Impulse Shopping at Sears

Recently I needed vacuum cleaner bags for an older Kenmore model, and I knew a surefire place to find them would be at Sears at the local mall.

As I walked back out, bags in hand, I had to pass through the men’s clothing area. A sale table of flannel shirts caught my eye. I like the soft and fuzzy feeling of flannel shirts especially when they are band-new and never washed. So I did what I seldom do: I picked up two shirts on impulse. At $20 a piece they seemed like a great deal.

Then I had to pay. I could only find a single checkout stand on the entire floor. When I got there, there was one clerk helping a woman and her child at the front, and there was a line of about four more parties waiting when I arrived. I queued up, and soon there were a few more people in line behind me. We all watched the endless shuffling and maneuvering that was going on at a snail’s pace at the register in front of us.

I waited for a number of minutes while the line was not moving. Finally I looked at my shirts and realized that I really didn’t need them, definitely not badly enough to stand in line any longer. I put them on a counter next to me and walked away.

Sears succeeded in making me – a non-shopper – decide on an impulse purchase of $40. Then they lost me because they don’t staff their stores with people who can take my money.

Sears has a problem. And it’s not competition. It’s lack of vision and customer care.

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