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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 6:36pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

So weird.  When I was a kid in Los Angeles, we had our choice of at least four or five free-standing Sears within comfortable driving distance.  It was THE place for appliances and car service, even key-making and florist!  And toys!  As mentioned by another Eric, my parents just told me to circle things in the catalog for Christmas!  It was definitely the Amazon of the time!  It could have at least been Walmart now.  So sad what bad leadership can do.

Even in adulthood, I had three free-standing ones I could go to until recently, and two or three other ones in malls that seemed to be doing fine.  A Google search shows five Sears businesses within 100 miles of me here in southern California--an appliance outlet, two appliance repair locations...but still two Sears!  (One in a mall, the other free-standing.)  But one is 100 miles north of me, and the other is 60 miles south.

I think the end started when they discontinued the catalog.  Sure, so much printing and mailing seems ridiculous now in the age of the Internet, but I still get unsolicilited catalogs from local businesses--and they get my attention!
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 6:43pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I guess it's survival of the fittest.  Some companies adapt, others just get replaced.

Sears SHOULD have turned into Walmart or Amazon!
Blockbuster SHOULD have turned into Netflix!
Radio Shack SHOULD have turned into Best Buy!

I thought Disney was on its way out years ago, but they started the Disney Channel, acquired Pixar, STAR WARS, Marvel, and now Disney+ is the one to watch!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 6:51pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Altho my family shopped often at Sears, we were most loyal to Woodward's, a western Canada chain. They had a huge toy department, which is where I saw GI Joe and Major Matt Mason--timed for release as soon as I stopped buying toys.

Their massive selection of plastic models partly served as my methadone when I gave up comics.

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Paul Reis
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 7:40pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Eric said: "When I was a lad my Mom used to hand me a Sears catalog ..."

that brings up an old Christmas tradition: my mother would hand me the Seas catalogue, the Eaton's catalogue, throw in Consumers Distributing and Shop Rite catalogues, tell me how much i was 'worth' that year and i would select (sometimes to the penny - i guess she just included sales tax as a bonus) what i wanted.
i was never ever disappointed and always knew what awaited me wrapped under the tree for a couple of weeks. no surprises!

the miserable Christmases started with the in-laws and their (imo) awful traditions (everything has to be a surprise and a Christmas List must be provided - when the list says "no jewelry" that means don't get me a necklace !!! and if i have a tape deck that ONLY records on Chrome tapes, and i ask for 1 TDK SA-90 cassette tape, getting a package of 3 cassette tapes with no cases for $1 from Canadian Tire just doesn't work !!! 

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Paul Wills
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 7:52pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I have fond memories of my Dad taking me down to Sears near Downtown LA . With multiple floors of goodies and a candy department -to a kid this was a magical experience!  I haven't been to a Sears in ages which is probably for the better so as to keep that memory alive.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 7:54pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Reminds me one Marvel Xmas party where Shooter was handing out gifts to everyone. Mine was three blank VHS tapes.

(Insult to injury: at the time I was a Betamax guy.)

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 9:02pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I figure it must have been a Sears catalog over which I obsessed as a kid, looking at the Dinky version of the Batmobile and Batboat (with trailer). I actually got them as presents (the Batmobile is still here somewhere) but I remember spending hours staring at that catalog, hoping against hope.

So sad to see this venerable chain slip away.
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 9:41pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I have an absurdly outsized reaction to the end of Sears - a big reason being that my dad was a huge believer in their appliances (Kenmore) and tools (Craftsman).  This was because at the time, the Sears brand meant genuine quality and reliability, and seeing those brands squandered and tarnished is truly saddening.  

People have mentioned upthread how badly Sears stumbled over the last two decades, and it's largely down to the asshat hedge fund bro who drove it into the ground by simply treating it as an IP - without, of course, having one whit of understating of what Sears actually was.  If you take Sears out of the picture, the first half of the 20th century in America looks a whole lot different.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 9:47pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

a big reason being that my dad was a huge believer in their appliances
(Kenmore) and tools (Craftsman)

*****

Is your Dad Bob Vila?
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Dave Kopperman
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Posted: 29 November 2022 at 10:26pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

My dad was kinda the dictionary picture under "70's Man"... so, maybe?
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 30 November 2022 at 12:12am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Sears and KMart virtually vanished overnight.

KMart I know why. At least here, anyway, they should have been named Bait & Switch Mart. Even on cheap stuff, and for years. I actually stopped buying recordable cassette tapes there back in the day, due to them pulling that crap. And look how long its been since anyone used those!

But Sears going bye-bye still mystifies me. 

Did anyone ever have a Hills near them, if anyone remembers that store chain? I miss them a lot, too. 
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 30 November 2022 at 12:43am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Obviously, after over 3 decades of working there, my house is still full of Sears stuff. Hundreds of Craftsman mechanics tools, garden tools, air compressor. Kenmore washer that's probably 20 years old. Diehard battery charger and car battery. 
Many don't know that "Weed Whacker" was a Sears model that has practically  become it's own term like "Kleenex".

Like Dave said quality was their benchmark. The manufacturers that supplied Sears knew they had to produce their best products if it was going to have the Kenmore name placed on it for example.


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