Rod Dreher has a nice, thoughtful piece musing on the twilight of this most American of all departments stores. My Dad was a die hard DieHard man, and there was no option but Crafstman tools in his garage workstation. Sears was where we went to shop, and during the Christmas season I loved to peruse the makeshift toy section that seemed more impressive before Toys R' Us became the norm.
I reflected here on that greatest of all moments of the year when the annual Christmas Catalogs arrived (from places including, but not limited to, Sears). Next to hearing commercials for TimeLife's Christmas Song compilation (always advertised about two to three months early for obvious reasons*), the arrival of the Wishbooks was an annual cultural event.
Of course not all was peaches and Rockwell. Sears was about money. And it was one of many retailers that, at the time, proudly announced its willingness to shaft its employees by wrenching them from their families on Thanksgiving so Sears could increase its bottom line by an extra percentage point or two.
In a 'history is poetic' sort of way, both Sears and Toys R' Us did the same thing, and both now have gone the way of the butter churn. Or at least had to file for bankruptcy. I guess that goes to show you. I saw a news story where several major chains have actually decided to walk back on that, openly announcing they will close on Thanksgiving for the sake of their families. If only Sears had held out, I might have more sympathy and nostalgia than I do.
*That would be the requisite 4-6 Weeks delivery time.