Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sears seems like it faded away long ago

People woke up Monday to the news reports about Sears filing for bankruptcy. And not the kind that allows a company to skip out on its debts while restructuring itself so it can stay alive.
Sears was Amazon.com before Amazon.com existed

No, it seems like this may be the end for the historic retail giant that has been with us for 125 years, and for many of them was a dominant presence in terms of where we all shopped for goods.

EVEN IF YOU didn’t have a Sears store nearby, there was always the Sears catalog. Which in rural parts of the nation was a dominant presence. It really isn’t a stretch to say that Amazon.com was the same basic business model as Sears – except they use the Internet to make goods available, while Sears went to the expense of publishing hard-copies of catalogs advertising their goods.

But Sears most definitely is a part of the past!

One that I suspect most of us won’t mourn in the least. Unless you happen to think like my step-mother, whose reaction to hearing the news would be to wonder what kind of bargains would be available at the inevitable “Going Out of Business!” sale.

I don’t doubt there are some other people who will have the same reaction. Although I have to confess to being confused, since there have been so many cutbacks and reductions in recent years by Sears to try to buy more time for the company to survive that I don’t even know where there is a Sears store anywhere near where I’m living these days.
Sears stores of my youth … 

I KNOW WHERE all the Sears locations within Chicago proper were. As in “used to be.” We don’t have Sears any longer in the Second City that was the corporate headquarters to the one-time retail giant.

Even many of the suburban locations have long-since closed.

Personally, I might be inclined to want to take a trip to the Sears store where my family often shopped when I was a child, which was the Sears that was an anchor to the River Oaks shopping mall in suburban Calumet City.

Except that store closed some five years ago. I’ve heard countless schemes and proposals for how the city wishes to reuse the building, but none of them have managed to come about.
… are already long-gone from the retail scene
ON THOSE OCCASIONS when I happen to be in the area and drive by it, I see a huge vacant structure begging either for a new tenant or for someone to come along and tag it with graffiti. Of which I fear the latter is the option more likely to occur.

The Sears I remember of my childhood was a place where one could purchase just about anything. A “One-Stop Shop” for all of life’s needs.

But then, our society’s desires changed. Perhaps we think we outgrew Sears. Or perhaps some of us wanted the impression of purchasing higher-quality merchandise and were willing to pay a premium for it.

Although I suspect the majority of us were more interested in finding the financial bargains they could find shopping elsewhere. Just as those old neighborhood retail shops are gone because someone else could provide similar goods cheaper, Sears also got undone by the same basic premise.
The original Sears corporate complex

AFTER ALL, IT would cost a lot of money to keep a fully-staffed store with many departments – including many with specialty salespeople who actually understand their product.

From a business end, it’s cheaper to have the big-box model staffed with retail clerks who know nothing and provide next-to-no service or assistance. Something to keep in mind the next time you shop there and can’t get anybody to help you. You’re getting what you pay for.
The 'tower' no longer caries Sears brand name

Some of us will mourn the memory of Sears. We’ll stubbornly insist on using the Sears moniker to ID the building bought by the Willis Group. But then we ought to think of just when was the last time we bought anything from one of their stores?

In my case, I can’t even remember. I suspect I’m not alone. That’s why they’re soon-to-be no more.


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