Monday Treadmill Update

AM: Just after 8:00am this morning the sears robot called. There was a problem with my recent delivery and it was “urgent” that I call 888 567 3452 today to reschedule. Urgent, eh? Maybe they have found a treadmill to deliver to me. (Previous post, for those who came in late, Why I Do Not Have A Treadmill (Sears Can’t Deliver).)

So, I called back right away. After about a minute of hold time, “Molly” at the call center answered. Name. Address. Zip. Address. Having pulled up my file, she seems surprised I am calling — the file says I have already been told it has been backordered and they don’t know when one will be available.

But your robot said it was “urgent” I said. And your website says you have them to deliver on Saturday in my zip code.

Mention the web site, and the jaws of the script snap shut: any questions about that and I have to call She’ll connect me. Wait! I say, what do I do if I’m disconnected? Call 800 349 4358. There are clicking noises and a very ominous moment of silence. But, again, having a fallback plan saves me from disconnection, and I am through to “Joyce” who sounds like she might be from somewhere a little south of the Mason-Dixon line. She wants my order confirmation number, and having pulled up my file quizzes me to make sure I know my name, my email address, and my home address. Satisfied that I’m not some whacko who calls Sears with counterfeit confirmation numbers just for kicks, Joyce tells me that my treadmill is backordered, and they don’t know when they will come in.

But, I say, on the website…

You wouldn’t want us to schedule you until we know we have one, would you?

But if I was buying a new one, you’d give me Saturday as a delivery date! That’s what I want.

Joyce clearly has worked in politics, because her spin on the situation is that they are treating me extra well, better than the people on the website, and not taking any risk of misleading me. It would be funny if it was not so frustrating.

What about the phone call this morning, I ask, will I keep getting them?

Yes. We want to keep you up to date about your order.

(Never mind that the robocalls don’t actually tell me anything — they want me to call in whether or not there’s any point to it.)

Joyce says she will request that I get emails instead of phone calls. But she’s too honest, and warns me that “I can’t promise that will happen”.

Meanwhile, I check the website. Now they have two entries for the the F80. One is the high performance F80, which I think is what I ordered, and the other is the fitness F80 for $500 more. The “high performance” model is available for pickup at some stores, but not for delivery. The “fitness” model can be delivered as early as Saturday. [PM Update: now the website says it could be delivered as early as 09/28/12. But not to me, it seems.]

Is the problem that Sears wants to send me the old one, but can’t find any? Is Sears hoping it will wear me down and get me to cancel the order? Or are Sears’s computer systems designed in a way that doesn’t let Sears replace the SKU for the old model for the new one? And would I even want Sears to do so?

Looking at the specs I cannot see any significant differences between them, although the tread on the “fitness” model seems 2″ wider. If the “fitness” model is the 2013 version that could be good or bad; new models of popular products sometimes fix bugs, but they also sometimes involve doing some corner-cutting. Without reviews there’s no way I can tell.

PM: Four random afternoon facts:

(1) For some reason I’m having trouble keeping this song out of my head:

(2) I have found an amazing website called I Hate Sears. It sounds as if many other people have had similar experiences to mine. [Update 2015: the site is gone but I’ve linked the archived version.]

(3) From that web site I learn that Sears has a “Sears Social Media Support Team,” which I prefer to think of as the squeaky-wheel brigade, and they can be reached at I emailed them. And in no time I got this reply:

We apologize for the difficulties you have encountered. A case manager has been assigned to address your concerns. We will contact you within 24 business hours.

Thank you,

Eric O.

Social Media Support – Senior Case Manager
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM (CST)

But what do people without blogs do?

(4) Sears stock (SHLD) is down $1.12(1.93%) today, no doubt entirely due to my efforts.

[Next installment: Tuesday Sears Update: Important Information About Your Treadmill.]

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13 Responses to Monday Treadmill Update

  1. Vic says:

    I think you need to start looking at the situation rationally.

    Give up the idea that you are EVER going to get your treadmill from Sears. Don’t stay married to that idea. When/if someone with actual power calls in the next few hours to “help” you, if they don’t immediately fix the problem, cancel the order entirely and mention that it will make for more interesting reading on your blog. If they let you cancel without a whimper, then that’s fine. But if the person has actual power and cares about Sears, he will do something for you to keep the business – and you’ll be better off. So play it for all it’s worth at this point, but you have to be willing to walk.

    I understand your reasoning with going with Sears, but I guarantee you can find someone else who WILL deliver your threadmill and WILL carry it up the stairs for a few bucks. This is South Florida, if you can’t find someone willing to do anything, it’s because you haven’t asked.

    But you do need to let go of Sears on this one.

    • That might be good practical advice, but is it good legal advice? From a contract law perspective I am entitled to the “benefit of the bargain”: that means the model I ordered, or a comparable model, at the agreed price. If the model is no longer available at that price because it has been discontinued during the period Sears dilly dallied with delivery, that is (legally) their problem not mine although in practical terms they have the whip hand. But as a legal matter, in these circumstances, a refund is not full contract damages (the cost of a comparable model would be). Thus, I’d think Sears has an obligation to deliver me one, and not a refurb either. I don’t have strong feeling about this year’s vs. last year’s model, but I think they ought to deliver one or the other.

      And, for that matter, is this really good practical advice? I have no particular reason to believe that Some Random Guy I Found On Craigslist Who Carries Stuff will know how to assemble one of these things properly. And assembly requires the very lifting I’m not allowed to do.

      • Vic says:

        Who cares if it’s blackletter contract law? THAT’S your issue?

        Seriously, you got screwed by a screwed up system. Unless you are going to take Sears to County Court on this, it doesn’t matter what your “damages” legally are.

        My PRACTICAL advice is talk to someone at Sears who has actual power, USE your story as a lever to either 1). Get your money back to go shop elsewhere, or 2). Get a better deal from them. This is just everyday advice that normal people use in the real world. Take it or leave it.

        And you really should have no problem finding someone who can physically help you. Seriously. You are waaaay over thinking this. I’d come help you, but I’m too far away from Coral Gables.

        Stop thinking like an academic lawyer and start thinking like a guy who needs a treadmill upstairs.

        • Indeed: my email to the “Sears Social Media Support Team” produced a call from “Stephanie” in “the Sears executive offices” who has promised to try to do something. Now I wait a bit.

  2. Vic says:

    Ask your students. If you haven’t actually alienated all of them, I can guarranty that you can find three or four strong men who would be willing to pop by for a few minutes to help you move it from the downstairs to the upstairs.

    Seriously, this is an interesting story, but it’s hardly an insurmountable problem.

  3. Bruce says:

    Yes, the High Performance model is discontinued. The price is $1099.88, with the 88 cents being how Sears identifies the discontinued models. They allocated you one from stock, but they’ve lost it and they don’t have any more in stock. I used to be a Sears expediter, so I’ve seen this a lot.

    • Can you share what likely happens next?

      • Bruce says:

        Call and ask to talk to the purchaser. When you call, you may be routed to a different hotline group, but tell them you want to talk to the purchaser. They are the person at Sears who handles all purchase with that manufacturer.

        Tell the purchaser that Sears has lost the product allocated to you. It is in their warehouse and has your name on it, but they just can’t find it. Probably they have already shipped it to someone else.

        Tell the purchaser that you want them to either find and deliver the discontinued model (new and in original boxes) or cancel the order and create a new order with the new model treadmill.

        Probably they will refuse to give you the new model and just cancel/refund the open order.

  4. Sharon DiSimo says:

    Thank you all for the story, laughs and advice… Its was most humerous when Vic entered the story and Mike said ” law students” not being good with their hands, made me totally laugh out loud! Sorry for your woes. Have a great day!!!

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