About a week or two ago, I took a stroll around all of the big box home improvement stores and tool departments. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, each store’s new products are on display, with a sprinkling of cheap special buys spread throughout to squeeze an extra few dollars out of each shopper.
Browsing around Home Depot, I came across a few utility knives, by Iron Bridge Tools. Iron Bridge Tools is based in Florida and makes some of Home Depot’s Husky and special buy tools. Which brings to mind the Husky rotary wrench shilling incident from last year, where we received multiple highly favorable comments and user reviews from a single Florida-based IP address. Home Depot investigated the incident, but we never got to the bottom of things.
But I digress. Back to the point, when I came across this knife, I had a twinge of excitement. Right smack on the front and back of the knife it says USA Quality Guaranteed. And then I turned the package over. Turns out that USA Quality Guaranteed is just a decoration, with the utility knife being made in China.
Heck, I would have even been okay with “Made in USA with domestic and global components.” I suppose it should have been less of a surprise, since the brand is called tattoo, suggesting tattoo-inspired designs. But I was still caught off-guard and disappointed, even a bit enraged.
At least the knife’s packaging gave me a quick laugh once I cooled down. Do not project flashlight beam directly into eyes. Eye impairment could result. A usually valid safety warning, but shouldn’t there be a laceration warning instead? This is a utility knife, not a flashlight. Hopefully nobody injures themselves opening the package, although there does appear to be a plastic blade guard.
Call me gullible, but I was almost misled by this. And if I was almost misled, how many others shoppers only saw the USA part but not the bit about the tool being made in China?
Reminds me of a knife I had one time that had an eagle engraved on one side and the name “American Blade.” Turn it over and it said “MADE IN JAPAN.”
Proudly Made in Guangdong
Stu, if you have 10 mins, and want a good laugh, google chinese military shovel video, what they can do with that thing is simply amazing.
yeah,Home Depot is on my s-list, I purchased a sawzall online last week and they switch the models on me, my experience at the service desk was nothing short of bizarre.
Pretty disappointing. I wonder what the FTC has anything to say about that sort of marketing…
Kevin, I’ll check that out later, thanks. It sounds vaguely familiar.
Ethan, my feeling is that these knives will be sold out by the end of the month. Still, if anyone is interested in lodging a complaint with the FTC, I can forward the few images I took with my cell phone.
The FTC should do something about that.
In response to Rawhide’s comment up above, i would say a knife being made in Japan is probably not such a bad thing. Though I get the irony in the American Blade label, from what I know about Japanese cutting tools, I’d say theres a good chance you had a pretty decent knife there.
I may be off-base on this – but I think that I’m seeing more and more products that are no longer labeled as to country of origin – maybe its because of globalization – with componenets coming from many places and assembly done elsewhere – but maybe its just obsfucation. There used to be rules about product labels – have these been relaxed?
In-line with Kevin’s comment about HD switching models on him, I have something a bit less deceitful, but equally frustrating. After ordering a circular saw from the website with “free shipping”, I was surprised when the saw shipped in it’s original factory box with a UPS label slapped on it.
The really strange part, though, was that the shipping list was inside the factory box. To me, that meant that somebody at the HD warehouse had opened the factory box. Why would they do that? Let’s just say that there was something missing from the package. Something round, with many sharp teeth. Carbide teeth.
Yup, the saw blade was gone, and so was the blade wrench. I ended up having to go to the store to get it resolved quickly, which completely defeats the purpose of online ordering. Sure enough, the store model had a nice shiny new blade in it.
I agree the FTC should perhaps regulate this type of “marginally deceptive” advertising. In the mean time, please let The Home Depot this is absolutely not acceptable. 1-800-466-3337 (Customer Card)
Or e-mail at:
was in home depot today didnt see the knife in question, but wish I had my phone on me to take a pic of something else I saw, looks like Crescent is now making all their new Crescent wrenches in China. At first I thought it was some husky knockoff mixed in with the crescents, but sadly it wasn’t. The new crescents feature similar packaging but with a new modern logo and they are mixed in with the old U.S. made stock.
Home Depot and I have had a running battle for years over their cheap. defective foreign made junk they sell in every department. They would sell Chinese lead weights if they could figure out how to ship them cheaply enough.
But, I get in a hurry and they’re right down the street and I somehow delude myself into thinking well, MAYBE THIS TIME they’ll have a decent version of whatever I need. The missing tool parts scam is also very common. So far I’ve had to return over half of the tools bought from Home Depot and sometimes with great difficulty and arguement. Sure, you think it must be me but go ahead and try them out yourself. The list of junk includes glass cutters that broke on the first use, TIN coated drill bits that were just painted gold, power tool sets with missing parts and defective batteries, mislabeled PVC, mislabeled and defective electrical parts including circuit bbreakers that either never tripped or always did and light switches that shorted and caught fire, “alloy” wrenches that twisted, hammers that chipped, shovels that bent, hoses that leak (not on purpose), solvent cans that were not sealed, drain cleaner that leaked, staple guns that broke after two uses, bad cable connectors, screws rhat had defective threads, defective light bulbs and wire with holes in the insulation.Yes, I shop elsewhere, I am willing to pay for better quality and some of the items I bought there were fine (which leads me back down the path of misplaced trust all too often). Why is it somehow considered good business to try to con your customers and cheat them whenever possible ? This seems to be the case all too often these days. Honesty is either laughed at or deemed too expensive by far too many businesses. Then they blame the consumer for wanting a fair price as though we asked to be ripped off. They keep doing their best to palm off cheap foreign crud as ‘discounts’ and yuk it up with their bought off politicians who make it all too easy to jack up the cost of American manufacturing with union overpriced labor, massive taxation and regulations that strangle all but the big corp’s and their cronies.
How many of us spend as much or more time trying to weed out the fraud and junk as we do in selecting the right tool or material we need it for work ?
All HD employees and PR schills need not respond.
That was well stated. I think that in many regards we only have ourselves to blame. I’m speaking in general terms, but you get the idea. A lot of companies get unfairly labeled with a bad rap. They start off with the naive and misguided assumption that they’ll create quality American products. The moment they do so, the average consumer makes a “B” line to the cheapest items. Inexpensive always wins out over quality. Now we could go on all day about the truth regarding “cheaper” items. In the long run, the secret to saving money is spending more up front. It’s always cheaper in the long run to pay for quality. In spite of attempts to educate people however, they don’t get it. Companies are well aware of that. They’d go bankrupt trying to get the average American clued in.
The shameful part is that we’ve always had the power to change it. If Americans would simply boycott the so called “cheaper” products so it’s no longer profitable to consider overseas labor, that would solve the problem. Obviously that’s rhetorical. It will NEVER happen. In a nutshell, we Americans are our own biggest enemy. We intentionally create a dependence on foreign made garbage, then we blame it on the country that made it.