Good place to learn customer service, but treat as a stepping stone.
Pros: Good starting point to learn sales and customer service, generally informative training program, generally good crew as long as you're hourly, employee discounts for life.
Cons: Faulty technology, short breaks, sometimes unable to take a break, poor management availability, poor scheduling and hours, commissions shark tank, and general lack of empathy.
I was turned onto the job by a friend of mine to help me escape from my previous bad work situation because he had almost nothing but positive things to say about the job. The week after I started working there however things went on the downhill slope very quickly when the ASM for the department I worked in lost his job wrongfully for reasons I can't disclose.
For starters, Sears does have an actually halfway decent training program to them, for the first few weeks or so I was in front of a computer being barraged by tons of information and while not a whole lot of it stuck and some of the information was outdated it definitely did help starting off. You learn more out on the sales floor than in the training room but for what it's worth it was helpful.
Also, for what negativity that might come out of this review I am at least thankful for having this as a starting point because if weren't for here I wouldn't have a lick of experience with customer service and now I'm not as deathly afraid of it as I was when I first came across the idea. The mostly pleasant and friendly to work with crew certainly helped with that. I really don't have any complaints about my coworkers on a crew level.
That being said this job is super flawed. For starters, breaks are a required thing in the computer system, which while it sounds good in theory (and it is generally speaking) if you have any days like today for example where you're running a whole department by yourself and cant actually take a break if you have a shift longer than five hours, you'll get reprimanded for not taking – more... a break. So on days like today where I was stuck helping members the entire shift, I now have to deal with someone yelling at me for not taking a break because I couldn't step away and do anything which is really not fair. The break's not long enough either, at 30 minutes. Unless you prepare lunch ahead of time (and I understand some people can't) that's going to be an issue more often than not, and if you aren't back they will start looking for you or reprimand you.
This job requires you to, at least in consultative sales, use an iPod Touch or iPad to do transactions with. The technology isn't a bad concept, when the devices are working property they help out a lot with information and ringing things up in some situations. The problem is, the devices don't often like to work, whether or not it's bad battery life, the card SLEDs and scanners don't work, or heaven forbid the internet speed is slower than dial up. I like the concept but the devices are half reliable at best so you'll have to ring a lot of transactions up on the registers. The problem is, they track how much you use the devices and if you're not using it at least 50% of the time like they'd want you do, you're going to get reprimanded for it. It's frustrating, but not a deal breaker.
I'm not going to get too heavily into detail about it, but you are required to push extended warranties and things like that. It's alright when you get members that are willing to buy. However, I personally am deathly afraid of selling the bigger TVs themselves because the warranties on the TVs are expensive and hard to sell, and they are going to absolutely destroy your metrics on a bad day, which means getting yelled at, and possibly hour cuts. Both TVs that I've sold the last four months that were over $1000 both didn't want to get the warranty on it no matter what tactic I tried, and I try to do my job correctly. Sold three TVs today without a warranty. I'm afraid to go into work tomorrow morning.
The hours here are absolutely atrocious and that's probably the biggest issue of the whole job. Unless you are management or some type of elite maverick of your department, you won't get full time hours. Period. When the full time position was vacated in my department, they opted to hire two new part timers to avoid giving benefits. That's bad business! I left my last job to avoid jobs like that. And, because of the rampant part timers and often lack of hours and sales floor coverage, there's very often days like today where I'm working the entire department (TVs, vacuums, cell phones) entirely by myself and I have members leave in frustration because I'm not helping them, and "that's why we're going out of business." Also, expect to work a lot of closing shifts (9:00 PM) and opening shifts (9:30 AM roughly) frequently. I have to at least once a week. Sometimes they'll throw in a random overnight in there too or overnight split shift, without asking you, and without reasonable accommodation. I had a shift two weeks ago where I had to work 6-11 PM and then work 6-11 AM. I live 40 minutes from work. My manager's response was "Grow up and deal with it, x and y have to do this twice this week and z has to do this the entire week." I'm sorry, there's way better ways you could have handled my situation like calling and asking or two shifts in the same time slot, or the 9-8. Anything that can save me gas money and let me get a good night's sleep.
And that links me to my last point, management. Oh how the management has declined so rapidly, so fast. Since I started there, one ASM was wrongfully fired, two have left, had a store manager replacement, the managers that were hired are either super stressed and lacking or not empathetic or understanding in the slightest. Plus if your ASM has the day off and you have an issue, good luck with that. If you need a manager's approval or need cash for your register, good luck with that. There's been times where I've waited over a half hour for a simple card swipe or as many as two hours for change for drawers.
My recommendation (TL:DR): If you have no sales experience at all whatsoever and want to work here for a little while just to get your toes wet so you can move on to bigger better things, go for it. Don't stay here longer than 3-6 months though unless the store you apply at is really, really good. They are out there, this one was before I started working here from what I heard. But if you've had experience anywhere else, please just keep it there; anywhere else. – less