I’ve been trying to buy a swing set from Sears and Kmart for days now. It hasn’t been going well. I went online and purchased one through the Kmart website. It was supposed to be delivered to a store 180+ miles from my house. They wouldn’t deliver it to my home or to the store closest to my home, for some reason, but I wanted the swing set so I figured a little traveling wouldn’t be the end of the world. I was frustrated, but resigned to making the best of it. The directions said I would get a confirmation email and that I would need to print it and bring it with me in order to pick my item up at the store (the store said they had the swing set in stock). I waited and waited, but no confirmation email ever came. I checked to make sure my email was correctly spelled in my accounts profile. I checked my email account several times. I started to wonder what was going on. The money was already on hold in my bank account so I knew Sears and Kmart were aware the purchase was made.
A few hours later I got a call from Sears security. They wanted to know where I bought the swing set. Was it Sears or Kmart? I thought that was a strange question because I thought Sears and Kmart were the same company. Their website is the same. Then they wanted my birthday, my address, and some credit card information. While I was on the phone with them I was Googling this Sears security thing because it seemed weird. A random call from someone claiming to be Sears, asking for all of my personal information. Alarm bells started going off. This was the sort of thing I have been reading NOT to do. Also, my Google search was screaming “scam! Scam! SCAM!” at me. I told the lady I was uncomfortable and that I was just going to cancel my order. I hung up and called Kmart customer service.
It turns out the Sears security call was legitimate. My order had been cancelled. The customer service lady lectured me on how I should just call Sears and Kmart or Sears or Kmart and ask them to transfer me to the security department if this should ever happen again. That way I would know if the call was legitimate. I thought it was strange that I had to jump through all of these hoops just to purchase a swing set. Meanwhile, they had just lost a sale because they didn’t bother to warn me the security call would be part of the transaction. Not to mention, the security people didn’t sound all that professional so that kind of set alarm bells off as well. I wasn’t about to apologize for trying to buy something or for feeling strange about the random security call requesting personal information over the phone. I mean, a simple warning that this was going to happen would have been appropriate and then I would have expected it.
Anyway, I hung up. I still didn’t have a swing set. So, the next day we went down to our local Sears branch. We asked them to order it for us and asked if they could have it shipped to their store. Somehow, shipping it to the store 10 minutes from my home was now magically possible. I don’t know why the day before the swing set could only be shipped to a store 180 miles away. That part is a mystery. For some reason purchasing the swing set through Sears cost about $12 more than purchasing it through Kmart. Each store has its own item number for the exact same product. There is a lot of confusion about Sears and Kmart or Sears or Kmart and a lot of “Oh, yes we are the same store even though we are completely separate stores at the same time.” kind of conversations. An extra $12 seemed worth paying to avoid the 180 mile trip (one way) to pick it up. So we decided to buy it.
We had to order the swing set through the computer at the Sears store which was also weird because I had to put in my passwords and credit card information to make it all work. I also had to access my email account to change the password for my Sears and Kmart account because I couldn’t remember it off the top of my head. I had assumed I would be making the purchase through a cash register and wouldn’t need access to my Sears and Kmart online account. This was uncomfortable because the sales person was standing behind me the entire time and it was a public computer. I still feel like I probably shouldn’t have done that. After putting in all of my information I got a confirmation number. I was told I would be emailed shortly with a purchase order. It’s been almost 24 hours and I haven’t received an email. There seems to be no record of the purchase in my account on the Sears and Kmart website either. It’s like the whole spending 25 minutes at the Sears store never happened.
I still don’t have a swing set. I think I will probably be purchasing my swing set through another store. Sears and Kmart have made it pretty clear that they do not want my business.
Have you ever tried to buy something, but failed at every turn? Does customer service matter to you? Tell me some of your stories.
There is more to this story. I was contacted by an executive from Sears and he helped us purchase our swing set. You can read about that here: We Buy A Swing Set From Sears (Part 2).