Wednesday, June 29, 2016

6.29.16 Bee-otch of the Day: Eddie Lampert

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Name: Eddie Lampert
Age: 54
Occupation: CEO, Sears Holdings
Last Seen: Chicago
Bee-otched For: running his company into the ground

One of my favorite moments on Family Guy is when the Griffins pay a visit to Sears.

"Peter! Nobody's been in Sears for decades!", said Lois. Ain't that the truth. The two look inside to see that the once-proud store now resembled something you'd see from "Mad Max".

I had the misfortune of going to the Sears at Woodland Mall here in Grand Rapids a few months ago to find a pump for my air mattress. It seemed that everybody there was CLUELESS on where they were. One woman - who acted like she was from Bosnia - acted pissed and made me feel totally uncomfortable. Well, I found my pump by the hardware, same place as where I came in.

Once upon a time, Sears, Roebuck and Co. was a company that stood for America. Their catalogs were a part of the American home and gave people some good paper to wipe their asses with in the outhouse.

Same with Kmart. An offshoot of the old S.S. Kresge and Co. variety store chain, they were once a huge part of American culture. It was founded here in Michigan in 1899 with Kmart being developed in 1962. When I moved to Grand Rapids in 2002, my local Kmart was already out of business and is now a Burlington Coat Factory. Grand Rapids is loaded with Meijers, Walmarts and Targets, but now, there's only two Kmarts. The last time I stepped foot into a Kmart, I was pretty well ignored.

The sad thing is that over the past 20 or so years, Kmart has been turning into a white elephant in the retail business. As much as I hate Walmart, at least their stores are better-run over Kmart's. There's many websites that show Kmart's shoddy operation. Take a look at thisthis and this.

According to employees, the reason why Sears and Kmart and failing is because of one man: their CEO, Eddie Lampert. Lampert is a billionaire who made his money with a hedge fund. Since taking over the company, they've been operating in the red and they've been closing stores left and right. Every year, the chain closes countless stores; there's now less than 1,000 Kmarts still in operation. Many Kmarts still in operation are very poorly-run and in older, outdated buildings.

While Walmart and Meijer invest billions in building new stores and updating older ones, Kmart is doing anything but. Hell, I gotta give Meijer major props for getting rid of their original store on 28th and Kalamazoo here in GR and building a new one in its place. The old store reminded me of a typical Kmart - sans a full line grocery - from around 1990. Every time I went there 10 years ago, I had Boyz II Men's "Motownphilly" playing in my head, and not in a good way.

Oh, did I tell you that Lampert is slated to run Sears until at least 2018? SMH.

You know, in order for any business to survive, they MUST renovate once in a great while. I even remembered when my childhood Big K remodeled when I was young, and it wasn't that old of a store. In recent years, Kmart has been anything but that. They need to learn from successful people like the Meijer family and put money not just into their stores, but into their people. If Costco can pay their workers $12 per hour, so can they. Less employee turnover equates to a successful business and it shows. I think if Kmart can start doing this, their employees would want to work and people will come back to their stores.

But until then, not even Rain Man will want to buy even their underwear.

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