Dear Craftsman and Sears,
While the elimination of Craftsman Professional tools from your product catalog and outsourcing of tools previously made in the USA are separate issues, I believe cost-cutting to be a common reason. In any case, both major changes have had a similar effect – I find them extremely unfavorable.
Where oh Where Did All the Pro Tools Go?
Where did all of the Craftsman Professional tools go? The Craftsman Professional wrenches and ratchets are no longer branded as such – they’re now “full polish” (and made in China). What does that say about the products, that they’re no longer fit to be described under the professional branding?
As I understand it, you’ve done away with the Craftsman Professional brand entirely. Some tools have been renamed (and resourced) and remain on store shelves. But where did all of the other tools go?
After noticing a significant reduction in the number of Craftsman Professional hand tools, pliers and adjustable wrenches at first, I reached out and asked Craftsman reps about this. The answers I received were hardly adequate. They were fluffed up with marketing speech and didn’t really answer any of my questions.
Many Craftsman Professional tools – dozens of SKUs – are just gone. Pulled or clearanced from stores and Sears.com. Why? Before anyone asks, yes, I already checked the Craftsman Industrial product listings, and they’re nowhere to be found.
How does this affect me? For one, there were tools on my wishlist that I can’t buy anymore as my needs grow. Beyond that, the warranty and replacement guarantee attached to my Craftsman Professional tools are now worthless. What good is the famous Craftsman Guarantee if the tools can’t be replaced? If a tool fails or breaks due to a design or manufacturing defect, I don’t want to settle for a lesser replacement. If it fails or breaks due to user error, I want to be able to purchase a direct replacement.
And what happened to Craftsman’s tape measures? What will be axed from the lineup next – hammers, screwdrivers, levels, or layout tools?
STOP BUTCHERING YOUR PRODUCT LINEUP! You didn’t have the caliber of tool I needed once, twice, and then a third time. One of these days I will just stop checking.
It’s not just the professional tool lineup that’s being slimmed down. Several people have been unable to find replacement flails for their Nextec trimmer, which appears to have been discontinued already in less than a year. About a month or two ago, one reader emailed in asking for help in finding a 12V Nextec battery. How could it be that there were no 12V Nextec batteries available at any Sears store in their locale, my locale, and via Sears.com?!
Back in November, I purchased a few cordless V4 tools. I had to do a couple of price adjustments because after just two months you discontinued the entire line. I wanted a spare battery after that, but they are no longer available in-store or online.
Can you now understand why my faith and trust in the Craftsman brand has been shaken?
Craftsman Tools are Proudly Made in
the USA China
Do you remember this image? It can be found in your 2008 tool catalog.
A little over two years ago I discussed how new Craftsman Innovations were being produced overseas. At the time I worried about your intentions. Would more Craftsman hand tools – not just new designs – be manufactured overseas?
It used to be that most Craftsman hand tools were made in the USA. Now, the number of tools not made in China is dwindling. Thus far, it looks like most if not all Craftsman ratchets, specialty sockets, wrenches, and drive accessories are now made in China. Are you proud of that? What next – are all sockets, screwdrivers, and pliers to follow?
I am trying to be calm and sensible here, but I extremely unhappy at the changes I’ve been seeing. Judging from what I’ve heard and read, I’m not alone. I’m not against imported tools, but that’s a discussion for another time. My complaint is not about the fact that Craftsman tools are made in China, but that tools previously made in the USA are now being made overseas.
Why the need to ship off production all of a sudden? Whatever the reason, I’d bet my entire Craftsman tool collection that it has to do with cutting costs and improving profits. Actually, my Craftsman tool collection is worth a lot less to me these days, so maybe I should bet some of my other tools.
I can counter almost any excuse you can come up with about how the change can be a good thing, but I encourage you to still try. I cannot fathom an explanation that doesn’t involve lower costs and higher profits.
Should any of my many USA-made Craftsman wrenches fail or break, I will probably replace them with Armstrong, Wright, or Proto wrenches. I paid a premium for the Craftsman Professional wrenches because they were USA-made and priced at a killer value. They had a very solid reputation among enthusiasts and pro users.
There are still some interesting new Craftsman tools coming out, and many tools I’d pick up to use or even test in a heartbeat, but much of my favor for Craftsman is fading away. No longer am I an ardent fan. I still spend a few bucks at Sears every couple of months, but not like I used to.
These changes – the diminished product offerings and outsourcing trend – have severely altered the way I feel about Craftsman and Sears. I’m just one person, but I know I’m not alone in how I feel.
I’m sure that number-crunching can justify these changes, but it’s not always a good idea to just look at the numbers. Here’s a quick business lesson:
Readers are invited to share their opinions, but please keep all comments clean and civil!