Even Sears Doesn't Know What It Sells Anymore

Sears might be doing an okay job with adjusting to doing business in the 21st century if they weren’t stuck with a pesky brick-and-mortar store network. Maybe. When John returned a malfunctioning dehumidifier to his local store, he wanted to exchange it for a working one. He couldn’t, though, because the item was out of stock. Logical enough: dehumidifiers are popular in the summer. Yet he was able to go home, order the item online, and pick it up at the very store he had just been told was out of the item.

He writes:

I picked up a top-of-the-line dehumidifier with built-in pump at my local Sears a few weeks ago. Although I’m not typically a big fan of the chain, they were the only store in my area that carried an integrated-pump unit in stock. I was quite satisfied with it for the first couple weeks, but then the pump decided not to [work].

Today I called the store to see what could be done and was told that it “must be a lemon” and that I should bring it in for an exchange – “No problem!”. I proceeded in and arrived within 30 minutes of my call. I was directed to the Pick-up area to make my return, and was then directed to the sales floor to see about a replacement. That’s when the sales person responded with “Looks like there’s only one left! Let me go make sure it’s back there.” He returned after a few minutes to tell me that they were, in fact, out of stock. He explained that with the heat, a lot of people have been in for them. “I just sold 2 of that same model today!” he replied.

Although I was pretty disappointed (considering I called ahead), I figured I could go a few days without one. Then he checked the computer one more time and came back with “Oh no – it’s back-ordered! Guess the company can’t keep up with the demand!” He offered me a unit without the pump, but since that was the only thing wrong with the one I had just minutes ago, I declined and requested my money back.

After returning home, I once again began my search. Surprisingly, I ended up with the same result as two weeks ago – Sears was the only place with such a unit in stock. Knowing their inventory reflected 1 despite sales saying it didn’t exist, I placed my order for in-store pickup. Sure enough – 15 minutes later I had my e-mail confirmation. Everything else went smoothly. I returned to the store, picked up my new, completely unopened unit and put it in the car. I went back in to speak to a manager, but was told that one wouldn’t be in for 2 days. It’s probably for the best.

And that’s why I try to avoid Sears.

Suggested new Sears motto: “We probably have what you need; we’re just not sure where it is.”

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