The Sears stimulus plan: Lose your job, keep the washer

You know those car commercials, the ones that say it's okay to return a new car if you lose your job? Well, Sears has come up with variation on that theme. Buy an appliance and related merchandise worth at least $399, and if you lose your job between 60 days and a year afterward, you're eligible for Sears' own relief package.

For every month you're out of work, Sears will credit one twelfth of the total back. If you are still unemployed a full year later, forget the debt and keep the appliance. It's Sears' way of helping out during these difficult times.

It's also Sears' way of helping itself, of course. Sears is still the largest appliance seller in this country, even after seven years of losing market share to the likes of Costco, Lowe's and Home Depot. But market share started climbing back up last year and Sears must be loathe to lose a single point.