Drooling over the Christmas Wishbook, stuffing my face at the Candy & Nut Counter, tagging along with Dad to replace that one lost Craftsman socket... I grew up on Sears. Sears was king, and everyone wanted to visit the castle. Hell, I even got my first mini-bike from Sears.
And now it's gone.
Last week, a pop-up ad caught my eye: "Store Closing Sale, Everything 40-80% Off." Normally, this sort of thing would bring joy to my heart, but once I read "Sears" in the headline, my heart sank.
The last Sears & Roebuck within 300 miles, the dreamland of my childhood, was closing.
The next morning I visited the store. Instead of my happy place, I found a near-empty cavern, festooned with yellow and red banners, screaming what I could save, EVERYTHING must go, the store was closing, and all sales were final.
I wandered about, shaking my head, taking a few photos, and looking for an off-chance bargain. The Sears Automotive reception area was eerily vacant - of people AND fixtures, three Kenmore Grills sadly awaited adoption in the once-garden area, the sporting goods department was nearly bare and the Craftsman Tool Center was on life support.
I could feel nothing but sadness as I remember the Sears, and the joy of my youth.
I took one last slow lap around the store, talked with a couple soon-to-be unemployed employees, and even laid down on a mattress.
I had done my best. I made it a point to shop the store several times each year, mostly for tools and hardware, but obviously my efforts and that of the other 1.5 million people in the area, hadn't quite been enough.
On the way out I stopped in the Craftsman Tool area, my favorite part of the store. I noticed a socket accessory kit and a set of breaker bars at 60% off. I picked them up, paid, and slowly walked out as if departing the funeral of a dear friend. My final visit; my last Sears purchase ever.
Goodbye my old friend. It's been one helluva ride.
A piece of me is gone.