It's not the first retail giant to go into steep decline. But this one kind of rattled me, you could say.
The famous Sears Roebuck Catalog that most older Americans grew up with, began back in the 1800's. In rural areas, the General Stores of the day could not stock the variety of merchandise that the Catalog brought to your doorstep. If you had asked me back in my childhood, I would've told you Sears Roebuck would be around until the end of the world.
The news is reporting Sears is all but shutting down. In a downward spiral over the last couple of decades, a string of upper level managers have made poor business decisions, unable to bring the retailer back into the glory days it once knew.
My first job was working in the Sears store in downtown Pensacola, Florida the summer after my sophomore year in college. I have often said that I learned more that summer working at Sears than anyone could ever learn in a Psychology 101 class. I learned to smile and be courteous to customers no matter how tired I was from standing on my feet all day or no matter how rude they were to me. I learned when there was down time from waiting on customers, I needed to find something to do to keep busy, such as straightening merchandise on shelves. I was awe struck by the number of people who would shoplift right in front of you and then deny it. That was the summer I learned to "read" people! You know, this woman is likely to cause trouble, but that one is not! This one is trying to distract me and that one is not. Same went for fellow employees. If you were waiting on a customer that involved a commission sale, an older employee knew how to push you aside and take over your customer.
As a temporary summer employee, I was bounced around from one department to another. After I had been there a few weeks, I found that two particular departments, Jewelry and Boys Clothing really liked me and vied for my time. That was an ego boost, for sure.
It wasn't just poor management that has brought Sears down. Times have changed. Most of us today shop primarily on the internet - myself included! It has become popular to shop online with easy return policies and expert customer service. So why bother to drive to a store, many times paying to park your car, when you can sit in the comfort of your home and shop and compare with your computer?
Who knows for sure? Maybe by a stroke of genius, someone in the hierarchy of Sears will manage to turn things around. . . I doubt it.
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