Alas, Sears is closing the doors of the Oak Ridge store, and I’d like a moment to reflect.
OK, thats better.
I’ve only relatively recently picked up a relationship with this particular Sears, and was in there as recently as this week to purchase a kick ass humidifier for our mighty dry house. Granted, its only the third big ticket item I’ve bought from this particular Sears, but it was good to have that as an option to shop.
Except, c’mon, it’s Sears…
Sears, where the Service Merchandise method of talk-to-the-salesman-for-a-long-time-and-then-pick-up-your-junk-in-the-back-alley shopping still exists?
So lets talk about this humidifier purchase. The kids and I wandered into the store at about 7, wandered over to the section where the humidifiers live, found the one that we had already found online, and discovered that it was a display, and not an actual box we could pick up, pay for at one of the eternally empty and hidden checkout areas, and wander out happily with. The sole salesman in this particular area was talking to two ladies about washing machines, and was paying my crew no mind.
See, Sears pays commission for these things, so of course he’s not going to trump his possible $1000 washer/dryer sale for a $140 humidifier. Can’t say I blame him, but I was still left in a quandary.
So after about 10 minutes of waiting, I wandered around to see if somebody else was authorized to tell me if they have a humidifier that is still in the box that perhaps I can purchase and moisten my home with, but there was nobody in sight. The little bespectacled fellow in the nearby electronic section had been giving me the stink-eye as he talked on the phone, but had completely disappeared by the time I was looking for him.
After some wandering, I found a happy little teenager in the hardware section who would sell me a humidifier. After some discussion about the location of the display model (he was insistent on looking for it in the vacuum cleaner section and electronics, but I finally prevailed at letting him know that I had found it earlier that hour, and it probably hadn’t run away) he announced that he didn’t know where the stock would be. By now, bespectacled electronics guy was talking to a manager in the electronics section, who, after some glaring at the teenager, pointed out the location of that which will humidify my house (next to the dumbells in the exercise section, because that makes sense, right?).
So, long story short (ha), what would take me like 4 minutes at Home Depot or any kind of store that is employing inventory and shopping techniques that were pioneered in the 1960s took me about 45 minutes at Sears.
I could go into other stories, like the time we bought a home video camera and waited an hour in the pickup area for somebody to find the box and bring it to us, but I think you get the point.
Now, I’m sure a lotta people are going to be wailing and gnashing their teeth over another Oak Ridge store closing, and I don’t blame em. It sucks that we’re left now with Wal-Mart or Kmart as the only place in town to buy electronics. But folks, before we start setting fire to ourselves in the street, lets remember one thing.
Sears sucked. It had plenty of time to turn itself around, even in this town, and failed to do so. It should not be mourned, it should be taken out in the back yard and put out of its misery.