The Mall

Dear Sears,

I know I don’t know you super well, but I always liked bumping into you. You were kind of like a staple. I want to say you had a mint green sign with block letters, but I could be wrong. Mint green just seems to fit. Not because it’s cheap, I didn’t mean that. It’s fresh. Like something new and today.

Maybe it wasn’t green. You were more like a “basics” store, but not like “basic” basic. You were the one moms went to when their kids needed a portable basketball hoop. I think you also sold lawnmowers?

When I heard you were closing, all I could think about were those catalogues with the points so that the more you bought, the more you saved. I think there was a point system for Marlboros too, but that definitely wasn’t as wholesome.

In the early days, back before flat screens, did you sell Betamax? Most people don’t like videos anymore, I sell them as vintage collectors items. They aren’t actually showcased. People have to know about them to buy one. 

It’s a shame we didn’t connect. I remember the deluxe patio set with the grill and spatula sold together. You had the cardboard cutouts of two women grilling in fake grass. I think there was a beach ball behind them and a set of melmac. That was so you. Am I right?

  • Belk 

9 thoughts on “The Mall

  1. Online platforms killed a lot of department stores. It killed our Robinson’s Department Store that was here 160 years! Founded in 1858, I used to go there to buy quality bedlinens and crockery. Covid-19 Pandemic just shuttered them faster as footfall dropped. I understand besides Sears in USA, Nordstrom also went bust. So Robinson’s recently returned as an online store and hopefully Sears might perhaps?

  2. There is no online store that matches the scent of a Sears in full bloom, with washer-dryers bumping up against chainsaws and telephones while canvas work-shirts wave from distant displays. The organized randomness of Sears had a charm not shared by robot software suggesting “users like you also liked this.”
    Farewell, Sears. Enjoy a happy retirement in our collective memory.

  3. Montgomery Ward, Robert Hall, so may others. Clever sign-off. Good read. So much society and economy to study here – internet, Chinese goods (in the US), outsourcing (again in the US and, I suspect elsewhere too), vagaries of youthful preference, mistaken and often ill-applied “eco-this” and “eco-that” all contributors to (what we think of as) ill-timed demise of many icons of the past, commercial, political, familial, and cultural. provoking read. Thanks.

  4. There is a certain irony, isn’t there, that Sears, Hudson’s Bay, etc… all got their start as mail-order catalogues before (during) transition to mainstay bricks and mortar behemoths only now to be undone by, mail order. Another thoughtful piece of examined reminiscence. Cheers, Troy.

  5. Rick here. Your style of developing a dialog is one I want to learn from and emulate. Thanks for bringing this topic to mind, with the substance as well as style. Most of our first day of school clothes came from Sears and Roebuck. That was in the 1960s and 70s. They also were easy to work with for my folks with Sears own revolving credit card, which also fed back into the corporation. I don’t think we can remove profitability from outsourcing from the equation related to Sears sad demise, and the Waltons did it better.

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