Sears Actually Has No Idea When Your Item Showed Up At The Store

This holiday season, Sears continues its mission as an elaborate anti-capitalist prank, mocking the feeble attempts that shoppers make to obtain useful information from customer service representatives, and preventing consumers from exchanging money for merchandise. LouAnn, a longtime Sears customer, was left so frustrated after a recent encounter with the retailer that the vented to Consumerist, “I am tired of giving MY money to companies who CLEARLY don’t understand that I have a choice of where and how to spend my money.” That could be a mission statement for this site.

What happened to irritate LouAnn so? She ordered an important Christmas gift for her son for in-store pickup, waited a few weeks, and then contacted Sears to find out where it had run off to. A clueless customer service representative told her that it had been waiting for her for over a week. She knew that it hadn’t, and things just got less competent from there.

I placed an online order on November 16 for a 2-pack of WWE figures
for a Christmas gift for my 5 year old son. I had them shipped to the store.

On November 23, I called to check on this order, I was told it was “in transit”. When I checked it online, my screen read “processing”. On December 1, I called to check on this same order. Again, my screen read “processing”, a Sears CSR told me it was “in transit”.

I sent 2 emails inquiring about this order. At this point, I only wanted to know if they needed to be re-ordered, because my son REALLY wanted these.

I received an email from a Sears CSR on Saturday December 3 telling me my item was received at my local store November 21! I call my local store, the receiving department tells me my package came in Friday December 2.

I call customer service, ask to speak to a supervisor. Wait on hold for 20-plus minutes, the CSR tells me the supervisor is available, she transfers me to the “Shop Your Way Rewards” department. I call back, ask for a supervisor, this time I am transferred quickly to a supervisor who was utterly clueless as to WHY I was so upset. My package had been shipped to the store, it’s ready to pick up, in her opinion everything was perfectly fine.

I tried to explain I wasn’t TRULY unhappy until I got the (false) email saying my order had been sitting at the store (knowing it wasn’t true). I said, “OK, let’s pretend it WAS sitting there this whole time. Sears doesn’t email me, call me or text me?” I know they have an automated service if your order sits too long.

The supervisor apologized for THE STORE not calling me. I was ok with the length of time the order took until I got that email. I have no idea where the person who emailed me got their information, but I spoke to the supervisor at the store when I picked up this item. He knows it was received on Friday, December 2.

The supervisor on the phone offered me a $5 gift card for my inconvenience. I told her to keep it, because if I had a gift card, I would need to buy something from Sears and that is something I won’t be doing again.

Sears lost a longtime customer over mishandling an order for a $28 item. Some people may think this is petty. I am tired of giving MY money to companies who CLEARLY don’t understand that I have a choice of where and how to spend my money. I am tired of shoddy products, nonexistent customer service, and CSR’s who aren’t trained properly by their employers.

For the record, I don’t fault the CSR’s. They were giving me the information Sears gave them. I think Sears should empower their CSR’s with more information, and a certain degree of autonomy.

Sears Lost $421 Million Last Quarter, Didn’t Spend It Fixing Up Stores
Sears, Don’t Make Me Give My Dad A Box Of Air Filters For Christmas
Sears Still Has Customers, Can’t Manage To Sell Them Actual Merchandise


Edit Your Comment

  1. TheBigWhiteWolf says:

    We went through this trying to buy a crib a couple of years ago. Sears’s tracking system doesn’t actually track anything. It estimates when the item should go on the truck, how long it should be in transit, and arbitrarily tells you to go pick the item up at the store.

  2. Darury says:

    Just so I’m clear: She will no longer shop with Sears because the package arrived well before the date it was needed and there was a typo in the email she received?

    Good to know that over-reaction is still the SOP for around here.

    • Sarge1985 says:

      This. LouAnn, you need to get over your own sense of self-import. You ordered a gift that you don’t even need for at least two more weeks. This would be a problem if you got the e-mail on Dec 24 and the item was NOT at the store. You ordered an item and it arrived in plenty of time for you to pick it up and wrap it for your child. Chill

      • Happy13178 says:

        RTFA. She wasn’t mad because the item was early or late, she wanted to know if it was going to be an issue so if she had to go hunt it down elsewhere, she would still have time to do so before it became impossible to get a replacement before the holidays. And she’s right….the issue isn’t about the item, its about the total inability of customer service to give an accurate answer either way. Is she not allowed to get angry until the item is so late and the issue isn’t sorted out before it becomes too late to do anything about it? A simple answer would have avoided the whole thing, and I can understand her being angry after being bounced around in their call centre hell for a while.

  3. BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

    I work in retail logistics, at the store level. The possibility that comes to mind is that the item arrived and was mishandled and put onto the sales floor/stock room, etc. When OP called the receiving department was accurate when they said it wasn’t there… however if the error was made weeks before, they wouldn’t have known it was on the floor. Logistics teams do not always equal the stock team. The IT side of the transaction could have known that it was shipped and that it arrived. However if the item was mislabeled, the receiving department might not have it flagged for a specific customer, which in turn would not trigger the IT follow up components.

    In old-school terms, Tiny Tim wants specific Lincoln Logs. His mom special orders them through the store manager, the manager makes a note, they are ordered and delivered. The stock clerk doesn’t know that Tiny Tim’s mom specifically requested these, so she put them out for sale and they were bought buy Medium-Tim, the Tiny’s cousin from the next town over. Mom comes in asking for the toys. Manager says “Well, they should have been here.” The stock clerk knows nothing about the Lincoln Logs and the store manager thinks he’s going nuts. Meanwhile, Medium Tim has the toys, the stock clerk still doesn’t have a major and the store manager is never going to catch Widow Tim’s eye. The End.

    • flyingember says:

      That’s BS.

      it sound to me like the manager failed to properly communicate with his employees about the Lincoln Logs. They’re not going to be a manager if their store is that dysfunctional that they can take special orders and not actually fulfill them.

      Stockers should ALWAYS have guides to follow from management about what to stock and when (think special holiday endcaps that must be up by a certain date). This is where the manager adds notes about special situations. This is where the automated system adds special notes. These special notes should be included in each pallet from the warehouse, in the inventory sheet, in the daily special notes, etc.

      And these days it’s all automated by computers. By these days I mean since 1990-2000 for all major retailers. The online store should check against stock (what came in less sales) and place orders for delivery as needed or flag to pull a product from the floor. The manager should do the same thing for a special order. They all get added as notes to the various departments for each days’ tasks.

      It’s retailing 101 for the past decade.

      • BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

        My Tiny Tim/Lincoln example was the town’s general store version…like I said, old school. No computers, no end-caps, no plan-o-grams, no warehouse sends. The manager in my head even had a walrus mustache, a dapper manner of dressing(stripes!) and had been at the store for 20+ years. The kid’s name was Tiny-Tim, he wanted Lincoln Logs for his present and his mom went by “widow Tim”. Ahhh context clues…

        As for Sears in 2011, we all know their struggles because we read Consumerist. A mistake happens at Sears, oh my! However, the readers of Consumerist actually like knowing how things work behind the scenes. Old school micro logistics is far easier to envision, so went to the early 20th century.

        So no, it wasn’t BS. It was a historical representation that didn’t work for you.

    • Happy13178 says:

      That may well be true, but like so many other reasons that retail chains throw at you as to why they failed to deliver on their end of things, this is not the customer’s problem. It may be totally understandable on the backend as to why this happened, and its nice that they can identify the issue so that if they felt like it in the future they could put a process in place to avoid it. But what happens internally in a company is not a paying customer’s problem to try and understand. It just isn’t. That’s the company’s problem. They get paid to deal with that problem. The customer gets paid to care about problems in their own job. They don’t pay you to care about yours.

      • BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

        Whoa Nelly… I was explaining the back end of retail logistics. I wasn’t defending the customer experience.

        Knowing how the back end works is a good thing to understand for anyone… before something goes wrong for one our own transactions. If it does go wrong, you as an educated customer can work around the CSRs that are as helpful as a bag of sand.

        In my mind, the less you care about something as a consumer, the increased likelihood get hosed in the experience. That’s why we don’t hear about IT guys having horrible experiences at Best Buy, general contractors having a hard time with Sears appliances, mechanical engineers getting scammed by a car shop, etc.

        Educated consumerism is why this blog exists… it’s why I read it. When I can offer something educational, I will.

  4. az123 says:

    All I see is someone who is looking for something to complain about. Had they just not called constantly trying to find the status and had an email arrive that said come pick it up then all would have been fine. To me this is a consumer that should not be purchasing things online, if you order something to be shipped the slow boat free method at it takes some time to get in then you really have nothing to complain about, if you wanted it in under a week you should have paid to have fast shipping.

    Sears notification system does suck, I pretty much only order pick up things that are in stock at the store or only items I can get no other way (specific model appliance). There is much they could do to improve, no doubt, but I see the reaction here as over the top and about, as someone else mentioned, a typo in an email that was sent out.

  5. scoosdad says:

    I think if you just read the words in ALL CAPS it’s a secret message for Russian spies living here in America.

    Has to be. It’s a complaint that she placed an order, said order was delivered in what sounds like a reasonable time to a Sears store, and she got an email saying it was there, go pick it up. Yet she still takes it on herself to make life miserable for anyone at Sears who will listen to her rant about mixed up dates. I would have just thanked my lucky stars (as any longtime Consumerist reader would) that it even showed up as ordered in time for Christmas and she was able to pick it up.

  6. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I think the Sears website is just a web interface to the old catalog operation. Instead of going to the Sears catalog store and ordering things and waiting for them to arrive, you do it online…but nothing else has really changed. They’re not like Amazon where you can see exactly when something has been packaged and shipped.

    It’s kind of more fun that way. Don’t you remember when you would place an order and expect it to arrive in 3-4 weeks? And then just when you had forgotten about it – BAM! – you got a phone call from Sears telling you to come get your dishwasher parts and rototiller blades you had ordered. I miss those days.

  7. u1itn0w2day says:

    Sounds like a case of not my job or inattention to detail. In any company or organization no matter what system or procedures you use it is only as good as the people using it and that’s if they use it.

    So what ever procedure Sears has for internet orders was not followed somewhere down the line. And since it seems like the op got everyone except the people who actually handled her order they got a case of it’s not my job. In some respects they are right. Fluffing off a customer is wrong.

  8. D007H says:

    Similar things have happened to me at Sears more frequently than I can count. I put up it with it because they used to have good coupon policies. Now a days they just screw you with fake sales, coupons that doesn’t work, and generally bad customer service. Like during their last “Friends and Family Event” they just raised prices during the sale and said that everything is 20-10 percent off. Of course if you do the math, you would be paying more on certain things.

  9. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Is 2 weeks typical for Sears In Store pickup?

  10. stevenpdx says:

    OP sounds like a nightmare customer. Glitches happen. People can move on in their lives from such a horrible thing that OP was subjected to.

    • Gorbachev says:

      It’s not a glitch, if it’s a systemic problem.

      It’s clear from the way her issue went the people at had no clue where the item was, and the store it was sent to had no process to notify customers when items they ordered were ready for pick up.

  11. rpm773 says:

    Stick it out, Sears. This whole internet fad is about to flame out.

  12. gargunkle says:

    Sears/Kmart online presence is utter trash. I am on some Transformers forums and forum members are continually disappointed trying to order something on the sites, only to receive the wrong thing!

  13. ouijabored says:

    Sears has been giving shoddy service like this since the late 80s. My mom ordered the Ghostbusters firehouse for my brothers and I for Christmas in early November – she placed the order at the store, since the firehouse was currently out of stock. She specifically ordered it since it was popular, and she didn’t want to miss being able to get one. The day the order “should” (according to Sears) be in comes: Sears tells her its back-ordered, it’ll be another week or two, but she’ll DEFINITELY get it by Christmas. This repeats until mid-December, and nobody at Sears or on the customer service line can tell her when the item will not be on back-order, and guess what, she’s totally not getting it by Christmas and whatever gave her the silly idea that she would?
    That was almost thirty years ago, and my mom has not shopped at Sears since.

    • working class Zer0 says:

      I had a similar situation with Best Buy at Christmas about 13 years ago and I have not been back since.

      And I couldn’t agree more with LouAnn’s statement “I am tired of giving MY money to companies who CLEARLY don’t understand that I have a choice of where and how to spend my money. I am tired of shoddy products, nonexistent customer service, and CSR’s who aren’t trained properly by their employers.”

      I have other options and I will use them.

    • Swins says:

      Your mom lied to you. But how dumb a parent must your mom be if she ordered a popular item, that was out of stock, hoping to get it for Christmas.

  14. elc32955 says:

    Sears in general has a major disconnect on inventory & tracking issues. Little example here, last year I wanted a specific type tire for my RV, found it on the Sears.Com site at a decent price, and ordered six of them shipped to my local store. Waited the appropriate time, contacted the local store, tires were a no-show. Store couldn’t seem to locate the order. Drove down to the store to look a live manager in the eye and showed them the web site information along with the info on the web order. Store called distribution center at my request and was told the item was not available. Asked them to check other stores for the particular tire and again was told item not available. When asked WHY they were advertising the item on their website, Customer Service told me that some store, somewhere in the entire Sears system had this particular tire on the shelf. And until that last lonely tire was sold, the item would continue to show as “available” on the web, be advertised, and would be placed on sale occasionally, etc etc… But, they couldn’t find out WHICH store the tire(s) were stocked at as they had no way to track the individual inventory.


  15. scottboone says:

    The apologists for Sears in this forum (some of whom even have decided to attack the consumer) are the *reason* for the current crappy state of customer service. Mere “consumers” who expect next to nothing and think we all should be happy for that.
    I wonder why they even bother wasting their time posting at website called “The Consumerist”. I mean, by very definition, the term “consumerist’ suggests a smart, savvy shopper, the kind that certainly would NOT find Sears’ lacking services acceptable. They must, then, only be here to be contrarians. Might I suggest The Contrarian blog at Oh, wait, doesn’t exist because it wouldn’t actually be productive and useful.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      I don’t see it. They’re not apologists for Sears, because Sears didn’t do anything wrong. If you know anything about shipping, then you know shipping this time of year is hell, and in this case it wasn’t even bad, she was just impatient and overreacting. And Sears is better off losing a customer like that, since you can’t win with them.

    • Charmander says:

      I am not an apologist for Sears to have to wonder why exactly she was so upset. Apparently the item came in on December 2nd, she got an email December 3rd telling her her item was there.

      Can’t really understand the drama here. Is she mad about the typo? Scratches head.

      • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

        Is she having a BF (bitch fit)? Totally. Is it warranted? Kinda. What is she really mad about IMO? The fact that nobody at Sears knows whether to wind their butt or scratch their watch. And I personally agree with her. With technology at its current state, there’s no reason why UPS, FedEx, and nearly every store in existence with an online presence is capable of tracking an order while Sears is apparently utterly incompetent. That’s why she’s pissed.

  16. Parnassus says:

    When she called on the 3rd, she was told by the supervisor it had just arrived on the 2nd. Therefore, all the people who told her that it was in transit and that it was there on the 21 were wrong? She seems to be more upset that the information was wrong than because she wasn’t notified. Was there any proof that the store supervisor didn’t take the call, find the item and think, “Darn, it’s been sitting here a week!” and say, “Oh, yes, I see that it arrived yesterday.”

    Not that this would be a better outcome and she’d be happier, I’m just wondering if I missed something.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I used to work retail, and we’d get shipments in the evening that would not be fully opened/processed until the next day. So something could be “scanned in” as arrived on Friday, but we would not actually have our hands on it until Saturday.

      “We got 500 boxes at 7 p.m., by the time we get Customer A’s item, it’s 10 p.m. … we’ll notify her in the morning.”

      • Parnassus says:

        But again, that would mean that one person is right and everybody else is wrong. I still don’t understand what proves that the supervisor isn’t wrong. I once lost a shipment for days because someone (who had been told to not touch the shipments) had “helpfully” taken a box from the pile of boxes I was checking through and put it somewhere that made complete sense to him. This meant hours of extra work since I had to check through various pages of records while trying to find it. The good part about that was that I recognized the shipment when I found it because I had a list of all the numbers attached to it.

        And just to show that people are interesting, when the mailroom refused to let him take parcels away any more, he started sneaking them out without letting them know. A supervisor had to get after him to make him stop. Now he’s mad at the supervisor and the rest of us are off the hook. :)

  17. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m wondering what type of delivery commitment even if was a window like 2 weeks the OP was given. I wonder if she was verbally promised something or had a more firm date.

    It’s still kind of embarrassing to Sears that they really can’t track a shipment more precisely. What the heck professional delivery businesses can. Is not Sears professional?

  18. kranky says:

    Yesterday I was on here reading and I thought too many commenters rag on the OP for over-reacting. Now today I read this story and find myself thinking, “The OP is overreacting.”

    You were notified promptly when the item was ready, it was ready in time, and you are irate because the notification erroneously told you it was ready sooner than it really was. How is this a problem in any way?

    Did the tracking you did throughout the process wrongly reflect the status? No.
    Was it sitting there waiting for you and you hadn’t been notified? No.
    Was it too late for you to give it as a Christmas gift? No.

    No wonder the supervisor was clueless why you were so upset. I don’t get it either.

    Maybe things like this is why it’s next to impossible to talk to a supervisor. Too many unreasonable complainers demanding a supervisor’s attention for a non-existent problem.

  19. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    She’s 100% correct: I think this is petty.

  20. Swins says:

    To the OP, Sears Where Idiots Shop…you are their new slogan.

  21. Murph1908 says:

    This story, plus the upgrade cell phone story from yesterday, is starting to degrade my interest in this site.

  22. markvii says:

    This may seem like a minor issue to some, but I think it illustrates the general disorganization at Sears. When you think about the delivery and repair horror stories that pepper this blog, it’s the same sort of logistical disconnects, but on a larger scale.

  23. Dallas_shopper says:

    Sears sucks. I haven’t even gone into a Sears since the Dishwasher Saga of 2010. Will never darken their doorway (or internet portal) again.

    Hopefully the OP will never shop there again either. They don’t deserve our business. Or anyone else’s.

  24. Legit Crypt says:

    I couldn’t finish THIS story because all of the EMPHASIS was throwing OFF my ability to pay ATTENTION. Sometimes when trying to convey information ABOUT an experience, leaving the emotion AT HOME can be the best way to GET YOUR POINT ACROSS. That’s just ME though.

    • StarKillerX says:

      How could she leave out the emotion when the TL:DR is basically “I got sand in my vagina and it’s your fault?”

  25. SearsCares says:

    Dear Laura Northrup,

    My name is Robert and I am part of the Sears Social Media Escalations team. I am very concerned about what I have read here. I came across your post and I wanted to reach out and offer our assistance in getting this unfortunate situation resolved. We are very sorry to hear about the service you have received from our business partners and the frustration this has caused you and your family. We appreciate your business with Sears and we would like to have the opportunity to make this right. Our department Sears Social Media Escalations Team is a single point of contact for escalated concerns which means we step into a situation and handle it start to finish with one Case Manager.

    At your convenience, please contact our office via email at so you don’t have to continue to be frustrated by this. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the screen name (Laura Northrun) you used to post on this site, for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Thank you,

    Robert B.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

  26. Zer0.MediA says:

    Why would you have them shipped to the store and not your house?