Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Sears Sucks

I hate Sears, for good reason. They suck.
Unfortunately, there are times in my life when I have to deal with them because they are about the only place left that sells water softeners. When mine dies, I go get a new one and we do installation ourselves, since the delivery and installation charges are highway robbery for removing and replacing the same appliance. And they don't haul away the old one.
I found this out the hard way when I bought a stove and fridge. I bought the appliances, and also the extended warranties. Delivery guys showed up, and told me that if I wanted the old stuff hauled away I should have bought from Lowe's. Noted, you ass clown.
4 days out of warranty I open the fridge and find that everything is defrosting, and the fridge is room temperature. I call what Sears has laughingly named the Service Center and was given an appointment for service two weeks later. It's 110 degrees outside, my food is thawing, and I have to wait two weeks. They were very happy to try to sell me an extension on my warranty, but I had taken my smart pills that day and declined.
The non Sears repairman who came out within the hour wised me up pretty quickly. Kenmore Exclusive is a repairman's bread and butter. See, Kenmore, Sear's brand, doesn't actually manufacture the stuff that carries their label, other major manufacturers do that. A huge selling point when you're buying an appliance. Problem is, the Kenmore brand is a testing ground for the major brands for their new designs. Major flaws mean that Whirlpool or Maytag don't make the product with their own name on the label, just Kenmore. So a Kenmore Exclusive does not mean you're the first on your block to own new technology, you're just taking a gamble on it not being a major lemon.
They don't remove the appliances that have had major recalls off of the sales floor. In fact they still sell them. Under the Kenmore name, or the manufacturers name. When I bought my fridge, they were still selling fridges that had been recalled because they catch fire. When I pointed it out to the sales staff, they said they didn't know about it. They were still also selling the Whirlpool Calypso washers, a major piece of crap (I know because I bought one) that had been recalled, not only by the manufacturer but under the Lemon Law.
They expect you to take delivery of broken appliances. In fact, they insist upon it. You're supposed to accept the broken one, then spend a half day on the phone with their inaptly named Customer Service Center  arranging delivery of one that actually works. So you spend the cost of a house payment buying that shiny new appliance, take an unpaid day off work for delivery for a broken one, then need to spend more time off work to get what you actually bought. I don't think so.
They screw their employees. Sears is one of the last corporate entities that actually has good customer service on their sales floor. Their employees are always friendly and polite, willing to wait on you, and most of them actually know something about what they are selling. In some departments of the store such as appliances and electronics, they get a commission from what they sell. In fact they're expected to "earn their wage" in commission. But, they don't get credit for the sale if their customer doesn't a) purchase delivery and installation (on appliances) and/or an extended warranty and b) fill out an application for a Sears charge card.
WTF is up with that?! One of the kid's friends got a job at Sears during the holidays. In four hours, she sold enough digital cameras at an average of $125 each to equal about $3,000 in sales. None of those customers wanted to shell out extra bucks for an extended warranty or pay credit card interest. Who wants to shell out bucks for an extended warranty that isn't worth the paper it's written on?  Do the corporate execs at Sears realize that we're in a recession and people do have choices?
So the kid  makes Sears $700 an hour that day, and sees nothing in commission. And gets her ass ridden by the supervisor to boot, for not doing a "good enough" job. Those customers could have just as easily bought their cameras from some gum snapping apathetic teen at Best Lie, yet the kid was able to get them to spend their hard earned money at Sears. And gets nothing but grief for her efforts. Sweatshop anyone?

Sears has earned my first annual Cranky Catwrangler Corporate Ass Clown of the Year award. Stay tuned for future posts with the nominees for individual awards.


  1. My dishwasher died about a week ago. I was going to buy a new one at Sears - because the last time someone I know (other than my parents) went appliance shopping, they got a Sears dishwasher and it lasted 5 years with three college kids and all their friends, all of whom seem averse to scraping their dishes. My parents, on the other hand, paid nearly $1,000 for a Bosch which barfed and died after just under two years. And they -=do=- scrape their dishes. So my theory was "buy the least expensive". Now, I think I'm going to Lowe's rather than Sears, so that they'll take away the old crap.

    THANK YOU for this writeup!!

  2. You're welcome. We really have to do our homework when appliance shopping. Most appliances today are designed to last 5 years, so why buy the most expensive?
    Most places do haul away the old crap, and I was surprised to find Sears wouldn't-at least back then. If you're buying from a big box store, watch for internet specials. And avoid the LG brand-my appliance repair guy told me that getting parts for them is nearly impossible.