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Why “Known Brand” Does Not Mean Reputable Service: What You May Not Know About Sears

9 Jun

DollarThe unsuspecting shopper inspects the aisles.  Smith’s workwear carelessly tossed on shelves, exercise equipment scattered across the floor with boxes torn open and electronic displays with pieces missing.  Sales associates haughtily help the annoying consumer who dared interrupt their jovial conversation with the other six employees working the floor.

I am going to compile several review site URLs at the bottom of this article, all of which have reviews of Sears‘ corporation, some of which have over 300 reviews in which Sears is given a robust 0.0 out of 10.

First, however, I am going to include my latest experience with this magnificent foundation.

I was hired as a purchasing agent in the employ of a theatre company, to search for the, “most expensive cheap jewelry,” I could find.  This was bound to be an exciting journey, but I was not about to embark on it with no trail whatsoever.  It seemed only logical that I should pursue it with a company that was known, there would therefore be no way that I could be put astray.

I began at KMart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings and strolled up to the jewelry counter.  I waited for an associate and was told, “I don’t know ’bout all them other KMarts, but we can’t sell jewelry unless your credit card got yo address on it.”  I assured the associate that such credit cards are not mainstream, if they in fact do exist and proceeded to show her my American Express, Visa and Mastercard cards, business and personal; none of these 20+ cards matched her criteria [including my Sears card].  She assured me that all of her credit cards have this feature and she refused to sell me anything behind the counter.  She suggested that I go to the location at 770 Broadway, which was implicitly, in accordance with her sneer; less distinguished than the venerable 34th street at which she worked.

A few days later, after discussing this incident with my employer, I moved forward and made a significant purchase at the Broadway location.  It took about 50 minutes for a salesperson to materialize, but otherwise the transaction went relatively smooth, with little or no turbulence.  I made it very clear that I was making this purchase for a theatre company and that it was up to their discretion whether or not I would have to end up returning the products, I asked if there was any reason that I could encounter resistance in the return process and I was told that as long as the jewelry was in new condition with the tag left on the item, there should not be any problem.

I came back at the request of the company to acquire more rings and two bracelets, this time however, they required manager approval.  The manager looked at me suspiciously, spent about 40 minutes interrogating me after he finally showed up and left with my card to, “call for approval.”  He informed me that my card was declined for this, rather large purchase.  I began to sweat and thought that perhaps I had miscalculated my credit limit and would be unable to place the purchase, so I called the card company.  The manager, let’s call him Ted Kaczynski, PhD; to preserve his identity; neglected to mention, or to realize that he had put the charge through, which was why I had been declined.  The cumulative amount was just over $12,000 and he had tried charging over $24,000, which is just a tad above what my card company is willing to risk on me.

So, the sales associate explained that the manager had lived under electrical wires growing up etc. and on we moved with the sale.  The transaction took over 4 hours and I made sure to ask, just to double check, if there would be any such disruption upon return of the items, should it be necessary.  They told me that as long as the return was carried out personally by me and the manager approved it, it should be relatively smooth.

WHEREIN THE PLOT THICKENS:

It should be relatively obvious what happens now.  In accordance with Murphy’s Law, the group went with a wholesaler and I found it necessary to go back and follow through with the return.

So, I returned it and it was super simple.

You got me, I lied.

I went back to return the product and about 3 levels of manager were called, they began the return until manager number 4, [who was clearly the most important, because he had a banker blue polyester button-down, not a dark blue polo shirt] decided that they had to wait until he called in his, “expert,” to handle the return.  He informed me that I should have scheduled the return in advance [my goodness this distinguished organization does stand on formality, doesn’t it?] and he offered to pencil me in a spot the following week, i.e. this week.  I explained that I was leaving New York this week, so he offered to do it on Tuesday morning.  I told him that that would be a fantastic idea, if he could explain to me how to do it from an airplane.

He told me that I would come in Sunday.  No that is not a grammatical error.  He told me, “you will come in on Sunday.”  I asked for assurance that assuming all the merchandise was originally quality, I would be given my money back and would be done with the matter; he and the salesperson both assured me in the matter and I walked away, feeling slightly disgusted.

For those who have put two and two together, yes, today is Sunday!  I got there just after they opened, as I assured them I would and began the return process.

They used a diamond checker in each diamond, including accents.  I don’t know if you have ever seen over $12,000 in KMart jewelry, but that is like 50 carats worth of diamonds in stones that all weigh a fraction of a carat.

The process was tedious, albeit less so than the purchase, so I was relieved when we finally got to the customer service desk to handle the refund.

That is, until I was told that the points acquired from the purchase, would be subtracted from the refund price.  In other words, rather than subtract the balance of the rewards points, they gave me back less than I had spent so that in essence, I unwittingly purchased rewards points and was expected to pay the difference to my credit card company for the cost of them.

I almost had an aneurysm and I now have to wait for the refund to post before I can dispute it with the card company.  (For the record, KMart also told me that the refund would be instant, because they would handle it as a “voided transaction,” instead of a return.)  I asked how this could happen and what I could do.  The woman behind the counter said, “Because you got the points.  There is nothing you can do.”

I pretty much begged and she stared at me.  I now owe over $4,000 to KMart for products that I returned; on their terms; in pristine condition; with their reassurance.

Here is one cluster of happy customers:

http://sears-reviews.measuredup.com/1658

.01/10 with 378 Reviews and counting:

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Sears

I like that this one is a forum on Sears’ website, but I kind of feel that if I were a multibillion dollar enterprise, I would immediately try to win over my clientele and prove a resolution upon seeing this:

https://www.sears.com/community/questions/sears-unethical-and-unprofessional-this-is-for-customers-to-know-what-to-expect-when-sears-takes-your-money-and-wont-return-it-after-various-lies-and-promises-to-contact-you-you-will-eventually/

I encourage you not to risk the consequences of shopping with Sears Holdings or its subsidiaries, personally, this debt has made me a nervous wreck and in my mind feels like sheer extortion.

Feel free to post your own experiences, both negative and positive- objectivity is important.

And please, share this post.

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Movie: The Little Princess

11 Oct

The Shirley Temple classic directed by Walter Lang.

Enjoy.

Weekend Movie: Robin Hood: The Betrothal

5 Oct

Weekend Movie: Robin Hood Starring Richard Greene: The Highlander

28 Sep

Weekend Movie: Ghost Train

10 Aug

Joan Jett at Coney Island

10 Aug

“And now, the most intellectual and talented of female rockstars: Joan Jett!”  Announced Borough President Marty Markowitz yesterday at the “Seaside Summer Concert,” where Jett was headlining.

Following this comment, they commenced mic checks, tuning instruments and setting up for her entrance.

Prior to this remark, it seemed as if every politician at all pertaining to New York would speak.  Borough Controller, Borough President, President of Coney Island, a man from the Bay Ridge Credit Union and the man who appears to be at every opening ceremony and graduation in New York state around election time, Senator Chuck Schumer.

Opening for Joan Jett were the Coney Island freak show cast.  The emcee/”Human Blockhead,” Ray Valenz destroyed the momentum by saying no less than three times, “and now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.”  The woman performing an awkward, erotic dance with a snake, “Serpentina,” was apparently not who the audience was waiting for.

Also with the the sideshow were, “Baron Von Geiger,” the strongman who puts fishhooks through the holes in his face, but does not perform any “feat of strength”;  “Insectavora,” a heavily tattooed woman who climbs a ladder of dull swords– with her bare feet!  And with enthusiastic announcement from the “Human Blockhead,” whose talent is to stick a nail up his nose; the machine who keeps the act on life support, “Betty Bloomerz,” the sword swallower.

When the audience seemed restless at 8:27pm, Markowitz nervously explained that he was not keeping Jett and that as soon as she was ready, she would come out.  Yet he somehow did not seem to run out of people who could come up on stage.

When the show began, however and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts assembled on stage and finally began their set with their hit, “Bad Reputation,” they were amazing.  Jett looks, sounds and rocks as good as she did 30 years ago.

The Blackhearts went through their discography and even did some of the songs Jett wrote when she was with the Runaways.

Joan is no longer a rebellious child and with time she has given up on shocking people, one astounding feature of the concert, however, was the audience.  Their was an eclectic crowd to say the least, hipsters who swayed to high drive riffs like they were listening to Bjork, some girls dressed like Lady Gaga, observant Jews and even some Russians.

Very few people at the concert subscribed to the rock aesthetic or mentality.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts rock, to say the least.  Their prodigious talent wakes up even the dullest of audiences.  There is some depth to the tunes, despite their punk sound and crass overtones on a superficial level.

After the show, a father and a daughter were sitting next to each other on the Manhattan bound Q local train, they were giggling at facebook statuses and clearly had a great time at the concert and would not have chosen anyone else in the world to go with.

Ultimately, rock and roll is not about rebellion, anger or self-destruction.  Rock and roll is about freedom, embracing individuality and one’s right to be understood.  Sometimes it is not about whether you give a damn ’bout your bad reputation, it is about someone else doing you the same courtesy. 

Teaming Up With “Art and Culture”

13 Jun

We will be teaming up with, “Art and Culture,” at “http://artcultureblog.blogspot.com/”

Don’t worry, nothing is changing.

What this means is that our sites will occasionally with permission share mutually relevant content.

Their mission statement is on their blog.

They are a site about art and culture, this should be obvious, but they plan to add unique and informative material to benefit their readers.

There is not much else that we can really say, just to encourage you to go read their first post and check out their updates which will apparently be pretty frequent.

 

Disclaimer: We in no way guarantee the quality of any external sites, we are in no way accountable for what anyone else posts, even if we post it too.  We take no responsibility for anything, but maybe when we have grown up a little we will start to.  They say thirty is the new twenty.  Stop judging us.  You are just like our parents.

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