There are certain stores and restaurants in town that we just refuse to patronize and it is always due to poor service or quality. Once we make this decision, they are "on the list." My friends know that we take "the list" pretty seriously. If we are out with friends or family and they suggest one of the places on "the list" we tell them that it is not an option and they can't have our money.
Once in a while, we forget why a business is on "the list" and make the mistake of going back. This is one such story. I hadn't been to Sears in about four years, in spite of there being one about about two miles from our house. There's been times I've wanted to go there for things like a filter for for the water in the fridge or a tool for a job my husband's working on around the house, but I always keep on driving to the next closest "unlisted" business.
Right after Baby C was born we got a card in the mail for a big package of pictures for only $4.99 at the Sears portrait studio. What a deal, right? Given the fact that I hadn't had the time to take him to JCPenney to get his pictures done (I love JCPenney portraits!), one afternoon when my parents took the other boys to their house we decided to run over there real fast and get pictures done at Sears. Now, one of the reasons we had put Sears on the list was because of their poor picture quality when my oldest son was a baby. I had hoped that by now the quality had improved.
When we arrived at Sears, the store was just as "ghetto" and old school Montgomery Ward style as I remembered. I tried to give the portrait studio the benefit of the doubt, as they were in the midst of remodeling. The session went fine--as well as can be expected with a baby. The photographer was patient and nice, but oddly sucked on a lollipop the entire time. I was told to pick up my pictures on July 3. The date stuck in my head because I had to pick something else up at the mall the same day.
Well, life happened and I didn't make it to Sears on July 3, but I did truck all three kids into Sears on the July 6. We parked on the second floor, rode the elevator up to the third floor and waited...and waited for the employee to find our pictures. After a trip to the bathroom with the kids, I returned to the desk to find out that I had been given the wrong date and they wouldn't be in until July 9. I was fuming. Anyone with three kids under 6 knows that getting all of them out of the car and through a department store without a fruitful end is very, very frustrating. Strike one, Sears.
I received a call from Sears on July 8 to let me know my pictures were in. I received another call yesterday, July 14 reminding me they were in and wanting to know what day and time I would be there. I told her I didn't know and I would be there when I could. I drove over there in the afternoon and parked on the third floor so that I could not have to deal with the elevator once inside the store. I got everyone out of the car and the baby in the stroller only to find that the good folks at Sears had decided to no longer use their entrance on the third floor. The bridge from the parking structure to the doors was still intact, as were the doors...only their handles had been taken off and they had put paper on the windows. What? Are you kidding me? I had to walk through the structure to a mall entrance and then walk through the mall and through Sears to get to the portrait studio. Strike two, Sears.
After collecting my pictures, which were very cute, I decided to head downstairs to the appliance section, as our second refrigerator seems to be on its last leg. I looked at the refrigerators as my two older boys ran around like monkeys trying to open every fridge in the store. There was no missing us. I searched and waited for a sales person for 15 minutes before finding someone in the electronics department who in turn went into the back and found someone who was not on the sales floor to come help me...one of only two customers in the appliance department. Now I know I haven't been to Sears in a long time, but one of the last times I did go there was when I was shopping for appliances for our kitchen and I know for a fact that every time I went there, I could barely walk by the department without being asked if I needed help.
When a salesperson finally did come out, he barely gave the the time of day. He could barely tell me about the rebates, as he was distracted by his cell phone the entire time. In the end my "Blue Crew Appliance Specialist" (ha, ha!) told me that I needed to look into the rebates myself and when I asked him about credit offers, he checked his cell phone AGAIN! I told him that I was sorry to interrupt his cell phone time and that I would be on his way. He told me that he just kept checking the time because he had to go to lunch. Oh, that's sooo much better...NOT. I walked away in disgust and told him his customer service skills were CRAP. I've never said anything quite so ugly to ANYONE, but then again, I have never had a salesperson quite like this guy.
On my way back to the elevator, I asked the cashier in the tool department for the store manager's name and number. She quickly got the manager on the phone. I relayed what had just happened. She gave me a very half-hearted apology with the caveat that they were short-handed. That was it. Strike three, Sears. You're OUT and you are on "the list."
Sears sucks. Period. I said it. I haven't always hated Sears. We actually registered there when we got married so we could get things like tools, etc. This time, however, I have learned my lesson. I will not go back to Sears. Not in four years, not ever. In the next week or so, I plan on going to the Home Depot to buy the GE refrigerator I was set on buying yesterday.