Mar 15, 2023Liked by Heath Racela

I worked for a Sears Catalog Surplus (later Catalog Outlet) store for ten years, until 1989 ... shortly before they closed catalog down. That is when they lost their soul ... that catalog had EVERYTHING, and was a fabulous marketing tool - every house had one. When they shut down catalog (supposedly because they didn't want to pay future pensions for upcoming retirees; the catalog department was on target to be profitable after losing money for a few years) Sears became just another store. A store with great policies (employees may remember Bulletin O-277 - defining what it meant by Satisfaction Guaranteed) but even those would be gone soon. A REAL shame ... just prior to that, Sears was still the #1 retailer in the world. I have great memories still of working for Sears.

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Heath Racela

Sears was our big family supplier late 60s-70s.

1. I remember the see dishwasher with the see trough front. My parents said they could set our strollers in front of it and keep us occupied watching

2. also the ball suspended on the stream of air from the vacuum cleaner on reverse. Another baby/toddler entertainment

3. My parents kept a legal pad with Sears catalog items to order. At least six columns with all the details necessary to call in the order. Seemed to take forever to dictate the order. including options, color, shipping weight.

4. Which then leads me to picking up the Sears order, which was usually a nightmare. Took forever. "Maam, are you being helped?" "Well, I handed my order # to someone and they went in the back, but that was 20 minutes ago"

5. Turquoise colored vans always in the neighborhood with deliveries or repairs

6. A vague memory of there being some mystery to what we were picking up. I guess backorders maybe. "Well lets go see what this order they called us about is"

7. The catalogs were great. I remember spending hours with the Wishbook, the general catalog and even a reproduction of an old catalog.

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Jan 15, 2023Liked by Heath Racela

I also have lots of memories about going to Sears. (Remember I am Overly-Elderly) Craftsman Tools were the only tools men wanted. Kenmore appliances were considered the best, my mother’s first automatic washer was a Kenmore. Later, in the ‘60 the brand had fallen to “the middle price range.”

I still don’t understand why the company failed. It’s a shame. I really, really appreciate Heath writing the brilliant article. btw, the catalog houses fascinates me.

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Jan 15, 2023Liked by Heath Racela

I selected 2010’s in the poll, but it would’ve been 2012 or so? Early 2010’s. I was living in Cleveland and had a car with a Diehard battery (and warranty) and had to drive from store to store to find it since the inventory system was so terrible (Richmond Heights didn’t have it and ended up in Mentor where it finally was).

My first main job was at a standalone Sears Hardware (they added appliances while I was there) in the suburbs from 01-04 and got to see the downfall firsthand. Logistics were a failure. Computer system was largely the same from its initial creation in the early 80’s (and seemed dos based). Never knew what would come on on a truck, or when. Selling credit cards were the main priority, even as Sears sold their second credit card business (after selling off Discover years before) to Chase(?). It seemed like we were merely biding time back then, but it was a fun job and the stores still had all the tools to complete projects. I was told that Sears was more a real estate company, as they owned all the land under their stores, and we’re starting to selectively sell their assets to maintain cash flow at the time.

This timeframe was when I learned my mall secret. Always park at Sears, as there was always good parking available, even at Christmas. 😂

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I frequented this exact Sears store at the mall as a kid. My dad bought more than a few Craftsman tools here. My little brother and I more than a few clothes. I’m sure my parents got some clothes from here, too. It was always an event to go to Sears and my favorite part was always the electronics department where you could sample the latest video game systems and other home entertainment tech.

Now this looks like some location that exists to support what little online shopping audience they have left. It looks like they keep this location going just to have operating expenses for tax purposes. Who actually shops here?

It’s really sad seeing the escalators boarded up, but I’m sure they kept them there for when Primark either takes over the whole location or they use it for another big box store or another purpose entirely. Thing is, I think within the next decade or two, big box store shopping outside of perhaps Walmart, Target, and maybe Best Buy will be a thing of the past entirely.

I do hope that Sears persists as an online entity, but running these stores seems more like a balance sheet item than actual department stores at this point. This is where their small amount of overstock goes. It shouldn’t be long before we see deep discounts on everything. I give that store maybe a year before it’s gone.

It's incredible to see a company that literally sold everything for the home, including the house itself, fall to this low. I think if they went all in on just tools and appliance sales they could probably persist for awhile longer, but not need this level of space. It all looks so empty and not at all somewhere I’d want to shop. Seems like no one else really does either. We are on the verge of going entirely online with shopping, and apparently this is how all big box retail is all going to look sooner or later.

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