Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales during the holidays, the most crucial time of year for retailers.
Sears was my first employer after I graduated high school. I worked on the replenishment team in the men's department, which meant my job was folding and displaying jeans. I didn't work very hard at all; the majority of the job consisted of trying to operate something called a "Gizmo," which was Sears's very first attempt at a computerized inventory management device. It was basically a super-early version of one of those scanning guns you get nowadays if you're putting together a wedding registry at a department store; you go around and scan barcodes into the machine, which then files the products into a database for easy retrieval. It did not work, and it was ridiculously expensive.
But most of the job consisted of shirking work: An hourlong coffee break in the morning, a lunch break that often stretched to a couple hours, and a huge back room full of stock that I could hide in when I didn't feel like working. It was the kind of work that Republicans think all unionized government work is like: I could foist any customer requests off to a member of the sales team, because I was strictly a stocking employee. As far as minimum wage mall jobs go, it was a dream. I can totally understand why the company is falling apart.