Betty is trying really hard to make Kmart honor what she thought were the terms of the layaway agreement. She was supposed to pay the original price and not have any layaway fees. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Not for Betty, and she’s incredibly frustrated. [More]
sears holding company
Michael was wandering a midwestern Sears when he saw it: a small, bright forest in the seasonal section. A shimmering flame-retardant mirage beyond the flimsy plastic appliances. Yes, his local Sears has already put up their Christmas tree display.
Last year, I formulated a theory that the continued existence of Sears is a massive anti-capitalist prank. The stories that readers send us indicate that the chain isn’t very good at key parts of retailing: attracting customers, selling merchandise to them, and not actively driving the customers you already have away. It’s not just Consumerist readers avoiding Sears these days: the power couple of Sears and Kmart lost $421 million in the quarter that ended on October 29.
Terrie finished up her shopping at her local Kmart and headed for the checkout. She was horrified to see that each open checkout had at least dozen customers in line, and the store had no intention of opening any more. When she inquired about making her purchase at the jewelry counter or opening some more registers, she learned exactly how important customers are to this particular store.
Everyone has those moments as a consumer where we say, “Screw you guys, I’m not coming back.” For M., that moment came for her at Kmart when she came back to pick up a refill and learned that in order to take part in Kmart’s $10 for a 90-day supply generic drug program, she would need to enroll in the discounter’s new Kmart Pharmacy Prescription Savings Club for only $10 per household per year. M. chose instead to transfer her prescriptions to one of the many pharmacies offering the same price for her generic drugs, without having to sign up for any memberships.
Nicholas in California has shopped at Sears for his entire life. His parents shopped at Sears. His grandparents shopped at Sears. Now, after a recent experience, he says he won’t ever shop there again. What kind of experience would drive a customer to say that? He copied Consumerist–and his entire e-mail contacts list–on his letter to Sears. Spoiler alert: it involves incompetent customer service.
In-Store pickup for online orders from Sears is such a promising concept. You order something, pick it up a short time later at your local Sears store, bring it home, and enjoy your new and properly functioning appliance, tool, or gadget. Seasoned Sears shoppers and faithful Consumerist readers know that things often don’t work that way. Today’s exhibit: David, and his fight to get Sears to sell him a functioning toaster oven.
Back in February, the Sears Holding Company named Louis J. D’Ambrosio, formerly of IBM and of Avaya, its new CEO. As the company continues to struggle for profits and relevance, the Associated Press determined that W. Bruce Johnson, interim CEO from 2008 until this year, got a huge raise in 2010, which more than tripled his pay. For what? Not improving customers’ satisfaction with Sears, if our mailbox is any indication.
Roger is stuck with some clothes that relatives bought him for Christmas that don’t fit. Did these relatives cut the tags off? Buy him shirts from an obscure store with only a few locations? No. The shirts come from Kmart, which has so much trouble remembering its own recent inventory that they’ve deleted all trace of this recent merchandise from their systems and can’t take the shirts back.
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.
Five years after their merger, how are Sears and Kmart faring? Not so well. The company faces deteriorating stores in near-abandoned malls, fierce competition in nearly every category, locations that were prime retail space in about 1974, and snarky consumer bloggers that mock the company at every turn. Oh.