So naturally, we spent a lot of time at Sears. It was truly where
America shopped. In the "Brady Bunch" era where I grew up, there
was no other place to buy your bell bottoms or maxi dresses. Even
Gap had not become a thing yet -- the concept of finding all kinds
of jeans in all sizes was still a mind-boggling concept as
futuristic as a self-driving car. We spent our youth clad in
Toughskins and wore "husky" sizes with impunity before body shaming
became a thing. I distinctly remember the thrill of buying my first
dress from Sears' Lemon Frog Shop, a tween in-store boutique, which
was as much a rite of passage for me as my first pair of pantyhose
Everything in the gargage came from Sears, except the car, which
of course had a Diehard battery. Pretty much every home had at
least one Kenmore or a Craftsman, bought on your Sears charge card.
Dad's leisure suit? Sears.
You didn't even need to write a letter to Santa -- you just
checked off cool things in the Sears wishbook. Paging through the
"War and Peace"-size Sears catalog was an exercise in and of
itself, a consumerist wet dream of anything and everything you
could ever want.
I can't pinpoint just how or when Sears became about as relevant
as my 8-track player. Did I just outgrow it like I did the
Spencer's Gifts where I bought that cool blacklight and the
so-so-current pet rock? I think it started when there came other
options -- Gap being one and later Target became the new Bradlees
(look it up) -- and then, of course, the mall itself fell out of
favor. Amazon became the ultimate "Sears" catalog.
It seems Sears really started falling off the map during the
disco era, because by 1983 the chain was admitting in its "softer
side" campaign that the only things people were really buying there
were tools and appliances.
I still go to the mall today, because old habits die hard. And
when I do, I usually park at Sears, because there are so many open
spots. I often pass through it on my way to other stores, but I
rarely stop and look, because it's just too sad.
The merchandise is thrown around like the worst bargain bin,
misshelved and often of poor quality. The store layouts and
lighting remind you of the 70s, but not in a good way. And the one
time I saw a scarf I might like? I searched forever for a mirror to
see how it looked and couldn't find one. A mirror! How basic is
So it's time to put Sears out of its misery and finally declare
bankruptcy. It has become abundantly clear than in the last decades
the company lost sight of its roots and all sense of good
merchandising -- when your idea of a cutting-edge brand is Land's
End, you are in trouble. And at a time when chains like Macy's and
Penney's are struggling, Sears seems to have no chance at all of
So Sears, you know what is on my wishlist? For the sake of your
employees, find a way to fix this and fast. But since your many
efforts to do so have so far come to naught, it may come to this:
closing down while you still have some pride left. Take it from an