March 22, 2017
Sears and Sandy Point
The news today was not good as it related to Sears. Bankruptcy and going out of business sales loom on the horizon. Hard to imagine just a few years ago that this could happen. Macy‘s and Nordstrom’s are close behind in the race to the bottom. Interestingly, both those companies just tried to make political statements while their ships settle to the red ink sea bottom.
In the Sandy Point days, the Sears catalog and the Sears stores were part of the fabric of America. The local five and dime, clothing stores, and hardware stores were important but for selection, durability, and quality the Sears and Roebuck Company set a standard. Mail order or brick and mortar. The Sears Catalog was to the folks in Sandy Point a coffee table book. Always out in view and with pages dog-eared for quick return when someone was seriously shopping.
After I had left Sandy Point and gotten married, we ended up in Gainesville, Ga. My wife as expecting our first son and we lived in some apartments there. After he was born, we needed a way to deal with all those diapers. Not too many disposable ones on the market at that time and not enough money to buy them if they were. And, my wife did not want to be going to the laundry mat carrying a newborn. A washer and dryer were needed. Hanging clothes on the clothesline was still done but was fast fading away too. Off to Sears we went.
I had little credit history but I had one thing going for me: I worked for IBM and that was a good credit reference in any body’s book. We went to the Sears store and picked out the machines and filled out some paperwork. We went there because my grand parents had shopped there and my parents, too. They called the next day and delivered our washer and dryer. We were officially in debt on our own, no co-signers this time! We were officially Sears customers! No credit card was needed if you had an account at Sears!
I don’t know how long those first Kenmore machines lasted but it was a long time. When time came to replace them, it as back to Sears. And the next time. And the next time. And, if you look in our washroom today, Kenmore machines are still washing and drying our clothes. And our dishes.
Life in Sandy Point changed and the internet came to town. Now, you are more likely to see an Amazon truck or UPS than Sears. And the big malls around the country are becoming food courts, if they stay open at all. Replaced, not in a wink, but a click.
One day, we may just make all our stuff on 3d printers and order a download. No one will need inventory! And then, we can replace Amazon, too. Don’t laugh! You didn’t believe you’d live to see Sears gone, either.