April 17, 2017
ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Richard Stelmack protests in front of Sears.
SAUGUS — It’s a classic David versus Goliath battle.
The fight between Richard Stelmack of Malden and Sears has spilled out onto Route 1.
For months, the 63-year-old retired truck driver has been picketing in front of the Square One Mall.
His beef? Stelmack said the workers who delivered his 22-cubic-foot Kenmore refrigerator last summer caused $3,200 damage to his kitchen floor.
“I noticed the gouges when the delivery guys drove away,” he said. “I made a half dozen calls to Sears customer service and customer resolution, but they gave me the run around.”
The lack of response from the retailer spurred Stelmack to march up and down the sidewalk in front of Sears with a sandwich board sign.
Since picketing began, two Sears employees have come out to talk to him. But Stelmack refused to discuss the case with them.
“What do they know about it?” he said. “These 20-something kids can’t do anything for me.”
Last fall, he heard from Border Transfer of Massachusetts, the Westwood company that made the delivery.
In the letter, Abe Matos, the company’s director of carrier relations, apologized and asked him to give them a call.
But Stelmack declined.
“Why should I have to call anyone?” he said. “I sent letters to the Sears CEO, customer service, claims resolution and the trucking company. They know exactly what happened, why did they wait so long to write me? It’s not about the money.”
Still, in February Stelmack filed suit in small claims court seeking interest and attorney fees that total more than $10,000. The court date is set for July.
Matos could not be reached for comment. Sears declined comment.
Thomas Grillo can be reached at email@example.com.