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(Salon)   A look at what the death of Sears says about America   (salon.com) divider line 267
    More: Sad, Sears, Middle America, residential community, drills, real wages, strip malls  
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24984 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Apr 2014 at 1:20 AM (35 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-14 12:02:23 AM  
More interesting is what the article says about Sears. Do they really think that they were "demographed" and "Big-boxed" out of business?

Did they not think that years of shoddy service, not-give-a-fark store staff, poor selections, and a mail-order/catalog service with a random function built in would eventually catch up to them?

And they turned Craftsman from a decent line of tools into a collection of Chinese-made junk that is sometimes barely above Harbor Freight...at twice the price.

Good riddance.
 
2014-04-14 12:12:19 AM  
What happened to Sears was "Ayn Rand". The last CEO Paul Ryan/Rand Paul type fanboy of Ayn Rand.

And pitted each department against each other in a Thunderdome type competition within the corporation for resources.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/10/ayn_rand_loving_ceo_destroys_his_emp ir e_partner/
 
2014-04-14 12:41:27 AM  
Just FYI...Sears was one of the first corporations that embraced the 'internet' for catalog orders.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prodigy_%28online_service%29

So it wasn't really embracing new technology it was being an early adopter. Sears was one of the first retailers that put their 'online' (via dial up: AOL and Prodigy). Walmart doesn't really do much better for big ticket items via a cataglog service.

However..the latest CEO really positioned Sears for a trash company to load up with debt and ditch.
 
2014-04-14 12:55:35 AM  
Sears showed America how to buy cheap crap. Then America realized they could get even cheaper crap at Walmart.
 
2014-04-14 01:01:44 AM  

mr_a: More interesting is what the article says about Sears. Do they really think that they were "demographed" and "Big-boxed" out of business?

Did they not think that years of shoddy service, not-give-a-fark store staff, poor selections, and a mail-order/catalog service with a random function built in would eventually catch up to them?

And they turned Craftsman from a decent line of tools into a collection of Chinese-made junk that is sometimes barely above Harbor Freight...at twice the price.

Good riddance.


Total agreement.
 
2014-04-14 01:24:09 AM  

optikeye: What happened to Sears was "Ayn Rand". The last CEO Paul Ryan/Rand Paul type fanboy of Ayn Rand.

And pitted each department against each other in a Thunderdome type competition within the corporation for resources.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/10/ayn_rand_loving_ceo_destroys_his_emp ir e_partner/


Was gonna say. The shrinking of the middle class and the atomization of American culture may have played a part, but having an incompetent Randroid at the helm couldn't have helped.
 
2014-04-14 01:25:46 AM  
Sears is dying: What the ubiquitous store's death says about America

It says that Americans are smart enough not to shop at Sears.
 
2014-04-14 01:25:47 AM  
All the above, and with the advent of the internet, people no longer use the underwear section of their catalog for masturbatory material.
 
2014-04-14 01:25:54 AM  
I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.
 
2014-04-14 01:27:18 AM  

Sandelaphon: All the above, and with the advent of the internet, people no longer use the underwear section of their catalog for masturbatory material.


Dangit.
 
2014-04-14 01:30:48 AM  
But where will all those intelligent and sensitive employees work?
 
2014-04-14 01:31:22 AM  
It says Jack Squat about America.

It was a store that didn't change in a  changing world, and was run by an Ayn Rand fanatic into the ground. That's it.
 
2014-04-14 01:33:05 AM  

mr_a: And they turned Craftsman from a decent line of tools into a collection of Chinese-made junk that is sometimes barely above Harbor Freight...at twice the price.


You can buy Craftsman tools in Costo in Australia.  The local version of Lowes had some as well for a while.
 
2014-04-14 01:33:17 AM  

TV's Vinnie: It says Jack Squat about America.

It was a store that didn't change in a  changing world, and was run by an Ayn Rand fanatic into the ground. That's it.


You're supposed to comment on the story, not the state of the GOP.
 
2014-04-14 01:33:36 AM  
Sears and their owner K-Mart have a cyclic bankruptcy strategy.  Like banks, automakers and airlines.  It's a regular schedule.  Doesn't everybody know this?  It's been like this since the 70's.
 
2014-04-14 01:33:49 AM  
"The customers want to haggle over everything," she said. "It doesn't matter if it's a $45 pair of Converse. And they don't want to pay tax. They claim they can go down the street and they don't have to pay tax. I've always wanted my own business. At first, I was going to get a dollar store. My son told me to get a shoe store. If I had a dollar store, stuff would sell. It's cheap. People are into buying cheap things."

People are cheap, ignorant, and abusive.
 
2014-04-14 01:33:53 AM  
"The customers want to haggle over everything," she said. "It doesn't matter if it's a $45 pair of Converse. And they don't want to pay tax. They claim they can go down the street and they don't have to pay tax."

Never seen a retail store that would haggle over price. A pawn shop or flea market, sure, but never retail.
 
2014-04-14 01:34:01 AM  
"Sears, in a few years, you might not see them anymore," he said. "Basically, it's competition with Wal-Mart and Target. If a Wal-Mart moves in, Sears'll be gone in a year. They can't compete with the prices. I don't think people shop as much quality as price."

If your only defense of the store is something completely factually incorrect (the brands sold through Sears are frequently literally the same brands as those sold through Wal-Mart and Target) used as a justification for arbitrarily elevated prices, I feel like that may be a clue as to why the store is shutting down.

// The exception being clothing, Sears carries higher-quality clothing brands than Wal-Mart and averages higher quality than Target.  Only barely, though, people that actually  care about higher-quality clothing generally use a real clothing store and not a warehouse store to begin with.

// The "pushed out by big-box stores" is an especially stupid bit since Sears was literally one of the first big-box stores.  Maybe part of the recent shiatty management of the comapny involved not realizing this?
 
2014-04-14 01:34:26 AM  
consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com

When even the "Kenmore Elite" brand (which was supposed to be THE top of the line) stainless steel appliances start rusting within 8 months (and I thought stainless steel DOESN'T rust? Dafuq?), you know things have gone bad for Sears.

Sears never really respected it's customer base, but now with alternatives like Amazon, Home Depot, and Wally World, people don't have to put up with Sears and their sh*t any longer.
 
2014-04-14 01:37:11 AM  

darkjezter: I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.


K-Mart is owned by Sears.

And IMO, if you ever wanted to time-travel to 1987, just walk into any K-Mart. The shelves there have not been moved one millimeter since that era, and if you're lucky, you may still find an unopened Commodore 64 still in it's box that fell between the units.
 
2014-04-14 01:38:35 AM  
When I was a kid, my folks shopped at Shears-Sawbuck on occasion, but we mostly did our shopping at Monkey Wards.  If I ever finish my time-travel novel, it's going to have a part where the 1923 Sears catalog sells a reprint of the 1993 Sears catalog.  IIRC, 1993 was the last year--or close to it--that Sears stopped printing their catalog and thus deprived masturbatory material to millions of boys living in religiously devout households.
 
2014-04-14 01:41:40 AM  

TV's Vinnie: And IMO, if you ever wanted to time-travel to 1987, just walk into any K-Mart. The shelves there have not been moved one millimeter since that era, and if you're lucky, you may still find an unopened Commodore 64 still in it's box that fell between the units.


The things that I noticed the most the one time I've been to the K-Mart here is how messy and disorganized the shelves were and how farking empty the store was. I saw maybe 2 employees the entire time and one of them was the cashier.
 
2014-04-14 01:44:40 AM  
I have fond memories of the Sears catalog.  Every year my grandmother would send us one and tell us to circle a few things we wanted for Christmas.  Ya, it took a little bit of the surprise out of it.  But we got exactly what we wanted.
 
2014-04-14 01:45:08 AM  
I miss the popcorn and Hot Wheels.
I don't miss the utterly corrupt and lowlife auto centers they ran.  And don't get me started on what they did to Craftsman.

/Git off my lawn
 
2014-04-14 01:45:53 AM  

TV's Vinnie: K-Mart is owned by Sears.



Incorrect. K-Mart bought Sears. The name was changed to Sears Holdings Corp though, but it's still K Mart owning Sears.
 
2014-04-14 01:46:25 AM  

TV's Vinnie: darkjezter: I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.

K-Mart is owned by Sears.

And IMO, if you ever wanted to time-travel to 1987, just walk into any K-Mart. The shelves there have not been moved one millimeter since that era, and if you're lucky, you may still find an unopened Commodore 64 still in it's box that fell between the units.


just to clarify: Sears is owned by Kmart (even though the parent co. is named Sears Holdings).
 
2014-04-14 01:47:09 AM  

TV's Vinnie: darkjezter: I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.

K-Mart is owned by Sears.

And IMO, if you ever wanted to time-travel to 1987, just walk into any K-Mart. The shelves there have not been moved one millimeter since that era, and if you're lucky, you may still find an unopened Commodore 64 still in it's box that fell between the units.


Actually, Sears is owned by Kmart.

http://money.cnn.com/2004/11/17/news/fortune500/sears_kmart/
 
2014-04-14 01:47:38 AM  

optikeye: What happened to Sears was "Ayn Rand". The last CEO Paul Ryan/Rand Paul type fanboy of Ayn Rand.

And pitted each department against each other in a Thunderdome type competition within the corporation for resources.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/10/ayn_rand_loving_ceo_destroys_his_emp ir e_partner/


As someone who used to work at Sears behind the scenes, I'm in total agreement. Also they really pressured us to use this twitter/facebook like internal service that was really just pointless, and mostly full of stores reporting items not ringing up correctly.
 
2014-04-14 01:47:45 AM  

TV's Vinnie: darkjezter: I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.

K-Mart is owned by Sears.

And IMO, if you ever wanted to time-travel to 1987, just walk into any K-Mart. The shelves there have not been moved one millimeter since that era, and if you're lucky, you may still find an unopened Commodore 64 still in it's box that fell between the units.


I remember hating K-mart and its strange odor 20+ years ago, when I was a little kid. That same store somehow managed to stay open until middle of last year. I do kinda regret not checking its liquidation sale, but I didn't even want to park in its sad parking lot.
 
2014-04-14 01:47:54 AM  

picturescrazy: TV's Vinnie: K-Mart is owned by Sears.


Incorrect. K-Mart bought Sears. The name was changed to Sears Holdings Corp though, but it's still K Mart owning Sears.


beat me by 30 seconds.

good call.
 
2014-04-14 01:47:55 AM  
No, you cannot blame the demise of Sears on a failing middle class; Fred Meyers is thriving up here in the PNW, even fending off Walmart.  Freddies stuff is not the best, but not garbage either - the staffers are union and are usually pretty cheerful.

Makes a big difference.
 
2014-04-14 01:48:51 AM  
What happened to Sears says nothing about America.

Rather, it's a classic example of how easily a behemoth can be taken down when it fails to innovate and loses touch with the needs and desires of its customers.

The company has pretty much been supplanted by Home Depot, Best Buy and Target.
 
2014-04-14 01:49:54 AM  
Well...BYE!!

Sears customer service went to shiat 20 years ago.

No sympathy
 
2014-04-14 01:50:51 AM  

TV's Vinnie: darkjezter: I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.

K-Mart is owned by Sears.

And IMO, if you ever wanted to time-travel to 1987, just walk into any K-Mart. The shelves there have not been moved one millimeter since that era, and if you're lucky, you may still find an unopened Commodore 64 still in it's box that fell between the units.


Other way around, Kmart bought out Sears and then adopted the name "Sears Holdings Corporation".


And yes, Kmart has truly lagged behind everybody else. I was in one of their older stores a few years ago while I was waiting on some auto repair work being done at an adjacent auto garage. There was some novelty Duck Dynasty barbeque sauce set in wrap with half an inch thick layer of dust sitting atop it, shelves were showing rust, clothing was tossed haphazardly onto a display, an employee was smoking a cigarette in the back room right by the door where anybody walking by on the salesfloor could see it. the electronics items for sale were dated and the H in the "THANK YOU" over the exit was hanging by a single screw and the Y was missing. This is the same kind of laziness which seems to have permeated over into Sears stores and the last time I was in one, I noticed a similar apathetic attitude among the employees. It was depressing as both stores were considered to be decent when I was growing up in the 80s and now they're slowly deteriorating monuments to a bygone era when people actually gave a damn.


Does anybody have some prozac?
 
2014-04-14 01:50:51 AM  
That America prefers Amazon?
 
2014-04-14 01:53:03 AM  

optikeye: What happened to Sears was "Ayn Rand". The last CEO Paul Ryan/Rand Paul type fanboy of Ayn Rand.

And pitted each department against each other in a Thunderdome type competition within the corporation for resources.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/10/ayn_rand_loving_ceo_destroys_his_emp ir e_partner/


Oh, you mean the way Tea Party favorite Carly Fiorina almost destroyed Hewlitt-Packard in almost the exact way you just described?

The solution is simple:  Keep doing it that way.  Anybody who plays the lottery can tell you that it WILL work eventually.  Plus we should cut taxes.
 
2014-04-14 01:53:34 AM  

TV's Vinnie: (and I thought stainless steel DOESN'T rust? Dafuq?),


Just FYI, because I thought the same thing for a long time, the less in "stainless" here doesn't mean "without", it literally means "less".  It's not supposed to be rust-proof, only rust-resistant.
 
2014-04-14 01:54:04 AM  

calbert: picturescrazy: TV's Vinnie: K-Mart is owned by Sears.


Incorrect. K-Mart bought Sears. The name was changed to Sears Holdings Corp though, but it's still K Mart owning Sears.

beat me by 30 seconds.

good call.



1-media-cdn.foolz.us


They're both anachronisms who are failing due to stagnation and a bigshot's attempt to Randify the company, with the obvious results.
 
2014-04-14 01:54:43 AM  
How about it says "Nothing".

It was taken over by an objectivist that ignored reality and set his subordinates against each other thinking they would improve the business, when all they did was get in each others way rather dis-harmoniously.
 
2014-04-14 01:54:49 AM  

darkjezter: I'm surprised that Sears has managed to hang on as long as it has, actually.

But not as surprised as I am that K-Mart still exists.  Seriously, I can't think of a single person I know who has been inside of a K-Mart for at least a decade now, but they still exist.


Somebody doesn't know a single black person. Racist.
 
2014-04-14 01:55:04 AM  

Sandelaphon: All the above, and with the advent of the internet, people no longer use the underwear section of their catalog for masturbatory material.


blog.lib.umn.edu

Now, would you unhook this already?! I don't deserve this shabby treatment!
 
2014-04-14 01:55:14 AM  

thornhill: What happened to Sears says nothing about America.

Rather, it's a classic example of how easily a behemoth can be taken down when it fails to innovate and loses touch with the needs and desires of its customers.

The company has pretty much been supplanted by Home Depot, Best Buy and Target.


THIS. Sears spent far too long resting upon it's laurels only to wind up fat, lazy, and in last place in the end. They refused to get lean and agile and have nobody to blame but themselves for getting into this position.
 
2014-04-14 01:56:16 AM  
Just found out we have a Sears in my home town.
It's been here all my life and I did not know that.
 
2014-04-14 01:56:57 AM  

optikeye: What happened to Sears was "Ayn Rand". The last CEO Paul Ryan/Rand Paul type fanboy of Ayn Rand.

And pitted each department against each other in a Thunderdome type competition within the corporation for resources.

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/10/ayn_rand_loving_ceo_destroys_his_emp ir e_partner/


If the author of that article wasn't a woman, I'd assume he was beating-off while he wrote it. It was like reading an english paper written to stroke a professor's ego. It's hardly worth citing to support an objective debate or argument.

I know; this is Fark.
 
2014-04-14 01:57:33 AM  

mr_a: More interesting is what the article says about Sears. Do they really think that they were "demographed" and "Big-boxed" out of business?

Did they not think that years of shoddy service, not-give-a-fark store staff, poor selections, and a mail-order/catalog service with a random function built in would eventually catch up to them?

And they turned Craftsman from a decent line of tools into a collection of Chinese-made junk that is sometimes barely above Harbor Freight...at twice the price.

Good riddance.


All of these. Plus wanting to be able to get home appliances in any color other than white.

Seriously. When I was growing up, I thought you could only buy washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc. at Sears, and they only came in various shades of baked-enamel white. If Sears is "dying" it's because they couldn't adapt to the new markets. When Target has better service, selections and locations than the store that INVENTED the "department store," it's time for them to pack it in.
 
2014-04-14 01:59:23 AM  

meat0918: How about it says "Nothing".

It was taken over by an objectivist that ignored reality and set his subordinates against each other thinking they would improve the business, when all they did was get in each others way rather dis-harmoniously.


The guy that founded Home Depot started his own company because one day he wanted to have some work done to his house and Sears gave this ridiculous estimate, then smirked &  massaged their own nipples in front of him, telling him that there was no other place he could have it done.
 
2014-04-14 02:00:49 AM  

TV's Vinnie: meat0918: How about it says "Nothing".

It was taken over by an objectivist that ignored reality and set his subordinates against each other thinking they would improve the business, when all they did was get in each others way rather dis-harmoniously.

The guy that founded Home Depot started his own company because one day he wanted to have some work done to his house and Sears gave this ridiculous estimate, then smirked &  massaged their own nipples in front of him, telling him that there was no other place he could have it done.


haha damn dude, now I choose to believe that's exactly how it went down.
 
2014-04-14 02:02:25 AM  

propasaurus: Sears showed America how to buy cheap crap. Then America realized they could get even cheaper crap at Walmart.


I think Sears would have been killed off earlier, it's just it took a while for the world to open up.  You couldn't move jobs to China back in the 70s for instance.  US middle class standard of living was made possible by most of the world being locked off, underdeveloped, or rebuilding in post WWII.  I don't think it's any coincidence that once all that changed we have today's US middle class.
 
2014-04-14 02:02:33 AM  
Sears used to put their "Sears Best" paint on sale every spring, and then one year they told me that I would only get a rebated discount on the price if I got a Sears credit card. I didn't need a Sears credit card, I already had a Visa and an American Express, but 24 bucks (the discount) is 24 bucks. Got a letter in the mail a week after the rebate expired, telling me that Sears had rejected my credit card application. No explanation. Never bought any more Sears paint after that.

Another time I had to repair a "Sears Craftsman" generator, and found that I had to have a specific part that I could only order from Sears, that cost $57 (plus tax). For a short metal tube with a piece of rubber on it. No other generator has this part, the generator actually appears to have been designed to break because this part was on it. So I started staying away from Craftsman tools after that.

And my sister went out and bought a new washer dryer set from Sears and they did the installation, charging her $125 for it. They used a solid metal tubing for the vent instead of a flex line, leaving the dryer two feet out in front of the washer, forcing her to turn sideways when entering the laundry room. After calling them to fix it and being left on hold for a half hour and then hung up on, I went down to talk to somebody in person about it. I talked to a Filipino lady who could barely speak English who finally told me they were not going to fix it without another $125. I fixed it myself, at the cost of $22 for a flex line and o ring fastener.

So screw Sears. They are going out of business because they deserve to go out of business.
 
2014-04-14 02:03:00 AM  

Wake Up Sheeple: "The customers want to haggle over everything," she said. "It doesn't matter if it's a $45 pair of Converse. And they don't want to pay tax. They claim they can go down the street and they don't have to pay tax. I've always wanted my own business. At first, I was going to get a dollar store. My son told me to get a shoe store. If I had a dollar store, stuff would sell. It's cheap. People are into buying cheap things."

People are cheap, ignorant, and abusive.


Considering I can get Dr. Scholls for $30, and in awesome colors (make mine black)... why would I want to pay $45 for a pair of Converse sneakers that fall apart in a month?

Sears isn't a victim of "Big Box," it's a sign people have gotten smarter to not shop for crap at a higher markup.

/next up: Neiman Marcus and Macy's.
 
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