By Brad Edwards

CHICAGO (CBS) — It was a long shot, but Sears lives to see another day.

The bankrupt retailer possibly avoided liquidation, thanks to a last-minute bid from the company’s own chairman.

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Despite Friday’s $4.4 billion offer, Sears could cease to exist as early as spring, leaving customers in a lurch.

“All my life I would go into a Sears store and I would meet a service person and they would say welcome to Sears. And I would say I swear by Sears,” said Shirley Duncan of Vernon Hills, a life-long Sears loyalist.

Sears offered to replace her imperial stove when a burner broke, but she refused.

“I want to keep it because it’s the last thing my husband bought for me,” she said.

Sears is sentimental to her, the gold standard, her protector.

She says she’s had a Sears home warranty for as long as they’ve had it.

Until just now.

She recently had a bathroom breakdown.

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“All of it was rotten and the tub was getting ready to fall down, so I called Sears,” she said.

She thought it would be mostly covered by her warranty.

“I didn’t think I’d have to pay $8,000 for it,” Duncan said.

That’s beyond the limits of her fixed income. It’s not the Sears she’d come to love.

Now a last-minute deal could save 425 of the flailing retailer’s stores, and save 50,000 employees.

Eighteen thousand employees would lose their jobs to get to that number and 80 more stores will close.

As for Duncan’s bathroom, when she found out the out of pocket price considering her home warranty, she didn’t want it.

“They said to me after we put it in we aren’t going to take it out, and I said, ‘Well okay, and I ain’t going to pay for it.’ I didn’t tell them I ain’t going to pay,” she said.

CBS 2 wasn’t able to get any guidance from sears on Duncan’s bills, nor was there any comment from public relations, but at the end of business Friday there was a chance sears would be no more.

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A hedge fund connected to Sears Chairman Edward Lampert bid $4.4 billion to acquire the company’s assets, but the Hoffman Estates-based retailer could still face liquidation if the courts choose another bid.

Brad Edwards