Friday, April 27, 2007

Sears Part II

While I was in advertising and overs/shorts, I became engaged to Jim. We married 09-17-83. Soon after I was promoted to Personnel Specialist. I learned alot from Jean Jones who was our district contact for personnel out of Dallas. She was an English lady and very sweet to answer all my questions. I loved working in Personnel - doing training on registers and company policies, running payroll and relieving on the switchboard. When the store remodeled, Personnel moved across the hall in with the manager's office and I had a small office there. The Sears Warehouse on S. Valley Mills Drive was home to the installation department, delivery and the service department. In approximately 1985, when the Installation Department assistant Ruth Hardwick decided to retire, I was asked by Carl Johnson to take the job. I was excited at first, but was feeling uneasy about moving over there. Mr. Johnson eased my mind and told me he had no doubt I could do the job, and it was a job that I did not have to take home with me, I could just leave it there. I was about 7 months pregnant at the time with Lindsey. At the warehouse John Zatopek was the manager of installations until he retired, then Ken Ramsey took on that title. I basically scheduled installations of carpet, roofing, fencing and then paid the contractors - only having to get authorization from Mr. Ramsey. I also scheduled deliveries by plotting them on a big map, trying to determine the quickest and easiest route for the trucks to run. Of course that got changed lots of times with sales people wanting last minute specials. Virginia DeLeon was notorious for doing that. I got to know the appliance folks and installation sales people really well. Dan Hanus was a favorite. He would do anything for me - or anybody!! Once I locked my keys in the car - with it running - and Jim was mad cause I asked him to bring me a key. Dan consoled me and said to please call him next time I needed help. He was "paw-paw" Dan to many folks. The warehouse was actually fun - but only because of a couple of special people - Johnny Ingram and Kyle Moore. Johnny was a prankster and Kyle followed in his footsteps. They always tried to outdo each other. Kyle was always the kidder, keeping me laughing. Being very pregnant, he couldn't help but ask if he could use my maternity dress as a cover for his car after the baby was born! He also took me up on a "lift" one afternoon, much to Johnny's dismay. Heck, I was moving washers and dryers around when I was pregnant, tagging them for customers. Mary Deans came to help a the warehouse from the store's receiving department. We knew each other from there and became even better friends. She worked for me while I was out with Lindsey Kathryn. She went through a lot with her husband's illness and death, but was always so sweet to me. Karen worked next door in the Maintenance Agreement office. I was not aware at the time that she went to St. Paul. Guess we missed each other by going to different services. When the time came for the warehouse to close, and deliveries to go back to the store operations, I went back to the store when Mr. Zorn called, and worked again in Personnel. Kyle and Karen came along and worked in the Customer Convenience Center for a while, then Karen came upstairs to work with me in Personnel as the trainer. She also filled in for me when I was out when Ryan was born in 1990. Then when several folks retired, Mr. Zorn, Mr. Smith, Mr. Hagy and Mr. Helms, we got a new store manager, Gary Self. Next the store manager's office moved downstairs and thats where I stayed...after having worked as supervisor for 4-C when Nancy retired. Balancing the safe was my least favorite part. When Personnel changed to Human Resources, I became the HR Specialist, plus being HUB supervisor and Gary's secretary. I loved my Wednesdays off, didn't care for working Saturdays, though, especially being out on the floor. Each year, the day after Thanksgiving I was posted in Hardware ringing the register especially for the early morning specials, or going around with Kyle to replenish the cash registers change. Christmas Eve we closed at 6 and of course opened early the day after Christmas. There was a lot of work I was proud of in HR: working as the district trainer for the new STARS scheduling system, then the HR database, which required a trip to Atlanta for a week, then traveling in Texas for training other HRs. I was a 'go to' person for the district, along with my friend Janie in Abeline. We had similar store managers and shared information many, many times. One year I was named Associate of the Year, plus I received some accolades in customer service. Our store was usually number one in customer service, and we came up with many an idea that was put into effect company wide. I handled my share of customer complaints, as Gary wanted me to before asking for his help. I was proud to have written a nomination for Dan Hanus which earned him the National Customer Service Award and a trip for him and his grandson to Chicago. I've always wanted to visit the Sears Tower. When Karen took an opportunity to go to Austin as a 4-C Manager, I went without a trainer for a while, then Kyle became the trainer. He was teaching school at the time, working nights and weekends at Sears. I don't think he has ever worked less than two jobs...and sometimes more! After Kyle, there was Delores, who also worked in a few other departments. This space will not allow for more boring stories when I worked at Sears...but who would really want to hear all 25 years of my history there. I will mention the loss of good friends - Ronnie Brandon, Shirley Bradford, Richard Whitson, Calvin Polster and Dan Hanus. When the opportunity to work for BU came, I called Janie. Funny thing, she had just decided to retire!! I could not retire as I was not old enough, though I had the years. Maybe one day I'll cash in on my pension, if K-Mart and Sears Holdings doesn't do away with it. When I left, Delores was called on to take my job - and she was the only one Gary would consider. It was sad to leave the store - I miss the people terribly. I don't miss the retail world, though, and must say I don't enjoy shopping as much as I used to. It was weird the first holidays not working!!

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