The Sears store is closing. The one downtown.
I walked past it today and took a peek inside. It wasn’t easy to get a glimpse from the State St. sidewalk, what with the loud, primary-colored HUGE BLOWOUT!!!! EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!! signs plastered all over the windows. Maybe I’m high-strung, but those signs cause me anxiety. It feels like I’m being yelled at by inanimate objects panicking because they’ve just been told they’re utterly worthless.
Maybe I’m touchy because my ex-husband and I bought our dumb wedding rings there. And by “ex-husband” I mean that I’m not married anymore and by “dumb wedding rings” I mean the two bands that meant a great deal to us at one time and now do not, which is very sad.
We looked at rings on Jeweler’s Row, but they were beyond our budget and kinda gaudy. We looked online, but it seemed odd to buy wedding rings that way. But then we were downtown one day (rare occurrence) and we thought, “Hey, let’s look at Sears! How All-American!”
And wouldn’t ya know it, we found two great rings there. On sale. Mine was gold-plated; his was ionized silver or something like that. He really liked it.
Can a person accidentally suffocate herself via memory? Because remembering that my ex-husband really liked his ring make my throat close up in a scary way and I’m finding it hard to get air right now.
Please give me a moment.
Sears is just a store. Yes, it’s also an American institution, but let’s not forget that it’s a store. Apple pie, separation of church and state, football — these are true American institutions; Sears is just a store. But we Americans identify with our stores, that’s for sure, and the behemoth that was Sears for so many years has been mismanaged to death. In my cursory research before writing this, I learned that in 2007, Sears experienced a 99% drop in earnings. And in 2011, they ended the year $1.3 billion in the hole. (Both stats from Crain’s Chicago.) The days are numbered for the store downtown and the brand, period. The Sears tower went long ago, and most of the Chicagoans I know have stopped fighting calling it The Willis Tower. We just kinda don’t think about it.
Which is a good strategy for a lot of things.