Sears Closes Stores, Marking the End of an Era

COMMENTARY | The latest news that Sears Holdings Corp will close around 120 Sears and Kmart retail outlets, has American consumers witness the ending of an era.

For many of us the Sears catalog was as much a harbinger of the holidays as school parties and a trip to visit the mall Santa. We eagerly perused the tome circling and initialing all the swag we hoped to find under the tree Christmas morning.

But it was no surprise when Sears discontinued the catalog in 1993. For years the quality and relevance of merchandise featured in the catalog was on the decline. I remember receiving a pink alarm clock for Christmas one year in the late ’70s. It didn’t work. We exchanged it. The new one didn’t work. This continued for about 4 rounds, until my mother and I both gave up and threw the clock away.

The death knell for the catalog was the great “self service” experiment of the early ’90s. To save on staffing, Sears implemented a wall of numbered “cubbies” (basically open cubes). Customers received a notice in the mail with a number. Ideally the customer would find the correctly numbered cubbie, claim her order and get in the check out line.

Apparently the business wizards who came up with this scheme never heard of crank calls or house “wrapping” (toilet papering someone’s trees, for those of you who missed out this teenage rite of passage). It took inventive teens about 2 seconds to realize that it would be great fun to switch the items in the cubbies around.

After work their tired and stressed parents stopped by the local Sears to pick up their orders only to find girdles and handkerchiefs in the slot where their super spy kit was supposed to be. After checking the surrounding cubbies with no luck, they gave up and went to Target.

Sears was also the place to go for electronics and appliances, but these lines of business have taken a hit as big box stores like Best Buy have out shown the mall giant in both price and selection. Stores like Walmart, Target and Kohls have stolen market share from Sears with soft goods lines by popular designers like, Vera Wang, Missoni and Miley Cyrus.

More From This Contributor:

Lady Gaga Sells Nude Sketch on Ebay

Italian Designer Missoni a Hit with Middle America

4 Reasons Kim Kardashian Can Do No Right

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *