Yes, this is a bone-picking blog today…sorry about that. But I also think I understand why Sears is having such a tough time of it these days. Eighteen months ago, Karen and I purchased a king-size Simmons mattress from them which was an ordeal in itself since it appeared that each department was staffed with one person who also seemed responsible for at least one additional department. Anyway, we made the purchase of a little over $400 and then had to wait a couple of weeks while they ordered it and delivered it, etc. Annoying but not more than one would expect.
A few months ago, one side of the mattress lost its firmness (yes….my side). We tried a new platform, etc and nothing worked so we took it back for a return under it's 10-year warranty. First, it took three trips to Sears to find anybody that any idea how to process the warranty. Then, we got a five-page email with instructions as to the things we needed to do to PROVE that it was in need of replacement…18 months after purchase.
The email essentially puts the customer to work for the store. It involves pinning strings, taking measurements, taking photos, flipping the mattress and taking more photos, validation photos to show that the measurement you are taking is legit, photos of the foundation both with and without mattress, etc. End the end, because the pillowtop of the mattress is resilient, there was not "Beyond 1.5" sag in the mattress that would prove to them that it is neither firm nor "luxurious."
When speaking to them on the phone (oh yes…I DID speak to them on the phone), the response was that, if I chose not to follow the instructions, and if the photos did not show a 1.5" sag, there was "nothing we can do." Even when I explained that the problem had nothing to do with a sag, there was still "nothing we can do."
So, in the end, I, like every other customer in a free market, am left with the only recourse I have. First, I won't shop at Sears. Second, I won't buy Simmons. And third…and worst of all…I'll make sure that everybody we know and have contact with understand that Sears may be failing because they forgot their vision statement. "Sears Holdings is committed to improving the lives of our customers by providing quality services, products and solutions that earn their trust and build lifetime relationships."
I know I'm just one customer…but I'm one of those customers that Lou D'Ambrosio is talking to when he says that the customer is what the new Sears is about. This blog only gets a thousand readers or so in a good week, and around a hundred or so regularly but what I love about the free market, is that communicating to those readers is my prerogative alone. If I want to unload about horrible customer service, I can. And if only a couple of readers decide to question there own purchases from Sears, the cost of ignoring the customer becomes much greater than the cost of satisfaction.