In a time of great anger at how things have turned out for the USA, in a time when we want an America back we think once existed, it is hard, at best, to watch one of the institutions of my childhood commit suicide. What used to be a reliable source for all things American, Sears is now a lumbering feckless zombie retailer of hard to manage chores for the consumer to get products and service.
Sometime ago our 2 year old Maytag dishwasher began misbehaving, refusing to start. Sears sent one man who knew nothing really, and was trying to figure it all out on his smartphone at his normal rate. He gave some suggestions and left.
We worked the suggestions, which took some remarkable dexterity in terms of pushing multiple buttons we never used otherwise, and it worked, but only for a time. Eventually all things must pass, as did this fix.
Washing dishes by hand is a virtue, I agree, yet the chore becomes tiresome. We elected to have the control panel replaced, and contacted Sears, on line of course.
WARNING: Sears does not send a truck with a man and the parts to fix their appliances. The task of getting the part from Sears warehouse in some far off place in these United States is shifted to the consumer. Mr. and Mrs. America is expected to time the arrival of the part to predate or coincide with the arrival of the technician. This is no longer the responsibility of Sears.
So we paid extra to put a rush on the part to arrive on or before a date in late June, the day before the Sears tech we scheduled was to arrive. The appointed day arrived – no part. We cancelled the tech and instead set out on our own to scour Seattle for the part. We found it at a local appliance supply store a few miles away.
Overjoyed at our luck we scheduled the technician. Just before he arrived, the part originally ordered from Sears appeared. We had him install the one obtained locally, and planned to return the one which arrived a week later than promised by the payment of the up charge on the rush delivery.
The next day we head for Sears, believing the part could be returned to the store. Surely a retailer must have some provision for it’s hapless customers who stumble into the actual store with a return. No, there isn’t.
Sears, you deserve to die for this monolithic obstacle unnecessarily placed in the way of the consumer. For heaven’s sake, the place is huge, you clearly have the space to collect these things. You cannot blame the Chinese for what came down:
It is a Sunday. It is the afternoon. We note few cars in the parking lot. Each “S” of the sign “SEARS” is missing from the neon display meaning we are going to a store named “EAR”.
Next door at the high end grocery things are booming, but not at Sears. Instead the place is a tomb. A few employees are seen standing around telling water cooler stories of what they did on their day off. We eventually get the attention of one of them, who behaves rather like a zombie.
Learning they cannot take the appliance part back at the appliance department, and we must “go on line” to find a return label and instead go with it and the unopened box to UPS we ask if he can help us. He seems perplexed, as if I have asked him to provide service. Can you go on line for us to get the label?
He walks over to the terminal next to the unsold dishwashers and finds he has trouble achieving connection with the Wizard of Sears. “No one gets in to see the Wizard, no way no how!” I suggest we telephone him.
Stunned by this suggestion he use the modern marvel, a phone, he goes behind the terminal, picks up the handset and goes through about seven firewalls and then heads for the office “in the back”.
Twenty minutes later he is out with a print out return label which we will take to UPS.
All in all the time expended in the return phase of this experience will ultimately be about 2 hours of a warm, beautiful July. This is the greatest sin of all, wasting our time.
Sears you cannot blame globalization for this and electing Donald Trump will not change your fate. Local business will thrive due to your negligence toward the people who give you the money for your stuff.
You deserve to die Sears. But you can’t I guess, because you are among the un-dead.
Sears, it is no longer where America shops.