“Sears Came First”


Long before Jeff Bezos had dreamed up Amazon, Americans had at their fingertips access to thousands of items any household might need. In two yearly full catalogs and one special Christmas one(tomorrow’s post)we were offered page after page of clothing, household goods, tools, appliances, gifts and furniture. There was little we needed that couldn’t be purchased from Sears.

You filled out an order form with the items you wanted, totaled their cost, enclosed a check for the proper amount and mailed it off. There were no credit cards in those days. If you didn’t have a checking account, you would request the the goods be shipped to you C.O.D. or cash on delivery. This meant exactly what it said. You paid the delivery man the amount you owed Sears when the package was delivered. If you wondered why so many delivery trucks say “We carry no cash” in bold letters on their sides, I suspect it is because so many people think C.O.D. still exists.

Sears is on the verge of bankruptcy or has already begun the process. They blame it all of on-line shopping. A little ironic since they built their business through the mail without depending on “brick and mortar” stores.

9 thoughts on ““Sears Came First”

  1. I remember those huge catalogs well. So much fun stuff to look at and wish for. The Christmas catalog was the bright spot of the year. I used to try to imagine what kind of huge building that could hold all the things in the book.


  2. It is interesting, Elizabeth, how so many previously successful businesses have failed to evolve and embrace modern business ideas and technology. Sears could have modified its business into a more on-line model and would probably have survived.


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