For many across the country, the bankruptcy of Sears has brought back warm and fuzzy childhood memories.
It makes sense. Over the course of its 125-year existence, Sears has sold homes, motorcycles and even tombstones. The first credit card for many baby boomers was one from Sears. Combing through the Sears holiday catalog was an annual family tradition.
Sears has now entered a part of history it unlikely saw coming 50 years ago when it was dominating American retail: entering the dustbin of fallen retailers.
Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday, crippled from years of losses and mounting debt. Sears (SHLD) plans to close about 142 money-losing stores by year-end. The company operates about 700 Sears and Kmart stores.
Sears lined up $1.875 billion in bankruptcy financing to extinguish its existing loans and keep the lights on at the chain through the holiday season. CEO Eddie Lampert will step down, but remain as chairman. Lampert’s investment company, ESL Investments, plans to make a stalking horse bid for 400 profitable Sears and Kmart locations in the hopes of running them as a going concern.
Yahoo Finance asked the Twitterverse for their best childhood memories of Sears. What follows is an outpouring of responses that speak to the retailer’s place in society the past century-plus.
Christmas catalog, back to school shopping, the one time I out grew my clothes and got to exchange them, photos, the garden center
— Meg McClaff (@megariana84) October 15, 2018
My least favorite place to buy clothing or home goods with my mom. We’d go there for my dad to pick up new power tools. https://t.co/SXjCqy5iFs
— Zameena Mejia 🎃✨ (@ZamTheWriter) October 15, 2018
Sitting on the riding lawnmowers and envisioning lawnmower racing long before it was a thing
— SpookyJake🎃 (@StingrayJakeC7) October 15, 2018
The yellow patent leather go-go boots my parents let me get from the catalog when I was in Kindergarten. Peak 1968! https://t.co/tcwmIaItj4
— SCJ🚍 (@SCJ_BusRules) October 15, 2018
My mother was denied a Sears credit card because of her immigrant status.
— (((smw))) (@smwol298) October 15, 2018
Massive Xmas catalog. Going through it to show my parents what I wanted for xmas
— Robert Klufas (@Big_Boofy9923) October 15, 2018
The Sears in Cleveland offered a Charm School. Weekly classes included how to sit like a lady, get in and out of a car properly, and how to shave your armpits. I am a proud graduate of the Class of 1967!
— Susan Wilcox (@SusanHK1) October 15, 2018
My granny would call the house and be like what do you want out of the catalog.. And that was how school clothes went down in the late 80’s/early 90’s. https://t.co/2JrB8tWk20
— Minda (@MindaHarts) October 15, 2018
The photo booth, going with my father to the Old site, Park Drive, Boston pic.twitter.com/ko49igR7wj
— CaterinaM. (@CaterinaM14) October 15, 2018
The Sears in Plaza Carolina (Puerto Rico) had a full Coleman-brand camping display, including a tent with a cot in it. Being kids, we used to love playing in the tent.
— taina rosa (@tainareports) October 15, 2018
Playing a one-sided game of hide and seek with my father. I hid my 5 yr old self in a hanging rack of pants and kept my feet off the floor. Dinstinctly remember my father getting exponentially aggravated. Distinctly don’t remember what happened after he found me.
— Gray flannel man 🍸 (@JohnFinAtl) October 15, 2018
That amazing catalog at Christmas!
— maureen s (@mktgirl24) October 15, 2018
My mom letting my brother and me stay alone in the toy department while she went off and shopped (and we were young; definitely under 10). The 70s! 😜 https://t.co/dw3xCUrkou
— Debbie (@rkrsmom) October 15, 2018
My parents met while working at Sears, so guess I have them to thank for my existence.
— Cletus Del Toro (@DelCletus) October 15, 2018
Our store in Glendale, CA had a huge candy counter.
— Margie 😱😱 Emmons (@margiekay53) October 15, 2018
Kenmore sewing machine. Over 30 yrs old and “Betsy” still in great condition. https://t.co/Q3HxcnTM10
— Kathleen Powell (@MuchMuch2Much) October 15, 2018
The catalog!!! I’d circle all the things I wanted and give it to my mom. She’d then go over everything with me, agree on most things and then after a couple of weeks that big beautiful package would arrive!!!! Those were days!
— Jill Renna (@ladyrennasance) October 15, 2018
The Christmas Catalog!
My dad grew up in a tiny farm town 40 miles outside Dallas, They could drop a catalog order off at Post Office in the morning, get their order back by train same day around 6pm. Those were the days.
— Sage_dude (@Sage_dude) October 15, 2018
Being the youngest of a blue collar family, I mostly received hand-me-downs & that *one* special toy at Christmas so I had to be particular. Every year when the catalog came, I flipped to the toy section in the back to “fantasy shop”. It was almost better than the real thing.
— Catastrophany (@Catastrophany) October 15, 2018
Going to the Sears store in Santa Ana, CA at Christmas and seeing the model train display. https://t.co/8cBTUWI5wt
— Rick Moore (@RickMoore) October 15, 2018
My grandparents lived ultra rural and ordered everything from the Sears catalog, over the phone. The local rural farm town had a catalog pick up center but no store. https://t.co/e1reAlwK5N
— Estarianne, Head Witch, Chief of Hexes 😈 (@estarianne) October 15, 2018
Playing the ‘Sears catalog game’ with my brother and sister. You *had* to pick one thing on every page, even if there was nothing there that you liked or wanted or cared about.
— Debbie Hemenway (@DebbieHemenway) October 15, 2018
— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) October 15, 2018
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi