January 5th, 2006



Some things don't seem to change very much, and one of those things is Sears.You can slap a paint job on it and rearrange the cash registers but it's still the same old Sears. Which is sometimes comforting. And sometimes nervewracking. Today it was the latter.

I have been doing the research on televisions, because mine died. I had settled on one, if it would fit in my entertainment center. I had a backup plan of another if that didn't work. My choices were Sony first, Toshiba second, 24" analog. Anything larger will not fit.

I also had taken a look at Costco, Best Buy, and Sears, and determined that, lo!, Sears had the best prices and possibly the best selection as well (selection is neck and neck with Best Buy). So I finally decided today was the day I would buy one from Sears. I went there after swimming today, hoping to get it into my rental car, which has a handy hatchback and it looks like enough space.

I measured the Sony and it was too large.So Toshiba it was, because its case is smaller. The 24" Toshiba was there, but had no price. And this is where it went wrong. A salesperson asked if I needed help and I asked her about the price. She looked it up - online, on the Sears website - and it wasn't there.She searched several different ways, most of them not as smart as they could have been, and finally she let me search and I searched just for Toshiba, not wanting to miss anything. And it was not there. She called the warehouse twice and found out they did not have the item.She was unable to locate the model in her little book of televisions. She did find it on bestbuy.com, which wasn't a lot of help...only concluded that it exists, which we know, because it was sitting there.

So she concluded that it is a closeout item. I asked how much and she fumbled some more. Everything she did took forever and she clearly has no idea of how to cut through the crap and get to a price.  I finally told her I could not spend the afternoon there and could she let me know when I could come back and the price would be determined. She took my phone number,said she would call. For some reason she wants to cling to me, it seems, and not involve any other salespeople. Do they work on commission in the electronics department? I know that's the case in some department stores. But it sure doesn't work in my favor, if so.

I was SO ready to get in, get out, and I couldn't buy the damn thing!!

(no subject)

I told Mary of my Sears experience on the phone tonight. "Back!" She shouted, "You must return!" she said, pushing me (figuratively) out the door. "Find someone else and get the price."

I did so. When I arrived at the electronics section the television was still there and still unmarked. I found someone in appliances (across the aisle) to help me. Within seconds he had raced through the Sears computer system to find the model  and the status and the price. He pointed out that the .97 at the end of the price indicates that it is a closeout item. The price was $219.97. And unfortunately there are no more in the warehouse and they can't order any more.

"So you can't sell me that one?" I asked, looking at the store model. He said sure. I asked him how long it had been out there. He said at least a year. I asked about a discount. He said he could only give me 10%. I said that doesn't seem like much for a model that has been  in use for at least a year. He agreed and asked if I had looked next door - Best Buy. Funny. I said yes, but I didn't remember seeing the 24" model there. Finally I left, to look at Best Buy, although I suspected what I would find, and that is what I found: the same model, new, selling for $300.

So there lies my quandary. I can get the used one for $200, no question,  but how long will it last? I feel that if they would give it to me for $150 I would take it right now, so that's going to be my next effort, probably tomorrow afternoon.