The trials of buying at Sears

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Or, rather "trying to buy from Sears". I really, really dislike these guys now. Sure, the power tools were lousy for years, but at least you could usually buy other things you needed there.
Anyway, I happen to have an 8 gallon Sears wet vac from the '80s. Need a new filter (blue stripe), so I drive down to the local Sears to buy it. Nothing on the shelves, floor guy can't find any out back so he orders them. Says they'll be in two days later. So I call three days later and nothing. Five _weeks_ later they finally come in. Just for filters!
At the same time I went in for the filters, I went looking for an 8-pound sledge. Your basic sledge hammer. No sledges. Guy says they'll be in tomorrow. I call back and he says, "no, we don't know when anything comes in". I get this for five weeks until I find a woman who says they don't stock them. After a little back and forth, she finally says that they do stock them and she'll order a box. Says they'll be in in two days. So I call two days later and they're not in, although they're on order.
And again...In the same trip as above I was looking to exchange a 30-year-old soft-tip hammer that had fails. Guess what? Not in stock, guy can't say when they will be. When I tell him that this is for an exchange, he actually tells me "maybe you should buy better tools"! I say "I bought the $^&%**ing Craftsman tools for the warranty!".
And yet again...While looking for the hammer, I tried to buy a bottle of wormdrive saw lube. "Sure, I have this box right here...whoops, all gone" "no, I can't say when we'll get more in".
This all happened in two trips. I realize that lots of stores aren't good at keeping the shelves full, but _nothing_ I needed was there. Oh yeah, for those who are curious, lots of the newest "Craftsman Industrial" power tools aren't even made by a name-brand company any more. Not even Ryobi. Some kind of custom Chinese importer now.
GTO(John)
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MBA management style in action. The numb nuts at the local grocery stores aren't any better these days. In the age of computerized inventories there should be no excuse for an item being out of stock. These wondrous, highly touted "just in time" inventory management systems sounded real good in MBA school, but like so many other MBA management principles, they turn to crap "just in time" for me to go elsewhere.
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I've been on the other end of that "just in time" thing. From the nmanufacturing standpoint, it doesn't work any better.

MBA
crap
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com says...

Just in Time works great, if,
There aren't any unplanned snowstorms or other natural disasters There aren't any unplanned strikes Everything works smoothly at all suppliers and there are no hiccups *anywhere* in the supply chain
Guess what? In the real world: There are unplanned snowstorms and other natural disaster There are unforseen strikes *Nothing* works smoothly at all suppliers and there are *always* hiccups *somewhere* in the supply chain
The secret to just in time is applying reality with a reasonable buffer to take care of those things that somehow don't fit in the MBA case study
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Swingman wrote:

Actually there is...it's called "theft". More of it happens than you would guess. Ask any big retail store manager.
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Chris Merrill
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Not to mention even the national chains have "A" stores with full inventories, "B" stores with less, and slower access to the rest, and so forth on down the line to my franchised outlet, the only place within 150 miles I can get a Craftsman wrench.
All this penny-pinching by stores will stop if we don't keep shopping for prices.
Walt Kelly, where are you?

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Still no excuse ... "theft" is statistically quantifiable and can be written into the systems to take it into account.
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While theft does make inventory shrink, the fact that it *stays* that way means no one is taking a look at the products on the shelves. No one is rotating, straightening, dusting, and (most importantly) recognizing and saying, "hey! we're out of widgets!"
Kevin
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wrote:

written
This is because their isn't enough good help in these stores. I work for a major grocery chain that has cut it's good help so thin that their are just not enough bodies around to do a decent job. When one person is doing the job that used to be done by 2 or 3 people you just don't have time to do anything extra like rotation, straightening, facing etc. There is also stock in the backroom that never gets a chance to be worked so when the person is ordering he never knows if he already has it or not. You also are in such a hurry that you can't do a decent of job anything. Everything is done half-assed. All of this doesn't matter to the corporate big wigs. They just want their labour costs down and care less and less about customer satisfaction.
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During a recent visit to my local borg, I was looking for some stainless steel machine screws. These specialty items are kept in pullout drawers at the borg, with each drawer being compartmentalized with different sizes, etc. The size I needed was missing. The compartment for my size existed, but it was full of various other sizes. Upon close examination of some adjacent drawers, I saw the same problem. Basically, trying to find anything that might be stocked in those drawers would be fruitless.
I mentioned this to the hardware manager, adding my own comments about JIT stocking, etc. He replied that THEFT was why he couldn't keep the drawers stocked correctly. If I remember correctly, he said that approximately 20% of his stock of these items disappears!
What a society we've become...
rob
On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 04:11:55 GMT, Chris Merrill

Rob Jones, Developer Lightspeed Systems www.lightspeedsystems.com
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snipped-for-privacy@lightspeedsystems.com says...

Just on a cynical note, if the compartments you saw were full of various other sizes, not the size in question, just how does this hardware manager have any idea how much of his stock is disappearing due to theft, let alone a number like 20%? He could be missing 20% due to parts being placed in the wrong bins.

Kind of agree with the statement above, but for a different reason. I'm sure that stockers did not put the wrong parts in the wrong bins, but some customer who took a part just put it back wherever instead of where it belonged.
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I am old enough to remember when Sears had quality & some of the best service for tools..........dont know what the heck happened. We live 34 miles either way from 2 Sears stores Large city well stocked /Small city poorly stocked. Small one does get the orders right & timely..Large one, orders screwed up and for advice - forget it. Ive about went all mailorder tools the last 7-9 years. Catalogs tell you what you want to know & faster than ordering locally. Pathetic for a once champion of the average guy & gal.
Plant a tree....Build a bird house...Vote...DON'T just set around and complain - Do Something !
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On 07 Nov 2003 23:07:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (GTO69RA4) wrote:
I have a 6 gallon Sears shop vac, also from that same era and when I want a filter I go to Home Depot. Since Emerson made the Sears stuff and also made the Ridgid stuff at Home Depot, I just buy a Ridgid replacement filter and its an exact match for the old Sears filter. Of course I had to take the old filter into the store and open boxes until I found one that matched...
dickm

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I was originally going to do that, but I recently got this vac and it didn't come with a filter. Nothing off the shelf looked quite right and I had no old one for reference. Now I do, so it's HD from now on.
GTO(John)

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GTO69RA4 wrote:
<snipped>

My advice would be to skip the Sears filter and buy a "CleanStream" replacement. They filter MUCH better and are washable.
See: http://www.cleanstreamfilters.com /
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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On 07 Nov 2003 23:07:00 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (GTO69RA4) wrote:
<snip>
I think you coulda put almost ANY store name at the end, John. Look at it THIS way...at least you got CLERKS to talk to. At many stores, you don't even get THAT! lol
And maybe its the store. I have 3 Sears hardware stores in my area...and they all carry a HUGE assortment of hardware items. I know for a fact they have all kinds of hammers. I shop there quite often.
You might also consider ordering on the Net. I do a lot of that lately...as do others, I'm sure.

Many of the non name brand companies are only not known in this country. They may indeed be huge corporations...who simply don't market directly in this country.

You make it sound like name recognition automatically signifies quality. That's not the case, of course.
Every name brand you can think of started out as an unknown. And an unknown of excellent quality and marketing strategy...or they wouldn't still be here.
As was suggested, John...try to find alternate sources for the things you buy. If yer tryin' to exchange a warranty item, yer pretty much stuck. But if yer buyin' a cash-out item, there should be other sources for what you need.
Good luck.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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Just stay away from Sears. It has worked for me for years.

now.
buy
new
Nothing on

they'll
tomorrow.
this
a
30-year-old
when
tells
Craftsman
"no,
at
those
aren't
custom
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AL wrote:

OTOH,
I was compressor shopping.
I checked the Borgs, Harbor freight, looked at Grainger (Yea, Right) and other places.
Sears had a Ingersol-Rand industrial. I sized it up and figured I would pay $850, they wanted $1000 reg, on sale for $950.
I went home and wife asked me if I got a compressor. I told her Sears had one, if I could get another $100 off ... a day or so later we took a drive to Sears. She got this weeks sale price, next weeks discount, and a promotional no interest for a year deal that really didn't apply to the compressor. She even got the I-R synthetic lube thrown in.
Price? $850 (+ tacks).
Not really a gloat, I do think I got a fair deal.
Point being Sears may not have the highest quality tools they shouldn't be completely ignored either. Depending what your after.
Incidentally I've seen Wife do this numerous times in many places. I've gotten in the habit of pointing out what I want and how much I'm willing to pay and she usually comes through or better. Many times I've watched her work and realized how glad she's on my side. I wouldn't want to go against her.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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Swingman writes:

I wonder how easily it can be quantified on a short-term basis. I can see that a store would be able to program for maybe xxxx loss over a year. But can they know that the loss would be 10% over 11 months, with 90% disappearing at a random particular month within the 12? Certain months would probably have consistently higher theft rates, others lower, but it might take some time to find the pattern.
I guess a lot of how well stocked any store is depends largely on that individual store's manager, unless corporate grips the manager too tightly.
And a lot may depend on the people being hired, too. I've been told that the largest theft problem within retail stores is not customers, but employees.
Charlie Self
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas J. Watson
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Charlie Self wrote:

Speaking of the retailer I used to work for, they do a rotating inventory on a regular basis, with the intention of making sure that the actual count of items on-hand matches what the computer says. This is designed to keep the freight flowing in on a regular basis even if a quantity of a particular item goes away.
Unfortunately, the system doesn't work because this "perpetual inventory" is nobody's primary job, and no one has enough spare time to take away from their other duties to do this particular job thoroughly, so it gets done half assed, in bits and pieces. Corporate actually allocates payroll for three people to do that full-time, but the store in question uses that payroll somewhere else except right around inventory time. They care less about keeping up with it over time, and keeping the shelves stocked, than they do trying to straighten it out in time to get inventory to come out right.

That's a fact. At the place in question, I can think of at least four major incidents involving lots of big ticket items being stolen, all of which directly involved higher management.
I'm glad I don't do the retail thing anymore. Especially not at that mismanaged dump.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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