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15 October 2018 @ 04:16 pm
History  
When Sears was the good guys [Twitter]

ETA: When a company is destroyed by the vulture capitalists, as Sears now is, we should say it was romneyed
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Sharon Kahndreamshark on October 16th, 2018 01:31 am (UTC)
Sorry, but Sears destroyed itself. My family shopped at Sears, including ordering from the catalog, so I had a lot of nostalgic fondness for the place. When I moved to Minneapolis in 1972 I lived near the old Art Deco Sears palace and I shopped there all the time.

I took my car to their Auto Center for service until the time they blatantly tried to rip me off (claiming to replace a part that clearly had not been touched). A couple years after that, there was a nationwide scandal involving systematic ripoffs at Sears Auto Centers, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't just a fluke. But by that time I had found better, more honest places to take my car.

I gradually stopped buying clothes and household goods at Sears because the merchandise was outdated, the store was musty-smelling, and the service kept deteriorating. They were still using the old department store model where you had to find a salesperson to check you out (no central registers) but there were fewer and fewer people actually working the floor.

When they finally closed the Sears Building in 1994 I hadn't shopped there in years. When I read something about the Sears bankruptcy today I was surprised to learn that they were even still in business.

Sears was innovative in their time, possibly even world-changing. In many ways they were the Amazon of their day, aggressively disrupting the standard retail model. I'm not sure that makes them "good guys," although clearly their innovative model of catalog merchandising had some very positive social effects. They may not have been Evil Capitalists, but they were still capitalists. And they lost their creative edge a long time ago, became irrelevant, and finally just plodded off into the sunset.
msrat1900 on October 16th, 2018 10:24 pm (UTC)
I miss the old Sears, but the new Sears deserves to die
I raised my first batch of kids, in the 60s and early 70s, on clothing from Sears. Sears had an unusual guarantee; when they said "satisfaction or your money back", they *meant* it, unlike other stores. (At the time, it was a popular slogan.)

I had started shopping by mail, because we were living in a remote area, but when we moved into town, I found that they had the same slogan there too.

And they meant it. You could take something back and say, "my daughter doesn't like it" or "it just doesn't fit well" or "the color doesn't match my wallpaper" and you money was refunded without any argument.

Another interesting feature was that for many items, they had two or three levels of quality, at of course commensurate prices, and the guarantees for such items varied accordingly.

For me, Sears went down the tubes sometime between the middle 70s and the early 80s when I embarked upon a new round of family-raising. I soon found that the old Sears was gone, replaced by dubious specialty catalogs "sponsored" by Sears but issued by some of the other catalog sales places, and without the old "satisfaction guaranteed".

Personally, I never had any trouble with their automotive department, but it may not have been as good in other parts of the country.