Sears, Shopping 101--or Mother really did know bestIn the middle of the last century when I was growing up, shopping was not that exciting. Clothes shopping barely happened; with six siblings we were always awash in hand-me-downs from well-clad cousins and for special occasions, at least for the girls, my Mom would get out the trusty Singer sewing machine and whip us up the best Simplicity had to offer.
Furniture was, if my father had his way, all Stickley cherry. Which my mother could not stand so when we moved from a two bedroom cape to a four bedroom, three story seashore colonial she knew she had to act fast. First stop, an antique store on a sleepy country lane. I wish she was alive to tell me what she paid for the chunky Victorian oak claw foot table with two leaves for the new dining room (our old house was so small it barely had room for the kitchen table). The fact that it did not even come close to matching the Stickley cherry hutch my clueless Dad surprised her with one disappointing anniversary was likely her intent.
Our beds, mattresses and all the new appliances were one stop shopping--Sears. That was 1964. Fast forward to 2014 and Keith and I become the proud owners of a house on a pond--really it looks like a lake but because it is not five miles long it is called a pond--in Maine. We bought the place because it had three bedrooms and was 20 feet from the water; eagles and loons would be our new neighbors.
But how do you furnish a home 400 miles away, a half mile down a rutted, winding, gravel challenged, pick your season, snowy, icy, muddy, dusty road? Clearly, as the owners of British Cottage, furniture was not a problem, we would truck in our own antique tables. But what about new mattresses and appliances? The answer was surprisingly easy--Sears.
We popped into the Middletown, NJ store one Sunday afternoon; did the mattress flop test and three weeks later anxiously awaited delivery. How would they handle a truck on the barely a road to our house? It turned out to be with aplomb. Our delivery man and woman muscled the king size mattress and box spring into the bedroom and then managed to--get this--back the truck all the way back to the main road! And delivery was free!
I consider myself a really good shopper--I had to make up for all those years when we didn't--and I can Costco and big box store with the best of them. But there is something so inherently satisfying about shopping at Sears. The stores are clean; signage is clear, and the merchandise is nicely displayed. Even better, the departments are well-staffed by actual living, breathing people who are knowledgeable and helpful. Our salesman for the bed even called us up to ask if all went well with the delivery arrangements!
Needless to say Sears is where the new refrigerator and stove are coming from when we get ready to tackle the kitchen. Maybe they don't seem to have the bells and whistles other national stores do. And I think they should hire me, or someone, to jazz up their facades. I'm pretty sure the Middletown store is exactly the same as when we shopped there in 1964; but I have to say this, when it comes to service and reliability--my Mom really did know best--you can't beat Sears.