What’s a 76-year-old woman to do when Sears sends her a faulty lawnmower, schedules a time to pick it up and then doesn’t, and then refuses to refund her money until it gets around to taking back said mower, which will then be outside the 30-day-refund window? She marches in to have a strong word with store employees, who then call the cops.
Years ago, in a time so foreign and distant that many of us can barely remember it, Sears was the place to go if you wanted to buy a quality appliance. That’s not the case anymore. Evidently now it’s the place to go if you want to buy a non-operational appliance and take a bunch of unnecessary days off work. Tomorrow morning, Jesse will be waiting for a technician to come by and (most likely) not get his new dishwasher to work. The second, replacement dishwasher that Sears brought after the first one didn’t work either.
We’re still not quite sure what Sears is. It pretends to be a retail operation, but in reality acts more like its existence is an elaborate anti-capitalist prank, aiming to keep consumers from exchanging their money for tangible goods. Take, for example, the case of Michael. He would like to order a Craftsman steel workbench frame from Sears, and Sears is doing its best to prevent him from owning one.
Automatic re-ordering of items you use a lot of can be a wonderful and convenient thing. But if you don’t want the thing anymore, ending that perpetual re-order can be a colossal pain in the butt. Dave had the water filters for his Kenmore fridge set for annual re-orders from Sears PartsDirect, but discovered a cheaper source. He tried to cancel the re-order, but wasn’t able to, so he removed all credit cards from his Sears account. They sent the filters anyway.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Sears name actually stood for quality, service and all those other buzz words you hear in TV commercials. When people ask “What happened?,” it’s easy to point to the growth of big-box competitors like Walmart and Target, but that doesn’t paint the full picture of why the once-iconic Sears brand is now considered second-tier by many shoppers.
We don’t begrudge Sears Repair–or, indeed, any business–a healthy markup on items that they sell. That’s how capitalism works, and capitalism is awesome. But Matthew must have felt insulted when the part his dishwasher needed showed up on his doorstep ahead of a return visit from the repairman. The part needed only a few screws to install…and, making things worse, was available $50 cheaper, for only $121, on Sears’ own website. It’s even cheaper elsewhere.
Russell was browsing at his local Sears, seriously considering a purchase of fitness equipment. He grossly miscalculated, though: he got the idea in his head that he could ask an employee about the products for sale in the store and receive a factually correct answer. Instead, the salesperson emphasized the uselessness of the warranty, losing the sale and annoying the customer.
Who needs a new pair of jeans when there’s TV watching to be done? The demands of shoppers has led to Sears dropping clothing from 10 of its stores in order to fit in more mattresses and recliners.
Just judging by appearances, this match-up has the feel of a strapping young heavyweight going up against a past-his-day bruiser who is clinging on to memories of his days as champ. But you never know if that elder fighter might have packed some bird shot and ball bearings in his boxing gloves.
Sears, Sears. We know that you’re desperate. But acting clingy and desperate is no way to win over customers, especially the ones who have just made a purchase in your store. While it seems like every retailer is pushing their service plans on customers, they don’t usually resort to phone stalking, like what you did to your poor customer Mike. He had to resort to contacting the FTC and your corporate offices about the stalking.
It’s over, Sears. You should have taken the hint one of the first few dozen times you called. Now Mike really never wants anything to do with you again.
Our pals-in-arms at the Consumer Reports National Research Center recently asked more than 26,000 readers to rate their shopping experiences at the nation’s top retailers — both in-store and online — and in spite of being a members’ only warehouse store, Costco came out looking the best.
In hindsight, Marla would have been better off ordering a toaster and a toaster oven from anywhere except Sears. But she didn’t know that the company has entered the next phase of its existence as a massive anti-capitalist prank, and has now added an absurdist theater aspect to the project. At least, that’s the only explanation for some of the conversations Marla had when her toaster didn’t show up. First, they refused to understand that the toaster wasn’t in the box at all. Then, she received a call to come pick up her floor-model toaster at a store in Maine. Marla lives in Alaska.
Sears is pointing to a big drop in this year’s holiday sales as the reason they’ll have to close 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores in 2012. Which means it’s your fault, consumers, for failing to shell out big dough at Sears. Kidding! Mostly.
Sears is trying to coax actual customers into its stores with great sales, but don’t be fooled. They’re still Sears. Donald ordered some tools for in-store pickup in order to save on shipping, but the store didn’t actually have the items they promised. Not “didn’t have them waiting for him,” but “didn’t have them at all.” While he waited for forty-five minutes, he couldn’t help but feel insulted when he saw a sign touting in-store pickup as “fast, in stock, and helpful.” Zero for three, really.
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.
A guilty conscience is a funny thing. An elderly man recently left an envelope with $100 in it on a Sears service counter in Seattle, with a note that said he’d stolen money from a Sears store in the late 1940s.