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Friday, September 30, 2005


In my previous post, I stated that my first foray into the stock market was a ten share purchase of Sears and Roebuck. (For those born after the 70's, that's what Sears was called.)

But why Sears?

While thinking of which companies I would like to invest in, I asked myself what criteria I should use. After all, there was plenty of advice available regarding Earnings Ratios, etc. Did I want to learn what all that was, and research company portfolios, to determine into which companies I should invest?

I decided that since I was investing so little initial funds, I would just go with my gut. One of the first criteria that came to mind was longevity. I asked myself, of the big companies, which have been around for a long time? For whatever reason, Sears came to mind. Sears has been around since the late 1880s. It seemed that a company that had been around that long must be doing something right, so perhaps I had my first candidate.

I told my Mom I was thinking of getting into the stock market.

She said, "Really? Which company are you thinking of investing in?"

I said "Sears!"

And she said, "Oh! I shop at Sears all the time!"

Normally such a statement by itself would have been sufficient to ensure I had picked a winner, but she had more.

"Did you know your Grandpa used to buy chickens from Sears?"

I did not know that. My Grandpa was a farmer in Minnesota during the early 1900s, and it seems that at the time, Sears and Roebuck was quite a supplier of choice for farmers of the day.

The Sears Catalog

So Grandpa ordered chickens from, get this, the Sears Catalog. A week or so later, a crate would come to the farm with live chicks from Sears.

Ahhh, yes. The Sears Catalog. For those of you born in the late 80s, that was a really thick catalog you used to get for free at Sears - all you had to do was ask for it. The Sears Catalog. This book was so big and heavy, Mom used to use it, (along with the Phone Book,) to hold items she was gluing down with Elmer's Glue . And when my sister could not reach the dinner table, Mom would say, "Run and get the Sears Catalog so your sister can reach the table." Yes, the Sears catalog had a special place in our family history.

How could Sears be a bad investment?

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