Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dear Sears, All I want for Christmas.........

Early Monday morning as I rode in to work, I heard an ad on the radio for Sears. They are having a "Wishing Hours" sale everyday this week starting at 4:00 PM. The sale is both in the stores and online. One of the featured items for Monday and Tuesday was a Craftsman cordless impact screwdriver for $9.99, 75% off of the usual $39.95 price.

Monday afternoon I went to the bank and headed back to the restaurant. As I drove past Sears, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:15. I decided to go into Sears and pick up one of the sale screwdrivers. I walked into the hardware area and asked a salesman where the screwdriver that was featured in the sale starting at 4:00 was located. He knew nothing about a sale. He called over another employee, who likewise knew nothing about the sale. A quick survey of the hardware area produced FOUR employees who had not heard anything about a "Wishing Hours" sale. The first clerk then paged a member of management, who knew nothing about the sale, but headed off to find out. About 10 minutes later he reappeared to tell me that the sale was in the lawn and garden area for 10% off of most items. I pointed out that I had heard the ad THREE times that morning mentioning the screwdriver. He told me that he knew nothing about any screwdriver on sale. I told him that I would call the National Customer Service line when I got home and let them find out about it. This apparently threw his "CYA" instincts into high gear and he walked over to the screwdriver display and called out an item number for a clerk to check on the cash register. The clerk responded that the price was $9.99. "I'll take one!" was all I had to say. After a couple of minutes the clerk trying to find the screwdriver called out the number to the guy manning the register. A product inquiry showed 12 on order and none in stock. By this time, I had been in the store for almost 30 minutes. I took a rain check and headed out.

After I had calmed down the next day, I called the Sears National Customer Service line. After confirming that I speak English and waiting on hold for about 4 minutes, I was able to speak to a representative. I calmly recounted the events of the previous day to her. She then asked me about a few details. The first question sent me over the edge. "Are you sure that it is called a Wishing Hour sale?" "Lady, I heard the ad three times on the radio. In addition to that, I heard it on the music and messages being played while I was on hold waiting for you to answer the phone. If you don't believe me, call yourself and get put on hold. You can hear it then!" Sensing an imminent explosion, I told her, "Let me sum it up for you. Your marketing department placed ads on the radio, so that customers will come to the stores, for sales that your employees know nothing about, to buy products that you don't have in stock. Does any of this make sense?" She then tried to say something about how quantities are limited, before I cut her off. "I was the first person in the store to ask about one. This isn't about limited quantities, this is about non-existent quantities!" I then explained that I didn't need a letter or a call from anyone at Sears about this. I told her to let them know that the next time they were trying to figure out why sales suck, this incident could give them a little

I checked both Tuesday and Wednesday, still no screwdriver. I am going by this afternoon on my way to work. My older son thinks that by the time I check on it a few more days, they will just send one over to the restaurant to keep me out of the store. Maybe by Christmas?


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