What's new

Back in the day...

Haven't shopped for clothes there in ages but as a child of the 70s the Sears Chapter 11 announcement brings back some memories...


Toughskins and Keds... Graduated to Levi's from the Gap and Nikes in the 80s. Rich/Poor, Black/White/etc... everyone wore the same thing.
 
I was very surprised that a company noted for catalog mail-order sales failed to transition successfully to online sales.

Their line of Kenmore appliances was pretty good.
SWMBO and I both have second-hand Kenmore sewing machines from the mid-70s that are better than most new ones. Also a set of stainless cookware, and a mixer that we bought in 1976 or so (via mail-order catalog), that are still going strong.

Come to think of it, the stove that was in our house when we bought it in the early 2000s was already old then, but it's still here, and it's a Kenmore. Clock/timer doesn't work, but who cares.
 
I'm still trying to figure out when everybody got enough Craftsman tools.

The only thing I can think, and this may be the telling point, someone said we don't need no stinkin lifetime warranties... And then, someone said, we don't need tools that are built to last forever. And there went Sears, as sure as the dinosaurs followed the meteoroid from God. Cause it literally seemed like as went the tools, so went the entire Company. It just took some time for the inertia to run down.
 
I was very surprised that a company noted for catalog mail-order sales failed to transition successfully to online sales.

Their line of Kenmore appliances was pretty good.
SWMBO and I both have second-hand Kenmore sewing machines from the mid-70s that are better than most new ones. Also a set of stainless cookware, and a mixer that we bought in 1976 or so (via mail-order catalog), that are still going strong.

Come to think of it, the stove that was in our house when we bought it in the early 2000s was already old then, but it's still here, and it's a Kenmore. Clock/timer doesn't work, but who cares.

Sears' big mistake happened in the late 1960s / early 1970s. Sears wanted to position itself as an upper middle income retailer right when the discount stores started making a splash. Sears never recovered from that blunder. And while Sears did have an online presence, their prices were still higher than discount stores and other online stores. More than once I went to Sear's site, looked at the prices, and bought items elsewhere. There were very few times when Sears had a lower price (and yes, I bought from them then).

Craftsman quality plummeted in the late 1970s / early 1980s. I used to work summers in construction, and my old boss had two old Craftsman circular saws with metal case (one cracked and mended with a metal strap from a bundle of lumber). He bought a third, after Craftsman went to plastic double insulated - and it didn't hold up well at all. FWIW, neither did the Black and Decker plastic double insulated circular saws in that same period - he went through two brand new ones one morning, went to Makita, and never looked back.

When KMart bought Sears (like most others here, I thought Sears bought KMart, but looked it up and learned otherwise), Sears saw KMart as a way to get back to regular middle class customers. Except that KMart was pricey then, too. By the time the KMarts at the closest cities started closing, the discounts only put the prices in the same range as Walmart.
 
Mixed feelings about the demise of Sears (they completely shut down all operations in Canada this past January) as they were an icon in these parts as well. Growing up it was the usual spot for back to school clothes (I was a corpulent child and they had a good selection of "husky" sized clothing) and as I got older, and less portly, they were still the place to go.

Was never fond of the Craftsman power tools (would have been the mid-90's when I would have started building my collection) but up until 2010'ish their hand tools were still decent and they would still honor the lifetime warranty. Then most of the Canadian stores stopped selling Craftsman and instead stocked some awful Chinesium garbage and around the same time they sold off their automotive services department and stopped carrying a few different major appliance lines. So pretty much the things I thought they still did well they stopped doing so no real reason for me to check out their website let alone visit a store in person.

Last time I did go was early December 2015 to buy a sink garbage disposal and it actually depressing to be in the store. Granted the mall it was located is very dated and dingy in its own right but the Sears was like stepping back in time. Everything from the fixtures, merchandise and even the very few staff looked worn out. Ceilings were water stained and grimy, the floors (with obligatory 1950's asbestos tiles) were beat up and more corners missing than remaining. This was a few weeks before Christmas so it should have been very busy but it was Twilight Zone quiet.

Can't say it was a shock when they announced that the Canadian operations would be closed, if anything I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did. I do feel sorry for the employees who got the shaft with no severance and a grossly underfunded pension plan.
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
Oh yeah, Sears was an icon then. I used to love to play on the escalators in the three story one in Tulsa in the '60s...then it went to crap.

To be dated, Mom used to buy me wheat jeans at a local five and dime, and I had Keds tennis shoes.

Sears really screwed themselves with the ripoffs they did in their auto shop.

Sears Is Sued Over Bilking Clients Of Its Auto-Service Center Repairs

Kinda like the Wells Fargo crap that they are trying to recover from now. Over 14 years ago I was in a college dorm in College Station (I was an older student and had more life experience than the kids) and several of the students got a notice from Wells Fargo about their bank accounts that they never opened. They were charged for closing the account. Wells Fargo has had a shady reputation since they ran the stage line in the 1800s. After what I saw of their predatory practices on the poor young college students I have never, and never will, do any business with them...no matter the spin they put on their current advertisements.

Every Wells Fargo consumer scandal since 2015: A timeline
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
Mixed feelings about the demise of Sears (they completely shut down all operations in Canada this past January) as they were an icon in these parts as well.

Sears Canada ... meh.

Losing Woodward's and Eaton's was more of a loss one could feel sad about. Well, at least we still have The Bay.

up until 2010'ish their hand tools were still decent and they would still honor the lifetime warranty. Then most of the Canadian stores stopped selling Craftsman and instead stocked some awful Chinesium garbage

They tried to out-Walmart Walmart ... and failed miserably. Their only hope (not saying it would certainly have worked, but at least it had a chance) was to be the Anti-Walmart ... the place to go when you want to buy "quality that will last" rather than "uber-cheap ... and we just rolled back the price even lower".

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and a $6 electric drill is not going to be worth ... a penny more than $6.

Last time I did go was early December 2015 to buy a sink garbage disposal and it actually depressing to be in the store. Granted the mall it was located is very dated and dingy in its own right but the Sears was like stepping back in time. Everything from the fixtures, merchandise and even the very few staff looked worn out. Ceilings were water stained and grimy, the floors (with obligatory 1950's asbestos tiles) were beat up and more corners missing than remaining.

Reminds me of Zellers ...
 
Sears Canada ... meh.

Losing Woodward's and Eaton's was more of a loss one could feel sad about. Well, at least we still have The Bay.



They tried to out-Walmart Walmart ... and failed miserably. Their only hope (not saying it would certainly have worked, but at least it had a chance) was to be the Anti-Walmart ... the place to go when you want to buy "quality that will last" rather than "uber-cheap ... and we just rolled back the price even lower".

There's no such thing as a free lunch, and a $6 electric drill is not going to be worth ... a penny more than $6.



Reminds me of Zellers ...
I have fond memories of shopping at the Woodward’s grocery store. All sorts of specialty departments and yummy treats.

Losing Eatons sucked as they carried a number of nicer brands like Hugo Boss, PRL, etc
 
I'm still trying to figure out when everybody got enough Craftsman tools.

The only thing I can think, and this may be the telling point, someone said we don't need no stinkin lifetime warranties...
I think it's more like we don't need to go to Sears to get tools with lifetime warranties. Everybody has them.
 
GreatGrandfather's, Grandfather's, Father's, Wife's... and all right?
But I was really considering the idea Sears decided it was a poor business decision to keep offering a Sears Craftsman guarantee. I"m not certain, but I think (at least in Northern California) they also tried marketing other brands of tools to see how that would fly. (Thus selling off the long-term customer service for tools with the lifetime warranties.)
 
Top Bottom