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Goodbye, Sears

Goodbye, Sears

By Simon Hung

On Friday, January 26, 2018, the final four Sears stores in Canada closed their doors permanently, marking the official end of a 64-year era for what was once one of Canada’s most respected retailers.

Most locations closed their doors to the public long before, with the last-remaining stores only selling scrap and store fixtures to anyone willing to scavenge through the clutter.

A trailblazer during the golden age of department stores, few would have predicted that Sears would plunge from prosperity and even fewer would guess that Zellers would outlive them. Their departure leaves a significant hole in Canadian retail, as several malls across the country will be left with a cavernous void and it may take years before customer footsteps echo within them again.

Despite their fall from grace, many Canadians likely have a memory about Sears -- over the past six decades, it was a place where hundreds of parents towed their kids on a Saturday afternoon; it was a place where thousands of Canadians worked; and it was a place where millions of Canadians shopped.

We've dug into the archives to reminisce about their impact on the RedFlagDeals community and look at a few of the most popular Sears deals of all time -- they may be gone, but they’ll never be forgotten.

Farewell, old friend.

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Date
Deal
What's the deal?
March 2006
In a time before RFD had upvotes, Sears priced all of their treadmills at $299.99, including models regularly priced at well over $1000.00. Hundreds of RFDers bought a treadmill regardless of if they needed one and as one user very eloquently put it, "damn this site...what the hell am i gonna do with a treadmill and a one bedroom apartment?"
September 2008
Online coupons are usually rife with a lengthy list of restrictions, but for a brief period in 2008, Sears had a 40% off coupon with no exclusions. Most orders were eventually cancelled, but some lucky shoppers were able to buy big-ticket items like televisions, PlayStation 3 consoles and major appliances with a steep discount.
September 2008
A 32" 720p television seems paltry by today's standards, but a decade ago when standard-definition tube televisions were "good enough" and high-definition televisions were priced upwards of $1000.00, a 32" HDTV at under $400.00 was an enticing deal for thousands of shoppers, despite the dubious brand and poor reviews.
November 2011
In April 2011, BlackBerry released the PlayBook -- a tablet priced from $499.99 and up that was meant to compete with Apple’s iPad. After sluggish sales, the company slashed the price by $300.00 just seven months later at all stores, including Sears, creating one of the most popular deals in RFD history.
August 2012
"Peak RFD" is a rare phenomenon that occurs whenever there's a perfect storm of criteria that triggers a mass RFD Effect event -- an item is in demand, very cheap and only available in-store. In this case, Sears priced PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles at a mere $99.94 when they were $199.99 elsewhere, causing shoppers to rush to Sears locations to hunt for this deal.
December 2012
Sears gained a bit of a reputation for pricing mattresses at absurdly low prices on several occasions, which often led to a frenzy as RFDers would employ the "buy first, think later" mentality to score themselves a mattress at a ridiculous price. The most recent instance was in January 2017, with similar deals appearing in August 2014 and January 2015.
August 2013
One method of gauging if a coupon is good is to see how many people make an effort to purchase something just to use the coupon. This was the case in August 2013 and May 2017 when Sears had a coupon that took $10.00 off a minimum purchase of $10.00, which led to thousands of orders placed on cheap items like picture frames and bath linens.
November 2014
Button-fly jeans are the worst and should be outlawed, but that didn't matter when one RFDer found a glitch on the Sears website that made Levi's 501 jeans $12.79 each when you ordered a minimum of eight pairs. An eerily similar deal appeared in June 2016, this time with no minimum order and a per-jean cost of $19.99.
November 2015
You can probably call these parkas “the Canada Goose jackets of RFD,” as Sears often reduced Alpinetek Parkas to $100.00 or less, creating one of the most popular recurring deals ever. Similar deals subsequently appeared in December 2015, November 2016, February 2017 and December 2017.
March 2016
One of the best traits of RFD is its ability to make you buy something you'll probably never use. This includes the T-fal OptiGrill, a George Foreman-style indoor grill that was priced for just $59.50 when it was $169.99 everywhere else. Despite sending cancellation notices, many orders were fulfilled and likely sitting unused in kitchens across the country.

Honourable mentions: 50% off all video games in December 2011, the $20.00 Tassimo brewer in December 2014, up to 70% off Wusthof knives in March 2016 and up to 70% off Lodge cast iron cookware in December 2016.

5 Comments

    • You can probably call these parkas “the Canada Goose jackets of RFD,” I think CG might disagree but WTH.
    • Report Post
    • In store pick up desk is like the early 90s, hand written booklet, Rotary Dial Phone...
      Crappy online catalog, crazy sale...No wonder they bankrupt.
    • Report Post
    • Not much of a list considering how long Sears was around; also, some of these aren't even real Sears deals but more like price/website errors that allowed the deals (which not everyone even got fulfilled).
    • Report Post
    • I haven't bought anything from Sears in 20 years, when it comes to clothes they just stopped stocking anything worth buying and had nothing but junk. A department store isn't the best place to buy anything else. It's no surprise they went out of business.
    • Report Post
    • What I miss about Sears is it was one place to buy affordable Tall Fit clothing and wide width footwear from a Canadian retailer with an bricks and mortar store presence.
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