Wednesday, March 06, 2019

A Big Day

My March 4-5 went something like this:

1) I got the keys for the townhome I'm renting in Godfrey. My place is, by looking towards the back door, the left-most of the units of the four-plex. I spent the night.

2) As I was arriving at a local restaurant for a Fat Tuesday pancake breakfast (I elected to not celebrate Pancake Day at the International House of Pancakes}), Sebastian (my 2002 VW Golf
TDI) reached 200,000 miles. Breakfast was delicious.

3) I signed up for cable TV -- I've never paid for TV before -- and internet, so I've now got all the home utilities ordered. Hopefully everything not yet on -- water and heat were already a-ok -- will
be installed by Friday. So it's back to Peoria to continue packing. But I'm not leaving the new place completely empty. And, since the Seraphs won their Spring Training game, beating the Cubs 9-2 in warm Tempe, Arizona, the Angels bobblehead legitimately gets to show his face in joy.

Here's to new ventures in 2019!

Friday, March 01, 2019

Thank You for Shopping at Sears? :-(

With boxes and boxes of books and the rest of my possessions to move, I'll need a hand cart to carry them to-and-fro. So off to Sears (we still have one in Peoria) I went to get a good one. While it's not the department store it once was, Sears is still what first comes to mind for quality appliances and tools. So I walked into the hardware department (thinking "Division 9" -- it's amazing how many detailed memories stepping into a Sears evokes) and started looking.

I quickly found one "hand truck," a bit bigger than I thought I wanted, but that seemed to be it. No price tag was visible, nor were there any others or anything else that looked like a similar tool. So I started looking around the floor. The nicely-dressed man by the cash registers wearing a Sears badge acknowledged my presence, but he and a couple of not-so-well-dressed Sears employees were engaged with other customers, so I went exploring, but found nothing. Heading back towards the register, the salesman was still conversing with other customers so I went back to the hand truck and moved it on its shelf to see if I could find a price tag. Ah, $79.99. Did I really want to spend that much?

So I walked through the mall to see if Penney's or another store might have a similar tool. Nope. I looked up "hand trucks" on my iPhone, and discovered the price at Sears was in line with what I wanted to buy. And a few minutes later I was back at Sears, where this time I found several fold-up trucks in a display box. They were definitely smaller than I wanted. So I approached that well-attired salesman, now not serving anyone else.

"Do you have any other hand trucks than the one over there?" I asked, pointing in the direction of the one I'd looked at earlier.

When I worked for Sears, one usually hired into Division 9 working the cash register, where you'd begin to learn the merchandise and, if you were alert and ambitious, work that into a sales position that paid a small commission. This gentleman looked the salesman part, frankly better than I've seen of most Sears employees for years. But "hand truck" didn't quite ring any bells until we walked over to it. No, that was the only one he knew about. I noted the price on the shelf, to which he replied he'd need to check on that. That took a few minutes, as none of the registers would accept the stock number he kept inputting. Meanwhile I had pulled my Sears Card out of my wallet.

After re-checking the stock number, he finally got a price: $89.99. He seemed to expect the shelf price to be inaccurate. I wasn't ready to pay that, so I put my Sears Card back in my wallet and thanked him.

A few minutes later, I walked into Lowe's (where the former Sears brand Craftsman® tools are on display), and I found a small selection of that same hand truck, except painted red over the black. Price: $89.99. I took the nicest one I could find, rolled it to the register, and paid for it with my Discover® Card (another former Sears brand). Driving home I sadly pondered by my latest experience "shopping at Sears."

But I decided to not post on this as a follow-up to my earlier Sears blog entry until I opened my e-mail. There from earlier in the afternoon was one from "Sears Card Issued by Citibank":
You've reached 39 Years as a Sears Mastercard® cardmember!

On this special occasion, we want you to know how much we appreciate your loyalty, patronage, and your ongoing support.
I was so proud when I was able to get a Sears charge, my first credit card shortly before my 21st birthday, as a Sears employee. And I had really wanted to use it today to buy what I needed. But it was a very different store then. It was a different retail world then, too...