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Tam laments their recent demise.

As a kid, we got their catalog twice per year. And my sister and I would argue over who got it first. See, we’d thumb through it, take a pen, and mark the toys we wanted for Christmas. I spent many, many childhood hours looking through those catalogs, imagining how awesome Christmas was going to be.

19 Responses to “Sears”

  1. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    I’m a little younger than you (I think), but I remember doing that with the Christmas Toys R Us catalog. A store which also not longer exists.

  2. Nathan Gambino Says:

    I did the same thing with the Sears catalog, except I would rank the toys with 1 to 5 stars denoting how desperately I wanted said toy.

  3. Tim Says:

    ….wed thumb through it, take a pen, and mark the toys we wanted for Christmas.

    Whut wuz you doin in mah haus?!?11?

  4. jerry the geek Says:

    I always looked forward to the beginning of the school year. Mom would go to the Sears catalog and order me three pairs of Levi’s jeans.

    The ones she bought me last year were finally broken in and felt comfortable, having been washed twice a week in her 30-year old washer.

    (You know, the kind that had a press wringer … two rubber rollers and a crank, so she could squeeze out the sudsy water before you filled the tub with clean water to rinse.)

    Oh sure, we had electricity. But not much money. So the “appliance” budget went to buy two big freezers. Pop would go hunting, and he would butcher the meat in the garage. Mom would wrap the cuts in freezer paper (waxed on one side) and i would mark it with a pen and pack the freezer.

    For Holidays, we would dig a roast out of the bottom layer and our family of four could eat like kings for a week, with potatoes and lots of fat gravy.

    No, we didn’t keep cows; we always had “Butter-and-egg” money.

    After I grew up and had to buy beef in the store, I was disappointed because Beef just didn’t have any flavor. I missed Deer, Elk, Antelope meat. Pop once went to Alaska and killed some kind of goat; gamey and tough, but it was interesting.

    I didn’t like it the year Pop killed a Grizzly Bear; greasiest meat I ever ate!

  5. g... Says:

    I remember picking out school clothes = Toughskins and of course circling the toys for Christmas.
    End of an era but what great memories.

  6. Siegen Says:

    I thought I was being subtle – I’d leave the catalog lying on the table opened the page with the toy I wanted most, or dog-eared the applicable pages.

  7. JTC Says:

    Everybody knows about the house kits sold through their catalog and quite a few of those houses are still around.

    I ain’t that old, but I do remember both Sears and Monkey Wards selling motor scooters…when we went to town in the early 60’s (about an hour across from Lake Okeechobee farm country to West Palm Beach it was mostly for special occasions like school clothes and supplies, Christmas, maybe Easter. But as soon as I could cut away from the family I’d go down and sit on those scooters and dream about blasting down those sugar cane field roads with my little .22 Marlin strapped on.

    Dad finally made that possible for me Christmas ’66 when I was 12 I got a beautiful little used Honda 50. That and the little rifle gave me my first tastes of serious responsibility and almost limitless fun.

  8. H Says:

    Daddy went first to Sears for Craftsman hand tools, and nowhere else. He had a large pile of them, which live at my house now. I remember exactly one breaking, decades ago, a 1/2″ drive socket that had been subjected to serious abuse (mine). It was replaced upon demand, no questions asked, no receipt or explanation required.

  9. Ravenwood Says:

    Back in the day you could order a house via the Sears catalog. They were delivered as a kit via rail, and the lumber was pre-cut and marked for the builder to assemble.

  10. Ron W Says:

    Didn’t Sears sell guns, rifles and shotguns, back in the day before FFL’s?

  11. Ravenwood Says:

    Ron W,

    Lee Harvey Oswald put an end to that.

  12. Ron W Says:

    And Presidents riding in open top limos

  13. HL Says:

    Still waiting on my GI Joe Sky Striker.

  14. Crawler Says:

    When I first started motorcycling with my 90cc 2-cycle engine Kawasaki in my young teenage years, two of my riding buds had SEARS 106cc 4-cycle engine bikes. I forgot who made them for SEARS, seems like it was some company in Italy.

    Sears & Roebuck rebranded just about everything…that would sell.

  15. JTC Says:

    @Ron W, lots of ’em, private labels and name brands too, along with lots of cool stuff.

    That Marlin single shot I mentioned above that I got in ’64 at age ten inspired my older brother to get one just like it with his Christmas money, that following Monday in Clewiston, FL…not at Sears but Western Auto where he at twelve walked in with fifteen dollars and walked out with a brand new Marlin single-shot and a box of .22lr.

    In the annals of American culture the life and death of Sears (and Western Auto which it also tried and failed to save) is right up there with drive-in movies, burger joints, and Constitutional Rights in pre-1968 USA. RIP

  16. Ron W Says:

    @JTC, Thanks for sending that! It looks like they only sold 22’s and ,.410 or was that just one page of their guns? I noticed the Remington Nylon 66 for $49.95. I have an inherited one originally purchased by my uncle in the early 60’s. A while back I saw one St. a local gun shop on their used gun rack for $367.50!

  17. JTC Says:

    No they sold everything that was common at the time, that was just the .22 page of probably several pages.

    Yes pretty much all of those pictured would bring ten times those prices in mint condition; the little Browning and all three of those Winchesters -that model 63 is especially unusual and sweet- are treasures to find… and they just don’t make ’em like that anymore.

  18. Patrick Says:

    When my kids hit a certain age I actually went looking for the catalog, just so I could relive my childhood through them a little bit. Alas, it was only a shadow of its old-time glory.

    I think we have the smallest official Sears store in the nation. It’s maybe 1500 square feet and operates in an old farm community. I did order something from Sears years ago, and they delivered it there so I could pick it up.

    I should go take a picture before it goes away for good.

  19. JTC Says:

    They sold the Craftsman franchise of course and now Ace, Lowe’s, and others stock them, but getting on the Sears email list means you get notice of some really excellent deals…just bought a 165 pc. set for $69; really only needed a 1/4 drive rathchet and sockets but this has 1/4 and 3/8 and tons of std and metric sockets and bits for about the same money. Watch out for their stupid online purchase rules though…see it online and it says store pickup but that doesn’t mean you can go in and pick it up off the shelf for the same price…gotta order it online and pick it up in a special zone and sometimes it can take days even though they got the same damn thing in the store, then they try to give you shit when you realize that and cancel the online order ten minutes later…ask me how I know that stupid shit.

    So yeah, it is a sad dinosaur and just a shadow of the place that had everything, quality goods, and knowledgeable career clerks that had often been running the same department for twenty years or more. That kind of service and loyalty is no more in the retail brick and mortar marketplace…the WalMart effect. And of course Amazon is the Amazon of online, their efficiencies are nearly impossible to meet let alone beat.

    So in the end, it’s going to die a lingering death, melancholy to remember, sad to watch, but ultimately a matter of the survival of the fittest. For better or worse, unless gov gets involved to “help”, that’s capitalism.