The decline and fall of Sears Roebuck and company has been a long time in the making. Store closings, product lines sold off, strange business alliances and stranger business decisions. The company is officially in bankruptcy, with little chance of coming out. There are no more Sears stores in Austin.
Frankly, I have not shopped at Sears for a number of years. Evidently I am not alone. Over the years, though, Sears played a significant role in the commerce of my life, beginning with those wonderful catalogues. I doubt if my grandchildren can conceive of receiving a 300+ page catalog in the mail and referring to it for the essentials needed for almost every aspect of your life; appliances, furnishings, clothing and auto.
The big book was more than just a way to order what you needed - it was an education. Helpful notes about how to order, what to choose, tools you would need, parts descriptions. And over the years the spectrum of goods offered was staggering - from autos to houses, and anything else one might want.
And the Christmas Wish book. How many hours were spent poring over the pages, making and re-making the Christmas list?
I was a Sears customer long before I married - tires, batteries, dorm hot plates and the such. Barb and I bought our bedroom suite from Sears when we moved into our first apartment. We still have it. We bought refrigerators, washers and dryers over the years. Mattresses for the bed, clothing for our kids, tires and batteries for the car. Tools and hardware for the house, the treadmill we still (occasionally) walk on, the chest freezer presently out in the bonus room.
So why did we stop shopping at Sears? All of the factors that eventually brought it down. High prices, diminishing product lines, heavy competition - but mostly it was unprofessional sales staff, and poor customer service. The Home Depot on the other end of the shopping center was always "no problem." Sears always seemed to say "we can't do that."
So farewell Sears. We will miss the old you.
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