Consumerist Reader Puts Sears 5-Minute Pick-Up Guarantee To Test


After reading about another reader’s lengthy ordeal with Sears’ “5-Minute Guarantee” for customers who order items for in-store pick-up, Tony decided to put the retailer through its paces to see how it performed with his order.

Tony, who buys a lot of his tools at Sears, says he’s previously had the same problem as the other reader of Sears staffers stopping the countdown clock on his pick-up orders before reaching the five-minute market, thus saving them from having to issue a $5 coupon. This also jukes the store’s performance stats to make them look like they are fulfilling orders on time.

So when Tony placed four orders for pick-up at his local Sears, it wouldn’t have shocked him to see more of this clock-stopping.

He got to the store 25 minutes before closing, but considering it should only take five minutes to fulfill the order, he should have been in and out long before they were locking up.

Things started off promisingly, as three of the four orders were at the counter and ready to be handed over to him after only a few minutes.

However, the fourth order — which actually included two items — was more problematic. Only one of the two items was in stock, even though the website had listed it as in-stock.

The staffer needed to head over to the tool section to see what was going on, but rather than stop the clock on the three orders that were ready and give them to Tony, he let the clocks continue to run.

As you can see from the above photo, all four of the clocks crossed the 5:00 threshold. The “C” on the far right means Tony should be getting coupons because he still didn’t have his orders in hand.

But Tony never got those coupons because this is the point at which things go a bit haywire.

While he’s waiting for the sales associate to return from the tool section, he hears the announcement that the store is closing.

The staffer then came back from his visit to the tool section empty-handed.

“A manager tried to cancel the order with the missing item and reorder the item at the discounted price to have it shipped to my house for free, (meaning I have to wait even longer now),” writes Tony.

“Then I had to follow the manager INTO the store (which was already closed) to a kiosk to place the order,” he continues. “I had to login with my username and placed the order. We then had to walk back to the original area with a different kiosk so she can give me the discounted price. She then handed me the difference in cash.”

By the time this was all finished, Tony finally left Sears after being there for 45 minutes. Even if Sears were to argue that each order should have been timed consecutively, Tony should have only spent 20 minutes inside the store.

So the results of Tony’s test:

  1. I never got an apology for the missing item. Not from the associate or the manager.
  2. I never got an apology for the long wait
  3. I never got my four $5 off coupons as the 5-minute guarantee policy states
  4. For the order where one of two items was missing, it turns out the manager canceled the entire order, then reordered the missing item, but didn’t charge me for the one item I did pick up. This means I literally got one of the items for free. (Not complaining)

Says Tony, “In a time when bricks and mortar stores are struggling to compete against online retailers, this is the perfect example of why this is a losing battle for them, with or without sales taxes.”

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