**To skip the background and navigate straight to the patheticism (my word), take your pick of Pages Two, Three or Four.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I've passed by it hundreds of times, yet had no idea it was still even open. This massive Sears Holdings (SHLD - Get Report) building in East Los Angeles just off the 5, 10 and 101 freeways. It's an icon. Wholly nostalgic. And, sadly, another reason for investors to run away from Sears stock unless they're privy to CEO Eddie Lampert's games.
Whether you're an investor or non-investor reader, I urge you to see all four pages of this article. It's all quite apropos to this ongoing conversation about the sorry state of physical retail and keeps getting "better" and more downright strange bordering on bizarre and sad as you go.
It's a dump, yes. Just like so many other Sears stores. But it's a dump with some history, quirks and a future. Or so it seems. I'll tie it together with words and pictures. But it's best to tell the story in no particular order. In fact, I'll go backwards.
Here's an outline:
- On Page Two: The things I saw as I left this Sears store, which speak to the schizophrenic nature of the corporation. It's one thing, but purports to be another. There might not be a bigger disconnect in all of business than the one between Sears's reality and what the company thinks it is.
- On Page Three: The dumpy conditions inside this East LA Sears.
- On Page Four: The weirdness starts when you enter what might be the most unorthodox retail outlet ever. And, while there's good reason for it to be unorthodox, Sears doesn't use the situation to its advantage. Yet again, it mails it in.