Buying tools at Sears


Hey, guys!

Do you also get those sears emails all the time?

Well, I do, because I linked my home phone number and email address to that “rewards” card they used to have, several years back.

Anyways, I’ve been very skeptical of them lately. Considering I’ve bought little there the last few years, how could I have all this “free cash” to spend?

Well, I read the fine print, for what it’s worth. It didn’t say tools were exluded. I supposedly had $25 in “free cash” to spend, as per a recent email, and it was due to expire on August 21st, so I headed to the closest sears on the 18th. I thought I’d try to call their bluff, it that’s what it was.

I needed a 3/8" drive 6pt deep SAE chrome socket set for home use. The list price was $31.99 plus tax. Fair, I thought, considering the declining quality and origin of the product. I grabbed the socket set and headed over to the cash register. Right upfront, I told the guy I had some “free cash” to spend and wanted to use it. After several minutes of the sales associate . . . who is one of the lifers, by the way . . . telling me it’s not working, not applicable for tools purchases, etc., I told him let’s just forget the whole thing because it doesn’t seem worth the hassle. Then he “tried something else” and bingo . . . the price of the socket set went from $31.99 down to $6.99. Now that’s what I’m talking about :smiley_cat:

In spite of the fact that Sears is hurting, I saw some interesting trends in the tool department, for what it’s worth. They seem to be concentrating on more kits now. They have brake service kits, in addition to selling the tools individually, for example. Doesn’t matter for me, because I already have that stuff. They also are now stocking the craftsman creeper seat, which was usually only available if you ordered it.

They once again seem to have some craftsman screwdrivers with a decent handle again . . . “extreme grip” . . . they don’t seem quite as good as the old professional line, with the red and black grip, but it might be a good set for somebody that doesn’t yet have one.

Speaking of closings, which have been in the news, as usual . . . the sears near my house is still not on the list. I can’t imagine it’s because of high volume :smirk_cat: . . . but half of the building is being renovated, presumably for some other business.

I suppose the whole “free cash” idea is an attempt to get you in the store, use the free cash for your intended purchase, and then make some impulse buys.


When Kmart and Sears merged I thought Sears would finally make Kmart not suck. Instead the opposite happened. The deals have to be screaming to get me in a Sears these days.

It’s especially fun when they close a store, because they immediately sell the inventory to a closeout company. That company raises prices by as much as 100% and then discounts them 80% and advertises them as “deep discounts,” so you end up paying more than you would have before for the same stuff that now you can’t return for any reason.

I used to get a lot of my car tools at Sears. I mostly get them online or in some cases Harbor Freight, which is comparable quality to most Craftsman stuff these days.


Believe me, I wouldn’t have bought that socket set, if not for the $25 in “free cash”

I used to buy vacuum cleaner bags and water filters there. But after a few times of going there and finding bare shelves, I started getting them elsewhere.


The two closest Sears stores to me are closing with this latest round of Sears store closures. Won’t effect me. I stopped shopping at Sears long ago. 30 years ago there were my goto store. But not anymore.


I recently needed one of those microscopic sized torx bits. Headed to the Sears Hometown store. Forgetabboutit. All they had was a full kit of bits for close to $30 and I already have 99% of those. So I went over to Lowes and bought a driver and set of jewelers sized bits (phillips, slotted, square, torx etc) for $8.99. They had a couple of the sized bits I need blister packed for something like $2.59 but after seeing the Kobalt driver and set, it was well worth the extra money. No way I’m suffering through a mall parking lot, walking 1/2 mile and having to refuse 20 questions before I get the item I’m wanting…


It’s a sad story all around. Their stock is slightly over one dollar today and another 100 stores closing. Some predict they won’t make it past Christmas as the brands are sold off. Who thought merging a loser like K Mart with Sears was a good idea? I’m tending to now agree with @MikeInNH that they lost the battle when they didn’t convert to the internet and opened the door for Amazon.

Unrelated but I drove there, the other night I needed to buy a replacement remote for one of our TVs so went to Walmart. After 10:00 they close the main door and you have to enter through the grocery door. As I walked from the grocery to the electronics, it struck me that at least half of the store is dry goods targeted to the low end mainly female shoppers. Small electronics, no tools of any value, hardware with dime store products, etc. Now that bloomers made in China are at a cost that hardly justifies transportation and packaging, I just wondered about how this model will work in the future.


The sears near me isn’t located at a mall, and I was able to quickly locate a parking spot, directly behind the store.

$6.99 plus tax for that 9-piece deep chrome socket set seems okay to me. The “free cash” worked for me.

But as was said earlier, it’s not worth going there unless you’re getting a very good deal, as I did

For many years, Sears was definitely its own worst enemy. They didn’t prepare for the future, and now they’re paying the price :frowning_face:


SBD decided to slot the Craftsman line just below their professional grade tools. They bought it to continue and expand the line. It’s a great outlet for the Stanley hand tools and Black and Decker electric tools.


I stopped going to Sears 10 years ago, Sears comes to me.

I can order tools or work shoes on a Sunday night and have them at my house in a couple of days.

Hasn’t the Sears catalog been on the internet for 25 years?


Not even close. The World Wide Web started 25 years ago. Amazon started shortly after. Sears didn’t go to on line sales still some 15 years later. By then they were playing catch-up.


Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of either of those lines you just mentioned :frowning_face:

Given the long sears history, and the old-fashioned paper catalog . . . if “they” had been smart and had some foresight, sears could pretty much have BEEN amazon

But Sears is going to go the way of Woolworths, Toys r Us, Sports Authority, Blockbuster and so many others.

I used to shop there frequently. Now it’s almost never, only if there’s a deal too good to pass up. But it’s the fault of Sears, not me. They let me down and don’t really have much that I want to buy. Just walk into a Sears store and look around. Most of their offerings are things that no self-respecting person would buy. A few years ago, I was looking for bedding and towels. I quickly determined I could buy higher quality merchandise, and for a lower price, at Costco . . . !

Carolyn’s going to shut this down soon . . . :smirk:


We had a KMart in town. It closed. They would always have these mega sales and the price was higher on sale than the normal price at Wal-Mart. Everyone price matches these days. Kmart didn’t. I tried to go there instead of Wal-Mart but it wasn’t worth it. It was like they wanted to go under. The “freecash” was the only thing that got me in the door. With this the purchases would be cheaper. I still get them all the time but have no place to spend them.

There is a Sears Hometown store basically across the street from the old KMart building. They don’t honor any of these and say you have to go to a “mall store” to get them. I have basically given up on this place as well and don’t expect it to last. It was closest to me the other day and I needed a basic torx bit set. They had one so I bought it, knowing I was paying AT LEAST 10x more than I would have if I had gone across town to the new Menards. I was working on a frustrating project and just wanted it done. I didn’t care that I was getting ripped off at that point.

The old KMart building across the road from Sears is currently in the final stages of being renovated for use as a Harbor Freight and Hobby Lobby. My GF is excited about the Hobby Lobby and I am excited about the Harbor Freight. I know a lot of stuff at HF is cheap crap but a lot of it will work for what most people need. I probably won’t ever set foot in that Sears again for tools once this opens and figure Sears won’t last long.

They never honor any of the freecash points or coupons so why pay for overpriced stuff? It won’t be there long once the new HF opens.


My experience is that HF’s stuff works very well for the most part. It’s not pro quality, but diy’ers can still get the job done safely, just takes longer is all compared to having a pro-quality tool. The only problem I’ve had with HF was a kit of worm-drive hose clamps I bought there a few years ago. They really weren’t good for clamping anything beyond something like a 1/4 inch or 3/8 inch vacuum hose. For even clamping a garden hose, not, they’d strip the threads. But HF seems to have figured this problem out, and the hose clamps they have now are really very sturdy & good quality.


There’s a Harbor Fake a few miles from that Sears store I was mentioning

It gets WAY more people buying tools, versus Sears. And the guys going to Harbor Fake are actually buying, not just window shopping. I see a lot of diy guys there, but I also see a lot of blue collar guys in their work uniforms. Many of them are tow truck operators. So I assume the harbor fake tools are sturdy enough for everyday use

One of my former colleagues had a snap on toolbox which was filled almost exclusively by harbor fake tools. But this was back in the days when the tools weren’t even nice looking. They truly looked and felt like garbage, but they did the job for this guy. He was shopping there, because he was a cheapskate, but because he literally couldn’t afford to pay more. He had a messy family and financial situation . . . I think his wife was VERY bad with money, so he was constantly on the verge of bankruptcy, and she also killed his credit score as well as her own.

His strategy was to buy a snap on ratchet, but go to harbor fake for extensions and sockets. He would buy ingersoll rand air tools, but buy the impact sockets at harbor fake. He reasoned that the harbor fake ratchets wouldn’t last . . . at least not in those days. I don’t know, I’ve never used one. I have used craftsman ratchets in the past, not my own, but ones I borrowed. I wasn’t too impressed, because they were uncomfortable to handle, and they didn’t seem very precise


Imagine you have a coolant leak, because you used a harbor fake hose clamp :laughing:


HF had a “tent sale” last weekend. This is where they put some of the stuff outside in the parking lot under a tent. Same stuff, same price, under tent … lol … but they sometimes have some other items that have been returned, or discontinued, no box, etc. Last weekend they had one of those, a pretty good size 8 gallon oil-less air compressor, regular price was $140, but they were selling it for $50.


I’m not sure it’s it true, but I heard the oil-less air compressors are less reliable than the old school air compressors


With that particular set you wouldn’t have to imagine. All you’d have to do is step back watch the coolant dripping onto the ground :wink: One good thing, you’d notice the problem straight away.


Oil-less compressors seems to be the rage these days, not just in HF but in most major hardware stores. I notice the marketing people avoid “less reliable”. Instead they use the phrase “less maintenance” … lol…


Craftsman tool were never as comfortable to the hand as Snap On, Mac, Proto, New Britain or any other quality brand, but they were made out of good steel and were tough and the price and guarantee were great. Now the quality of the steel is gone.

The decision about buying HF stuff or getting better quality depends a lot on frequency of use.

My son in laws large HF floor jack lasted 15 years before is started leaking down and at about $75 they are not worth rebuilding even if you could get parts, but he only uses it 30-40 times a year. If he was using it 5 days a week, he would spend the money for a good one. I don’t think safety is a factor because you should never trust any floor jack.