The Item You Ordered From Sears May Or May Not Have Ever Existed

Michael admits that he probably should have known better than to order something from Ssears.com and…well, to expect it to show up. What he didn’t expect was to spend two suspenseful weeks where the retailer apparently wasn’t sure whether the items had been shipped, would be shipped, were in stock, were ever in stock, or actually existed. At least that’s how it sounds to us. This is impressive even by typical Sears standards.

I ordered two items from Sears.com using a gift certificate from my realtor after buying a new house. I prefer to go to Sears if I shop there at all, but one item was likely to be to big for my car, so I chose shipping instead. Let’s call them Item A and Item B. This is what happened:

Day 1: Placed the order on Sears.com. Confirmation e-mail that the Items will be shipped separately and should arrive in 7-10 and 12-14 days, respectively.

Day 5: I receive an e-mail indicating that Item A (the large, more expensive item) has shipped, and providing a UPS tracking number. I check UPS on-line, and find that UPS thinks that the order was taken, and then almost immediately cancelled, and that UPS does not (and will not) have possession of the item.

Day 5 (later): I e-mail Sears, asking in detail what happened to my order and to confirm when each Item will be delivered. Sears replies with the typical “we value your business, we’re so sorry” B.S., and then states that they checked with UPS and found the same message (shocking!). Finally, a “Specialized Team” will have to respond to my query, which will take 7-10 days. Now I’m pissed.

Day 6: I write to Sears, asking how it can take 7-10 days to respond to a simple delivery question. The reply (which comes in a couple of hours) states that Item B will be shipped in 7-10 days, and does not mention the problem with Item A. I call Sears, hoping to hear from a human, as I am now pretty sure that the Sears.com help line is simply a computer responding to key words (i.e. my reference to 7-10 days to hear back on Item A kicked in the auto-response re Item B). The guy on the phone says I have to wait to hear from the “Specialized Team”. Multiple e-mails result, trying to lock down a better answer – most refer to Item B only for some reason.

Day 7: I continue to try to find out the answer to my problem with Item A – and no matter what I say in my e-mails, the responses all refer solely to Item B status. ARG!!! Finally, Sears tells me that Item A is out of stock and that they will issue me a refund (on a gift card). Here’s the kicker – when I got home that night, Item A was sitting on my front porch! Finally, success! (No thanks to Sears).

Day 14: As a final kick in the ass, today I received a shipping e-mail for Item B stating that it would arrive in 2-3 days. When I got home, sitting in the mail was an envelope with a gift card in it for $19.53 – my refund for Item B, which is out of stock. Seriously?

In summary, for over 2 weeks Sears.com had no idea whether my two items were in stock, if they were being shipped, whether I would be getting the item or a refund, or whether my order could even be fulfilled. In the end, I’ll spend the $19 at my local Sears someday and then be done with them. I know that, if posted, the first comment to this will be “That’s what he gets for shopping at Sears” – well, I’ve always had luck in the stores with tools, and needed two items without going to the store. Lesson learned.

Well, not that going to a brick-and-mortar store and holding the item in your hands guarantees a pleasant shopping experience with Sears. It does mean that you won’t be waiting weeks for it to show up, though.