Read to the end for signs in all the wrong places

Hey there! Welcome to the newest issue of TimeMachiner. For those of you who are new here, thanks for giving me space in your inbox. 🙌🏻

There's a lot to be said about companies and traditions going away. When you experience it first hand, it transforms into a weird experience. For me that happened by chance this past weekend.

I found a K-Mart.

It was open for business.

Of course, I went inside.

Walking into a store that has been around for decades and stocks a similar variety of goods akin to Target or Wal-Mart, it hit me just how far this store had fallen in even the past 20 years.

K-Mart used to be everywhere and have many people shopping inside at any given time. My experience in 2022 was a store laid out with products with almost nothing behind them, indicating low stock. Large lengths of shelving units were arranged to "wall off" part of the store. I was able to peek through and saw... empty space. For a store with such a large footprint, the actual used space was maybe 2/3 of what was available.

Oh, and they carried Sears items too.

Along the way around the store, I spotted Die Hard batteries and Kenmore appliances.

This, of course, is why K-Mart is a shell of its former self. Back in 2004 Sears was struggling. They had missed the internet's eCommerce beginnings and were feeling the pressure from Amazon and other retailers setting up online shops. Weirdly enough, Sears WAS what Amazon was before Amazon existed. One look at their holiday Wish Book shows the incredibly-wide swath of goods they sold.

What did they do to attempt to right the ship? They sold to K-Mart, which was struggling too. 🤦🏻‍♂️

K-Mart was doing better than Sears at the time. The chain was trying to compete against the companies I mentioned, but it was a tough environment. What happened next was very predictable. In only a few years the new company sold off many of its assets and brands for their cash value. None of that went into making either Sears or K-Mart better. Where Kenmore appliances were once the gold standard, they were now crap.

Now it's 2022. All Sears stores are nearly gone. As of this writing, 35 are left. K-Mart has three locations still open in the US. Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, and dozens of other online shops are thriving selling the same goods Sears & K-Mart had on their shelves.

Business can be tough, but mismanagement and the greed of those in charge of running those companies sunk them both. So if you are driving along a road on Long Island, in New Jersey, or in Miami and spot a giant red K on a sign, pull in and give it a look. It may be a matter of time before that opportunity is gone for good.

Here's today's Random Factoid: If the sun dies, it'll take about 8 minutes before we realize it has. Source

Poll of the week

Last week's results:

If you had to pick one genre of music to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This was certainly a surprise to me! Given that "something else" can encompass a wide variety of music, I am super interested to know what your answer would be! If you voted for that option and want to share, reply to this email and tell me what it is.


Would you rather ride around town on an elephant or an alpaca?

🐘 Elephant
🦙 Alpaca

Results will be posted in the next newsletter.

Before You Go...

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