 5PM, I walked into a Sears store at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila, WA to purchase a Playstation 3 to use up the $100 gift card I have for Sears.

After waiting for a clerk to help me (apparently, they’re scarce in the Electronics department there), I was told they did not have any in store but *I* could call the other stores to check availability or I can use one of their terminals to check availability. After I asked the salesguy to show me how to check on their terminals, he relented and helped me search. Sears.com showed that the Federal Way store had 2 in stock. The salesguy then told me I would have to call the store to confirm availability.

I called the Federal Way store and was told that yes, they had 2 in stock, but the salesguy refused to hold one for me so that I could drive there in 30 minutes and pick it up. He wanted my credit card information over the phone to place the purchase….according to him, this was the only way to guarantee that I would have the item. I, of course, refused to give my him credit card information and said that I would drive to the store.

After 30 minutes, I arrive in the store. Waiting around for another 30 minutes, I was told that no, they did NOT have any Playstation 3s in stock.

So, I am still without a Playstation 3 and a $100 gift card that I must use up. On the next day, at around 11AM, I check Sears.com and it shows 2 Playstation 3s available at the Southcenter store near my home. I called the store and was told that yes, they did have the Playstation 3 available for pickup if I ordered it through Sears.com. Sears.com stated that I could pick up my item in 2 hours after I receive an email from them that it is ready for pick up. I did not get any confirmation emails from them, but was given a confirmation number from the website.

I waited until 5PM and called the joke of a Customer Service at Sears.com. After being transferred repeatedly and put on hold numerous times for an hour, I was told that my purchase had been flagged for some sort of fraud investigation since the item was some sort of “special ticket item” and that it could take up to 24 hours to get my item. I asked why I wasn’t informed of this at purchase so that I could decide not to buy from them. The rep said that it is random and they don’t notify the customer of it…. I wrangled with the rep and asked her to tell me WHEN this process would be complete. She then put me on hold and said that the credit department had just cleared my purchase and were sending the order to the store. I was told to wait 20 minutes and then call the store to make sure they process the order in the store….as she could not be sure they would. (Gives you a lot of confidence in the Sears process, hrm?)

I waited 30 minutes and called the store. The sales rep I spoke to on the phone said that no, they did NOT have any Playstation 3s in stock. They do NOT have any record of my order and that if they ever got the order, it would be Cancelled due to not having the item. He said that Sears.com does not have an accurate inventory.

I called Sears.com again. I informed them that the store does NOT have my order and that they do NOT have any Playstation 3s in stock. The rep I spoke to said that she shows the store having 2 items in stock and that my order was STILL stuck in the credit department and had not processed to the store. I told her that I’m sick of wasting my time on this and that they should just deliver the item to me whenever the order finished processing. I was then told that Playstation 3s are in store pickup ONLY. The rep told me that I should wait for my order to finish processing. I asked her that if the store is correct in that they do not have the items in stock, the order would be cancelled, correct? She responded yes, but I should WAIT for it to finish processing. The rep said the only thing she COULD do is cancel the order…that’s it. I demanded to speak to her Manager because I was quite tired of dealing with Sear’s customer dissatisfaction. I was informed that there were NO managers I could speak to. What she could do was resend the original confirmation email that I had never gotten from Sears.com.

So, I wasted at least 4 hours on this already. No Playstation 3 and still stuck with dealing with Sears.com and Sears.

I was told from EVERY rep that this is normal process for them.

After I use up this gift card, I will never buy from Sears again. They should be avoided like the plague and I wish the same customer mangling on their reps that they have visited upon me.

Sony, whose PS3 is still bringing up the rear in this generation’s console sales, has got to cringe when it hears this kind of thing. My heart aches for her simply because she’s unable to experience the glory of the PS3-exclusive “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. CompyPaq says:

    How is Sears still around? I have read this exact story (different items, different OP’s, but still) numerous times on the Consumerist and many other stories about their customer service sucking in regards to everything else.

    • Andrew360 says:

      I think it’s the same reason K-Mart is still around. Maybe it’s because they sold their tower to the devil… although I don’t know much about Willis.

      • donnie5 says:

        Truth be told, Sears makes billions (with a “b”) off their charge card every year. They make less off of the product they push than they do off fees and interest.

    • GMFish says:

      How is Sears still around? I have read this exact story… numerous times…

      Agreed. My wife had a similar experience with Sears. Not with ordering something online and picking it up, but with dealing with the wall of belligerent ineptitude of everyone who works at Sears.

    • Scuba Steve says:

      Easy: Overpriced Clothing.

      • DragonflyLotus says:

        I actually buy lots of really cheap clothes there – tshirts, longjohns, etc. (The nearest town doesn’t have a Target, MallWart sucks, and I don’t buy socks/underwear from thrift stores.) It doesn’t hurt that I’m skinny and can buy lots of basics in the fat kids section, either.

      • Corinthos says:

        And Craftsman tools and old people who grew up buying sears when they were children and set in their ways.

    • LuzioFantazmic says:

      I believe there was an article on MSN yesterday listing 7 companies that may not make it through 2010.

      Sears was on that list.

      But XM was on it last year and they’re still around.

    • minsky says:

      Exactly! I’ve never been a Sears shopper, I’ve probably bought three things there in the past 20 years, but regardless, any company that is so inept in all facets of its operation doesn’t deserve to be in business.

  2. donnie5 says:

    Ouch. This is a Sears fail. Maybe she could find a PS3 at Kmart…oh wait. Never mind.

    • GMFish says:

      This is a Sears fail.

      No, this par for the course for Sears.

    • shawnr3150 says:

      why never mind??

    • morganlh85 says:

      You might have a point here… I know you can use Sears CREDIT cards at Kmart…can she use the Sears gift card at a Kmart? She probably will have a lot easier time at least FINDING a PS3 at one of them.

    • Jevia says:

      I’ve certainly had better experience at Kmart than at Sears, despite the co-ownership. So much does come down to the individual employees. But yeah, I no longer shop at Sears, canceled all prior charge cards with them,

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      Maybe she could find a 12 dollar roll of bubble wrap at K-mart.

      Maybe she could find a dingy Little Caesar’s with wavy linoleum and cracked ceiling tiles at K-mart.

      Maybe she could find a 64 meg flash drive at K-mart.

      Maybe she could find swine flu at K-mart.

      Maybe she could find true love at K-mart.

  3. CompyPaq says:

    Would it be too cynical to point out that Sears doesn’t want to make the sale because they already have his money?

    • pop top says:

      Teresa is a terrible name for a boy.

    • fantomesq says:

      No I think this incompetence is reserved for every customer – not just the giftcard customers – note she didn’t even tell them that she had a giftcard, so that’s not it.

    • Garbanzo says:

      I believe that legally, under accounting rules, companies cannot recognize the revenue until the gift card is redeemed. So they do not yet have her money in a way that is useful to them.

  4. temporaryscars says:

    Somebody gave you a giftcard to Sears? Did you kill their parents or something?

  5. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Yet another reason not to give people gift cards, especially if they can’t return them for the cash left on them.

    • donnie5 says:

      Funny side-story.

      I was given a JC Penny gift card one year. I was online and saw a pair of shoes I wanted. I cross-referenced it with the store to see if they had them in stock. They did. Went to the store where they happened to be $10 more than they were online. I asked the associate to match them and he said no. I asked the manager to mach them. She said no. I said “then I do not want to be forced to shop here. Can I have cash for my giftcard?” I was told no, initially. I pressed the issue and they gave me cash for the card.
      It can be done.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        I had a customer do the same at one of my former jobs. He had to take the dispute to one of our regional managers, but did eventually get his refund.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          I’d still rather not give someone the gift of having to argue with employees all the way up to a regional manager.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          I’d still rather not give someone the gift of having to argue with employees all the way up to a regional manager.

      • nonsane says:

        Actually i was going to suggest this to.
        Talk to management and ask them to refund your gift card because they could not provide the item that that you have had made reasonable efforts to obtain from them.

        Advise that the gift card was intended for you to purchase this item.

        I have been successful in this as well.

    • Lauchlin says:

      Or buy gift cards for stores you know the person actually wants to shop at.

      I’d rather get gift cards than pretty much any other kind of gift. It beats people trying to guess my taste and failing.

  6. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    And of course she is a captive customer because of the gift card! Sears doesn’t care if she is happy, they already have a large portion of her money. In fact, the PS3 costs them more than the remaining balance she was trying to provide.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      But that’s the part that just doesn’t make sense. When she calls Sears, she doesn’t preface her conversation with the reps by saying, “I have a gift card…” She’s just asking about the availability, and they keep playing monkey in the middle with the PS3 she wants. There’s no reason to suspect that Sears is ignoring her becauase she has a gift card – I think Sears is just ignoring her because they suck.

    • fantomesq says:

      Sears does not realize the sale and accrue the revenue from the giftcard as profit until the sale is made. Giftcards are essentially 0% loans that you are making to the stores but this incompetence is in no way related to the giftcard… she hadn’t even informed them that she had a giftcard.

  7. FREAKHEAD says:

    This happened to my father during Black Friday last year. Purchased a TV, 3 months to deliver. I never buy Sears. They are poorly managed, structured and difficult to deal with. They also fail to follow through on any promises and the staff does not care. They will soon join Circuit City.

  8. tbax929 says:

    I hope she didn’t use her Sears giftcard when she ordered that PS3 from Sears.com. If she did, she’s probably facing a whole new set of phone calls and frustrations when the order is finally cancelled and the gift card is not replenished. I’m willing to be that this will happen. She’ll get a credit on her credit card but not on the gift card. Sears is just full of fail.

    • TexasMama37 says:

      She might be better off with a credit on her credit card than a gift card. That way she can use it ANYWHERE and not be tied to finding something Sears actually wants to sell to her.

      • TexasMama37 says:

        Oh, wait — I just realized that you meant the part of the purchase that her gift card didn’t cover and that she would still be out the money from the gift card. Wow — what a huge pain in the rear that’s going to be!

  9. The Queen of Everything says:

    1) Sears does this a LOT. A friend of mine bought a television and we went to the pickup area immediately to get the thing. Whoops! Not actually in stock. Even though both sears.com and their in-store computers said there were three back there. They did that twice, so he got price-matching at Best Buy.
    2) Uncharted 2 is a collection of Tomb Raider games in a prettier package. Train level, Nepal, big temples….Lara did it all first. Not to say that Uncharted is bad….I just get the worst sense of deja vu when I play.

  10. Nytmare says:

    Sears stated inventory not matching actual inventory in the slightest — a very common theme in Sears stories.

    I wonder if they ever sync the numbers. Or do they just leave the stated inventory at “2”, and then never order any new ones because they supposedly have “2”, dooming every potential customer to a continuous cycle of “you can’t buy that here because we don’t have any”.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      It’s a very common theme in a lot of stores. Inventory listed on websites often don’t match actual inventory. They two numbers are often pulled from different databases and the databases are synced periodically. So there’s often a lag between the numbers.

    • fantomesq says:

      The stores perform physical inventory periodically – I’ve seen it as short as once a quarter at some stores but more likely once a year. This is where the numbers are rectified. And yes, in most cases if inventory still shows 2 in stock, new orders will not be placed until that is corrected.

    • fatediesel says:

      I worked at Sears for about 6 months in 2002 and inventory was performed once a year. It got to the point that if the computer said we had one of something in stock then we knew it was really out of stock. Sears had poor security so shoplifting was common and that would make the inventory off. Even big items like table saws would disappear.

      Also, the OP states that the store wanted her credit card information to hold the item for her. That was the policy in place at the store I worked. We would actually run the sale through the register over the phone and hold the item for them. If they didn’t ever pick it up they would have to go through the hassle of calling Sears and getting them to credit their card, or do a chargeback.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        I don’t see what’s so wrong with doing a phone order this way–if you want the item, paying for it right then seems to be a great way of making sure they don’t sell it to someone else. Of course if you give your credit card number and say you’ll pick it up, it’s on you to actually pick it up. If you change your mind, you should still just go down, “pick it up”, and return it right then and there!

        • selianth says:

          She may have been hesitant to do this because of the gift card – maybe worried that they would charge the whole amount to the credit card right away, and then be pissy about refunding it and re-running it on the gift card first. I sort of don’t blame her there.

  11. Geekybiker says:

    I’ve got the sears in stock run around before. Even in store they don’t seem to know how many they have in back. Its pretty sad really. I used to go there for tools at least, but I find myself avoiding them because of their inventory issues.

  12. TheMonkeyKing says:

    It must be staffing and inventory management that is causing these issues. I have a Sears here in the Raleigh/Durham area that I have had nothing but great customer service.

    Yes, the inventory on Sears.com seldom matches the store’s real inventory. And there are several reasons why it doesn’t:
    1) Things disappear at the store. Not just theft, but someone (customer) picking up an item and not returning it to the proper section of the store (I’ve seen people try to hide stuff in the draperies section to ensure they get it at another time.) or someone (employee) hiding it for themselves.

    2) Sears.com counts in-transit as in stock. It may be on the truck heading for that particular store but it ain’t there yet.

    3) Point of sales take time to be updated on the web. I think this is an issue between the SAP inventory mgmt tool processing sales at stores then refreshing the web-side query tool. I know this type of business and sometimes the query tool’s data pool isn’t refreshed until the next morning or later.

    I know the poster had a pretty crappy time. I’ve been through this with other places. But what has helped me avoid much of this type of mess has been me actually talking to the managers and employees of the places I most frequent. Having a rapport with them has been very beneficial to me and their companies. Everything goes smoother, I believe. And yes, I have seen where something appears to be in stock online, but with a quick call to those people I know at the store, I know first hand whether or not the stuff is truly there. Also, it gives them a chance to expect my online order for pickup.

    I guess I’m saying that we need to talk more with real, live people and less mouse clicks. I know…commie bastard!

    • nsv says:

      That’s great, but not everyone has the time to cultivate contacts at every store they go to. And you’d be out of luck if someone gave you a gift card to a store you’d never been to before–no “old friends” in management there.

      And it shouldn’t be necessary. Stores should make it easy to shop there, not difficult.

    • West Coast Secessionist says:

      I miss the “heart” feature. :(

    • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

      Which Triangle mall is it, out of curiosity? I’ve always had good customer service at the Sears here in Burlington, so I’ll occasionally make the odd purchase there – like my new eyeglasses. Coverage for eye care on my health plan is laughable, so I had to pay out of pocket for my new specs. Sears had the best deal and the woman working at their optical center was outstanding. I’ve also had great luck with their tools and electronics departments.

      Now the Kmart in town? Not so much, sadly. Co-ownership != good service at both establishments.

  13. mbemom says:

    Seems like one more reason to avoid gift cards. I have avoided giving them in the past, even though I had no idea what to get instead, due to the inconvenience they could possibly cause. This scenario demonstrates that perfectly. The last thing I want to do with my gift is make my friend or relative have to go through nine circles of hell just to use it.

    • tekchik27 says:

      I don’t think this tale of aggravation is necessarily a reflection on the value of gift cards. It’s more a cautionary tale to give gift cards that the giftee can actually use. Apparently Sears was not the right choice for this OP. But then Sears isn’t often the right choice, especially not if she wanted anything useful. Better to give gift cards that are more generic and can be used at several places.

  14. morganlh85 says:

    Funny how she had to ask the guy to help her use the terminal…the Sears commercial I just saw advertised a nice, helpful associate doing ALL the searching for the customer with a big happy smile on his face.

    • NewsMuncher says:

      The one time I tried to deal with the Sears terminal in the store was also my last (fall 2007). It was older than the class of 2005 and slower than a sloth with four broken legs. Was there a time when these interfaces were shiny, new, and convenient? *shakes head*

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        Those terminals in the Sears by my house are just a normal-looking computer, with a web browser* with a slightly different (tailored to this purpose) version of Sears.com. IDK if they were different 3 years ago. And I also don’t know how OP couldn’t have figured out how to use them, since she’s obviously heard of The Internet.

        However it’s sad that they couldn’t get their shizzle together with the PS3 thing.

        *Obviously the browser only lets you use this one site, but it behaves just like a normal one. Back, Forward, etc.

  15. vincedia says:

    Sears is dead to me.

  16. MDSasquatch says:

    This happened 20 years ago, and I have not been back to a sears since:

    My dad gave my new bride and I the money to buy a microwave (wedding gift). We took the money and off we went to Sears. We found the perfect model and were told it would take a week for it to come in AND that we could save XX% if we applied for a SEARS card. We got the card, ordered the microwave and put the money in the bank to pay off the microwave when the first bill arrived.

    SEARS kept delaying the delivery date; one week here, 5 days there etc…

    I finally got fed up and went to their in-store customer service counter. They tried to convince me that I needed to order a higher-priced microwave because the one I ordered might never arrive. Instead, I canceled the entire order; and chopped up my credit card right there.

    I never did get a microwave from them, but they did send a replacement card. I promptly destroyed that one as well.

  17. Red Cat Linux says:

    Trust me, a gift card is the only way I shop at Sears anymore. That and possibly a concussion.

    It’s not much better walking in the front door either. I tried several years ago to purchase a TV and DVD home theater set when ours let out the blue smoke one morning. The sales people were sparse that day in my local store too.

    When we finally found one, and told him which items we wanted, he went to the terminal and told us he needed to make sure it was in stock. What we didn’t understand is that he would have to leave the sales floor, travel down into the sub-basement and physically examine the stock himself. We were puzzled, but waited. He was gone for around 10-15 minutes.

    While we waited we watched a minor drama unfold at the register with customers and another sales guy. They were trying to buy a PS2 as a matter of fact, and had the item in hand, after their sales guy came back from his sub-basement trek. But the card they tried to use was rejected. All three cards they attempted to use were rejected.

    After they left, frustrated, the sales guy shook his head and gave us a look like “freeloaders – what can ya do?”. We smiled and shook our heads sympathetically and waited some more. This scene repeated itself twice more, with different items. It was starting to seem more than odd coincidence.

    In the meantime, our sales guy took another trip to the basement after finding that the items we wanted were not actually in stock. Neither were our second choices. Finally we asked him to just tell us what they did have. When we finally settled on a set and home theater that was in stock, guess what happened to both my husband’s and my cards at the register?

    The other sales guy gave us the same look he gave the departing PS2 hopefuls, and finally beaten by Sears anti-sales policies, we left the store. I called my bank – the card I tried was fine. Close to two hours, and nothing to show.

    So we went half a mile away to B.J’s and got a gallon of milk, two loaves of bread, carrots, the TV that Sears didn’t have in stock, and a home theater system.

    During check out, the register beeped. The cashier asked if we had another card. Before we could say anything, a manager passing by typed in a code and said “The ATM/Credit data network is having problems in the area tonight. It happens. Should go through now though.”

    Sears = Fail

    BJs = Win + Groceries

  18. ginnel says:

    I do not know why Sears still exists. Sooooo many problems and deceptive practices. I can remember when I was kid and Sears was the ultimate store. I haven’t shopped there in 10 years and every time I hear one of these stories I remember why.

    • redskull says:

      There’s still a Sears here in a part of town I don’t travel to very often. On the rare occasion I drive over that way it’s always like a surprise to me when I see the store and realize they still exist.

      I’ll wander into a Sears once every 5 years or so. I’ll look around for a few minutes and then think, “Oh yeah, now I remember why I haven’t been here in 5 years.”

  19. morlo says:

    Just re-gift the card back to whoever gave it to you. That will teach them.

  20. ckaught78 says:

    I have had very few issues with Sears over the years. I have purchased many large appliances from them over the last two years, mainly becasue of their price matching. I find the lowest price online for an item them take the printout to Sears and they have always matched it, no questions asked, plus they give me 10% of the difference.

  21. Nakko says:

    Is it reasonable… to boycott Sears?
    Can we do that?

  22. senior chick says:

    Have had the same experiences at Best Buy also. Makes you wonder why the brick retailers are crying about the sales when you can buy online and get more customer satisfaction (outside of Sears that is).

    I never go there anymore partly because they’re located at malls which I hate, and I notice the lack of sales people.

  23. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    For a store that charges more for the same item at other stores (see entire Electronics Section) I am amazed their customer service is so piss poor. And to refused to let him speak to a manager? I would be livid. EECB their ass!!

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      That is the part that got me. How are there no managers to speak to? If they are all busy at the time say you can have the manager call them back or something, but it sounds really shady to just say you can’t talk to a manager.

  24. NewsMuncher says:

    Uncharted 2? Bah! Demon’s Souls is the most awesomest PS3 exclusive game ever.

  25. mommiest says:

    The crazy thing is, Sears does know how to serve customers: my husband and I went to a store called The Great Indoors, which turns out to be owned by Sears, and were impressed with the number of friendly, well-informed sales people on the floor. It was almost enough to make me reconsider my lifetime ban on spending any money at Sears, but once I had lunch and my blood sugar levels returned to normal, I realized that it all had to be an illusion.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      They might be owned by Sears, but it has no bearing on the quality of customer service of Sears stores, only the quality of service at The Great Indoors.

  26. tsdguy says:

    Well, I’m no Sear’s apologist but it’s not a major surprise that an item as popular and limited as the PS3 might cause issues for big companies like Sears. I recently ordered a Samsung Blu-Ray drive which I saw posted on Techbargains. The link included a $50 off if one ordered via sears.com so I took a chance.

    The sale went through easily – the credit appeared online and free shipping to boot. I indicated I wanted it at my local Sears which had the inventory and in a few minutes I got an email to pick it up. Went over and 30 seconds later had my drive.

    So of course anyone can have a bad experience at any time. Any when you see lots of them posted, you may wish to be wary. But you may be happy as well. Folks are more likely to post bad experiences than good one.

    (PS. I’ve been screwed by Sears as well so I’m no fanboy. Just want folks to remember to question everything).

    • MSUHitman says:

      PS3 hasn’t been in limited supply since the first few months it was on the market. Only thing maybe some local Sears, Target, Walmart, etc. may be temporarily out of stock, but a new order should come in soon and many other local stores should have the product available either in-store or on their website.

      I think this story has to do with maybe Sony being more worried about Sears not being able to pay for the Sony products Sears as a company purchase. Remember Sony sending all orders pending to Circuit City back in mid-transit last fall was the first major sign that bankruptcy was imminent, not just pending, for CC.

  27. Muthafodder says:

    I LOVE SEARS…KMart not so much.

    I have NEVER had a bad experience shopping at Sears.

    They price match whenever I’ve asked.

    I once bought a Panasonic Plasma HD set with $100 gift cards…watched the price for 60 days and it dropped in price…electronics manager issued a gift card back, no questions asked. Same thing with a lawn mower I purchased.

    I frequently buy online and pickup in the store…NO PROBLEMS…I’ve even ordered from their ‘help computers’ in the store because the online price was cheaper and picked it up only minutes later.

    I’ve spent literally thousands of dollars in gift cards at Sears…NO PROBLEMS!!!

    I just may go to Sears this evening when I get off work!!!


  28. Major Annoyance says:

    People… when are you going to realize that Sears… or more accurately, Sears Holding Corporation is no longer a retailer. It is a holding company owned by ESL investments, a hedge fund, and it’s sole purpose id to produce a return for the major investors in that hedge fund, predominantly other hedge funds.

    Sears has not made an honest attempt to be a retail company since it was taken over by Kmart holdings in 2005 in one of the most questionable deals ever to be ignored by the SEC. It has instead, maintained margins by slash and burn cost cutting practices, including the reduction of inventories, massive cuts in customer service, the adoption of blatant bait and switch schemes, and the selling of so called maintenance agreements on big ticket items at huge percentages of the purchase prices which produce deferred income at almost no expense to the company.

    Not for naught has this company suffered almost ten years of same store sales decreases which this year have already reached double digits. Why people continue to shop at Sears is totally beyond me but again, I suppose if the marketing and advertising wonks are doing their jobs, they will always be able to drag in a few suckers so that ESL can claim they’re operating a retail organization when all they are doing is looting the company for the cash reserves and other assets it had at the time of the takeover.

  29. wickedpixel says:

    sell the gift card on craigslist for $85 and be done with it.

  30. BenjaminCachimbear says:

    Yep, that’s pretty much exactly how it all worked when I was there 10 years ago(for 3 total years in various depts). Sears was one of the 1st company’s I remember getting Online-Order with an In-store pickup. It didn’t work then, because the Inventory system was fubar’d If the system says less than 10 you can pretty much bank on 0. If it says 0 however, there might be 20 or 30 of them. I went in several months ago(against my better judgment) to by a push mower. And low and behold the same freakin computers still there. I almost rang up my own purchase because the entire lawn and garden dept was empty for 15minutes, I had to page customer assistance to Lawn and Garden from the sales phone on the floor(good thing I still remembered the phone system codes)… Some things never change.

  31. audiochick says:

    This is the same store that I USED to shop at, but after trying (and failing) to get some help in the Electronics department, I swore off Sears for good. I hope the OP gets what she paid for.

  32. LoadStar says:

    Yeah, Sears POS system continues to baffle me. They can’t check inventory on it; they have to go to the public Sears.com website to check inventory, the same way you or I can. And, as the subject of this story discovered, that information is rarely accurate. Yet, their POS system happily allows them to sell merchandise from another store’s inventory (without, you know, actually checking to see if said merchandise even exists).

    I encountered this when attempting to buy my TiVo HD from them. The sales guy basically said that they don’t trust inventory counts of 2 or less. Fortunately for me, they showed 4. After I bought the unit and chased to the other store to pick it up – they had one, the one I bought. Nothing else in stock.

  33. zombie_batch says:

    Since she’s buying a console she could use the gift card to buy games or accessories from Sears. If Sears is anything like every other retailer that sells electronics they will have a glass cabinet you can look in and see the games and the accessories will be nearby. Actually, would be odd that the consoles are also not in these glass cases too, but then Sears sounds like they strive to be difficult at best. Buy the console somewhere else. Maybe she never intended to drop an extra $100 on the console so soon but this may be the only way to get the gift card used up for something PS3 related, since the PS3 is apparently not available. Or she can save it, so long as there isn’t a tax imposed on it intended to whittle it away to nothing.

  34. d0x360 says:

    I would advise never buying anything from the Electronics dept in Sears. The salesmen never have a clue what they are talking about and often make things up. I like to quiz salesmen from time to time to keep myself amused while my Girlfriend is shopping so I ask questions about TV’s and stuff and at least 70% of the time they are dead wrong.

    Sears also has this habit of charging more than any other retailer for things, they often dont have things in stock, and the stuff they carry is generally old and outdated.

  35. esc27 says:

    I wonder if this is related to the demise of the Sears Wish Book. Perhaps when they stopped printing and shipping the big catalog several years back they also scrapped the entire ordering and delivery system as well replacing it with the cheap form we have now.

  36. zombie_batch says:

    Since she’s buying a console she could use the gift card to buy games or accessories from Sears. If Sears is anything like every other retailer that sells electronics they will have a glass cabinet you can look in and see the games and the accessories will be nearby. Actually, would be odd that the consoles are also not in these glass cases too, but then Sears sounds like they strive to be difficult at best. Buy the console somewhere else. Maybe she never intended to drop an extra $100 on the console so soon but this may be the only way to get the gift card used up for something PS3 related, since the PS3 is apparently not available. Or she can save it, so long as there isn’t a tax imposed on it intended to whittle it away to nothing.

  37. lalaland13 says:

    Ever since Brett Favre started appearing in their commercials, the people at Sears have had a lot of trouble deciding things.

  38. coren says:

    Sears jerked her around, and they were wrong.

    But the CSA offered to cancel the order for her – I don’t understand what the issue is, if there isn’t any inventory then they can’t make more appear…

  39. bigd738778 says:

    Buy a 360. Last system I bought from Sears was the N64 but at the time they were the only store that wasn’t 25 miles away. Sears never has had good customer service.

  40. Halfabee says:

    I went to Sears today to buy belts and shear pins for my Craftsman snow blower after running over the weekly reminder newspaper left in my driveway and getting it jammed in the impeller. Winter isn’t even officially here yet and the Enfield, CT Sears store has no shear pins and no drive belt in stock for my model. The salesman says “Oh, that’s an old Murray model, we don’t stock parts for that anymore.” So I respond, “Then why does the correct auger belt that I have here say that it is for MTD models”. “I bought the snow blower at this very store not more than two years ago and you don’t carry the routine parts for it anymore?” He told me to try Tractor Supply.

    When I hit a buried paving stone last year with my Craftsman tiller, the same Sears store was out of shear pins for it in April.

  41. courtachino says:

    Sears has the WORST customer service, at least in the electronics department. My mother and I went there to buy a camera for my father. There was ONE salesperson in the whole department. That ONE person was ringing someone up and was taking FOREVER. When she was finally done, she asked my mother if she needed help and of course, my mother did, to which the saleswoman said “Oh, I have to go on break, I will get someone else to help with that.” 10 minutes later, another salesperson helps us. My mother wanted to look at the camera box. Oh, but wait! Cameras are kept in the storage room and salesperson doesn’t know if the one we want is in stock! Salesperson calls salesman over to check the storage room for that particular camera. After 10 minutes, he comes back and tells us the camera is in stock but doesn’t bring the box out because we “have to go to merchandise pick-up to get it.” JESUS! WTF! My mom pays for the camera, we go over to merchandise pick-up, and after ANOTHER TEN MINUTES, we are finally out of the store, camera in hand. All of that for one digital camera. Oh, and we had to return the memory card we bought for it, and that was a pain in the butt to do as well. *sigh* I try to avoid Sears. They are overpriced anyways.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      This is why I shop online these days, I know companies have to keep their electronics safe but time is money and when I can buy it for a few clicks on amazon for less money than the B&M retailer is selling it for Amazon will win out since I do not have to drive to a store and wait 30 min and hope there is an employee there to help me just to buy an electronic item. It doesn’t help that most stores here don’t even keep their electronics up to date, I can often times find a newer model of product x at amazon for less than what last year’s model is selling for at Sears or Walmart. For clothes and some other things I still prefer to buy them in a store so I can try them on but for electronics its all online these days.

  42. xaraan says:

    As a former sears (brand central) manager I wish this story was a shock to me, but it’s not.

    As for the inventory issues; between theft, ringing errors, store to store transfers and sears.com sales, plus just mistakes- the computer inventory is never accurate. I had my staff keep a daily count of the stuff it was so bad to deal with. Weird about sears.com though, they used to keep a buffer of two items before OKing a sale b/c of inventory issues.

    Another issue is that Sears doesn’t stock as much stuff as competitors. Those PS3’s you are looking for probably come in one or two boxes at a time (a box usually has two units) where best buy probably gets a pallet or two. It doesn’t help the buyers don’t fight to get game systems in b/c there is no profit to be made selling them (not defending, just explaining). And at this time of the year if it’s popular, the game system is gone within a couple hours of being unboxed. Which is why we don’t try to hold them. When wii’s came in and they were hot I had people on their cel phone half way to the store and still not making it in time to get hold of units.

    I never believe in holding things for customers personally either. An employee at the store you are in could create a store transfer sell and ring it up at whatever store you are calling that says they have one. (Of course, they would need to put their hands on it and not just check the computer) Once they make the sale, it get’s tagged and put in a hold bin in the back just like a customer order or sears.com sell.

    The reason we don’t hold is frankly there is no way to keep it from getting screwed up all the time: some people never show up, some employees put stuff in weird places, some sell it anyhow, sears.com or another store might sell it b/c it’s still in system, sometimes people don’t show up for hours, etc. It’s just not any way to keep things organized and results in worst customer service more times than just telling them no. But like I said, they should have transfer sold it and tagged it in a bin at that point b/c it would have a salescheck.

    I wish there was an easy fix about all of this, but when you present a great business with a complicated situation they can make some mistakes… when you present one that is at conflict with itself a complicated situation you get this and a dozen other messes. It really felt like pushing a boulder up a hill when I worked there; I literally had to fight with my own company to help customers. I hope you get your gift card money fixed b/c that can be a whole separate headache if that got messed up.

    • alternety says:

      On the weekend of BF I saw some shelves 1/2 price at Sears. This made it a decent buy. I went thru bing (13% cash back) and placed the order. After I submitted the order I realized I had switched browser windows somewhere along the line and it probably was not going to get bing cash back. Now I had already spent maybe 45 minutes screwing around with what is the worst commercial web site not done by uncle Gomer to help out his nephew’s new online business. It does not work. It is user hostile. It has rotten logical flow. It fills screens with other crap they somehow think you will buy because they have hidden the information you were actually trying to see.

      So, I think, I better cancel this. I don’t want two sets of these. Send the order number to the only email address I could find that seems like it could help. Waited a while and then decided tho phone in because they were almost out of stock. Phone person said she had canceled it. No problem. A couple of hours later I got a response to my email asking to cancel the order. It said I could not cancel because anything being sent UPS can’t be canceled but had to be returned. Even though I asked within several minutes of placing the order. And, of course, the order was for store pickup. I let that particular dog sleep.

      Later I got the notice that my first order was ready for pickup at the store. I never did get a proper order acknowledgment for the second order. Placed second order. Now out of stock although they should have just released the correct amount of those items from my canceled order. Next day their order status showed both orders.

      Couple of weeks later, status still shows both orders. There is no way to get information about expected delivery – just says something that is effectively – sometime and you ought to know already.

      Got email to pick up my order. Went to store and started to play with the kiosk. I have the barcoded form you are supposed to bring for pickup. It wants me to scan the same credit card I used for the purchase. Unfortunately I use the Discover secure software that makes up a card for that specific supplier. It is different than the actual card. I have no idea if it would be able to tie the two together. But I really don’t want that to happen. Given the overall thought and competence exhibited by their web site there is no way in hell I will let them have the chance to add my real card number to the online records.

      So it gives the option of not swiping the card (of course no idea what is going to happen) and continues processing. It announces that it can find no record of there being any merchandise for me to pick up. You can probably surmise my state of mind at that point to having made a 40 mile trip for absolutely nothing.

      An employee comes out, listens to the issue, takes the paper and dives back into the dark cavern of the storage area. Returns and asks how many I ordered. Now here is a surprise none of you have probably anticipated. Both orders are there waiting to be picked up. I said the first ordered was supposed to be canceled and that I did not want that one. I wanted only the second one for which I had the paper work. This was because of the bing thing. That generated some confusion. One of the people finally told me he would clear the order I had handed him. Now I was really pissed and unreasonably rude to the employees. I regret that part. They were trying to help. I finally was able to understand that clearing was Sears for filling/delivering/handing over.

      Slammed them into my car (I actually did not blame the guy for that – I deserved it). Left. I have been a Sears customer for 50 years. Including for simplicity, a couple of years after I cut up my sears card because their service department had refused my offered information on how to flush the fluid in my transmission (adamantly noted they were professionals and din need no steeking help); turned every bolt head on the transmission trying to figure out how to do it (you could see where the clean places were when I got it home); put in 1/2 pint of fluid in a 6 quart transmission and did not feel that was odd; refused to pay for having to readjust the transmission.

      They really are going to hell now days. A number of posters have asked why they survive. I suspect it is at least partially because people my age still remember it as a trusted quality brand. When we finally die out, they may find they will have to as well.

  43. TechnoDestructo says:

    I find it amazing that any consoles in this generation are doing as well as they are. The Xbox 360 has the Red Ring of Death. The PS3 has had its version fuckery and backward compatibility cockblocking, as well as its own quality control problems. They both started out godawful expensive, and somehow people took the 10 dollar increase in game prices lying down. In an age where most people have PCs that can either compete with those systems out of the box, or could do so with a 75 dollar graphics card, that’s ungoddamnbelievable. They both also engage in the unforgivable practice of releasing buggy games and downloading patches…on heterogeneous PCs I can understand it, not on nearly-homogeneous consoles. And in terms of games, both are inferior to their predecessors, even if you disregard whether or not their games are available on the PC.

    Then there’s the graphically unimpressive shovelware-magnet gimmick-machine that is the Wii. This whole console generation just sucks.

    Teresa should just use that 100 dollar gift card to buy some Craftsman tools. That’s all Sears is good for anyway.

  44. uni_j says:

    I realized the other day, the reason why SEARS is still relevant is because their pact made with the American Mall owners.

    I (like most) will cut through a Sears store to get to the parking lot. The way most malls are laid out it is sometimes quicker to go this route to get to the closest exit. Once you enter that sears store, it is you’ll know it is laid out like really brightly lit mouse labyrinths. I think a majority of the sales are from people who just get lost in the store when trying to escape to the parkign lot.

  45. smackswell says:

    Which plague?

  46. tsummer says:

    I work at a Sears electronics department, and I agree the sears.com website is a nightmare. Inventory listed on the website NEVER matches what the stores actually have. Sears and Sears.com almost act like seperate companies that attempt to share stock, but with little to no actual communication. The only type of customer I go out of my way to avoid are ones clutching sears.com confirmation printouts, because there is a 80% chance we don’t have what they have paid for and the customer is destined to make sure you personally know they are pissed about it. Since the orders are not placed in the store, we have no way of gaining any additional information about the order except for the same 1800 number given to customers on the printout…

    If you want a smooth transaction at Sears, place an order in store with a commision based salesperson. They make virtually no money per hour, and don’t get paid commision unless you purchase from them, leave with or pick up an item, and keep an item for 30 days. 95% of out of stock items can be ordered within 2-5 days, and arrive with your name on it and your phone number to call when it’s unloaded off the truck. I have never in my 8 months of employment seen a customer get an incorrect pickup confirmation call on an order placed in store.

    In this particular situation the problem boils down to the POS system. It is old and has very limited functionality. It is very easy for staff to convert a online order to an in store order, but there is a catch with videogame systems. When you ring up a Playstation 3, the POS system prompts us to scan the products serial number. If there isn’t one in stock, we have no way of advancing to the next screen to see when it will arrive, much less place an order for it in the store. This mixed with a website that will not actually send a Playstation to the store, because it’s convinced the store has them in stock makes the item un-orderable. It’s crazy I know…