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article imageOp-Ed: In Arizona, struggling Sears falls 'short'

By Sean McCaffrey     Nov 1, 2011 in Business
Phoenix - In today's economy, competition is increasingly fierce for all-important shares of consumers' retail budgets. It is easy, and sad, to see the stores on the decline. Some are likely to be the ones you love the most.
In Phoenix earlier this week, the temperatures were still hovering between 70 and 80, and I needed a new pair of shorts. Having purchased my last two pair at Sears, that’s where I went. Given it was a Monday and during “work hours”, I assumed it wouldn’t be that crowded, and that I’d be able to get-in/get-out in a matter of minutes, new shorts in hand.
I was half-right.
The store was nearly deserted. I counted less than a dozen shoppers during my entire stay, and several appeared as though they were merely using Sears as an access point for the Chandler Mall, but weren’t actually shopping there. Incidentally, and this is relevant to my next point, every single shopper I encountered was wearing shorts. All of them. One hundred percent.
However, fewer still than shoppers were Sears employees, none of whom seemed interested in directing me toward men’s shorts. Some were too busy roaming and looking busy. Others were admiring one another’s Halloween costumes. Still missing, however, were men’s shorts.
I momentarily caught the attention of a roaming, name-tagged employee who didn’t know the location of shorts. After asking a costumed co-worker who couldn’t be bothered to talk to him, or help me, I was pointed back in the direction of men’s wear from whence I’d come.
As it turned out, there were men’s shorts. Approximately twelve pairs spread out over several clearance racks, stuck between shirts, sweaters, and other wintry items. None were my size, and who wears jean-shorts any more, anyway?
What was in abundance were heavy winter coats, Nordic-appearing caps, thick socks, gloves and any number of articles of clothing one might want if it were thirty-degrees outside. But it wasn’t. It was closer to eighty, and I needed shorts.
I have previously liked Sears because in the past, I’ve been helped, found what I needed, and even felt I was somehow more American shopping there. It was, after all, Sears. As I purchased my pair of shorts elsewhere that day, I felt let down, having driven a greater distance to shop at a store which didn’t seem to know what season it was, and didn’t seem to care a customer needed help.
Sure, everyone has a bad day, but for companies struggling to survive, how many bad days can stores like Sears afford?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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