For a brief, fleeting moment Sears gave me hope that Corporate America still has a soul. Then the retailer cruelly ruined my naivety.

Today, a PR firm representing Sears sent me this e-mail:

Sears listened to customers who said they didn't want to be forced to get up at midnight to get the best deals. There seems to be a pack mentality right now with retailers following each other. We'll follow the customer and what they've asked for and continue to honor the Black Friday tradition by opening up our doors at 4 a.m.

Hallelujah! At last, a retailer would possess the courage to buck the trend of insanity and not force its employees or customers to show up at its stores on a day normally reserved for family and tradition.

But then just as quickly Sears raised my hopes, it crushed them.



In the same e-mail, Sears, which also owns Kmart, said Kmart would open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

No, that's not a misprint--6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. I thought Target and Best Buy opening at midnight Friday and Wal-Mart opening at 10 p.m. Thursday was bad enough. Now Kmart wants to smoke them all.

What makes this even weirder is how Sears takes credit for "listening to its customers" and defying the "pack mentality" but at the same time pushes Kmart hours all the way into Thanksgiving morning.

Apparently, Sears customers have a problem with shopping on Thanksgiving but Kmart customers have no such reservations.

I need a beer.

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