After yesterday’s post about bit sockets vs. socket bit holders, I dug into my inbox to see when I purchased some of those tools.
It turns out that I purchased one Gearwrench bit holder socket from Sears in March of 2008, and then another in June. That first purchase was unintentional, as I wasn’t looking for a 1/4″ square drive to 1/4″ hex bit adapter, I was looking for a 3/8″ to 1/4″ hex adapter.
On Sears’ site, it says that this is a GearWrench 3/8″ Drive 1/4″ Bit Holder Socket, and so I ordered one based on that description.
Well, I didn’t get a 3/8″ bit holder socket, I received a 1/4″ bit holder socket. A couple of months later I bought another one, but I also had to track down and order 3/8″ bit sockets, requiring extra effort.
I remember being annoyed at the time. I mean, it clearly says 3/8″. But the model number for this, 80480, clearly refers to Gearwrench’s 1/4″ adapter. At the time, and probably since then, Gearwrench didn’t offer a 3/8″ drive adapter.
I was annoyed now, and I’m annoyed again now. It’s been over 6-1/2 years, and nobody has fixed this? Has nobody complained to Sears about this? Surely I’m not the only person to have bought this based on Sears’ product description, right?
I checked my records, and I haven’t bought anything at Sears this year. Not online or in store. No tools – nothing. I can’t say the same for my wife, but I get the feeling that she won’t be buying anything from Sears for a while either.
My wife ordered a winter snow suit for our new baby, and that turned out to be a huge debacle. She ordered it online and went to the local Sears to pick it up. The card scanner/order retrieval machine was broken, an associate stopped the clock before 5 minutes but took a lot longer to retrieve the order, they didn’t give her a coupon as per the 5-minute pickup guarantee, and then they gave her the wrong color snow suit. My wife was so frustrated that she didn’t bother arguing about the color and took it home.
Back to the point – Sears’ online catalog is still a mess. Last month I received “page cannot be found” and database errors when attempting to see if there were any new Craftsman tools in the catalog.
Maybe I’m the only person in over 6 years to order this product thinking it was a 3/8″ socket. Or maybe others bought it for the same reason I did but figured it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to return it. In that case, nobody at Sears would be aware of the error.
But the more likely reality is that others wrongfully ordered this bit holder socket due to the inaccurate product description, and that some of those folks complained. There’s so little cross-communication at Sears that it’s very probable customer service handled the complaints without passing on the info to anyone who could actually correct this mistake.
It shouldn’t surprise and frustrate me that this hasn’t been fixed in 6 years and 8 months, but it does.
I keep waiting for Sears to revamp their website with improvements. At this point, maybe I should just hope it doesn’t get any worse.
I used to buy all sorts of tools and accessories from Sears.
It’s well known that sears upper management has been cost cutting and little else. I think that there is little value left in the “sears” brand itself. Whatever value is left in the Craftsman name is steadily eroding with the move to overseas hand tools and what seems to be a power tool line that is not particularly well thought-out. Not to mention their tool storage line which is not only confusing, but offers very little value considering what Harbor Freight is able to import at lower cost.
Their websites are just the cream on top of this sunken cake. I was just looking at their Craftsman site and found the following: clicking on a link showcasing their mach tools shows their T-bar as “coming soon” with no link to buy it, despite the fact that it has been available for a while. Looking at their listing of C3 tools is both incomplete, and has products that are no longer available. On top of this they have an entire separate website (c3answers) devoted to explaining the differences between C3 batteries and drills that does not properly link back to the Craftsman.com site, and it contains an inconsistent mix of gifs and PDF files. (this separate site must have been created by a product manager who finally realized how confusing they had made things, but could not get it to be integrated with the craftsman site- presumably someone else’s responsibility).
I will end with a final anecdote about the website and the management of the tool line. About two years ago I wanted to buy the C3 inflator which was listed in the catalog. I went to their website and it had simply disappeared-no “temporarily out of stock” or the like – I could only find it listed on their outlet site. So I naturally assumed it had been discontinued and proceeded to buy one on ebay. Not a month later it returns to the site unchanged (same model number). Yes sears, badly managed websites are costing you sales.
Started my took collection about a year ago. Old roommate was a Sears manager, so naturally, my first few purchass were Craftsman and since tool companies are like crack dealers, my growing collection is mainly craftsman. That said, I have spent the better part of 8 months berating their “customer service” groups for poor service, horrific web design, lack of consistency across sites, worthless coupns and a heinously pathetic points program … To no avail. I’m sitting on about $110 in points in going to blow on a miter stand Friday, and then – aside from my $10/month craftsman club points, which I’ll waste on hole saws and bits – I’m done. My power tools are going orange and my hand tools are going to be Masterforce (surprisingly large number of US made items starting to wind up on shelves).
At one time Sears was my go to center for all types of tools. Like others have said, my high brand loyalty is a thing of the past, but I still buy some items from Sears. When I do, it’s generally not a great experience, but often there is a sales associate who acknowledges the Sears deficiencies and works hard to take care of me.
Several months ago, I was making an in store (legit) purchase which required some work-arounds by the sales associate and he told me “I might get in trouble for this, but I was looking for a job when I got this job.” As customers, we are frustrated with Sears, but I can’t imagine how frustrating it might be to be an employee, knowing that no one is listening to them, or even cares. This is just another HUGE sign of doom for Sears!
Haven’t stepped foot in a Sears store in over a year now. Used to be my go to for tools.
I say this only as an outside observer with no knowledge of internal Sears leadership, but I suspect you won’t see an updated/fixed website until the company goes bankrupt, sells off its assets (including the Craftsman name), and someone else rebuilds the brand from the ground up.
At this point, they’ve painted themselves into a corner. They’ve built a huge mess of a website by adding bits and pieces on top of a shoddy foundation. Rather than tearing it down and starting over with something that works, they just keep trying to add some new to freshen it up. But they have to know that it doesn’t work, and they probably know that they can’t afford to rebuild it the way it should be.
So it just remains as it is, mostly, apart from occasional superficial changes.
My fascination with Sear’s web site has to do with finding bargains. I figure anything that poorly run has to have some whoppers of pricing mistakes, and they do. Unfortunately when I do find something awesomely mispriced, the order changes in my Cart to a different item or a more reasonable price. I’ve never seen another site that does that. Hope I never do.
Don’t forget the price mistakes that magically go out of stock a few minutes after your order has been placed. Then, lo and behold, after your order has been canceled and the price fixed, they manage to find some more available stock.
This is what happens when a hedge fund manager truly believes his Wall Street acumen and grand but specious “success” at any cost can transfer to an actual business management success.
Very tragic for the once storied name “Craftsman”… And very soon Sears in general.
He doesn’t care one lick about business management ‘success’… he’s not as dumb as you think he is.
In the end, Sears will be dead and gone, and he will have made tons of money. Success!
I did a store pickup order last week, and my local Sear’s pickup scanner was broken as well. It refused to read my Sears card and couldn’t scan my bar code. I had to find the secret path of failing to read my card repeatedly until it let me key in the card number. An employee who came out a few minutes later said it hasn’t worked right since a recent software upgrade. Once I broke the magic code delivery was probably within the 5 minute window, or close enough.
Dave in VT
Thanks Stuart for all you do.
Used to be a Craftsman die-hard, following the lead set by my father and uncle when Sears was still in its heyday. I was about to order $100 worth of stuff on their website when I saw some information about Craftsman Club discounts that would have benefited my purchase. So I’ve been trying to sign up for the Craftsman Club for 5 days now, only to receive the message: “A temporary error occurred. Please try again later.” Probably means no purchase from me.
That being said, Amazon has had some product description errors that don’t get fixed for long periods of time. For instance, Stuart’s recent post about the Wera Zyklop Sliding T-Handle: Although I purchased the 1/2″ drive, I looked at the description for the 3/8″ drive first, which is for another tool. http://www.amazon.com/Wera-Zyklop-T-Handle-Square-drive/dp/B003GDIRQ2#product-description-iframe
Granted, this error is not as egregious as the diff between 1/4 and 3/8 drive.
Sears was great back in the 80s / 90s.
There’s a LOT of things on the Sears website that haven’t been fixed longer than that, but they have also fixed a lot of things and updated lots of the more popular items with correct images. For the past few years, they still had images of the USA-made tools and of course when customers bought the items they received China-made tools.
It could even be an error that was made on Gearwrench’s end and when it was listed on Sears’ site, they just copied and pasted the description.
As for the pickup issues, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in charge of that, other than individual store managers. Once people complain that the employees are stopping the clock to avoid giving customers the $5 coupons, maybe something happens. Some stores even go above and beyond and give customers $5 for every 5 minutes they are kept waiting.
Some of us remember the iconic Sears Big Book catalog, said to be famous worldwide. http://www.searsarchives.com/catalogs. Its demise was really the beginning of the slide towards bankruptcy for Sears & Roebuck. Thanks so much, Eddie Lampert, you @&#*% jerk, for driving the nail into the coffin.
Hang Fire— you mentioned mistake bargains… That’s how I got my heavy duty 1/2 inch drill with XCP for $10 🙂
Screenshot before you click. If it fails, send the screenshot and they’ll honor it.
And they wonder why they’re bankrupt…!!
There is a deal of sorts on the 6in & 8in Craftsman Max Axess Locking Wrench, where you buy & get $10 back in “points,” good for future product.
Only because of this article, did I check the description & picture. Well of course there was an error on both pages. The images were flip-flopped! I was able to tell because the size gauge on the tool didn’t correspond the size on the page.
Not an error that results in the loss of a sale I imagine, but an error none-the-less.
Looks like they fixed it!