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Craftsman Tools

Just recently we had a discussion about Craftsman tools. I just read a Chicago Tribune article that says Sears sold Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker (who knew THEY were now one?) and are looking to sell off Kenmore and Diehard, as well as its Home Services and Sears Auto Centers. They’re also consolidating corporate operations for Sears and Kmart and closing 150 stores.

So if you’re buying tools, or need auto servicing, a new battery, an appliance, or Home Services, you may want to factor this information into your purchasing decision. Your purchase may not be backed by Sears for long. The manufacturer of the tools, battery, or appliance likely will through the purchaser(s) of these business parts, but if the new owners’ stores are too distant it may not be worth having.

Come to think of it, if your local Sears is one of the 150 being closed, any warranty may not be worth having anyway.

Our suspicions were apparently right. Sears is apparently being sold off piecemeal. Although Sears is claiming it’s to “reduce our overall cash funding requirements and ensure that Sears Holdings becomes a more agile and competitive retailer with a clear path toward profitability” (yeah, right), I think the handwriting is on the wall.

I also found out that apparently Craftsman tools come in quality levels. I received a five piece set of pliers for a gift. I wish I had never opened them. I also got an adjustable wrench without the receipt. I went to a Sears store and just wanted to exchange it for something I would use. They would not do it without proof it did not come from Ace Hardware or the other places selling Craftsman tools.

The ones I got that were disappointing were called Craftsman Evolv.

Excellent points.
I guess it’s now prudent to look at the tools being purchased with a much more analytical eye, and to realize that it may not be returnable. Since I ship gifts to my kids 3,000 miles away, and I never put receipts in with gifts, that second point also becomes a real factor in my decision.

Frankly, I’d also be reluctant now to send a Sears gift certificate.

AND . . I’ll bet that kills the lifetime warranty !
Just like the lifetime warranty on my 1972 Acoustic 370 bass guitar amplifier. . . when the company sold out the warranties didn’t carry over.

Based on what I read a couple of years ago, I think that they sold-off the Auto Centers (or, at least some of them) several years ago.

In NJ, a mega-dealership purchased a few of the “Sears” Auto Centers a few years ago, and I can tell you from my personal experiences about 2 years ago that the closest “Sears” Auto Center is apparently not owned by Sears.

I wanted to get a free load test done on my battery, and for many years, Sears Auto Centers had featured free drive-in load tests. There was always one bay door that was kept open, and you could–literally–just drive up to the desk where they dealt with load tests and battery replacements. On this occasion, there were no open bay doors.

So, I parked my car, and ventured into their Auto Center’s retail store, which I immediately noticed to be…VERY…different from how it used to appear. I approached the nasty woman at their service desk, inquired about a load test, and was told that there would be a minimum 2 hour wait for a load test, and that it would cost $19.95.

I declined her generous offer, and drove to my nearest Auto Zone, where they immediately performed a free load test of my battery.

The way that Sears management is selling-off the company’s assets is just too similar to the ways of the Roman soldiers who vied for Jesus’ possessions…


Most craftsman tools are now made in China. Tools made in the USA is history. I have many sets of the older USA made craftsman tools. About a year ago I bought the complete wrench set (something like 1/4 - 1.5") and I discovered that the quality was inferior. I was working in a tight spot and my new China made craftman wrench would not fit in the tight spot. I found that the China made wrenches were referred to as lobster claw design because to make up for inferior steel, they made the wrenches thicker and bulkier. I had to hunt down my old USA made wrench to fit in the tight spot.

That was the last craftsman tool that I will ever buy. If you are going to get the same quality as you would get from a harbor freight wrench, you might as well buy the harbor freight wrench at half the price of the craftsman wrench.

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AND. .this will be the death knell for Sears as a brand.
They will be, heretofore, just another store, like any other store, without their individual identity and uniqueness that USED to be a reason to choose Sears over others.

I doubt if that will matter. The “business plan” described is extremely typical of corporate pirates, a well known one of which Sears is now being run by. They sell off everything of value and then liquidate the remains. My guess is that is the plan.

I’ve known that Stanley and Black and Decker merged a long time ago. Then again, BD was a local company and discussions lined the local newspaper about where the HQ would be.

This does NOT bode well for Craftsman tools, because I do not consider Stanley or Black & Decker tools, for that matter, to be high quality tools.

The Craftsman “Evolv” line has been around a few years now. I believe they do NOT have lifetime warranty. Yeah, I see no point in buying them. For the same price, you might as well buy from Lowes, Home Depot, or some other store which WILL still be around in a few years time, in case you need to warranty it

I guess harbor freight is looking pretty good now! At least you can return or warranty some of the items.

Overall I’ve been very happy with everything I’ve bought at HF. I don’t think there’s a better buy out there for the money. Yeah, if you want to pay much more you can get much better stuff, but not everybody needs the high-priced stuff.

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That would only matter if they stay in business. I don’t have any expectation that they’ll be here in 5 years.

Why go to it?

The CEO of Sears is gutting the store and is going to leave Sears as a gutted, worthless shell.

I expect the franchisees who jumped into the Sears Hometown stores are going to lose their shorts also and will likely be among those who get stiffed when the CEO says adios, I’m outta here and doing just fine thank you.

As for some of the Harbor Freight stuff; it ain’t that bad. I’m still stunned that the set of 3 HF micrometers I bought on a whim for 39 bucks all test out at dead on when checked against my Starrett standards and mikes.
I figured if they were within +/- .002 they would be good enough for crude lathe work. Who knew.

I stopped using my USA Craftsman tools because If they break they will be replaced with china tools. I will put all my USA Craftsman’s in my tool museum. I now abuse HF tools and when i return them I get china tool replacements and that’s fine.

I am not going to criticize Sears for dismantling the business. This is better for the investors, which used to include a great many pension funds, than a bankruptcy. At least they can get out with some percentage of their investment.

Sears is a very clear example of a company so entrenched in their way of doing business, no amount of shakeup from the board room can fix the problems. We’ve seen this at General Motors. We saw this at Montgomery Wards. We saw this at K-mart and then we saw these two sick and dying companies merge!! Evolve or die. Sears could not evolve so they will die. Sorry to see a trusted company go but they haven’t really been “Sears as we know it” for over 2 decades.

It’s been dead for years. The body just hadn’t stopped twitching yet.

In my mind this is simply business, nothing more, nothing less.
All businesses have lifecycles. For Sears, it’s now late autumn.

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It is just business…however that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to run the business. I don’ know if Sears will survive or not. What I do know is that the approach the CEO (hedge fund manager) is taking then Sears will NOT survive. What the current CEO is doing is going to line his pockets by selling off all valuable parts…then just shut down the skeleton that’s left. Great for the CEO and his hedge fund…lousy for the people who work there and the customers.

I’d still be shopping at Sears if they ran the store like they did 25 years ago. It was my goto store.