Sears' Heroes at Home
Wish Registry 2009
Sears' Heroes at Home Wish Registry program gives Americans the opportunity to make Christmas wishes come true for thousands of military families. Read more about the history and philosophy behind the program.
But there were some disappointing changes in the program in 2009, making it more difficult for military families to register. We tried without success to get information about the program so we could notify you when registration opened.
We Tried Sears' Web Site
We went to Sears' web site, where we searched for information, to no avail. We did find a link, but when we clicked on the link, it defaulted to their current promo flyer. If we couldn't find information about Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry on the Sears web site, where could we find it?
We Tried MySears Community
We checked the "MySears community" on their web site, and saw someone else had asked about the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry. A Sears Community Manager named Casey answered the question on September 21, 2009,
"The wish registry registration will occur in mid October. We'll be communicating the registration through military blog sites so please begin to look for communication through them in the next couple weeks."
So we registered to become a member of the community, and posted the following on October 16 (mid-October),
"Would you please add us to your list of military sites to be notified when you open the Heroes at Home Wish Registry? I've noticed in our traffic stats a number of readers searching for information about the program, so we'd like to be able to let them know when it opens."
Concerned that Casey might not see our post soon enough, we also followed her profile and sent an identical note directly to her. She did not respond to either.
We did an online search, but most of the information we found was from last year's program, including our own page from last year. We did find one blog that had information about the 2009 program. When we clicked on their link, it actually took us to the sign-up page on the Sears web site. Yay! Success.
Oh, wait. The page said sign-up was available from 0600 to 1600 that day. It said nothing about it being open any other day or time.
On October 18, SSG Stewart from Ft. Jackson, SC, also posted a note requesting to be notified so he could let the Drill Sergeants and Instructors there know to pass along the information to their troops.
The next post in the thread, on November 4, says this:
"Last year we got word of this great program through the command, I just found out about this happening again this year and the sign up is closed! So sad, it really helped us out last year! Why didn't we get any notice like we did last year? A great program but a huge bummer for those of us military families who didn't get to sign up :(
Thanks to those who donate!!!"
As of this writing (just before Thanksgiving), there still is no response from Sears in this thread.
We Tried E-Mail
On October 22, we also sent e-mail to Sears, using the e-mail address on the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry sign-up page (the one time we were actually able to connect to it). Our e-mail said:
"I have been searching for information regarding the 2009 Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry for a couple of weeks now to let my readers know when it would be open. I even contacted a Sears rep on your MySears forum last week (who had indicated that information would be made available via military bloggers in mid-October) asking to be added to the list for notification purposes. It was nearly impossible to find ANY information about it at sears.com.
Today, with a good bit of effort in searching again for info, I discovered a link to a page on the Sears.com site that indicates the registry was open today from 0600 to 1645 Eastern time. I discovered it at 1430 Pacific time, which means the registry had already closed. That hardly seems fair to our military families, to have the registry open for less than 24 hours. Those on the west coast didn't even have time to learn about it before it closed (unless they were surfing the web at work, which is unlikely).
I'm very disappointed not to have been notified in advance, as I requested, but I'm even more disappointed that, in this effort which Sears boasts about to bolster its public image, it gave our service members less than 11 hours to "jump on the band wagon."
Please tell me the information I found is inaccurate somehow."
On October 25, we received this message: "Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: HeroesatHome@sears.com."
So, the Sears Community Manager didn't answer our two messages to her, and the e-mail address listed on the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry sign-up page rejected our attempt to e-mail them.
We Tried Phoning
Then I called a phone number that I found listed as the phone number for the Heroes At Home program. It connected to a third party company that partners with Sears in providing necessary home repairs, free of charge, to active military and veterans in need. The receptionist who answered the phone there was nice enough to give me a phone number for someone at Sears who was supposed to be the contact for the Sears Heroes at Home program.
I reached Natalie, who was very nice, but told me the sign-up process was already closed. She explained Sears had to change the way the program was operated this year because of some 'strict scrutiny from the Defense Department' about last year's program. Then she gave me the name of Sears' advertising agency in New York, and told me to contact them to get on the list to be notified next year.
She also gave me the link for the page for those who wish to donate to Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry 2009. According to that page, more than 20,000 military families will benefit from this year's program. As of today's date, more than $2 million dollars has been donated to the program.
Did you get the word? Tell us about your efforts to find information or to sign up for the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry this year. Hopefully, your comments will help Sears and DoD solve this problem before next year.
Once you've posted your thoughts about the Wish Registry, post your holiday greetings for the troops.
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