Category Archives: General

Saving Sears (it’s too late!)

It was announced today that ‘Sears Holdings Corp.’ is closing 150 Sears and K-Mart stores and (*gasp*) selling the Craftsman brand to Black & Decker (for $900 million!).  This makes me sad, really. I spent a lot of time as a kid thumbing through the Sears catalog for my Christmas wish list. I spent just as much time as a young adult, thumbing through the Craftsman catalogs for my next tool that I had to have. The Craftsman quality and guarantee are what pulled me in and kept me coming back.

So what happened with Sears? I think they got too big for their britches. Sears started off selling goods that people needed through catalogs. But their decline, I think, really started when they stopped issuance of the catalog in 1993. The Internet wasn’t even a factor yet!  It was how people shopped from home BEFORE the Internet. Sears’ failure, from my perspective, was the ‘go bigger’ mentality. To me, this is the failure of many public companies, who are always chasing the elusive earnings-per-share increase. Sears became a ridiculous amalgamation of companies that had NOTHING to do with retail. They tried to make their stores bigger. They bought other chains, such as K-Mart and Lands’ End. Bigger, bigger, bigger! Their website has been a mess for years, when they tried to become a ‘marketplace’, selling from unreliable sources that are not related to Sears. They became a store that had no identity. Was it an upscale department store like Macy’s? A discount department store like K-Mart? A hardware and lawn/garden/patio store? Or was it an appliance and electronics store? Inevitably, they were the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.

To me, they truly missed the boat with their ‘Sears Appliance & Hardware’ and ‘Sears Hometown’ stores. THAT could have been the future of Sears, and probably would have been great for long-term growth. Instead of going BIG, they needed to go smaller. There’s a reason that retailers such as Rural King and Tractor Supply Co. are growing. Their specialties are more narrow, despite offering a variety of things (hardware, home/garden, pet/livestock, clothing, hunting/fishing). But in typical Sears fashion, they half-@ssed it. They converted former K-Marts or opened these stores in bland buildings. They operated them like discount/outlet stores. They had no identity.  They failed to offer an EXPERIENCE, which is what shoppers want today.
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Requiem for an ’80s Kid

Came across this article the other day while perusing Flipboard and thought it was really well-done. From Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) to Bowie, Prince, and now Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), it seems 2016 was a hard year for those of us who grew up in the ’80s. Probably because most of us are now well into our 40’s, putting many of our TV/Movie/Music heroes into their 60’s (or older) now.

At least Tom Cruise, Madonna (barely), Rob Lowe, John Schneider, and the girl from the Night Ranger ‘Sister Christian’ video are still in their 50s! Unfortunately the other Toms (Wopat and Selleck) are now drawing social security.

Anyhow, if you were a ‘child of the ’80s, you’ll likely appreciate this article… Requiem for an ’80s Kid

Hoping everyone had a very Merry Christmas – here’s to a safe (and less dreadful) 2017!

~Mike

Happy Friday

Once upon a time, the time period before the holidays always seemed so quiet at work. Everyone brought in food and the atmosphere was more relaxed as many folks were on vacation. But not anymore! For the past few years, things have been so hectic/crazy. I’m looking forward to my vacation in a week!

On another note, I’ve been putting some thought into to do with this blog. One of the things (e.g. products) I think I’ll bring out is things I recommend. Those who know me well know that I spend a TON of time researching pretty much anything I purchase. Like,  lenghty, painstaking, “read every review and blog” type research. The upside is that I don’t have to return many things, and I tend to get great deals on stuff. The downside is that it is sometimes very time-consuming. But I know some folks have made purchases based on my recommendations, so why not share what I’ve learned? Even if I don’t profit from it, it will at least make my time more worth it. Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend!
~Mike

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today is ‘Pearl Harbor Day’ – a ‘day that will live in infamy’.  Some events in American history really stand out, and this is certainly one of them.  Many people – both soldiers and civilians – lost their lives that day, which of course launched our involvement in WWII.  Although I was not born until 1972, I feel it was still well-etched in the minds of people at that time. Now, 75 years later, memories are fading but fortunately not forgotten. National Geographic actually has a really nice site with interactive multimedia dedicated to this sad event. To their credit, they have finally removed the horrendous ads which plagued the site for a couple of years. I encourage everyone to check it out here and spend a little time just exploring and understanding:
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pearlharbor/

You can also read an engaging eyewitness account of the day here:
http://saturdaybriefing.outrigger.com/featured-post/eyewitness-to-history-75th-anniversary-recollections-of-pearl-harbor/

Say a prayer today for those who lost lives, loved ones, or who gave up their personal freedom as a result of this event. But also say a prayer for our country and leaders. Terror strikes a new face these days, and divisiveness is stronger than ever. But I feel confident that Americans will always rise to meet those who threaten our freedom. God bless America – may our flag forever wave.

Why this blog?

Some folks might question why I’ve added blogging to this site. Actually, I’ve been blogging for several years – first with Microsoft Live blogging, then WordPress.com, and then to my hosted blog (the former ‘thoughtnot’ blog). I closed that blog up a few years ago when I found I just didn’t have time to focus on it. It was also running an older version of WordPress that didn’t auto-update as easily, so every update was a major time-consuming pain.

I’ve been a writer (of sorts) since my high school days. I prefer short stories, poems, and small musings. Notice I didn’t say I was a good writer, but I try. 🙂 I enjoy having someplace to share my thoughts, but social media, for me, is not the place. I avoid Facebook like the plague. In fact, I’m pretty sure Facebook IS a plague.

This site – mikeandemily.com – may seem like a strange site name to host a blog. But it does represent my thoughts and our lives, to an extent. Maybe someday I can get Emily to blog. lol! For now, I thought it was silly to pay the annual fee just to save the sitename and point it to a static page. So why not use it? Hopefully you’ll join me here from time to time. I like getting feedback/conversation on stuff I post, so feel free to chime in. Maybe I’ll keep up with it better this time!  (Also, please excuse any strange issues that come up for a while as I work the kinks out of the site configuration. Thanks!)

~Mike