All The Wonderful, Weird, And Sometimes Miserable Things People Remember About Sears

Love it or hate it, Sears has been a big part of people's lives for a long, long time.

Sears Holdings, which owns Sears and Kmart, filed for bankruptcy today, 125 years after it was founded.

The company, which has been struggling to compete for many years with its brick-and-mortar and online competitors, began at the end of the 19th century as a mail-order catalog company. In the 1920s, Sears started opening stores, and it eventually became America's original "everything" store. Indeed, Sears sold everything: appliances, houses, insurance, wedding rings (Lyndon B. Johnson bought one there for Lady Bird for $2.50), clothes, and toys.

It founded the insurance company Allstate and it came up with the Discover credit card. The company also introduced household brands for many Americans, like Kenmore, Craftsman tools, DieHard, Silvertone, Supertone, and Toughskins jeans.

Sears was powerful — the Amazon of the ’70s, you might say, except you had to order via catalog, and two-day shipping wasn't part of the routine.

News of the company's reorganization bankruptcy — in which it will close 142 of the fewer than 700 remaining Kmart and Sears stores by the end of the year — led many customers on social media to share both good and bad memories of the iconic retailer.

Here's what people remember the most.

1. That book of dreams known as the Sears catalog.

Sears has filed bankruptcy... I haven't shopped there in years, but remember the #WishBook and the beautiful #Christmas displays/decorations during the holidays. What's your favorite #SearsMemory?

2. A catalog that in its day "undermined white supremacy in the rural South," illustrating how retailers played a role in challenging or supporting "a larger system of power."

One of the most amazing things about the #Sears catalogue was how it undermined white supremacy in the rural South. Black Americans could order directly from the catalogue and avoid getting gouged at the local stores, both in terms of price and in terms of condescending service.

3. The torture chamber that was the Sears portrait studio.

no more Sears portrait studio. what a shame

4. Getting glasses at Sears.

This breaks my heart #Sears. My father worked in Marketing for Sears for 39 years when it was Amazon of its day. Spent Saturdays at the Sears tower, was a Sears baby model, got my teeth cleaned and my eyeglasses at Sears. Even lived in a Sears Craftsman house post college. #RIP

5. Video games. In fact, Sears had a partnership with Atari and was the exclusive retailer of the home version of Pong.

So @Sears has filed for Chapter 11 #Bankruptcy. Let's remember that Sears & Roebuck kickstarted the entire US #videogames & #Electronics market by selling #ATARI game console systems & Apple computers to a more then willing to adapt thirsty home market in the 70s, 80s & 90s.

6. Chicago's Sears Tower (now the Willis Tower), which was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1973.

@nahila209 I remember going away to college in 1974 in writing the elevators to the top of the Sears Tower. Of course it is no longer the Sears Tower because they lost the name and they lost the tower because of iconoclastic incompetent management practices

7. Those horrible, sadistic "perma-prest" Toughskins jeans.

My memory of Sears was my mother always buying me Toughskins Jeans. Denim so rough if you ran in them they would strip away 3 layers of skin on your thighs.

8. Did I mention that larger Toughskins jeans were actually labeled "husky," just in case being a kid wasn't traumatic enough already?

Sears has filed for bankruptcy. Where oh where will kids find “husky” sized jeans now?

9. Those bikes.

Sad to hear about Sears bankruptcy filing. As a kid, I always loved looking at the Christmas “Wish Books” (who didn’t) - and my prize possession, the purple ‘68 5-speed Sears Spyder bike I got for my 10th birthday. #LikeThisOne Later, I added a tall sissy bar.

10. The shiny new appliances.

I remember when #Kenmore #appliances were really the only option growing up. Now a struggle for #Sears. Does anyone else remember the Service Merchandise catalogs? All I wanted was a Casio calculator watch!

11. Those ads about the "softer side of Sears."

View this video on YouTube

12. Literally everything. "We even bought our wedding rings at Sears."

Shirts Shoes Suit Pants Car batteries Tools Sump pump Hot cashews Washing machine Records Radios Tv Weights Weight bench We even bought our wedding rings at Sears

13. A $10 prom dress.

@Marketplace I have so many memories of #Sears-In store for clothes, the catalogue for Christmas, a bubble gum machine in the car service waiting room, lawn mowers & tools. Most vivid, 1978, when my family was broke as could be-my $10 prom dress from Sears. Still a bittersweet family story.

14. Cherry sours at the candy counter.

@Super70sSports I believe Sears downward spiral began when they got rid of the candy counter in their stores. Back in the day, a quarter’s worth of cherry sours was all it took to make this kid happy.

15. And if you go further back: Sears' Allstate car, which cost about $1,500. It went out of production after just a couple of years.

RIP Sears, Roebuck & Co... a little thread to salute some of the stuff they sold in their catalogs. First, the Allstate car (basically a rebadged Kaiser Henry J)

16. Mail-order house kits, which Sears sold in a "Modern Homes" catalog from 1908 to 1940.

As @Sears files for #bankruptcy, a look at some of the storied retailer's kit homes that still stand in #Detroit. Hard to imagine just how huge this company was at one time. I mean, it sold you underwear AND designed houses.

17. This schoolhouse was in the 1908 "Modern Homes" catalog, although it's not clear if Sears ever sold one.

Possibly the craziest thing ever sold in the Sears catalog: school buildings

18. And headstones. In fact, you can still buy urns at Sears.

Sears literally had you covered from cradle to grave

Skip to footer