Sears Needs to Work on Customer Care

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This story has been updated with Sears' response

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon and Wal-Mart receive a lot of heat from the retail community for taking away market share with low prices. But sometimes companies have themselves to blame for shrinking revenue and profits.

As long as Amazon investors don't mind substituting profits, dividends and a return on investment for revenue growth, Amazon will continue to squeeze margins on others. Wal-Mart enjoys the greatest buying power of any retailer and has the retail process down to an exact science.

Take a couple of experiences I recently encountered with Sears , Amazon and Wal-Mart.

I won't wake up at 4 a.m. or whatever time people rise to go shopping on "Black Friday," but I am willing to buy products late at night online because I'm usually awake anyway. Sears.com is one of the websites I attempted to shop at because I wanted to buy a new Canon digital camera.

I ordered the camera, and selected that I wanted to pick it up at the store. My goal wasn't to give the camera as a gift but rather to use it during the holiday season. Sears.com showed it was in stock, and I could pick it up. The site, however, would not let me add the additional items that made the camera a fantastic deal (low-cost telephoto lens and memory card). I tried many ways to incorporate the extras at the package pricing, but it was a no-go.


In fairness to Sears, I wasn't all that surprised to have online ordering issues. I do most of my holiday shopping online, and on Black Thursday night/Friday, many websites were obviously straining under heavy loads. I drove to Sears with a printout of my order and advertisement in hand to show that I tried to receive the package price but wasn't able to.

The salesman didn't have the authority to make the pricing adjustments, but called over a manager who listened to my situation and price-adjusted the extra lens and memory card without hassle. I finished and walked to the product pickup to receive the camera. It was at that point I was advised that they didn't have the camera in stock. A day or two later, I received an email from Sears that the order was canceled because it was not in stock. The Canon Ti3 is a regularly stocked item, so I'm not sure why my order was canceled instead of simply delayed.