I just got off the phone with someone who recently stepped into a leadership position at Sears. It sounds like he wants to bring about changes, as he asked for my take on Sears and Craftsman’s tools.
I gave him an earful – politely of course – and frankly aired out several years’ worth of frustrations I have with both Craftsman and Sears.
Shown here is a photo from late 2011, showing many – but not all – of the tools I purchased from Sears in the couple of years leading up to then. But because of how things changed with both Sears and Craftsman, I rarely even go to Sears.com or the local Sears stores anymore.
In all, we spent about an hour talking about my perception of the two entities. He’s in the unenviable position of trying to shake things up, and I like to talk. More than that, he seemed interested in the feedback, and eager to use it to potentially shake things up for the better. He seemed pleased at the wealth of feedback I offered, and gave me the OK to ask for your take on things.
So… what do you think about Craftsman and Sears, in regard to tools? Please keep your words civil.
Here are the kinds of things I talked about: Sears and Craftsman’s websites, their horrible search engines, annoying Shop Your Way emails and promotional strategies (really, $7 in surprise bonus reward points off a $70 purchase?!), Craftsman’s shift away from ‘made in USA,’ Craftsman’s shift away from intermediate and advanced tool in order to focus more on gimmicks and giftable tools, the many reports of thinner steel in their toolboxes, Sears’ decrease in offbeat and unique tools and brands (such as WoodOwl drill bits), and a couple of other things.
I would concur with your remarks. Glad to hear they are open to comments. My biggest gripe is the shift away from USA made. I went to exchange a ratchet and walked away with a Taiwanese one. The gimmicky gift tools are a little annoying, it used to be the destination tool place. Hopefully once again.
I’m retired now but used craftsman tool sence 1965 the were ever bit as good as snapon. Tools but of late the quilty of craftsman has fallen
The website is really confusing and works poorly. I have tons of tools from them, but like you, stopped going to the stores, more because the service in person is so bad. I like decent tools, being able to walk in and see and compare, knowing they will carry parts for a while to support. I am willing to pay extra for that, but really without going high end (think Festool and the like) nobody does this anymore.
I’ve worked the line for about almost 20 years, 10 years at a dealer. The bulk of my hand tools were Craftsman tools, the basics I purchased back in 1989 because I kept breaking “Auto Shack” and “Western Auto” crap. I still use the same wrenches, sockets, pliers and such I purchased back then. The USA made Craftsman tools are, hands down, the best bang-per-buck value out there.
When I was at the dealer, before Craftsman went all China, I would tell new techs to avoid the crushing debt of Snap On tools, get a kit from Sears. But now when I talk to new tech, I warn them about Craftsman tools, don’t bother if it is made in China.
Bring back all the USA made hand tools and then promote it.
Exactly. They just need to be respectable tools sold to people who want to do respectable work.
They don’t have to be “super” tools, just good, straightforward, reliable. Then Sears/Craftsman will have their old good, straightforward, reliable customer base.
And those goofy tools repel the people who want respectable tools. Like little short pink hammers.
Right on! I am constantly buying small hand tools for work in the trades. Lose/ damage them frequently. Would love to see some affordable tools made in USA again. Craftsman was as good as any and better than most in it’s day.
I recently shopped Sears online. I purchased Craftsman Pro USA wrenches singly from open stock at a much higher price than the imported sets. I now have both SAE and Metric combo sets and all my other Craftsman wrenches are USA raised panel. I Also have Armstrong 6 point sets because they are a match for the Craftsman sets and are all USA. My SK’s are all USA. Most of my 500 sockets are Craftsman USA. All of this could have been purchased from Sears new imported tools in the local store. I won’t buy the imported crap from Sears.I tried to get the point across that I will pay more for quality from Sears. I won’t buy the offshore crap. I still purchase the Wilde manufactured craftsman tools.
Sears Craftsman had a very good name and reputation before they off-shored. Now they are a joke. Why pay Sears prices for Harbor Freight tools? The very first set of tools I purchased when I was 16 in the 1960’s was craftsman, 90 piece mechanics set. I had been using my dad’s Snap-On tools before that. The craftsman tools were good quality and kept me going until I could earn enough to buy all Snap-On. I then used the Craftsman tools at home. I wound up giving the craftsman set to a young apprentice who could not afford tools yet. I’m sure they got him started on his way up as a mechanic.
This is one of the thousands of stories that have endeared generations of men and woman to Craftsman. It was a low blow to us to have the name associated with imported lobster claw wrenches just because a hatchet man CEO took over. There is a lot of room in the market for quality tools made in the USA at a reasonable price point. There is no need to sell stripped down sets with skipped sizes. Most of the people I know will gladly purchase quality tools from Sears.
This is just my opinion. No animals were injured or abused in this scenario.
Support for instruction manuals are non existant for tools sold in the past leaving me unable to use tools where instruction manuals are required be in place with the tool.
Support for instruction manuals are non existant for power tools sold in the past leaving me unable to use tools where instruction manuals are required be in place with the tool.
the web site is awful. The production shift of the good ol American made tools to China has killed quality and image. We loast the only real sears store local years ago and no only have hometown stores. but before that the true sears store that had a nice tool department that was always full and busy dwindled to a couple racks and was a ghost town. The recent Sears I visited the tool section was so disorganized you could not find anything if you wanted.
Wow, where to start. I haven’t been to a Sears in over a year, mostly because they keep closing. The nearest on is about 40 miles away now, within that 40 miles is about 1 million people. I own a good deal of Craftsman hand tools from about 17 years ago for most of them and am happy with the quality and construction! They are better than anything I had seen in store the last several times I was in there. One of my main boxes is a Craftsman ball bearing box from the early 90’s, it is better than just about any box you can get in a store nowadays and head and shoulders above anything Sears sells in store now! I have a newer miter saw from them, no complaints but nothing special. Early 90’s table, band and radial arm saws also, no complaints, better constructed that the miter saw for sure.
For the made in the USA part: If they could make a good tool, like they used to, in the US people will buy it! Even if it cost more! Also get some people that are knowledgeable and passionate to work in the tool dept.
Sears website tries too hard to compete with walmart, most of their search results are from 3rd party suppliers and not something you can go into the store and buy. They should change that.
Craftsman’s website is awful in a different way. It is clunky and complicated, keep it simple and easy to navigate!
Gimmick tools: Sell a few around the holidays, thats fine. If they are good they’ll stick!
As for selling craftsman at Ace, I probably wouldn’t bother since Ace doesn’t.
As for selling at Kmart, maybe consider having a separate counter with someone staffed there, like sporting goods used to be…
Maybe have some sort of program where a select few upstart tool manufactures can get their new and unique products in Sears to sell. They kinda do this now but it seems like they’ll take any old junk, then it just sits there.
That is probably a lot of rambling but it is an opinion.
“Why pay Sears prices for Harbor Freight tools? ” was said and i agree. they have gone down hill. the only time i go to sears is with a gift card that i get for a gift. i did get there new 1/2in impact with the last card i got and like it alot more than the old one but its still a little light on the power, i would like to see a 400ft lb+. i was going to get the milwaukee but with the gift card i figured i would try it out. since then i have got there radio, the new 1/4in impact and the cordless grinder and im really liking them, now to upgrade to the c3 drill. that 20volt drill looks like a black and decker pos. dont follow b&d, they are junk but the old stuff is good
It’s simple. Bring back USA made Craftsman tools.
I try not to shop at Sears unless I’m buying Gladiator stuff. The website never works, the exclusions on sales are frustrating, online inventory of local stores is a joke, and the Craftsman stuff is very overpriced for what you get. The experience within the store is even worse. I can never find a cashier to take my money, I can never find help on the sales floor, and when I do find an employee, they’re usually very poorly trained. The last time I set foot in a Sears was 3 months ago to buy some router bits. The cashier needed assistance from a coworker in order to search for my SYW account using my email address. Then, when the cashier told me I’d get a paper copy of the receipt and a copy of the receipt emailed to me. When I told him I didn’t want a paper copy, he “insisted” and gave me a paper copy anyway. Customer service is lost there and will never return if I can help it.
Well I agree with what you told them. And as already has been said, Craftsman tools used to mean Made in the USA. I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling about Craftsman tools being made in Mexico, Taiwan, etc…
Furthermore their rewards points program is especially annoying. What really bothered me was that the points expire. Now I was unaware of that until thousands of dollars worth of my points expired without me knowing about it. The irony is that I would be less upset with the Sears brand if they never had a rewards points program, than when the points expired on me and I was left feeling screwed.
Another problem for me is store locations. The stores around me closed. No store fronts, bad website, tool manufacturing that isn’t what it once was. Why would I go out of my way to go there, when I have Amazon Prime, or Home Depot and Lowes down the street?
And BTW not only is their main website bad, but when click on things in their email advertising to look at it, it’s almost impossible too.
The website might make my head explode. It is so confusing. I can spend hours looking for something that I know they have and not find it there. Conversely, if I do find an item that says it’s in stock and go to the store, they don’t have it. Or rather, I suspect they do have it and just can’t find it. I don’t use the website anymore.
Plus there seem to be multiple websites. There’s the one that features tools, but it seems high on hype (motorcycle ad like) and low on actual information about the specs of the tools, or you have to click too many confusing things to find them if they are there. I bought a shop vac and considered Craftsman, but just got frustrated trying and ended up with a Ridgid vac instead. The Craftsman had a bunch of odd features like remote starting and long hoses but this seemed like gimmicks instead of solid performance. it may be there, but I can’t search for hours to find what is offered.
I don’t trust the quality of their tools, and the good tools they carry (not necessarily Craftsman tools) they seem to discontinue. They had some nice Footprint chisels made in England, and I bought some, they were reasonably priced, but no longer carry them. They used to sell a switch to turn on a vacuum when you started your tool, and this too was practical and reasonably priced. Not like the overpriced versions at rockler or woodcraft.
I wanted to buy a couple more, but they were discontinued. They showed on the site and when I called the person who answered knew nothing about it.
I stopped visiting their store, though I once shopped there frequently because the tool section is disorganized, kind of like someone on drugs put stuff all over the place in different sections, etc. Then finding someone to help you is nearly impossible and when you do they are likely to be unknowledgable, unmotivated, surly, or all three. It has been really unpleasant. They used to have people who understood or at least liked tools and it showed. Ace still has these kinds of employees, at least locally, though I don’t buy craftsman products there, either.
I agree about the “shop your way,” I signed up for it and it just filled my email with junk mail. It has had the surreal feeling of someone taking over the company trying to make the worst possible experience and quality. I have some older craftsman tools, like a power miter saw that I expect to keep going for some time. I wish I could buy things from them like that now. I do have the old wrenches and other hand tools made in the U.S. I hope to hang on to them for quite some time. Unfortunately, the lifetime warranty is meaningless if a tool of equal quality is not substituted.
I bought Craftsman tools for decades, but no more. It makes me sad to see this once GREAT brand that used to stand for dependable performance so badly degraded.
I do go to harbor freight. I know what I’m getting, though not high quality, sometimes decent enough for occasional use, and in some cases frequent use. I also own some Festool, Makita, Bosch, so I get quality when warranted. They have kind of crazy ads, but always you can find a 20% off coupon and that’s one reason I shop there.
All the good stuff sears used to have seems to have vanished. I’d love to see it change, since I have an attachment to the brand given the good tools. I hope the new guy can make some big changes.
I agree with all the above. The website search function is basically useless, and the results are hard to sort thru. An example of the broken search is a purchase I recently made on craftsman.com. I searched for a bench vise, and it showed up in the search results. When you click on the result, you get a non existent web page. However, you can add the item to the shopping cart for purchase, but you can’t actually view the item on its own page.
Also, my local Sears store is heartbreaking in the tools department. When I was a boy, you could go there and it was filled with men and boys who were there to buy tools, and there were helpful sales people. Now….the shelves are half empty, there is an odd assortment of tools and most of them are not good quality. You actually have to wander around to find someone to help you and they are not knowledgeable at all about tools to say the least.
All this to say, I buy quality tools. I do not shop at harbor freight or the like. If Sears will again make craftsman a quality brand with well stocked and managed tool departments, I will be a loyal customer. A friend of mine recently bought a full set of craftsman made in USA tools, and all three ratchets stripped out immediately, and the chrome plating on the sockets flakes off. Please bring the quality back and we’ll all be happier! Thanks.
Go back to what made them famous. US made, quality tools at a reasonable price with a lifetime guarantee no questions asked. This brand like many others sacrificed their roots to turn a quick buck and lost the loyal following that made them. And while we’re at it revamp the godawful website.
I could sit here and write a few pages and not be half way done but a huge point to me is: make stuff in the USA or go bankrupt. If I am buying some Chinese crap I will just go to Harbor Freight and not to Sears. I most certainly do not mind paying a premium for a better quality tool made in the USA and I am certain that many here think like me.
Now if we only account for a small percentage of Sears shoppers that actually want better tools and don’t mind paying a premium for them, maybe they should consider having a value line (aka Chinese crap) and a Premium line (aka USA) so that they can cater to everyone.
I wish him and Sears well – hope that it is not a forlorn hope – and that they can emerge stronger.
What I’ve observed is that bricks and mortar stores seem to be less relevant for certain sorts of consumer goods. I keep hearing that traffic in malls is way down, and that many stand-alone stores (typical of many Sears locations) are struggling even more. Buying online with in-store pickup seems to be working for HD and Lowes – but I don’t know how much of their profit comes from this. Tool buyers are probably more likely, however to be visiting HD or Lowes – compared to be clothing shopping at a Sears store. Maybe having automotive tools at a Sears Auto center – would be more logical as a tie-in – but I’m not sure how they can bring up traffic for their other tool lines. When they used to have a stand-alone Sears hardware store in my vicinity – I would visit it from time to time – but I guess they found this sales model unprofitable. They also seem to have given up on their printed catalog – but I’ve heard that many online retailers find that catalog mailings spur online sales – so I’m not sure why Sears/Craftsman experience was different.
I too want to scream…….. fix the damn website. Horrible, I don’t even go there anymore, seriously, horrible. That’s just the beginning, also please stop with the dinky mickey mouse gadgets and the one size fits all crap. More later.
I’m 28 and grew up going to Sears (30m away) a something like 6 times a year with my dad for specific tools to accomplish whatever we were working on. Encounter problem, find tool/solution in catalog, drive, buy, do. Now, poor stocking means that it would more than likely be a wasted trip – may as well save the gas and frustration and buy it at Amazon. On the other end of things, I have have a house, plenty of projects and the income to buy whatever I want for tools. Harbor freight does low-failure stuff just fine (sockets, cold chisels, etc). The craftsman strategy of simply putting a laser on a shitty power tool (a strategy that HF now mimics) and charging 80% of what Dewalt or Bosch charges is not good enough. When I’m shopping a power tool Craftsman doesn’t even make the brands to consider list.
How do you fix it?
-Good quality tools. (but not necessarily premium tools)
-Time. (however long the tools have sucked for + 5 years)
I’m now calculating the turn around to be 2025 (or 5 CEOs, whichever comes first).
Seems there’s been a shift towards gimmicky tools over the last 10 years (though maybe there have always been gimmick tools and we just don’t remember them). It’s not just gimmick holiday hand tools, either.
Remember the Craftsman digital router? How about that programmable digital tire gauge? I bought one of those after reading the packaging which said (I’m paraphrasing) “Program your car’s optimal tire pressure”. I figured that meant that it would automatically shut-off, beep, slap me or something once the target PSI was reached. But nope. Near as I can tell it simply means is that you can program your car’s PSI specs so that you didn’t have to look them up in the manual each time. That’s probably my fault for reading too much into the description. In any event, I went back to using my dial gauge.
It’s too bad, really, because some Craftsman tools have been great. I still have a 9″ angle grinder that must be 25 years old now. And I recently bought a 7″ sander/grinder at an estate sale that’s as old as I am and still in good shape (and a heavy bugger!). I still use Craftsman combination wrenches and breaker bars that my dad used when he was younger than me. Craftsman C3 tools? Great for homeowners. One battery, dozens of tools, priced for homeowners. Ryobi is doing the same thing, now, with their One lineup.
Sadly, the most useful thing I bought from Sears in the last 2-3 years was the 4-foot wire shelves from the linens department when my local Sears closed last year. Seriously heavy-duty shelves…I replaced all my garage shelving with them. Wish I had more but have no idea where to find them for sale. Google image search for “wire shelves” doesn’t turn up anything that looks remotely like them.
I don’t know who manufactures them, but I can tell you that Craftsman cordless tools and Ryobi cordless tools are made by the same company. I’ve taken parts out of a 16V Craftsman drill and installed it in an 18V Ryobi drill.
But it's me!
I still buy Craftsman hand tools whenever possible, especially if US made, but as others note that is getting harder everyday. Last purchased some nut drivers that were US made, although the useless nylon case was China made. These were to replace some cheap ones needed in a pinch years ago. I remember drooling over the tool catalogs from Sears as a teen and absolutely miss the tool departments of then.
While the readers of your site would purchase quality Craftsman stuff, I worry the majority of the population would not, leading to the loss of the brand, or worse (like selling the brand name), making any changes for the better moot. I really disliked when Sears would sell their non-Craftsman, usually crap quality import, brand tools right next to the Craftsman tools. I expect most shoppers would just grab the least expensive and be done with it. Your readers, myself included, would look over the more expensive Craftsman stuff and see the real value in it, but we are the minority. I just don’t expect it to happen.
About that warranty. It has always been a nice touch. I have never taken advantage of the Craftsman warranty, but I don’t really use them everyday, being a DIYer. I have destroyed a few screwdrivers using them as a lever and the like (my high school woodshop teacher would not approve), but never returned them, knowing well I abused it.
I wish Sears and Craftsman the best, and will still selectively purchase Craftsman tools, along with other brands, even Harbor Freight if need be (their flooring stapler and HVLP guns are nice). It would be great if they could turn it around and I would certainly do my part.
My voice will be heard, huh? Well, let’s see about that because I would LOVE to finally hear back about my recent (and last) Sears experience.
First, the summary: In the span on ten days, I made 59 phone calls totally six hours and 19 minutes. I wastransferred 41 times; hung up on 11 times; sworn at three times and told to just (bleeping go to home depot) once. I was charged four times for an order — three times for orders that were canceled immediately due to an error on Sears’ end — and while trying to get my refund was asked “is $35 really that big a deal.” (Actually, it was $35.91). Now, because I’m “that guy” I documented all of this and recorded almost every one of the phone calls.
My issues with Sears go back months. Little things like inconsistent pricing between the various brand microsites (Craftsman, SYW, Sears, etc); misleading promo prohibitions (Hot Buy labels applied to non-sale-priced merchandise); ignorant sales crew (was told you’re not allowed to combine points with gift cards or coupons) and so on and so forth.
All of this, built up over months — not to mention, my Craftsman Club points haven’t posted to my account for five months straight now — finally led me to just give up on Sears. I had rounded out my USA-made Craftsman hand tool collection (Free tip: Check Sears Outlet … all the American made socket sets and wrenches are stashed there) and had moved on to Milwaukee and Ridgid power tools. But since I was already invested in the C3 line and in needed of a cordless nailer, when I found it available reconditioned through the Sears Outlet site for about $60, I jumped on it.
The logic here was simple: the Outlet site had it listed as available at a store in California. While I live in Wisconsin, my sister was visiting that exact area (staying 0.3 miles from the store), so I would place the order, have her pick it up and bring it home.
Easy, right? Of course not.
First, I place the order and wait for the confirmation. Two days after ordering, I get an email saying it was no longer in stock. A check of the website showed otherwise and a call to the store verified that. I tried to place the order again, and it was rejected as being not-in-stock. And thus, the first string of phone calls, which got me nowhere. I was told at the time that I would not be charged for the item, but the $29 in SYW points I used WERE removed from my account and another round of calls said it wold take anywhere from 3-5 to 7-10 to up to 30 days for those to come back? REALLY? But let’s move on … just remember that I was told I WOULDN’T BE CHARGED FOR THE ORDER.
The next day, I see it was listed at another store in that area, even cheaper. I called to verify it was in stock and placed the order, this time using a prepaid VISA gift card I received for Christmas from an office party for part of the purchase. But since that card didn’t cover the full amount, the order was declined. Again, I was told that I wouldn’t be charged but go figure, the gift card was in fact, wiped out by the order. Another round of calls. And this is when I was told to just go to (bleeping) home depot.
Finally, I place the order again. No gift cards. No coupons. No points. Just my own money. It goes through. But there’s no option for a third party pickup. For this alone, I needed to make 29 calls totaling over three and a half hours. I gave the store manager my sister’s name. Told her exactly what was being picked up. Told her exactly when. Provided the order number. My credit card number. Everything except my sister’s drivers license number. It’s not a common name. What are the chances somebody with that same exact name would be coming in for the same exact item with a perfectly forged copy of my receipt? This went on and on and on and on. And I was finally told by the customer service rep that there were no guarantees and that I was being done a favor just so I’d leave them alone. Stay classy, Sears. Stay classy. (PS… Montebello, California).
Finally, a week passes and the nailer arrives at my house — in surprisingly good condition. I’m happy. The process is over. Until I check my bank account and notice that I was charged for the canceled orders. I called Sears and the run around began. Call Sears Outlet. Call Sears.com. Call the Store. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Call Sears. Call Paypal. Call everybody under the sun. “Is $35 that important to you?” Nineteen phone calls it took, and I was finally told “if you don’t like us that much, don’t shop with us.” Now, good advice and advice I’m planning to take to heart. But the bottom line remained; Sears owed me $35.91. Finally, I called the BBB; filed a fraud charge through my bank (and since I had the store manager’s name, named her as the guilty party who used my card without authorization). I was told I shouldn’t have canceled the order (I didn’t, Sears did). I was told I need to be patient. And that’s when I got angry. I started reciting the facts: $549 million in losses, was my $35.91 really that crucial to Sears’ turnaround? Would it keep somebody in that damn foreign call center employed? I don’t get it. Two weeks after the order was first attempted, the money was back in my account. I’m still waiting for the $29 in points, which I earned and am entitled to, but I’ve given up on that. Not worth my time to try and argue with this dinosaur company which just doesn’t care about its customers.
Quite frankly, I want to see Sears go under at this point. I used to believe it was dying because of management’s folly and the rank-and-file employee shouldn’t suffer from the misdirection of higher-ups; but there is a systematic disregard for the customer that is engrained into the company’s DNA. It just doesn’t matter whether or not you shop with them, because they’re under the assumption that with 100 years in the books, they’re due for 100 more.
Sears is a terribly company, operated by terrible people and staffed by terrible people. Sears isn’t deserving of my money, but it’s deserving of every single hardship that falls upon it, and that goes for its soon to be unemployed staff. I’m sure Eddie and Brathwaite couldn’t care less about this, or other instances like mine (I’m sure there are many), but while they’re rolling in their millions and their underlings are left to wonder what went wrong, I know there are at least a dozen who will remember some jerk’s attempt to buy a nail gun and get a refund. Maybe then they’ll figure it out.
So to whomever is “listening” to this … you can’t win back my customer loyalty (which is a shame for you, because I’m new to tool ownership and building a home), but as a decent human being, you could at least apologize like a grown up.
And if that’s too much to ask, I hope you enjoy unemployment.
I had a similar experience, now that you bring it up. I had a 3/16 hex bit driver (in 3/8 square drive) that had gotten rounded. This was the kind that was built sort of like a socket, with a 1/4 inch hex inser pressed into it, held in place with a spring loaded retaining ring. All I wanted was a new insert, and was even willing to pay for it. They said they did not have a bit of that size (the whole bit) and I told the replacing the whole bit was not necessary, I only needed the insert. I even showed them how the insert could e pulled out with a strong tug with my Leatherman, and pointed out to where they had replacement inserts on the shelf (had plenty of time to find them while waiting for help) and all I got was that they thought that my driver was warranted as a unit, but didn’t think the individual bits were. So, they would replace the entire $5 unit under warranty, which they did not have in stock, and mail it out to me for free, but would not take a 99 cent insert off the shelf, and put it in the driver socket, after I pulled it out for them???????
I made the mistake of letting them talk me into leaving the driver socket with them, with my name and address, with their promise to mail me a replacement. I have not seen the replacement, and the store lost all record of me being there, my bit socket, or any promises made. I now have a bit driver set that is mostly Craftsman, with the 3/16 bit being an SK.
Shocking, isn’t it? One of the “customer service” people who was oh-so-helpful told me, when I asked for his name and told him the call was being recorded, that what I was doing is a violation of privacy and he’ll hang up and call his lawyer and the police. I told him there was no need to hang up and that I would hold.
My favorite part was when another “customer service” person was trying to look up the store information and was verbally angry at me for 1) not knowing the store’s phone number and 2) not looking it up for them. I asked if, as part of Eddie’s cost-cutting, the company got rid of computers and/or internet access? Just ridiculous. An awful, awful company. I’m not even angry anymore, I’m just insulted yet impressed they’re still holding on.
And I’m a former shareholder.
Man, I am loving these comments. I had purchased lawn equipment, applicants, and tools from a local Sears. Had a credit account and everything but in the end, I had issues with a riding lawn mower. Had to jump through hoops to get it repaired and even then it has never been the same. Okay, whatever. I go to pay my Sears credit card payment at the local store and the manager denied me when I tried pay with my debit card because it would cost the store a few bucks. … Seriously?
Lost my business forever, lost my families business and more business with coworkers. I instantly grabbed cash from the bank, paid my account in full and closed it. Anytime I get something new, everyone wants to know where I got it – I dont even say Sears anymore and I dont hesitate to slam them into the ground when given the chance.
I am now buying/replacing tools and lawn equipment with non-Craftsman brands. No regrets.
I should add…. I am grateful for the staff’s cluelessness on the return policy. I was able to return almost $1,000 in power tool and toolbox purchases made over the last three months. Always helps to hang onto receipts.
This is the first time I’ve ever commented on this site, although I read it regularly. This will probably run long. I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot in recent years. I even considered writing the company to air my thoughts, but figured it would have no effect anyway. Now I have an excuse to let it all out, so here goes…
I have a special attachment to the Sears and Craftsman brands, as I grew up in the 1980s about a block away from a Sears store. Every tool my dad had was Craftsman, so it made sense that as I grew up, my tool collection would be Craftsman as well. That all went according to plan until the appearance of all of the issues raised by other commenters, (declining quality, offshore production, poorly-staffed stores, etc.) My workshop is almost completely Craftsman power tools, but most are from the 50s and 60s. (table saw, jointer, band saw, wood lathe, metal lathe, belt sander, 2 drill presses…) My newer power tools all broke and weren’t worth fixing, so I started buying up used tools from Craftsman’s heyday. It really says something that my 60 year-old Craftsman power tools are still running and my 20 year-old ones are long gone.
The Craftsman name, (like Sears in general) has always stood for quality products at an affordable price. They weren’t fancy, they weren’t “boutique”, but you knew that you were buying something made BY blue-collar Americans, FOR blue-collar Americans. There are no companies filling that niche anymore. Instead, Sears is trying to be Amazon, and Craftsman seems to be trying to disappear among the dozens of other mediocre, Chinese-made tool brands.
I understand that as a business, you are under constant pressure to increase profits, and if tools are not your area of expertise, cutting quality and outsourcing seems like a great idea. It’s been working for almost every other sector for decades, right? Perhaps as long as Craftsman is under the control of investment bankers and other people that have never held a wrench, it is pointless to try to reason with them. There are probably not many examples of companies bringing manufacturing back to the US and seeing a jump in profits, so I understand their reluctance to do so. But I would rather hitch my wagon to a company that cares about American jobs, cares about working-class tradespeople, and cares about making a product that will be a source of pride for generations.
And I don’t want to get off my soap box without mentioning the Sears store employees. I’m sure the Craftsman representative you spoke to has nothing to do with staffing Sears stores, but paying the employees a decent wage and offering competitive benefits would help retain knowledgable and happy help. No customer wants to deal with grumpy, underpaid tool salesmen who only work there because they haven’t gotten a callback from The Gap yet. Ask for help at a Costco and a Walmart and tell me who has a better model for employee compensation.
If you made it through all that, thanks.
Great site, BTW!
First, FIX THE WEBSITE!!! Sears/Craftsman has to have one of the clunkiest to navigate websites I use. I have searched for a certain tool, only to be unable to find it, but then later, often after I bought another one somewhere else, it will pop up. I have seen pictures that don’t match the descriptions, searches for things that won’t bring the right thing up, etc. I have no problem ordering it for store pickup, if need be, but not if I can’t find it.
Also, my closest Sears seems to be in a constant state of reorganizing wjphere things are. They move the hand tools especially to new areas making them hard to find. I could live with some re arranging, but it seems like every time I go there, stuff is moved around.
Lastly, give us some in stock USA made tools. I could live with the Craftsman Professional line being USA made, with a cheaper Craftsman line being imported, but have some of the Pro tools in the store. Often, when I need a tool or wrench, I need it now, not in 4 to 7 days. Instead of waiting, I will make the drive to the pro tool shop across town that sells (and carries in stock) SK and Proto tools. The Pro line doesn’t have to undercut other USA made tools, just be of comparable quality and price. For me, the many Craftsman tools I bought, were because the Craftsman line represented good quality USA made tools, at a reasonable price, and sometimes very good prices if you could catch a sale. If I’m going to buy Tiawan or China made tools I can go Husky or seven Harbor Freight. Craftsman had carved out a niche with people who would pay a bit more for US made tools, but weren’t going to pay Snap On prices.
The main things would be fix the website (maybe free or reduced shipping for some tool orders) and have USA made tools in store, even if they are the Pro line. Then I can always decide if I want the import Craftsman version, or want to spend a little more for the US made Pro line. I bet they would sell more of the USA Pro line than they think.
Wow, where to begin. Nothing about Sears’ strategy makes sense.
Craftsman has no distinguishing characteristics after it followed its competition overseas. Now it competes only on price and its eroding reputation. Do you really want to compete solely on price when you have a player like HF in the market? This is a company that lifetime warranties torque wrenches, has perpetual 20% off everything coupons, and generally doesn’t seem to care about making money at all.
Why have lower prices online and discourage customers from going into your stores? You have a large investment in a lot of valuable real estate. Why not use it? Amazon would love to have little warehouses in everyone’s towns like that.
If you’re going to offer lower prices, why not offer them to SYWR members? You push everyone into that program but don’t offer immediate incentives for it. If you want members that much, you’ll get a lot more by telling people they scan save $25 right away on an item than that they’ll earn $1 in points on every $100 they spend.
There are a lot of online-only items and sets. Why not have a printed catalogue so
people can know about them? Even if the sears.com search engine wasn’t awful, and it is, it’s nicer to browse through a catalogue the search for specific things you may not know exist.
Why did Sears get rid of most of the open-stock when it reset the tools department? The policy of giving a gift card in exchange for a broken ratcheting wrench is ridiculous and must cost the company a lot of money. Make room. It’s idiotic to claim a lifetime warranty on tools but not be able to warranty individual wrenches and sockets besides the most common.
If you’re going to push gimmicky tools all the time, why not utilize the Evolv brand instead of tarnishing the Craftsman name? With Chinese Craftsman and gimmicky Craftsman tools that won’t be around to warranty after the season anyway, the line between Craftsman and Evolv has blurred. Add in abandonment of the Craftsman Professional brand, and there’s no semblance of the old Sears good/better/best way of selling things.
I thought about it some more and decided that Sears’ strategy is to do the same thing their more successful competitors are doing, except later and not as well. So good luck with that.
1. USA made tools
2. Better customer service
3. Compete on 1 and 2, not on cost. Sears/Craftsman can’t win a cost war with Harbor Freight
For further detail:
1. Bring back the USA made tools. As has been mentioned in previous posts, Harbor Freight has hand tools made in Taiwan that are comparable to the Craftsman ones made in Asia. Craftsman MUST offer a higher quality part than Harbor Freight as Sears CANNOT compete with Harbor Freight on price, convenience, or service. All are better at Harbor Freight: There are many more HF stores near me, the prices are much lower, and the return policy is actually easier than the once legendary Sears warranty (there is more staff per sq/ft at HF, the staff doesn’t try to sell you vinyl siding or whatever I am always accosted about at Sears, and, since all HF sells is tools, the staff are very friendly about exchanges). Whether true or not (and I happen to believe it is true), people believe a tool made in the USA is of higher quality than one made in Asia. For hand tools at least, USA made tools are the only way Sears can compete with Harbor Freight. (I will give Sears credit that their imported power tools have been MUCH better than the imported HF power tools, but who knows how long that will remain the case.)
Here is a short anecdote: I recently bought a 3/4″ breaker bar at Harbor Freight. The price at Harbor Freight was $22 less a 20% discount for a net of about $18. I first went to Sears to see if I could find a Craftsman one made in USA. Sears had one for $54, but it was made in Taiwan. If Sears had had a USA made one I would have paid the extra $36, but why would I pay 3 times as much for a Craftsman tool made in Tawain? The Harbor Freight one has a quick release feature not found on the Craftsman one, has beautiful chrome plating, and easily withstood 600 ft-lbs (me jumping up and down on the end of a 4 foot cheater pipe). Both the Sears and harbor Freight Tools have a lifetime warranty, but one could argue that the Harbor Freight one is a nicer tool and it is literally 1/3 the price.
Why would I be willing to pay 3 times as much for a Craftsman tool if it had been made in the USA? Because any other brand of USA made tool would probably be 6 times the price of the harbor Freight tool. Craftsman used to mean INCREDIBLE VALUE FOR USA MADE tools. For many of us these are heirloom items. I bought my first Craftsman tools when I was 16 and I still have them over 20 years later. My dad has passed away, and I inherited his Craftsman tools. Someday I will pass both his and my tools onto my children. Many of us are willing to pay a premium for USA made tools. Craftsman proved for decades that they can compete with Snap On, MAC, et al, but it they will loose a race to the bottom with Harbor Freight.
2. I think Sears needs better employees – whether that be through better training, higher pay, or better incentives to treat customers well. Not all are bad, but most are. The manager at my local Sears store is the nicest man – I try to buy from his store if he has a tool I actually want, but this is rare as the only way to get USA made tools these days is to buy online. Also, buying something at Sears is a chore as, after you dodge the vinyl siding salesman, it is very hard to find someone to unlock the tools.
Unlike other posters, I don’t mind the Sears website. It isn’t as good as Amazon, but I am always able to find the tool I want. The place where Sears is terrible in online sales is fulfillment. I have ordered nearly $4,000 in Craftsman hand tools recently as I tried to get the last of the USA made stuff. (Again, that is a lot of money, but much less than I would spend at a tool truck.) I received orders with items missing, holes in the box where a loose wrench escaped out the side never to be delivered, and countless tools shipped in boxes 10 times too big for the items inside. The most comical was a ¾” drive tool set (about 5x12x24″ in size) that shipped in a box so large my girlfriend actually CLIMBED INSIDE and shut the flaps. About half the time I receive a shipment from Sears, I think the employees in shipping must hate their jobs so much they actually want to hasten Sear’s demise. Amazon, on the other hand has never, ever, made an error in my shipment. At Sears, the error rate is between 33 and 50%. Ordering one item is usually fine, but order 15 and it is likely something will be missing. Finally, the customer support to get a mistake resolved is terrible. The customer service reps barely understand English and it takes an hour to get the order straightened out (although to give some credit, all my orders were eventually fixed or refunded).
The tool selection at Harbor Freight is also much better. Need a 3/4″ torque wrench? It’s in stock at your local Harbor Freight for $60 with a lifetime warranty. Craftsman doesn’t make one (I checked – I would have bought it if they did and it was USA made like the 3/8 and 1/2 inch Craftsman ones in my tool box). Harbor Freight also has a much better selection of specialty tools, like ball joint separators, hydraulic presses, etc. Harbor Freight’s quality is also much better than it was 10 years ago. I used to think HF tools as disposable, one-time use items, but the items I have bought recently have not broken (they might not always fit due to poor tolerances, but they don’t brake).
Website is hard to navigate and troublesome when using discount codes.
But mostly, it’s the switch to overseas tools. Sadly, I sold or gave away all my Craftsman tools due to this. But I went overseas as well. To Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and England.
Hi sears/craftsman! Yeah your websites suck, but maybe you don’t need to compete with the online retailers of the world if you just keep your local stores stocked? Seriously though, the websites are really sad. Replace with a just a splash page and people would be happier.
I never had an outstanding customer service experience in one of your stores, but I’ve never had one at a big box home improvement store either… The mom and pop neighborhood ace store is a nice place to see craftsman tools, but sadly selection is poor.
I too am in the camp of people who like shopping your stores for the well priced made in USA hand tools of investment quality. In fact, I bought a craftsman combination square for like $10 a few months back that was less expensive than the cheapies at the big box stores and made in USA! Keep it up! My 200 piece mechanics set has served me well for the past couple decades and I trust will continue to for more to come. Sadly the folding utility knife I wasted $5 on throws more blades than cuts it’s made…
Although the eVolVe line reeks of dotcomish xxtremely lame branding, I thought that was a fair move to provide the made in China price and quality without dragging craftsman too fully through the mud.
I think one of your biggest hits of the past few years has been the nextec 12v line of lithium ion tools and would hope to see more expansion as opposed to what seems like a continued reduction in offerings. (12v radio and mini hacksall please). Loved using the angle impact driver on a recent cabinet install! And whoever it was that came up with the idea to integrate a humble led flashlight into the bottom of a battery deserves a raise!
If it isn’t feasible to fully stock and sell craftsman tools through your stores and other retailers, maybe pushing forward in one direction will be a better for longevity?
Please don’t go the way of radioshack!
I did get a nextec angle driver and love it for cabinets. But I’d heard you were discontinuing this line so got an extra battery and that was it for nextec. Not sure why something decent was/is being discontinued.
I’ve never had problem with them really always replace no question asked.yes there tool made cheaper then used to but I still haven’t broke any well ratchets but when used as hammer happens. Id pay for craftsman before snap on etc way easier track down Sears then tool truck.
Tired of some the gimmick crap tools but everyone makes them now
Bring their hands tools back to America. Stop with the gimmicky tools, mach drive, universal stuff, etc. Put their money into tools that are actually useful.
I bought one of their ~300 pc tool set (one that replaced the 309 pc, iirc) and my god, the majority of the sockets are 12 pts. I don’t want 12pt sockets, I want 6pt. I don’t feel like stripping out the bolts and nuts on my car.
Bring back your selection of individual tools, sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers and even impact sockets!
I recently discovered one of my Craftsman reversible ratcheting combo wrenches was defective. The 13mm skipped and was likely that way when I got it, I’d just never used it. Time for warranty replacement, which I’ve always had excellent results with. Went to three different stores, only to learn most individual wrenches aren’t stocked amymore–just empty hooks with white bar-code stickers covering the price and stock information. And, they won’t break open a set for a warranty replacement.
What’s the process to get the replacement? The cashier had to go to a computer kisok(not the register), and look up the part online, and create an order with shipping to my house. Then he had to call someone in corporate and explain what the issue was, and get a code number so he could issue me a gift card for the amount of a new wrench plus shipping. Then, he had to enter this number, along with my information into the register and produce said gift card.This needed managers approval. Then, he recalled the order he placed on the PC, and paid for it with the gift card he created earlier. This too needed managers approval. Of course steps two and three took several tries to get right. He must have asked me for my phone number 8 times and I estimate the whole process took about 25 minutes. All this for a $13 wrench. It’s crazy to think this ridiculous process would also apply to a $1 tool. What a fiasco! The good news is I got my replacement wrench in the mail quickly!
That experience about sums up my opinion of Sears nowadays: Nothing in stock, stagnant products and service which make it hard for loyal and willing customers to spend money there on what was once a great brand.
The biggest reason I stopped buying Craftsman tools was because they were no longer Made in USA. That’s was the last straw for me. High prices for cheap tools. Way to ruin a great reputation.
But even before that, it’s because their tool selection was getting smaller. It was like tools were just disappearing. Tape Measures…GONE, Drywall Screw Guns…GONE, Hand Planes…GONE(though it looks like the small ones are back), Glue Guns…GONE, Caulking Guns…GONE, Paint Sprayers…GONE, Drywall, Plumbing and Masonry tools…ALL GONE. When Sears made me look at other brands and stores because they simply no longer offered certain products, I would end up buying items elsewhere and from other brands even if Sears/Craftsman still offered things I needed. If there is a type of tool out there, Sears should offer a version of it with the Craftsman name!
Another big problem is the lack of commitment to tool lines. What happened to Craftsman Professional? How long will Nextec last? How do you expect customers to commit to a battery line when Craftsman is willing to abandon it? How about the Trak-Cut circular saw that was introduced in 2012? It was discontinued by 2014 and it is impossible to buy replacement blades.
Also, quit closing stores. I now have 2 Lowes, 3 Wal-Marts, 4 Home Depots, 1 Harbor Freight and some Ace and True Value stores all closer to me than the nearest Sears. What are you offering me that makes it worth the inconvenience to drive past these stores?
My last experience on the Sears website (November, 2014), for a Craftsman-branded thread restorer kit, was fine. I had no problem finding the item and placing an order. I would have preferred to pick up the tool at my local store, but that option wasn’t available (it was an online-only item, for some reason). The item was great, being a re-branded Lang set (made in U.S.A.), so was very pleased with the experience. However, everyone else puts that problem at the top of their list (navigation of the site(s) being horrendous), so I may have been lucky. There must be something to that, so new management should take that comment to heart and attempt to repair it (them).
Someone else mentioned bringing back a paper catalogue, which I still value. I like to leaf through a catalogue to discover tools. The book is finite in size, unlike the website, and I don’t have to be at a computer to check a detail about an item’s size, voltage or claimed capabilities. I’m also old-school, and like the feel of the catalogue in my hand, as well as being able to view descriptions of competing tool brands, side by side, before I select one.
Part of the problem with in-store personnel is that few employees want to make a career in retail sales anymore. It’s to get through college, pay the rent, whatever, and you won’t see the same people there the next time you go in. Most of the salespeople are also quite young, and probably don’t possess a “tool” background. They lack the over-used phrase of “having a passion for their craft” (i.e., have a working knowledge of tools and where they are located in the store), so it’s difficult to get useful help from the staff.
I haven’t been in a Sears store for six months or so, because I buy most of what I need from Amazon. That includes tools, clothing, books, almost anything you care to name. It’s at a competitive price (or lower) than what Sears and most other retailers charge, and I can get it in two days via Prime shipping. That may be the biggest stumbling block of all. Amazon doesn’t have a sales staff or brick-and- mortar stores (just warehouse fulfillment centers which they probably own outright), so there’s no rent, personnel or related issues that cause prices to fluctuate (and thus affect bottom-line profits).
There’s also unlimited space and capability of displaying items online; stores have a finite space to display things, and tend to go with the items they can turn over quickly. That became painfully obvious in 2008 when the recession hit. It would be difficult to find items in retail stores; they weren’t buying as much, and there was a reduced sales staff to sell those items they did have. Another advantage Amazon has is numerous business “partners”; what Amazon doesn’t sell, their partners offer via their businesses (displayed on Amazon’s sites), and thus can capture a good share of the market.
The decision to source most of the Craftsman tool line from Asia was inspired lunacy. It brought down the price of the tools Sears bought for resale, but turned off most tool purchasers. They used to be able to buy a decent quality USA-made Craftsman tool and would receive the same if it broke; now they would be handed a poorly made replacement from China. We all thought, “No, thanks”, and stayed away in droves. To help turn things around, this needs to be addressed.
Anyway, those are my observations, for what they’re worth.
1)Site operation:Buggy. 2)Coupons:Great idea, often too limiting. 3)Reason for use:Price, quick shipping, guaranteed arrival(Unlike some flakey eBay and Amazon purchases), Wide range of products. 4)Overall:Happy with online.
Quality US made goods
Once upon a time I would visit a Sears eagerly to acquire new tools without hesitation as my dad had done. There wasn’t a second thought in purchasing any of the Craftsman tools as they were US made and of good quality.
Nowadays I spend hours researching and purchasing tools online (due to lack of a one stop shop for various tools). On occasion I might stop by the local Sears in hopes of another US made tool to add to the inventory but I haven’t had much luck most the time. In fact, I have been purchasing more Craftsman tools from local swapmeets and yard sales then the nearby Sears.
Hope things turn around, here’s to wishful thinking :cheers:
A long time ago, and seemingly in a galaxy far away, Sears had knowledgeable sales representatives in each department who were on a commission based sales pay structure. This fostered its own form of sales knowledge as those people who worked in a department and knew the product lines of their area of responsibility could make a living wage, while those that did not care, did not stay. This system also had the effect of keeping a sales force in play who treated the customer with the best respect possible based on the customers themselves. Somewhere along the way, those really successful sales employees got the shaft when someone felt that they were making too much money, and the system was phased out of existence in the name of company profits.
The new business landscape we deal with these days may not lend itself to such a system, but during the sixties it was what kept our family as loyal Sears customers. It has been a long path downhill from that time and I must say that I have no knowledge of the tool woes others have posted here as I have not been in one of their stores in more than five years. I gave up on the lifetime tool from Sears when I was given a complete piece of crap in exchange for an old high quality item that had failed on me. The only reason I might return to Sears someday is in search of a specific replacement for one of my existing Craftsman tools, but I do not hold out much hope of there actually being one.
1. Bring back the USA-made tools.
Whether this means getting Apex/Danaher to re-open a factory or two in the USA, or partnering with SK, or another new partnership, do it. Sears has lost it’s core customers. China made tools are fine for the eVolv line and lower end stuff. Not for $100+ wrench and ratchet sets.
2. Bring back Craftsman Professional core products. (ratchets, wrenches)
The Professional line was a direct competitor to Snap-on, MAC, and other tool truck brands, and it beat them with price and warranty every time. Bring it back, with all USA-made tools, even if it means higher prices. Bring it back as “Craftsman Platinum” or something if the profesional line would create issues.
3. Bring back the no-hassle warranty.
Most people don’t know this is gone. If you bring back a socket or wrench the local store doesn’t have, they no longer order you a new one and have it shipped. You just get a gift card back for the current sale price of the new tool. Not good if your store has China-made sockets/wrenches and you want to replace a USA-made one.
4. Stop the money-wasting gimmicks and stick with sale prices and the Craftsman Club 10% discount.
Lately it seems Sears has been hemmoraging money for the last few years – spending too much of it on gimmicks that are never profitable. Cut the fat and do away with gimmicks and stick to what worked in the 80’s and 90’s – easy-to-understand sale prices, and one week of 10% off all tools/Craftsman products for Craftsman Club members. Online/email coupons are good too.
5. Fire people who are hurting sales and the brand.
I had a higher level store employee once tell me there was no such thing as a lifetime warranty on Craftsman tools when I came in to exchange a few wrenches, and she had worked there for many years and “knew that was a fact”. She told me to leave the store or she would call the police. I had to call the regional manager (who happened to be visiting that store when I called) to explain what happened and get a resolution (they shipped me the replacement wrenches). However, nothing happened to the employee who did that. They are still a manager at the store. People who spout nonsense like that or who otherwise misinform customers about the Craftsman warranty, whether maliciously or just out of pure laziness, need to be fired before they do more damage to the company or the brand.
Very well said. I do buy and use the C3 tools. They actually seem to be improving this line. Not USA but are good for everything I do.
Since I was young, to me, Sears meant American Pride, and with that pride came loyalty. Now both those things are long gone. I’m am 37 years young and my first tool set was Craftman. My early memories of working with tools was in the weekends fixing something with my dad around the house or car, needing a tool that my dad didn’t have, jumping in the car and driving over to the local Sears. I continued to keep that loyalty up until Sears stopped making those same tools in the U.S.A. For me, that was the biggest letdown. Since then it’s seems to be that Sears has continued to keep taking all the wrong turns.
This has forced me to purchase from other tool company’s, American and even German. If Sears would go back to basics, bring those jobs back to the States, and start producing those same quality tools, this loyal customer would come back to do my part. The American folk, we don’t want gimmicks, because we’re not dumb. We just want those very same tools with that very same quality from back in the day. All my friends, family and co worker’s feel exactly the same as I have expressed myself, & I’m sure theirs lots of guys out their that feel the same way.
I’m sure theirs politics, financial responsibilities, and other issues brewing with Sears that are over my head, but having said that, I wish the best for the Sears family, and the Craftman brand.
I’m going to buck the trend here. I don’t think USA made is as important today as it was 30 years ago. While I’m appreciative of what products made in the USA mean, I think we’re moving away from that being a viable business model for large scale manufacturing. I don’t think we’ve got the infrastructure to support Craftsman making all their tools domestically. It’s a shame, but I think the country’s manufacturing concerns have moved beyond making day to day goods and into highly specialized goods.
However for Sears to regain my, and a lot of other people’s, respect again, their tools need to mimic the tools from 30 years ago. They need to be quality, long lasting, reasonable tools. I would happily spend 15% or so more than Sears is currently charging if I knew the tools were going to last 10 or more years of constant use. In this global economy, I don’t mind if the tools are made overseas as long as the tools are *good*.
If I was told that there was a Craftsman set of screwdrivers that matched the quality of the old ones, I’d buy it within a few weeks. It would get me checking what Sears was selling again. I would become a regular Sears shopper again if I knew there was continual rollout of old Craftsman quality tools.
On a Non-Craftsman related note, Sears current electronics department is abysmal. There was a time when the Sears electronics department was like Best Buy is now. It stocked cutting edge technology and offered a huge selection. The first time I ever saw a PC and the internet when I was a kid was in a Sears, a little TV screen on top of a beige box with Prodigy on the screen. It was Amazing! The current electronics dept stocks barely enough products to be considered an electronics dept. Cell phone selection is terrible and that’s the core product that brings people in to shop for electronics. Sears electronic dept is one step above a Goodwill store and its not a big step.
I asked to see their A/V units and they had zero… but they had plenty of in-stock 50-60″ HDTV’s ready to sell. I wonder how many people buy a theater sized HDTV and use the tiny built-in speakers… I suppose it happens….
A lot of good comments on here that I completely agree with. I want to know why the Sears brick and mortar stores don’t match their own website prices?? Example: I can go online, buy a tool that is on sale online and in stock in the store. Once purchased, I can go pick it up almost immediately. But I can’t go to the store, get the tool and go to a cash register and get the same price?? Asinine. Get rid of your chinese hand tools, I won’t buy them.
In addition, the Sears website is one of the worst designed websites I’ve ever seen. It is not customer friendly and I believe Sears is trying to go out of business by pushing their customers away. Quit trying to make your website like Amazon. If you sold quality, American made tools, I wouldn’t have to go to Amazon.
1. USA made QUALITY tools
2. maybe stock some Armstrong tools as a “professional” line. I really like Armstrong, and they are essentially the same as craftsman professional. So get rid of the evolv line, keep mid-level craftsman and have a professional line IN STORES.
3. Expand gearwrench selection
4. Expand Knipex selection
Market quality. Make light of “gimicky” gifts other stores sell and encourage people to buy high quality tools that won’t fail, strip out, or break after 2 uses. People want quality. if we want cheap we go to harbor freight. You’re not going to win the retail battle on price and cheap quality. I’m a home DIY guy and my box is filled with SK , Armstrong, Snap-On, Matco, and old Craftsman USA. I don’t own one evolv tool and I never will
I used to be a big Craftsman fan. Most of the tools I bought some time ago were exclusively Craftsman. But over the years they have become so gimmicky that they became the equivalent to what most fishing lures are, designed to catch fisherman, not fish.
Im looking for solid , made in America craftsmanship that can do the job and last a lifetime…period. That’s what they used to be and that’s how they used to stand up for themselves.
Now its all gimmicks and fancy designs and packaging. Maybe they should open a boutique.
A few years ago in northern Maine I took a Craftsman wrench into Sears to be warrantied. The female store manager was an asshole as was the the other two persons involved in this fiasco. The first person, a young man probably 16 or so would have been better at cleaning out cattle stalls; he refers me to the dept manager and she appeared to be operating with an IQ of -5. After some time and great aggravation, I end up with a card valued at half the replacement of the tool I took in.
This entire process was handled in the tool dept with other customers witnessing the incompetence and sheer stupidity of your employees.
This store has now closed and a part of me feels bad about this, but a blind man could have seen this coming. I do know the former manager has moved on to torture others in another location.
I have other stories to tell about the automotive dept, but at this point I really don’t give a rats behind. Seriously…… I think your a day late and a dollar short.
Lock the door on the way out.
Stuart’s opinion of Sears and Craftsman is very accurate IMO. ToolGuyd readers comments are very accurate too. In brief these are my top thoughts.
> I lost a great deal of trust in Sears as a brand, when after getting a Sears credit card, I noticed interest charges from the date of purchase: IMMEDIATELY CANCELED CARD
> Sears and Craftsman Club websites have minimal value in getting info and ordering with the user interface being unacceptable by any industry standard today.
> Sears sold and Craftsman branded tools sold by Sears seems to marketed to all, with no market segment focus and as a result the brand reputation and confidence has been lowered. Quality is no longer a given with Sears tools.
> Craftsman and related Sears advertising and marketing efforts/programs are not effective. They often seem convoluted requiring sales agents to take excessive time and efforts for implementation. Newspaper ads are pretty much the same every week.
Get rid of the stupid marketplace on the website. When I go to a company’s website I want to see what they have to offer, not what I can get from small companies glomming onto the Sears name. Best Buy does the same stupid thing and it drives me crazy.
Every time I go to a Sears store, I just get the feeling of irrelevance. I don’t know why. Maybe because it still looks like a department store back from the 70’s and Sears is the last of that dying breed. I don’t have any suggestions though.
Please keep Sears parts direct, sure I can get parts on the internet, but it’s nice when my garage door is broken that I can check on the internet and one of the many stores in Minneapolis and one of them will have the replacement gears.
You know, I’m fine with the Taiwan made tools, but not at the expense of American made. Ditch the Chinese, keep the Taiwan stuff as a value line, and have American made tools as a line of premium core tools. I think it’s important that the American made tools be more than just American made, they need to be high quality. Craftsman, in my eyes, would be wise to create an American line that is superior to Husky, Kobalt, and other offshore manufactured tools, cheaper than the truck brands, and more widely available than the premium industrial brands. If this existed, it would probably be all the I purchased.
The Taiwan tools could still compete apples to apples with the Huskys, Kobalts, and Gearwrenches of the world (though I put Gearwrench a notch above the others in terms of quality and value) for the guys that don’t need the best tool on the shelf.
I wouldn’t have a problem if Sears still sold garbage brand tools for people who value price above all else, but for gods sake don’t put your name on it.
I would just love some clarity on what their strategy is, such as what is going on with the Nextec line?
Love to see them simply have two lines: cheap chinese tools to compete with the big box stores and the Craftsman Professional USA for when people want a decent tool.
I would also echo one of the previous posts that they should concentrate on core tools and give up on the gimmicks (Mach Series, etc.). Instead of all that junk, why not float in new tools by smaller manufacturers from time to time. They used to sell Triangle Ratchets online, but never in the store. Why? They had Grip Tite wrenches for a short period of time, but my store threw them next to the Clearance Section from day one. They may get some foot traffic if they actually put the new tools out front.
Screw Sears and Craftsman!
The company has been destoyed by idiots and they want input from US to help THEM? Sears should be bigger than AMAZON – hell, they invented/perfected buying from home a hundred years ago. They had the wharehouses, retail fronts and catalog (today’s website) and handed it over to Jeff Bezos to remake in his own style.
Sorry, but if they need input from us on how to fix things the wrong people are collecting huge salaries from the place still. Start by firing the well intentioned fool who came to us for input and I hope to hell he’s not a 30-something with a fresh, crisp graduate degree……if he is, it’s too late to save Sears.
I avoid Craftsman tools as much as I can anymore. Lately it seems like I’m paying Craftsman prices for Harbor Freight quality. I think Lowes’ line of mechanic tools are better than current Craftsman offerings, they offer the same lifetime guarantee, and at this point I’m guessing Lowes will be around longer than Sears.
LOL – bucking the trend it’s like my middle name.
So Sears needs to go and take the craftsman name with them. Their time died with the advent on internet shopping and direct sale and marketing. Why? Instead of buying a rebranded SK made or williams or _____________ american made tool, I can buy direct the SK, wiiliams or __________ tool from any number of distributors websites. Life is good. and know I know who made my product without hiding behind, well this years ___________ was made by _________ but that years is a ___________. Same with Kenmore By the way.
It was a good idea before the internet and store competition. Hell the likes of home depot, Lowes, wallmart, etc also helped Kill Sears. but I digress.
tools – the time has come. Sure I know, but you can take your broken craftsman ___________ and they have to give you a new one . . . . . Well they stopped doing that didn’t they. for the most part those day’s have past. But if you had a SK or a Snap on, or whatever – you usually can send to the company or distributor store and you’ll get a warranty replacement. no questions asked in some cases – sure it has to be shipped most likely, but it’s not that big a deal.
so they can go away now. yes I liked them when it was a one stop shop and they had quality – that ship has sailed.
I would like to see an easier to use website, I tried finding a complete set of 6 point shallow and deep sockets in half in. drive and ended up buying just a shallow set from ebay because I could not find them on the sears website, then a week after the purchase stumbled upon the complete set and wish I bought it. I like to buy what I need. Sears does not cater very well to people that all ready have the basic tools and are looking to replace or expand in specific areas, sears is very good at providing “overview” tool sets. Socket sets of all drives I also think would benefit from including more sizes for example to half inch deep well sockets come with very few sizes as compared to high end brands, I would like to see Craftsman offer the larger sets individually and make them easy to find. Last, the ratchets need to be upgraded as the clicks are not fine enough and I find myself going for everything but the craftsman ratchets. The impact sockets are also way too expensive, I don’t know how or why anybody would buy them as the prices are not competitive.
I suggest the following:
Have two lines branded “Craftsman” have a pro line and brand the other one “Heritage” or something like that . The heritage line would be equal in quality to the old Craftsman tools DIYer used to buy. Advertise this line with this in mind. This would be a line of basic tools that DIYers would use and keep. No need for fancy gadgets in this line. If most of this line were made in the U.S. my guess is that people would be leaving Harbor Freight to buy Craftsman, even if the price were somewhat higher, but still in DIY range.
In advertising this line make sure to put tool technical information right out there. Respect the person who will buy your tools with good and thorough information. This will help online buyers. Heck, when I try to find info on brand like DeWalt or Makita, it is often not easy or even available. I might even buy craftsman over these better brands if I knew it was dependable and they provided tech information right up front. You have an advantage over Amazon in that I’d still rather see and pick up the tool I’m buying rather than buying it online sight unseen.
Hire people in your tool departments and to answer the phone for tool calls who know something or at least want to know something about tools. Pay them decently. Train them and have protocols for customer service. One bad employee can drive away hundreds of customers. Especially if they are not the exception but the rule.
You’d have to do something to demonstrate the quality of these tools. Perhaps independent testing, etc. For many decades Sears/Craftsman was the main place I bought tools, and often the only place I looked. That could be the Heritage line.
I used to buy a lot of craftsman tools when they were US-made. I thought they were an excellent value for a nonprofessional. However, once they started to lower the quality of the tools and make them in China, I just started going to Harbor Freight instead. If I’m going to buy a Chinese tool, I really don’t care where I get it as I consider the tool a “throw away” item at this point. Price becomes the deciding factor. The guaranteed forever warranty used to be attractive. However, there are plenty of horror stories on the web where Sears won’t honor this warranty. So it’s easier to just buy two or three sets of cheap tools at Harbor Freight and consider them as disposable. Personally, I’ve never broken a wrench anyway. I lose them before I have a chance to break them.
I would pay more for a high quality tool with the Craftman name. Sears and Craftsman have a long and proud history. But they cannot and should not try to compete in the absolute low-end of the market. Give us good quality midrange tools (made in USA or Taiwan…basically anywhere but China), honor your warranty, and you get my business back.
Sears seems to be moving in a better direction; the implementation is wrong. From a technological standpoint, their website, store pickup and ShopYourWay is getting better. They desperately need someone to focus on the user interface of both the apps and website.
The next major problem, especially in the tools realm, is bringing this technology to current staff. When you’re in Sears, and you have a question about tools, you get the best answer from (let’s be honest) older employees. But without fail, these older employees have the hardest time with the phone scanning, new registers or ShopyourWay integration. Either these employees have to embrace tech or the younger employees need to learn what the difference between a planer and an orbital sander.
I shop at Sears. I buy Gladiator Garageworks. I also buy craftsman tools when I think I need a tool but don’t know how much I am going to use it. Example: Recently I purchased a Craftsman 10″ Bandsaw and a scroll saw. I loved the scroll saw and sold it and upgraded to a Dewalt.
Why not Harbor Freight? Free shipping off the Max delivery service and ShopYourWay rewards.
There is potential. Someone needs to tie it all together in a package that is friendly and simple.
Echoing many others…. they are dead to me. Website is horrendous. Service from Sears when I bought my last washer/dryer forced me to Home Depot.
But the worst was their awful attempt at an Amazon-like storefront. I bought some stuff from the Sears Website, but apparently it was a merchant selling on their marketplace. The merchant didn’t deliver for like 2 months, and Sears refused, I restate, REFUSED to help. They said “you didn’t purchase from us, you bought that from a seller on our marketplace, you have to deal with them.”
That was the last, final straw for me. There’s really nothing that would make me buy from them again, regardless of price or quality or really anything. I wish them well, but will be surprised if they exist as more than an oddity in 10 years.
1) The website is terrible. I don’t even go there when it comes up in a search for a specific item. And, I’m not a fan of the third-party sales. I would prefer to only see items on the website that Sears itself is selling.
2) Tool quality seems to be down from what it once was. I won’t insist on US-made tools (would be nice, though), but I also won’t pay more than Harbor Freight prices for Harbor Freight quality. The only tools I’ve bought from Sears in several years have been special discounts on specific tools I needed/wanted that also seemed to be of good quality.
3) Customer service in store is terrible. The last time I was in a Sears store, the only time I was spoken to was to was first a half-a** “Welcome to Sears” from a cashier who was flirting with a group of guys and again for the same cashier to tell me the total for the items I wanted to purchase (after she had to end her conversation with the same group of guys to ring up my purchase). The time before that, I was in the store first thing in the morning while the sales associates were stocking the shelves. They were very nice and asked if I needed any help, then proceeded to shout across the store to each other as they worked about how terrible their respective exes were.
Good luck to the Sears insider. I would certainly love to see Sears returned to its former glory.
I’m in my late 30s and grew up with Sears. I have fond childhood memories of thumbing through the catalog, of going with my mom to pick up orders, and of the Craftsman logo which adorned a majority of my father’s tools. Craftsman tools, Ford trucks, and John Deere tractors- like apple pie & going home. Sadly, Sears & Craftsman aren’t doing much to keep that association alive.
Case in point: A few months ago, I decided to move up from my Nextec drill (which has been terrific) to something with a little more oomph. The C3 Heavy Duty was on sale, and had an additional $10 SYW discount, so I ordered it online and selected “pay at store.” The next day when I went to pick it up & pay, the SYW discount wouldn’t ring up because it showed as having already been applied online (my “order confirmation” and “item ready for pickup” emails had two different prices- one with the discount, and one without). The salesperson was polite but clueless, and said I’d have to take it up with the online support because it was an online purchase. Well, you go to the website, and there’s a dozen numbers listed. Am I supposed to call the “online experience” or the “shop your way” number? I get put on hold either way, so decide to go the online chat route. After going around in circles explaining the situation to the online representative, they suggest I cancel the order and repurchase the drill, then the SYW discount & reward will apply because they’re no longer tied to an existing order. Great! Only problem, the drill is no longer on sale for the price I purchased it at, and the support person couldn’t make a price adjustment. Their solution was that I “keep watching” for the price to drop and they’d grandfather the SYW discount past its expiration. Really? You can offer a rewards IOU but can’t make a price adjustment? This is suddenly becoming a lot of work on my end for a simple/meager $10 discount. The local store is right around the corner, so I went back one last time before saying “forget this” and going to Lowe’s (which I’m equidistant to). Were Sears ever busy enough to necessitate waiting in line, I would have skipped it entirely, but I can usually walk in and get a person straight away. Anyway, this time I got a manager, who said sometimes the “surprise points” don’t show up until the transaction is actually paid for. Huh? Sure enough, they bring up my order in store and it’s $99. They swipe my card, and it rings up $89, which is what it should’ve been all along. So there you go, the layout and experience of the brick & mortar location is just as confusing as Sears.com. I find Craftsman.com to be more streamlined, but by the time you have Sears, SYW, Craftsman, Craftsman Club, etc all factored together, there’s too many moving parts & they don’t always mesh. I’m sure people who love gaming every possible discount enjoy the hoops to feel they’re getting some deal only a shopper of their caliber can unlock, but those people likely aren’t computer savvy enough to know how frustrating the online experience truly is.
As for Craftsman tools themselves, my experiences have been mostly positive, though even as a basic DIYer, I can tell there’s quite a range of quality within the Craftsman line. My hand tools from 20 yrs ago haven’t necessitated replacement, and the random hammer or pry bar I’ve purchased since performed their basic tasks. With cordless power tools, Bolt-On seems like a gimmicky compromise, so in my mind that leaves C3 as their flagship line. As someone moving up from 12v lithium, the C3 line seems very dated & clunky compared to most 18-20v competitors, even with lithium battery packs (as does its Ryobi cousin). I appreciate there’s an existing Ni-Cad user base, and if you abandon them, there’s no guarantee they’re coming back. The flip-side is it’s a move that makes you less appealing to new customers (who may have already written you off anyway). So really, the C3 line is representative of the company itself: awkwardly stuck between a fading past and an uncertain future.
The Sears website problems go beyond “bad search engine”. For one thing, open stock items (individual sockets or wrenches, for example) in a series, will have half a dozen different titles across the series. You can have the greatest search engine backend in the world, but it won’t help anyone with these database entry issues.
Product data- how many times is shipping weight used as product weight? How many times is shipping weight wrong anyway? How many times is packaging dimensions used as product dimensions? Too much! While your shipping department might greatly appreciate the packaging data, I want to know the size of the PRODUCT.
The second problem is 404’s and other failures.. I get them (often), click back, try again, and often it works the second time. If not I’ll come back later and often it will work. Very flaky.
I realize Land’s End is getting spun off from Sears, but they still cross-promote via Shop Your Way… but I am unable to use SYW coupons and promotions to buy school uniforms.
Product… GearWrench proved you can have Chinese made tools with decent quality and maintain a brand name. Craftsman Lobster claw wrenches proved that Sears can trash a respected brand name instantly.
The sheet metal gauge of the lowest end toolboxes should be that of the next level up, and so on, up the line. The homeowner quality boxes all end up in Clearance because it is physically impossible for them to be delivered without damage.
The price of toolbox side cabinets is way out of line with their size and utility, don’t go on sale often, and when they do the markdowns are small. Either get rid of them or make them more competitive.
Craftsman Evolve series are Made in Taiwan while Craftsman is made in China… HUH? What great genius thought THAT up?
Finally, If I’m a SWY member, give me the online price NOW on an in-store product, don’t make an associate order for me (30 minutes later…) and then the website fails.
I am just adding to the pile but Sears craftsman needs to be made in the USA. When I read about the subtle changes just to the ratchets when made overseas I am now reluctant to return a broken ratchet I have to Sears in fear of getting a poor quality ratchet. I know it might seem absurd but I also like that the handle says “Made in the USA” on it. So many items are made in other countries, it is now refreshing to see USA on tools and merchandise. So now I keep the broken ratchet and wait for the day Sears brings it back home because I don’t want the new one to have any other country written on it.
I just typed out a long, drawn out rant about how Sears has managed to bungle, mismanage, muck up so many things for me in the last dozen years, but I deleted it. The last straw was a screwup so blatant and incompetent I have thrown in the towel.
I say this with a shop full of Craftsman, but my attitude concerning Sears mirrors that of asparagus, that both could disappear tomorrow and I would never notice.
I don’t care. I’m done. I hold a grudge. I’ll never darken a Sears door ever again. Good riddance, I say. Buh bye.
Personally, I don’t care if the tools are made in the USA. There is nothing inherently bad about things manufactured in China. Many products are manufactured in China that are very high quality, it’s more a matter of the quality level that is sourced.
I would like Sears to carry two levels of tools with neither level being junk. One level would be Craftsman Pro and it should be very high quality with a lifetime warranty. The other level would be regular Craftsman, made with good steel/plastic and a 10 year warranty. The idea being the home owner that needs a good quality tool they can rely on. If they want something with much higher quality, then they step up to Craftsman Pro.
A good website with in-store stock and pickup would be essential as well.
Lastly, simplify the product lines a la Apple. You should not have more than two versions of most tools.
I am on board with the many comments that Craftsman needs to focus on producing good-quality, non-gimmicky, functional tools, ideally in the USA, much like they used to. In particular, I would emphasize hand-tools, with the idea that they need not be the best version of any tool, but are consistently good, and a fair price. I agree that Sears is a retail disaster, both online (need a better website and ditch the marketplace) and brick-and-mortar (better staff, better appearance, stop closing locations…).
I could write on and on about that, but the main point I wanted to make is that in spite of everything, Craftsman (and to a lesser extent Sears) still have an incredible resource of loyalty and reputation that they could draw upon (otherwise, we would not all be posting), but that this is rapidly-expiring and can easily be ruined. Many posts here share the same thread of young people’s first exposure to tools being Craftsman, often in the context of projects with Fathers and Grandfathers. That kind of early exposure and connection to fond memories should be priceless for a business, but cannot be taken for granted, which seems to be the case of late.
Certainly it is true in my case, like many others, as I continue to do projects and fill out (ha!) my tool collection, I look what my Dad, and uncles and grandfather have: a stock of solid, dependable, good-quality USA-made hand tools from Craftsman. Then I look to buy the equivalents and it is literally impossible. My recent efforts to buy a combination (4-in-hand) shoe-rasp exemplify the mess. I have essentially two choices, the best tool is precision-cut in Switzerland (and doubtless tempered in the tears of virgins or whatever) and is no doubt fabulous, but more than I need or my use can justify. The budget options are an assortment poor-quality, practically disposable hunks of metal from China or Mexico for $5 and endless frustration in use. I took a look at my Dad’s toolbox, and my Grandfather’s, and found virtually identical 6″ combination shoe rasps, both made in the USA, both sharp (and resharpenable!) and both stored all these decades later in their original blue Craftsman sleeves. However, if I search for this middle ground of good quality and reasonable price on craftsman.com I find nothing. A similar search on sears.com yields a half-dozen “marketplace partners” willing to sell me the same $5 rasp for prices ranging from $13 to $20 plus shipping. As a new(ish) father, it seems clear to me that Craftsman’s privileged place in tool-use memories will end with this generation unless this “new leader” with whom you spoke is successful, and fast.
My biggest issue with sears/ craftsman is not the craftsman brand (although deplorable compared to years past). It is the poor shopping/ customer experience. The website is not user friendly and the gimmicky promotions are almost insulting (especially for the amount I spend there). The stores are not much better. The lack of customer service, knowledgeable sales staff, and well organized store layout add to the frustration. Sales are nice but not when you mistakenly leave sale signs up for 2 weeks after sale ends. As for the Craftsman brand, what happened? No more professional tool line, $2 wrenches/ sockets, non US production, and power tools that just make me laugh.
Growing up my grandfather, uncle, and father passed along quality USA made hand tools that are my go to favorites even after 30 yrs of hard use and abuse. The tools available today last 30 days. The house brands of my local hardware stores (Kobalt, Husky, Ace) have more to offer and the buying experience is much more positive.
In summary, fixing the Craftsman brand is not as simple as just the branding but also how they reach their customers. Start with craftsman website, sears website, sears brick and mortar, etc. then introduce the real tools we all know and love.
I’m still clinging to some hope….
I grew up on Craftsman tools in the 60’s. They were very respectable and dependable tools back then. I can even remember when someone broke into our garage in the early 70’s and stole both my dad’s and mine tools boxes. The insurance company was going to depreciate the value of the tools but once they found out they were Craftsman with a lifetime warranty, they paid us full replacement value. That would not happen today. They would just find what the item costs at Harbor Freight and refund that price.
I still have the replacement Craftsman tool and have bought more for both myself and my son. The Craftsman brand was ingrained in my head by my dad from an early age and then me to my son (at first). As production moved offshore, my loyalty changed as well and this has also been passed on to my son who now only goes to Sears for the little gimmick stocking stuffers for his buddies.
I hope Sears can get back to what the once were but I’m not sure if they have time. As mentioned above, Craftsman used to be a generational thing with devoted and loyal customers passing the same devotion and loyalty to their children. I believe this chain has broken and can’t be fixed overnight. If and when Sears/Craftsman is able to revert back to offering good quality and affordable USA made tools, it will still take years from then to get the following they once enjoyed. They have a better chance when people like myself who can remember the “glory years” but as we pass on, the generations behind us who don’t have these memories may care less what Sears/Craftsman does or when they do it.
1) Go back to doing what once made you great
2) Fix your website (your best hope for reaching and winning some of the younger generations)
3) Live up to your “Lifetime Warranty” promise by replacing broken tools in stores and not with gift cards.
Keep words civil…..really……ok.
They actually have a few really good deals from time to time. Their efforts at creating an online marketplace are a step in the right direction, but they are going to have to do something about their partner’s prices. The “shop your way” thing seems to work ok.
I was actually at Sears the other day with my woman, and she found a linen on clearance, and wanted to check out. The nearest checkout counter was in the women’s section and like 15 people deep. “Ugh, oh no!”, she groaned upon seeing it. “Wait, honey. Follow me to the tools section, which is usually empty”, I quipped. Sure enough, there was no line, and we got out long before most of the folks in the other line.
I’d Choose Sears and Craftsman any day oiver HD or Lowes, Sears always carried quality stuff, I wish they would do it again. USA made stuff preferably. I’d love to see Sears survive.
As. Hobbyist DIYperson I relied on craftsman tools. Now the prices are higher, or as close big name brands, store service is nonexistent. But what gets me mad are.
1 different price online vs store saw this with a router said heck no and bought a refurb porter cable from an online retailer
2 no shop store option only ship to home at a cost
3 no free shipping after spending x as a standard rule
4 shop your way bonuses applies to kmart only
5 craftsman club seems to get you sale price like everyone else so why bother
6 website is not user friendly ands repeated search does not lead to same result
7 website no mobile friendly
8 pricing. Items seem priced difference for no reason or punitive. Example 2 routers exactly same except 1 is 14 amps other is 12 and 12 amp is over 200$ while 14 amp is 170$
Sears search engine & craftsmans departure from American made tools. Is my biggest gripe. I have started replacing my old craftsman tools with other USA made industrial tools rather than craftsman , even though they are still under warranty under craftsman life time warranty.
First off, I am really impressed by how passionate people are about the Craftsman brand. Whenever I think about hand tools, the first thought that comes to mind is Craftsman. This is followed by images of my father’s tool box, the smell of motor oil, and those blue and red stripes on the screwdrivers. Craftsman. American. Quality. Trust. The word “Craftsman” alone represented something important.
By switching away from USA made tools, the Craftsman brand seemed to defy the three words I mentioned above (American, Quality, Trust). I don’t want to get all idealistic here. I believe, for example, that it is possible to make good quality tools overseas. However, if you’re going to ship production off to some foreign land, you ought to be completely transparent about it and take extraordinary steps to ensure (and prove) that you will maintain the quality.
I purchased a set of pliers at Sears a few years back. The large pliers (slip joint, needle nose) were “MADE IN USA” and had a highly visible stamp on the tool that could be seen through the clear packaging. It made you believe that the entire set was this way. However, the smaller size “mini” needle nose pliers, etc. had a “made in china” note in the tiniest of writing, concealed on the backside of the tool that faced the cardboard backer on the package. In other words, it was purposefully hidden from view. That’s the kind of deception that really turns customers off.
I agree with everyone’s comments. I started in HVAC & R and always used craftsman tools for day to day professional work, i worked in an industrial shipyard doing Electric motor work and always relied on craftsman. I stopped buying craftsman power tools in the 1990s because they used proprietary stuff that was not compatible with other brands. (odd sand paper sizes back then, chuks were not compatible with other brands. In late 80’s and early 90’s Kenmore was notorious for proprietary refrigeration components.
I lived for craftsman wrenches and hand tools prior to off shore production. I know many products are made overseas and i work for a company that produces overseas now, but Craftsman was known for made in USA, everyone thought it was a good value at the price, you could have raised the price and still had made in USA and people would still think it was a good value. When you went overshore the QC was not the same! That is business 101. You need to make the same quality of product if you want to keep the generations of customers you built. Go offshore and call it the EVOLVE junk. Keep it in the USA and call it Craftsman pro.
Quality control! Never in the past was there issues with lobster claw wrenches, chrome issues, poor stamping of sizes on sockets, quick rusting, ratchets that break.
Recent problems with exchanges of broken ratchets and sockets. If you go to Harbor freight there is no questions on exchange for a new socket or ratchet.
Used to love the Sears tool catalog! Now you you search the website for tools and get clothes mixed in? Craftsman used to mean lifetime warranty, PERIOD. Now you have to make sure the item is warrantied for life and is not the exception. Sears put the craftsman name on everything to sell out and created confusion with the brand. (ie Shovels, wheel barrow, rake, tubing cutter all i bought under craftsman name that are not lifetime warrantied as i later found out, i now go to Lowes and HD for these items)
Not sure what I can add. I’ll go against the flow and even say I’ve seen some good tools made outside the USA. That said, quality tools must be the requirement. I see little value in a lifetime guarantee that requires I visit a store once a quarter to return tools. And I’m just a home/shop user. I fear the professional who uses tools on a constant basis would be making weekly visits and give up.
Dont know how many times i have been there looking for a socket or a specific tool that i know they sell but just cant find it with all the other mis-located items that are just disorganized way
or the sales person not knowing a thing about tools or where the tool is ( i work retail i know where and what i sell ) train your sales force
update your computer system its take way to long to sell me a simple socket — scan it – i give you money – you give me a receipt i shouldn have to give you all my info for a 6 dollar socket ( if you tout no hassle returns on all tools because of them breaking then do it ) i dont want to have to register for a 6 dollar socket . a lawnmower i under stand !!
update your crappy website take the advertisements off your site — i dont want home att sservices nor do i want version cell or home service — i want to buy a 6 dollar socket
no more gimmick tools — they dont work it sits in a drawer and the real tools are used
sell more usa brand tools
My suggestions regarding Sears’ tool strategy:
1. It is not reasonable to expect people to pay a premium for the same quality the competition is selling for much less, i.e. you cannot charge Craftsman prices for HF (or equivalent in COO / quality) tools. Coasting on historical reputation only works for a while. For those interested in automotive history, that’s the same thing that hastened the demise of the Packard brand.
a. No doubt there’s a place for very inexpensive tools, but branding them (and pricing them as) Craftsman has just created confusion. Leave the HF stuff to the “Evolve” line or similar, and price them accordingly.
b. The old style RP stuff (including course tooth ratchets) was never top of the line but was attractive because it always represented a good value. By and large the appearance and feel is not even up to the standard of modern Taiwan tools, so one is going to pay a premium for it unless it AT LEAST has the cache of domestic manufacture.
c. Bring back and promote the Craftsman Professional line as high quality domestic made tools to compete with the high end. The old CP ratchets, wrenches, and screwdrivers were terrific.
2. The website and “pickup at the store” option are train wrecks. Hire some Industrial Engineers or something to staighten out the business processes.
Sears actually had a great price on a Gladiator cabinet. That was the point of departure since the rest of the experience both online and at the store was a confusing and time wasting ordeal. At one point I was directed to use a store kiosk which was displaying a Windows error message! Ultimately thanks to a helpful associate I was able to complete the purchase. When I got home, I found the corner was dented. Lesson learned.
Pretty much everything I wanted to say has been said but I guess i’ll reiterate some of my bigger gripes with Sears
1. The website is horrible, the shopyourway promos COULD work well but they are really confusing and clunky to use. I don’t understand why every online retailer doesn’t just copy Amazon’s online interface.
2. The Craftsman tools are the only reason I shopped at Sears and with the downward spiral of their quality i’ve been shopping there less and less. The Made in China products are mostly trash. You are being charged a premium for the Craftsman name even though you are only getting Harbor Freight quality.
The really sad part is that even the Made in USA products are crappy quality. Not much better (and sometimes worse) than Husky/Kobalt tools.
Craftsman use to offer solid quality Made in the USA tools for a reasonable price. Now I have to go with a brand like Armstrong if I want Made in the USA without having to pay exorbitant tool truck prices. In fact, there are several Taiwanese manufacturers that sell higher quality tools at lower prices than Craftsman now.
For years now Sears has been throwing sales gimmicks at their customers hoping for an increase in business but it’s not working. You can’t try to operate like Harbor Freight and still try to go the “premium” tool route
1. The website is terrible – one of the worst I have ever seen for a retail site.
2. I hate what you have done to the once great Craftsman tool brand. Almost all of it seems to be made in the People’s Republic of China. Read the reviews of these products anywhere and they will say the quality has gone, and probably never to return.
3. The flyers seem to cycle through the same sale items all the time.
4. I never use the ‘free’ rewards points they give me because (a) I seldom buy at Sears anymore, and (b) you have to spend too much to use the points. The discounts are unimpressive except at Christmas.
5. Eddie Lampert sucks. Way to ruin a great store, you money-grubbing Wall Street jerk. You’ll find you can’t take any of it with you.
6. By and large the sales staff is terrible – dumb and not inclined to be helpful. Then again, most of them probably were poorly trained and likely getting minimum wage, so where’s their incentive?
7. Too many Craftsman hand tools are gimmicky, and made in China.
8. Most of all, I hate Sears Craftsman for how they screwed Dan Brown, the Bionic Wrench inventor. He’s in expensive litigation against Sears, and will be for a long time I suspect. Sears also screwed Peter Roberts, the inventor of the quick-release ratchet. He eventually won in court, but that was a long time too. It makes me wonder how many other inventors Sears has reamed.
I cannot recall a subject here that has produced so many responses, so many long, detailed replies, and with so many negative comments, most of which are about the same issues. It’s a real deluge of anger and frustration.
Will Sears Craftsman ever come back? I ten to think not. What customers they have left have become accustomed to the significantly lower price of Craftsman Asian tools (mostly Chinese, with the better ones Taiwanese), so they are going to get sticker shock when they see what the American made Craftsman tools cost, and may refuse to pay the price for what they were crying for, i.e. Made in USA. Look what the industrial distributors like Grainger and MSC get for them. Of course they work on big margins.
I’d love to see big changes. The first tools I bought were Craftsman in the 60’s, and I still have almost all of them. No complaints about them. I’m wary of he brand now.
1. I agree with everything stated about the Sears website inhaling strongly. As an IT professional, I find it sad that your company your size can’t get it fixed, or maybe Sears really doesn’t give a crap.
1a. Get rid of the marketplace. I know of two people that have been ripped off by your merchants. While it may be a revenue enhancer for Sears, it’s costing Sears customers because it is not doing anything to step in to deal with the thieves on the marketplace.
2. Personally, I’m pissed at Sears over the apparent abandonment of the Nextec line of tools after less than five years. When Sears came out with the latest tools/devices, it appears that Sears only did one or two manufacturing runs, and then did not replenish the inventory. There has been nothing new developed for sale in I think about two years. The line did have some quality tools thatI am happy with. But when the 4 batteries I have die, that’s it with Sears, unless the Nextec line is revived.
3. The value of the Craftsman Club has been devalued to both the customer and Sears. It used to be a pretty good deal when Sears would offer 10% off most tools during one week out of the month, plus had some special sales that would rotate throughout the year. I would usually come into Sears and buy stuff during that week. And I would not just stay in the tool dept. Now it’s basically the same stuff on sale each month, with the exception of the seasonal stuff. But the sales are much more of deal than what is in your Sunday ads. Big freaking deal. Why bother with a so called loyalty program, if it is significantly degraded?
This wi be an uphill battle. The last 4 times I have been in a Sears store, i have asked myself why I bother.
It is ROUTINE to have an item show “In Inventory” when it is in fact not. The last 2 times I have been in the store, the item was not in inventory, staff coukd not correct inventory to ensure restocking, and didn’t know when it would be in. When I asked for managers so I could suggest improvement, I was punished with a 10 minute wait and flowery promises that they appreciated my feedback and would work to ship the product to me right away… but they didn’t seem empowered to fix the very broken system.
If I am THERE and want to hand you CASH for an item you claim you have, how does it really make sense to keep pissing me off?
Enough has been said about the terrible website. I visited my local Sears store today. It looks like they’re getting ready for a closing sale. The in-store inventory is a lot less than it was a few months ago. The tool racks and displays were re-arranged and in no logical order. It was rather depressing to see so much empty space and lack of employees. It doesn’t look like Sears has much life left.
I posted this over a Garagejournal.com, but wanted to make sure Sears got it.
I will start this by saying my fathers first tool set was a Craftsman set, my grandfathers first set was a Craftsman set, my great grandfather (RIP) always held Sears Craftsman tools in high regard. I was going to get my son a Craftsman tool set, but that plan has been scrapped.
My first tool set was a Craftsman set, which now resides in its case in which it came, and is delegated to home use, because thanks to you at Sears decided to outsource production. I go through great measures to make sure every single item (especially tools) are made in the U.S.A., Canada, or Europe. Of course some items it is unavoidable to end up with Chinese.
I was a regular visitor at Sears (I am a Industrial Mechanic) and would always purchase new items, not just Craftsman, but also other USA or German tool brands. Whenever I needed to warranty a tool, I ended up purchasing another, and never had to worry about where it was made. When you released your thin-profile full polish ratchets, I picked one up in 3/8 to try. I was so impressed by it. I decided to purchase one in 1/2 and 1/4, I drove to my local Sears, walked over to the tool isle picked up a few Knipex, and a couple of large Crescents for work. When I arrived at the ratchet and socket wall, I noticed that the 1/2 and 3/8’s on the wall looked tremendously inferior in finish than mine. It was so bad I noticed this appx 7 feet away. My heart sunk, deep inside I knew Sears had shipped production to the Communists. I walked over to the product and turned it over and in very small print, Made in China. I franticly, started checking all the products, sockets, wrenches, automotive specialty items, etc. I was in such anger I put the $150 of pliers and wrenches down, walked out and did not step, or spend another penny in your store again for a couple of years. I have gone in since just to check the tools and see what more damage has been done, and to warranty some pliers that (for now) are still made here, but I see the chisels are not.
I would like you to know since that day, other USA brands (mainly SK,) via multiple different distributors (except for Sears) has received thousands of dollars of purchases from me, that mainly would have been yours. I used to recommend Craftsman to anyone that needed a tool; Now I do the opposite, I send them to Amazon to look at Proto, SK, and Wright. Honestly, this may sound harsh, unless you start bringing production back to the States and attempt to salvage the mess, I am looking forward to Sears becoming a thing of the past.
Bring tool production back to the States, and maybe some will forgive your foolish decisions. And please, if by some miracle of God, you bring the tools back, don’t make them to piss poor quality. That is why you have two lines of tools. If you need to get strict on the warranty: DO SO. I would rather you have a strict warranty and provide USA tools, than have a great warranty and provide me with Communist garbage!
1. USA made tools. I have not bought ONE Craftsman import tool not at a clearance price since Sears made the decision to let Apex to offshore the Craftsman brand. The one tool I did buy was an adapter that was being removed from the stores for about a dollar.
2. Bring back the open stock tools. No, offset wrenches and larger sizes don’t sell in huge numbers, but people could rely on Sears having them in stock when they needed them. If I needed an odd sized socket or wrench that didn’t come in a set and nobody else carried, Sears would have it. Like the mistake Radio Shack made (and you can see where it got them), telling customers “we can order it for you,” when you need it NOW is not a viable business strategy if Sears does in fact want to remain in the business of selling tools. Im fortunately in the position now where I don’t find myself without a certain size socket or wrench, but if I lose one and can’t spend hours looking for a lost tool to get a job done, Sears/Craftsman isn’t high on my list of where to go to get a quick replacement because there is a high probability that it won’t be stocked in store.
Worse yet, that inventory has been replaced by….nothing. There are just empty shelves or larger, more obnoxious displays for the gimmick of the week to fill the empty space. It is depressing to walk though your tool department Sears!
3. As it has been said over and over, fix your website! It is/was literally impossible to find some varieties of sockets and wrenches without searching because of the illogical catagorization of the tools section.
4. Get rid of the gimmicks. Lowes and Home Depot have finally started figuring out, after getting stuck with tons of inventory, that combo, do it all tools, don’t generate sales outside of holidays, and even then are very hit or miss. Having a good core of basic hand tools of good quality at an affordable price is what Craftsman was all about, and as far as I can tell, that strategy has been completely abandoned.
The in store experience can be pretty Annoying too. Every time I go there they ask for my phone number at the checkout, I find that annoying enough considering that they are trying to data mine me but then they have the gaul to press the issue with me and argue with me for my number until I finally need to raise my voice. It is a terrible shopping experience. I also agree with most of what I’ve read above
Revive the Craftsman Professional/Industrial line. Keep it to the quality standards of US manufacturers such as SK and Wright. Consider using them as a source. Eliminate the Craftsman like raised panel wrenches and, especially, that crummy raised panel ratchet. Don’t import tools for CM Pro/Industrial unless it’s absolutely necessary. Never, ever try to pass off ugly, junky looking tools like those lobster claw open end and combination wrenches.
Make Craftsman a strong midlevel choice. US manufacture is preferred but I can understand using offshore sources for some things. However, the quality on the imported stuff should be an improvement on what’s generally available now. Gearwrench level quality would be good. Either build the raised panel ratchet to tighter tolerances with better steel or go to one of the dozens of better Asian ratchets. Never try to pass off ugly, junky looking tools like those lobster claw open end and combination wrenches.
Craftsman Evolv is where the imported Harbor Freight-ish tools belong. And those flimsy toolboxes. Although most of those HF toolboxs are actually pretty good and the flimsy toolboxes might be best marketed under a non-Craftsman name.
My toolbox and garage are filled with Craftsman tools dating from the 60’s to fairly recently. I haven’t been buying any more due to the warranty replacement policy being worth less due to the current line of tools.
Sears /was/ Amazon before Amazon, and successfully transitioned to a department store. I remember when they stopped publishing the wishbook, but I’m not sure if that was a cause of or result of the decline of Sears in the 90’s.
The only reason I go to Sears anymore is for tools, and I usually leave empty handed. Last time I was there, 90% of the overhead lights were turned off. Really feels like they’re just counting the days until they close the doors. I’ve tried to use the website to find fill-in sockets for my Hansen trays (bought at Sears BTW – I like the Black trays for SAE) and it’s more or less impossible.
I hate having to play the ‘is it good or is it crap?’ game at Sears. It makes sense at Harbor Freight where the prices are lower, or Lowe’s/Home Depot where they do seem to care about the quality of the Kobalt/Husky stuff. There’s a lot of options for Chinese/Taiwanese store-branded tools these days. A lot of it is even pretty good quality!
I miss the days when Craftsman meant you got a good-quality (though almost never top of the line) tool for a good price, often less than the manufacturer’s product that was being rebranded as Craftsman.
Not sure if Sears can fix it, it might be time to completely decouple Craftsman from Sears…
I used to enjoy going to Sears to look at the tools. More often than not, I had a specific tool purchase in mind. The first time I picked up a package and read Made in China, I opted for other tool stores. I can get Made in China tools anywhere. I went to Sears for good quality, Made in the USA tools that I knew would last and were backed by a lifetime warranty. The decision to go to China made tools didn’t just degrade the quality of the tools in the store. It was a slap in the face to everyone who purchased tools in the past. Brand loyalty has to work both ways. Don’t expect to replace a good quality (albeit broken) tool with a cheaper tool and assume you’re going to retain a loyal customer base.
after thought from my first comment – I do love competition though.
if they come back – and want to get my dollars. Keep those local stores open – the ones not at malls. and go back to that speciality store. Sure parts for older craftsman and kenmore parts is fine. but don’t be all things to all people.
in the stores sell the tools – however, whomever. keep the craftsman name, made in america as much as feasible – partner with whomever that can do so. and be the premium tool store in town. sure you can go to HF and get stuff, or Lowes or HD; but sell the quality american made product. even charge a premium price – but with that offer service – a warranty that says break it, bring it back get a new one. make me have a reason to walk in that store.
then if you just feel you have to – sell a cheaper line that doesn’t have the warranty. I’d personally hate to see that but if it has to be go ahead.
but also make sure the store carries some inventory. yes you can have a website etc – fine. but when I break my 11/16 wrench – and I walk in to get a new one – don’t tell me I have to bring in the set or other BS – have one there for me to take home. that’s why I’m buying yours. Offer the same setup for the stuff I buy on line – it breaks, bring it to your local store for replacement.
Apply the same to some power tools etc – maybe limited 5 year warranty or such. otherwise – there isn’t any reason for me to shop there.
I’ve been waiting for this moment for a LONG time. Assuming this or ANY of these posts will be read, here is what I have to say.
If you want my business, and I stress this, HAVE PRODUCTS THAT ARE MADE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. As I will NOT buy overpriced made in China junk that I can buy anywhere. If I wanted to buy imported/made in China items, I’d buy them at Harbor Freight. Harbor Freight tools are disposable and aren’t heritage tools. I can buy imported tools ANYWHERE, but you want my business find manufacturers that make their items in the USA. To a certain extent and while this ISN’T my first choice, I’d even be fine with Made in the USA of global components.
I understand most/all electronic items, files and some other odd and ends items aren’t made here anymore, but at least try to find some that are assembled here or at the very least not the cheapest imported junk that makes even Harbor Freight look good.
Why do you think people buy old American made items on eBay, other online sites, garage sales, pawn shops etc? Because there was a time in history that America actually cared where their products were made and these were actually built to last decades if not a lifetime if taken care of. These Evol and modern import Craftsman items won’t last that long and aren’t worth much if anything.
Another issue is your website. Outdated images, horrid setup in general and the marketplace set up that you are trying to compete with Amazon with just is so glitchy, you might as well cut your loses. I’d say remove marketplace from your website, take down all old images or at least state “images may not be representative of the item you buy” or something of that effect.
But if you really wanted to step up your game, list the country of origin of EVERY Craftsman branded tool you sell. Grainger does this, Harry J Epstein does this, Snap-On and even to a certain extent so does Proto. If you worried about the origin changing, merely write “subject to change” as Grainger does.
But I’d strongly recommend adding the coo or otherwise known as country of origin to every item, as being honest and actually providing information that other distributors hide, WOULD garner some respect from others. You don’t even have to write the whole words out, just a couple of letters.
Another issue and these days is VERY common in most retail stores is the employees. With my local Sears, the people that seem to work there neither care about what they selling or are at all knowledgeable about these products either. Some, especially the teenagers and younger people lack the proper customer service training and lack how training of how to work professionally. I’ve waited as long as 15 minutes before this teenage cashier would look up as they were more interested in playing on their phone then doing their job. At that point, I put back the items I wanted to buy and left.
I understand minimum wage doesn’t encourage most people to actually care about their job and more than required energy, but at the very least, when you hire anyone, these people need to have more extensive training and be told how to behave in a professional setting. Decades ago, when you went to Sears, there was actually educated salesmen that knew what they were selling and other pertinent. These people actually took their job seriously and didn’t play around with Facebook or electronics while at work.
But if anyone at Sears or this person in question could take away one very important statement in my post, PLEASE BRING BACK AMERICAN MADE Craftsman tools. Now more than ever with more and more outsourcing, there NEEDS to be a source for quality USA made items. I’d and I am sure others would GLADLY pay more if this meant this kept someone employed and the tool was actually well made. For me keeping others Americans employed is VERY, VERY important and in my opinion, this should be important to EVERY American.
My battery operating trim saw and hammer drill are both powered by 19.2 Die Hard batteries by Sears and have daily recharges to retain readiness. After 1 failed, I replaced it with a new battery just recently and now all (3) are now completely dead. I guess I could have bought the higher level battery and charging case for many dollars more, but the tools I have call for the 19.2 and not the heavier charge. Now I have 2 expensive tools that can be used for adorable door stops. Sears continues to “Live the dream it once had”. Enter any Sears store and see how many shoppers are there, even less sales associates. For my money, I’ll go to Lowes, Home Depot or many other web sites rather than continue to support the downward spiral that Sears is on!
I dont care where a tool is made. I’ll donate to charity as I see fit, and I dont believe that anyone has a right to a premium wage just because of his geographical location.
With that said, I DO care about quality. I believe that an asian factory can produce a product as good as an american if they are directed (and compensated) to do so. Of course, that “savings” starts to disappear.
Anyway, thats more of a political commentary.
My opinions on Sears and why I own very few tools from them.Its mostly happenstance.
1. Sears is in the mall, its farther than HD or lowes.
2. They only sell tools. I tend to buy tools and materials in the same trip, and most often, materials was the instigator of the trip. i find myself at HD picking up a 2×4, and I walk out with that wrench I misplaced.
I dont see craftsman as a superior or inferior brand of tools, for that reason I do not go out of my way to buy them, and that is exactly what I would have to do.
Another issue I wanted to bring up is these gimmicky tools Sears sells. Most of the time these are imported and made in China, but in addition, these almost never seem to work well. I’ve never seen a real professional use any of these gimmicky tools and while these might be marketed towards your average joe, these are often fundamentally useless.
I know your average person doesn’t care about country of origin, but Sears you used to be such a excellent company seemingly not that long ago. Much of what you sold was American made and from manufacturers that at that time actually made quality tools. I’ll never understand why at least in the United States why we have stopped caring about our fellow man/woman. Thousands of jobs have been offshored and the unemployment rate has gone up over the years. We desperately need these jobs and any amount helps.
Some items may never be made here again and this is a sad reality, but there still are manufacturers such as SK, Wright, Wilde, Eklind, Enderes, and others that still produce tools in the United States. Sure Klein, Snap-On, Danaher and others don’t produce all their tools in America anymore sadly, but there are options.
Where to start? Most of my hand tools are Craftsman and I really like them, but it is only because I bought them a long time ago. Back when I was younger, EVERYBODY bought Craftsman hand tools because they were good and the price was good. There were better quality tools around (Snap-On), but they were significantly more expensive. You can see the difference in quality just by looking at mine versus the ones they sell now at Sears. I never owned Craftsman power tools, but I had a favorable opinion of them as middle-of-the-pack in terms of quality. Again, good for the money. I looked into some of their cordless tools not too long ago and I would never even consider buying them. It seems to me that power tool brands have all decided to move downward. The high end is now middle and the middle, like Craftsman and B&D, have more toward lower end.
So, how can Sears and Craftsman get people back? In my opinion, they need to do what the US automakers have tried to do and have had some success. First, show that they can produce quality tools at a reasonable (but not necessarily cheapest) price. Then capitalize on their customers’ nostalgia for when they were doing that well. Most of us who are middle-aged or older have fond memories of Sears and would like to see them succeed. It’s a long road though.
I forgot to add…
I think it says quite a bit that so many people have written long responses to this (even the ones who say good riddance to Sears). That takes time. Very few postings on this website have generated that kind of response. To me, that means that people do actually care and that means there could be something to save.
I am willing to spend the time to write a long response, as for once maybe just maybe my opinion will be heard. Typically what I have to seems to be ignored by these companies and that bluntly put sucks.
Just because I or others don’t have a great deal of influence, money or and a fancy college degree doesn’t mean what I have to say isn’t worth considering.
Sears, you still have a chance to regain some composure. Making your store different by carrying USA made Craftsman tools will help.
Wow – I hope they are ready to hear what people think; it’s not going to be pretty.
1) The website is terrible. Hard to navigate, ugly, too complex and frequently shows meaningless data. It should be simpler – people come to the site to find a tool, or do research. Rather than find data, I feel like I opened a sales brochure. I’m here to buy, not to be sold to.
2) The tools have questionable quality now that many of them are made overseas, and the multiple lines of tools is confusing.
3) The warranty is now questionable because of brand proliferation. I used to be able to buy Craftsman, and know it was made in the US and had a lifetime warranty. Now I don’t because the Craftsman brand has multiple “sub-brands”.
I no longer buy Craftsman. It used to be easy, simple and clear that I could purchase a reasonable quality tool, made in the US, with a lifetime warranty, for a fair price. I cant do that any more, so I switched brands.
I’m posting only to support the existing disappointment in an antiquated website, non-USA made/Poorer quality hand tools and the money spent develping gimmick tools that could have been better spent on the first two things I listed.
Many great ideas are unrealized because they’re not complete thoughts. For example- the max axess kits being supplied with a non-flex ratchet. Most of the long thread items I run into don’t have clearance for a 7-10 inch ratchet handle, so I’ll stick with my ratcheting flex head GearWrenches.
Lastly, I believe there are too many options with some products. Tool Boxes come to mind- why do we need ball bearing, grip latch with ball bearing, quiet glide, professional, edge, etc. A homeowner grade and a pro grade would have been sufficient. This also makes it more difficult to upgrade down the road. I have a grip latch top box I bought new a few years ago, waited 6 months til I could afford the bottom and was told it was discontinued. The closest thing to it is the new Edge series.
Sticking with a consistent battery platform for power tools would also be nice (think Ryobi’s 18+one system). I dumped Craftsman power tools a few years ago because I was sick of having to invest in a whole new platform every time batteries died.
I do have some Ryobi power tools with batteries for this exact reason. I can get new batteries or new tools and know I’ll be able to use them for some years. I think some of the high end tool companies suffer by comparison. Craftsman would do well to emulate the Ryobi battery tool model.
They do the entire c3 line is almost identical to one+. The only difference is the cosmetic look of the tools. I would be willing to bet that Ryobi is the actual manufacture of the c3 line of 18volt craftsman cordless tools. Prior to the c3 line I can see battery compatibility as a issue and having to dump perfectly good tools.
I am a new first-time homeowner. I’ve been on a tool buying binge for a few months now. So, like most new homeowners, I asked my father about tools:
What tools do I need?
What brands should I be looking at?
Where should I buy my tools?
His response: Craftsman hand tools but not Craftsman power tools. However, my father was of the impression that Craftsman tools were still all made in the USA. He still uses many of my grandfather’s Craftsman hand tools.
When I told my father that much of the Craftsman line was now made overseas, he said, “Then just get some HUSKY tools from HD, same warranty and cheaper.”
The Made in the USA tagline still goes far with many people. I have a few new Craftsman tools that are made in the USA. Surely there are some that will always go for the cheapest set but, in hand tools, Made in the USA still denotes quality. Stamp that tagline across the Craftsman line, keep the warranty by which all others in the industry are judged, and Sears/Craftsman will gain back many of the consumers who have abandoned it.
If I were to walk into HD, as I do about once a week, and saw the CRAFTSMAN – MADE IN THE USA line right next to the HUSKY (Made in China) line, I’d be willing to pay a little bit more for the Craftsman product. Maybe that’s just me, but I think there’s more than a few of us out there.
I, like others on here, tend to buy my tools when I’m shopping for other project items. HD is ideal for that. I don’t know the full extent of the hurdles involved but, like I said above, if I saw Craftsman USA products next to Husky China products, 9 times out of 10 I’m going to get the Craftsman. Would it butcher Sears sales? YES, no doubt, but Sears is dying the slowest corporate retail death imaginable and Craftsman needs to explore ways it can pivot. USA manufacturing, direct competition against the cheap Chinese junk brands. Why not????
Also, I concur that the Sears website is just atrocious. It is just slow, especially on mobile. No doubt Craftsman is losing sales due to a dated website.
Let’s make Craftsman a brand we can be proud of again!
Three simple letters… U.S.A.
I’d rather pay extra for a QUALITY tool made in the USA than less for one made in China.
Craftsman (USA made) was the niche for the serious DIY type guys. I don’t turn wrenches for a living, but I rebuild my own engines for example. I do all my own car repairs, run circle track cars, and do demolition derbies. I hang my own siding, and replace my own roof. I do have the big name tools, but not a lot. Not because I don’t like them but because they’re not easily accessible for me as my job doesn’t put in a place where the tool trucks come.
Many years ago the quality of stuff from overseas was terrible. If a tool didn’t say made in USA, I didn’t want it, not worth my time otherwise. Junk could be bought cheaply, but Craftsman could be bought at the next price level. Perfect, because I’m willing to pay more for the higher quality.
Things are much different now. The quality of tools from overseas is far better than it used to be. Leaps and bounds better. So from a marketing perspective, Sears needs to figure out what it wants, what’s the direction. Is cost the only factor? Then continue to have the tools made in China and the serious DIYers won’t buy them. If I’m going to buy tools made in China, then why not go to Harbor Freight and get them for a fraction of the cost? What’s the advantage of buying Craftsman now? I can’t figure out what niche Craftsman fills now since they’re made in China.
As for warranty, a lot of us are willing to pay a little more to have it. Look at Snap-on, you definitely pay for the warranty up front.
Please get rid of the China made tools. I used to buy Craftsman tools until they stopped being made in the USA, and the quality suffered as a result. I no longer buy Craftsman tools, the entire selling point was that they were quality USA made tools. Many people are VERY upset that production was outsourced to China and now buy different brands out of spite, even if those different brands are offshore production.
I think my thoughts are the same as many others.
– Return to US manufacturing for at least some tools, with good quality.
– less gimmicky tools, more good quality proven tool designs
– The website needs an overhaul
When I saw that Menards was selling US-made tools, I bought their tools and wound up going to Menards more often, even for non-tool related purchases.
Also, see comments at https://toolguyd.com/sears-gearwrench-bit-holder-socket-error/ which are still generally valid.
What do I think?
1. Improve the website as it is nearly ueless now.
2. Bring tool production back to the USA. Raise prices if need be, but make tools that serious users will buy. Bring back a real pro line of hand tools. Many tools owned by my father and me are C-man, but I stopped buying C-man when they moved to China.
3. Make the power tool line top quality again. Too many Craftsman power tools appear to be rebrands of B&D and other low value lines. Magazines like Fine Woodworking consistently give C-man power tools low ratings in their evaluations. Most of my dad’s power tools were C-man and they are still going strong after 40+ years. I have a C-man circular saw I bought 20+ years ago and it was excellent as well as USA made. When I began loking for another circular saw, I quickly moved away from C-man as their saws are not what they used to be.
4. Make C-man a top quality brand again for everything. My dad paid $100 for a C-man floor jack around 40 years ago. $100 was a lot back then, but the jack still works. How many companies would buy a C-man jack to use in the pro setting today?
5. Bring back the Craftsman Club and do it right this time. The old Craftsman Club 10% off everything C-man was great. My friends and I would always left Sears with lighter wallets that week.
6. Organize the entire program. When SYW came along, the staff at my local Sears told me the Craftsman Club was ended. Now it appears it wasn’t or maybe it was as I can never get the same answer twice from anyone at Sears.
Also, three years ago Ineeded a new filter for my C-man shop vacand the local store was out. They ordered it for me and three months I was still waiting. Turns out, the part # had changed, but the Sears website still had the old part number and nobody at Sears seemed to know what was going on.
When I needed a new shop vac last year, I bought a Shop Vac from Lowes as I didn’t want another Sears fiasco.
I grew up helping my dad work on cars, tractors, and the house with USA made Craftsman tools. They got the job done. The new made in China tools are terrible. I own a good deal of Craftsman tools, but I won’t be buying the new junk. I’d rather buy cheap junk tools for cheap junk prices. The website is horrible. Make the manuals for tools available as a downloadable PDF file for free. A lot of parts for power tools are no longer available which renders them useless junk. Support your products!!! People will buy their tools if they improve quality and customer support.
Thanks Stuey, for the chance to give our opinions. If the executive is still reading through the thread, he’s heard quite a bit already, but if I could focus him on one thing, it would be to offer more Made in the USA tools (or at the very least where that’s not feasible, some quality Taiwanese equivalents.)
Craftsman is becoming synonymous with junk, that’s the #1 problem by far.
If you do that, and maybe tighten up the website (which isn’t great but not the nightmare some are portraying it as) and freshen the display sections at the local stores, you will have hit a major sweet spot.
Just listen to the thread and you’ll read between the lines that even the angry posters want to give Craftsman a chance again. There are decades of happy history behind Craftsman, which makes this possible. But time is short.
Sorry to disagree with you re the website, it is horrible as 99% have already stated, No hate or malice intended, JMHO.
Craftsman – The brand has been used on so many products of low quality that it is becoming irrelevant and is no longer a respected brand to many. In the area of hand tools The Craftsman brand should be used on only quality products, not the junk dejour the marketing school drop outs are plastering it on today.
Sears – The brand has suffered under the hedge fund that now owns them. I recall the hedge fund CEO once said that retail is a hard business but he has hired the best to try and fix it. Well… retail is a hard business of marketing and managing pennies, I am am not so sure of the second part of his statement. Seems he has hired a bunch of accountants when he should of hired people that understood merchandizing.
Kmart – Kill the brand and re-purpose the stores into a modern day 5 & 10 that serves the need of the blue collar. Perhaps go all the way back to its roots and re-brand the stores as SS Kresge (That is were the K in Kmart came from to begin with).
Like the present day Dollar Stores.
I was thinking more of the retail gap between Dollar General type stores and the other discount department stores like Meyers, Walmart and Target. I think there is space there where they can differentiate themselves from the crowd. Kmart needs to because they have already lost significant mind-share to the other discount department stores. Being a ‘me-too’ will not cut it.
When Kmart 1st experimented with superstores (combined discount department and grocery store) they owned and operated them under the brand ‘American Fare’. Revive the brand and as the name implies focus on products made in the Americas. What a concept!
I’ve been reading these comments and totally agree with the rest…”Made in USA” is what I first look for. USA made runs deep with me. I’ve spent my life in manufacturing and machining metal products. In the mid to late 90’s I worked for Stanley Tools in PA. Granted, most of what was made was shipped with the Stanley logo. The rest was made carrying other names. Hacksaw blades for example. All the same blades for Cooper Tools, Proto and Crafsman plus 10 or so other names. They all met US Government standards. All proudly made in the USA.
One day upper management at Stanley headquarters made the decision that they could be outsourced and save a ton of money. 100 plus American workers lost their jobs. Yeah, picking up a Craftsman tool only to see Made in China is most definitely a thorn in my side.
Last year for Christmas, my wife heard me mention that I was in need of a vise. She meant well, unfortunately she went to Sears. The casting was poor. I couldn’t tighten the shovel base. I returned it for another. Same problems! The third was worse. I upgraded to the “Professional” model. Right out of the box, the jaws were not tight. In fact, one of the screws holding the jaws fell out. The plate was riveted on upside-down. The sticker on it says “Made in China.”
I’m hoping that the guy from Sears is making notes and will make changes. My local Sears has since locked its doors. During the close out sale, I passed on the 40% off because they had the China stamp on them.
I’ve never been to the Sears website and don’t plan on going so I can’t comment on it. There would be a whole lot of people that would take pride in manufacturing tools with the words “Made in USA” and “Craftsman.” I’ll bet that they would start stocking their toolboxes with products made with their hands. Imagine that, Tools made in America, with American steel by Americans.
For over 40 years, Sears was my go-to store for tools that I needed and even tools that I didn’t need. Sadly most were loaned out, stolen and walked away over the years. After physically breaking up my body over the years, I’m now medically retired and no longer have the need as I once had. With that being said, I’m always on the lookout for a tool that will make life just a little bit easier.
Bottom line, when I see “Made in USA” on Craftsman tools, Sears will see my money. Oh yeah, the power tools are in desperate need of improvements. Power tools that were once powered with 3/4 hp motor are now 1/4 hp.
‘Nuff said and here’s to hoping that someone is “listening.”
Why can’t I see more than 20 pages of search results at Sears.com? We’re not allowed to look at page 21 or higher by clicking on a number in a dropdown box but only by editing the URL. This has been a problem for at least 4 years, and worse, Sears knows it’s a problem because one employee told me that it has hundreds of complaints about this on file.
Chairman Edward Lambert is known for not visiting Sears stores or even Sears headquarters to meet with executives, and the results are clear and bad for Sears and its customers.
Currently I’m looking at Sears.com for 1/2″ drive and 3/4″ drive sockets, and there seems to be no way to sort sockets by drive size, although this can be done for ratchets. Why didn’t anybody notice this omission from the search system?
Quit selling Craftsman Evolv, and change the warranty so that no receipt is needed for warranty claims.
As a retail store, get away from the gimmicky crap. Simplify the points system, and have things either on sale or not. Perpetual ‘sale’ prices just to have tags that say ‘sale’ are not helping you. The website is a tragedy. The ‘surprise’ points aren’t really useful and too many coupons are department specific. I get that you want some of that, but not every single one. Clothes or tools specific coupons don’t encourage people to buy more than one category of item from there.
As far as Craftsman, find a good middle ground. You can either have the prices you want to charge or the factories you want to source. At your current prices I should find nearly every hand tool is above GearWrench quality and made in Taiwan or USA. Honestly I think give the power tools a break for a generation. With few exceptions, such as shop vacs, they are generally poor performers anyway. I would take a real close look at each category and choose the best Stanley/Bosch brands that would give you a good/better/best selection.
You have too much seasonal and gimmicky crap in tools. STOP THAT. The 100 in 1 type tools are just junk and you know it. Take the marketing and manufacturing budget from that and put it into sourcing better year round tools. The seasonal tools such as snow blowers, mowers, etc are not what I am referring to of course.
Finally, educate your employees. Most Sears tool dept people know little to nothing about what they sell. At very least have them go through a tools safety class to get some familiarity.
My advice for the guy over at Sears is simple.
Get a new job, you are going to get fired.for not being able to revive an already dead company.
Really, the problem isn’t with Craftsman tools, the issue is with Sears Craftsman tools are still what they always have been – higher quality tools for higher prices, but not top-of-the-line in either case. I have a C3 1/2in drill that’s used in a community shop that is ten years old, still going. Same for my two Craftsman routers, offshored-wrenches, etc. Truly, no complaint about the tools.
All of my complaints center around Sears. Terrible website, confusing service, terrible delivery, etc. It’s just a pain in the ass to deal with Sears. Which is why the company is failing, over and over again. For the Craftsman as a brand to survive, it should be sold off to become its own company that can focus just on tools..
Please consider the following:
Return to US-sourced quality tools. Not because “Made in USA” guarantees quality over imports, as it once did, but because US workers will be paid to work. Y’all will determine if “Craftsman Made in USA” will be a quality branding. Better overall US quality will allow for higher-than-import prices.
Dump the gimmick “tools”! They only serve to detract from quality tools. I don’t want to have the latest greatest Craftsman saw next to the latest greatest 54-in-1 tool with an automatically-retracting 3′ extension nail sharpener.
And for the love of God please fix your website!!!! Whoever is running it should be fired. Craftsman Club Saver Days started last night. Half the time the page wont load. When it does sometimes it links you to an item that Sears no longer carries. Two items, a 4 piece plier set were listed side by side. Exact same item #. One was 4 cents cheaper than the other. Some links I click, it takes me to another page where the discount isn’t applied. Its hands down the worst website Ive ever been to.
I can’t imagine reading all of the replies, but I wanted to add that there is one thing Craftsman could do to “instantly” be taken seriously again in the power equipment segment. Buy David Butler’s Whirlwind safety patents and incorporate them in every hazardous tool. The technology is as relevant as SawStop but cheaper to implement on the manufacturing end and cheaper for the end user to actually use.
Having just 4 days ago cut my finger on my Craftsman table saw I am particularly aware of this need. I’ve been following David’s efforts for a couple years now, hoping someone would take advantage of his technology and make it available to me. My accident was an odd situation where the wood actually pulled my hand back to the back side of the blade as I was removing the piece after cutting; I had to set down the push stick in my other hand and remove my safety glasses, dust mask, and earplugs before going to get stitched up. Despite all of my usual precautions I still got hurt and only after thinking through what happened repeatedly did I even understand how it happened. It’s not just a matter of guys who push a board through with their thumb in the way.
MANY woodworkers love the idea of the SawStop, but hate that you have to change out cartridges when changing blade types, and hate that the blade is destroyed if it gets stopped, and absolutely abhor the company’s founders attempts to legislate the required adoption of his patented technology for all table saw manufacturers in the U.S. COUNTLESS woodworkers would become instant Craftsman converts, or return to the brand that many of us started with, if we had this option.
Just go google “sawstop” on any woodworking forum and read the vitriol that spews forth regarding the company and their practices. The technology is remarkable and important and I’ve used the saws and had coworkers who would have lost fingers without it. But the market is anxious for a serious competitor, the solution has already been developed, and all that is needed is someone to bring it to market.
Whoever said “Why pay Sears prices for Harbor Freight tools?” put it EXACTLY right. Twenty years ago, Craftsman/Sears was kind of baseline standard for well-made USA-built tools. Offshoring to basically the same Chinese factories that make HF junk means they are just living off the goodwill fumes of their brand for a little while, until everybody realizes that you might as well just buy the harbor freight stuff directly if you need some cheapo stuff. Or buy elsewhere if you want baseline quality stuff for reasonable prices.
Sears needs to bring back quality manufacturing for their whole line, and I think at this point they need to do a relaunch if they do turn the offshoring thing around. Most of the brand’s value has already been lost.
This past December I happily drove over to my local Sears store to pick up a 3/8 socket wrench set for my son, who’s 11, got his first dirt bike, and is responsible for turning the wrench on the bike. I wanted to get him reasonably priced but quality tools that he could enjoy using for a lifetime. I wanted to add more tools going forward after this Christmas present, expanding on my Craftsman purchases to give him a nice start for automotive/motorcycle tools. It’s hard not to imagine him doing the same for himself as he grew.
I’ve purchased a lot of Craftsman tools up to that point, including some of the high-tooth count ratchets that I really, really like.
When I got to that local Sears store, to my utter horror the “made in China” label had spread to the socket sets. Like many others here, I have no intention of paying a premium price for Chinese tools, no matter any claims as to their quality. I have greater faith in the Taiwanese-made “pro” line at Harbor Freight which sell for less than Chinese Craftsman. I have not been back to Sears since that day, nor am I ever likely to do so unless things happen to change.
In my mind at least, Craftsman was a nice balance between quality and the price of their tools. This worked for me as long as they were made in the USA. As that’s no longer the case, I’m sadly no longer a customer.
The new and cheaply made Chinese tools are awful. Made with cheaper metals and there seems to be little to no concern for quality. A complete lack of innovation. US jobs were outsourced with only profit in mind. Chinese Craftsman has nevernever-and will never-be bought with my money. Craftsman used to be a brand that could perform in a professional setting at only a fraction of the cost.
As far as Sears… that place is a joke. One of the worst websites I have ever seen, and when I do try to order something: “Not available in your stores”.
1. Completely overhaul your website.
2. Bring more Amercian brands to your stores.
3. Quit sacrificing quality for profit. You need us.
I totally agree with all the comments made Sears has disappointed me several times by having sales people that don’t even know their own tools, or having a sale then not have the tool in stock .As a professional master auto technician several times I have been told that they could not warranty my tools because I use them at work .Sears has seen better days.
I want to start out by stating that my family has been diehard Sears customers, no pun intended. I grew up always going to Sears first. I do HATE to see what is happening to this company.
I feel that some of the people on the posting are naive. I understand the comments about the USA made products. However, in my opinion, while most people will tell you they would pay more for the USA made products, when it comes down to it most will not. I know some will but that is not the majority. Stuart, you may know more, I would be interested in your thoughts on this topic.
Craftsman has quality control in place. If they are doing their job, they would not accept a lesser product. From the power tool stand point, all most all brands make the tools in China, DeWalt, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Black & Decker, Rockwell, Kobalt, etc..
I buy the Craftsman product with confidence, especially the C3 product. I use these tools frequently and the platform has some great innovation. They have almost everything Ryobi tools have in the one Plus platform.
If I could offer some advice, scarp the Bolt On. It is a Black & Decker copy. This is only the Matrix tools wrapped in Craftsman colors. They are inexpensive and seem like a good deal, but the performance is cheap too. At least with the C3 tools I get some differences. LED light, metal chuck, etc.. C3 has been around for a long time.
My biggest problem with Sears is the lack of stock… When you go into the stores is looks as if they have already accepted that they are going out of business. The shelves have one or two of the items and if 2 people by the same thing it is out for a month… You have to have product in the stores to sell. Buying on line and picking up in the store is great, but the product has to be in the store.
It is important to state that Sears and Craftsman are different. No longer is Sears the only place to get Craftsman. Sears seems to be loading up on the DeWalt tools. However Lowe’s is still the “largest DeWalt tool provider”. Sears is still higher price than other retailers on DeWalt. I do not think this is a viable Strategy. With the internet it is so much easier to shop around. Sears can no longer charge more and expect people to continue to come in and shop. Sears has seen this through the earnings, 11 straight quarters of losses.. Eddie, if you are listening / reading, what you are trying is NOT working. I strongly feel, from what I read and watch, that Eddie is simply selling off what he can and making as money for his hedge-fund to off set the loss he will have once SHC files for bankruptcy.
I do agree with many post on how customer service is poor. I try not to get to angry with the person. Put yourself in their shoes, they are working for a company that probable pays them very little and as they lay off more associates, keeps dumping more work on their plate. To be a company that has great or even good customer service, it starts at the top and continues throughout the entire organization. It is easy to sit at the top and complain about how the associates on the front line are not doing what they should be doing. However take a walk in their shoes for a day. The corporate office is ONLY STORE support. The sales are made in the stores. Cut some payroll from the glass puzzle in Hoffman Estates, IL and put some investment into your people. It will take some time, but the public will respond. Being treated well goes along way with a person.
Those are my 2 cents worth. Hope it actually makes it to the people who can make a difference.
I agree with basically everything posted above. One of my grandfathers was a mechanic and the other was a carpenter. Both used a lot of Craftsman tools. I still have many of them, including power tools that are at least 40 years old.
I would pay a little more for quality as long as it was a fair price. Unless it is a great deal I am more likely to look at Harbor Freight because the tools are almost as good for 1/4 off the price. Even your overseas stuff is decent quality, but not at that price. It is a horrible value. You are still charging American-made prices for non-American-made tools.
SYWR is a joke. I did like getting $5 free almost every week 2 years ago. Now all i get is $10 off of $75 or more. I have all the tools that I NEED at this point so a minuscule amount off does not motivate me.
MADE IN USA, PLEASE!! If I wanted average quality tools, made in China, with a “lifetime warranty,” I would go to Home Depot, or Lowe’s, or Harbor Freight, etc. I don’t want their tools, I am proud to have a Craftsman box full of American made tools. I WILL pay a premium for a quality, made in USA tool. Please!
I agree that the website is terrible for finding what you want/need, and the Sears Shop Your Way gimmicks are annoying. I do like being able to go to a Sears and a) finding just about anything I could need or want, without having to order it and b) being able to exchange a damaged tool, on the spot, if necessary.
I won’t buy Chinese made tools, sorry. USA, Germany, Swiss, etc, OK. Come back to us, Craftsman!
Old as dirt
Craftsman is junk. They copy from other other manufactures and then make junk. Also the triangle that is shown in the picture of Sears tools looks a lot like the Woodpecker triangle I have on my bench.
ryan from canada
I live in Canada and I used to visit sears monthly as they were the only other big box store to carry Milwaukee power tools. That meant i would also buy a few extras that i needed while there, such as a socket size that i didnt have or a couple bags for the shop vac… About mid 2014 they cleared them all out and are no longer carrying Milwaukee tools. I haven’t been back to Sears since. Please bring back a premium brand of tools.
Also, if you are going to try and compete with home depot and source ryobi tools, I think you should just use the same battery. If my one+ garden tool batteries were compatible I would actually stop to look at the craftsman cordless tools instead of ignoring them.
Regarding the stationary tools, do not go the same route that mastercraft has at Canadian tire. There are some things that shouldn’t be compromised on a table saw, such as the table top. The wonky sheet metal tops on the mastercrap table saws are terrible and bring the whole line of saws a bad reputation.
Really consider your competion. Ryobi and rigid offer similar tools at similar price points vs craftsman, but at a much higher quality. Give me a reason to want to buy craftsman, a quality reason!
With regards to how to tackle the problem, I would say there are several components.
The biggest edge that Retail stores have is that they have stock RIGHT NOW. The stock at Sears stores is dismal. Stores need to have stock. You need to create the situation where there is no question that if I go to Sears, they will have what I’m looking for. I never wonder if Lowes or Hope Depot will have stock. They occasionally don’t have stock, but for the most part they do.
I would suggest that Sears stores have two separate lines of tools. The first is Made in China, cheap stuff, and make those cost competitive against Harbor Freight. Have a Made in the USA, professional/industrial quality line. Then it’s up to the consumer as to which they purchase when they get to the store. So, you can go there and know that you can either get quality or affordability, but you will have something that I will be happy buying.
I don’t much care for the Shopping Rewards program.
I do like the Holiday special tool sets. I think it keeps things interesting. But that is more along the lines of the low end cheap stuff.
1) I get that Sears needs to make a profit off of their low-price tools, but I thought that’s what Evolv was for (bad name anyway). Maybe replace with Craftsman Basic that you know is or could be foreign-sourced, and then establish Craftsman Pro (which seems to be disappearing a bit) as a US-made quality line. With some tools, we seem to have no choice right now. No choice = no business; I’ll go elsewhere where I can choose.
2) Train your tools department staff. Please have at least one “expert” on-site during all business hours that you’ve trained, so that they at least know something. You do it in the appliances section.
3) Maybe have an expert do some advertised demos every other Saturday or something. Show us what we can do with your tools and how awesome they are (supposed to be). At least put up some monitors in different tool sections running your Youtube videos.
4) Set up the tools department as something a bit more epic than it is now. The Sears stores just seem to morph from some other department into a tools department, which is underwhelming. It’s also quite unorganized.
5) The Sears tools website and Craftsman website are not great at searching, and the apps are even worse (Craftsman app never seems to know when the Craftsman Club days are).
6) When I go to Sears’ website, I am looking mostly for stuff I can find in the store (whether I buy in the store or use free store pickup). Don’t clog my search results with a bunch of “marketplace” stuff/brands/merchants that I don’t care about at all.
Still not buying that anyone of “stature” is paying attention to this — and, lo and behold, I haven’t heard a peep back from Sears Corporate after I sent a detailed outline of my nightmare experience. Though, somehow, my BBB report was “disputed” by Sears. Tweets directed at Sears VP of Communications and other high-ranking officials have been ignored, too … what a shock.
That said, and even though I once again didn’t get my Craftsman Club points (which required three more calls today) … I am stuck buying another Sears tool. It seems the impact driver I bought in late fall 2013 and have used often, yet sparingly, reached its end. And while I really, really want to jump over to Ridgid or even Ryobi … I have a drill, sander, shop vac, RA drill and shop light which all run on the C3 battery.
So congrats, Sears. You get more of my money that you did absolutely nothing to earn. Maybe Brathwaite or Lampert can use the $80 to buy a few drinks at the turn.
I seriously hate you, Sears. With the heat of a million suns.
it is really disappointing when something like a set of stubby wrenches has lots of feedback about being made in the USA but when they show up on my doorstep they are clearly not made in the USA. Depending on what state they are delivered to you might get USA tools or you might get Chinese tools. There are lots of place to buy Chinese or Taiwanese tools for considerably less money all over town or the web. The set I received are going to be returned and I am probably not going to waste the time playing tool roulette with Sears ever again.
Growing up, I was always told by my Grandpa, Dad and Uncles that Craftsman was a good quality tool. I wish I had purchased more before they starting outsourcing their manufacturing to foreign lands…
Sears &craftsman had a reputation of quality in the tool world but now you also have to say Kmart at the same time. No way can the word of quality go with the king of blue light specials. I’ll never trust their tools again.
Like a 40 year old horse….. Let Sears and Craftsman die and move on to the next logical step. Support the guys in Taiwan working so hard to give you nice quality for a hard earned buck. The US companies are a bunch of thieves ripping you off on both ends. Govt contract. $600 combo wrench set = $75 fork.You already bought it once( your tax dollars~~~borrowed-stolen). You gonna get raped again by dropping $300 on a set that the equivalent in Taiwan is $100-125 ?
I have been purchasing Craftsman tools for years, and proof of it; Until they went oversees, the quality majorly declined, size of the wrenches increased due to inferior material, and prices went up.
I am embarrassed to own and use the Craftsman brand, but find myself purchasing used craftsman tools at garage sales. I have been collecting these old tools that are made in USA for my two young sons. When I have to purchase new tools I find myself finding other brands.
I refuse to purchase any new Craftsman tools until equality increases and they are brought back to America for manufacturing.
I know I am only one person, but others will follow and this will lead to the decline and demise of Craftsman tools. Mark my words.
After buying 99% of my tools (and clothes) at Sears for 25 years, I stopped immediately for 2 reasons years ago, and have not bought another Craftsman badged tool of any kind since. The first was when I went in for a split socket. Instead of pulling one off the wall and giving it to me, the policy had changed and I had to wait for one to be sent to me. Which did me ZERO good because I was covered in grease in the middle of replacing the rack and pinion in my car. I needed the socket NOW, which I was forced to buy unless I wanted to leave my car in the air for 10+ business days. The manager absolutely refused to give me the socket I had already pulled off the wall and taken to the register. To this day I have 2 8mm sockets to remind me of this.
A short time later I took a very old jack in for replacement. Right there on the peeling sticker it said “LIFETIME GUARANTEE”. The manager on hand, though seeing the sticker, refused to warranty the defective jack. Said Sears lifetime policy had changed. That was approximately 9 years ago and I have not stepped into a Sears store or bought a Craftsman tool of any kind since. Its going to take more than just renewed quality in hand tools to bring me back. Sears has the prerogative to change its policy 7 days a week. I as a consumer am also able to take my dollar elsewhere. I would love to see Craftsman return to what it was, but no breath will be held. Prove me wrong. You were a pillar for home mechanics at one time.
A little late coming, but my Dad bought Craftsman tools from Sears when I was young, when I moved out, I bought my own set of tools, again from Sears.
Mostly the same, but I was disappointed that Sears stores in Canada barely stocked any decent Craftsman tools beyond the basic screwdriver sets. Like most other commenters, I’m also disappointed about manufacturers sourcing tools overseas. My Dad had instilled upon me that Craftsman and Black & Decker tools made in the USA were the bees knees. If I wanted high quality, I’d find that in Craftsman and B&D. Strange coming from a Chinese Canadian eh? 🙂
You can buy crappy tools anywhere now. It is hard to find quality consumer tools. I like tools to be made in the U.S. and want to know that the people who make them design them and sell them to truly care about the quality of the tools so that I know when I pay top dollar for tools that I am getting the best tool from conception to shelf and (hopefully) the rest of my life.
When tools became merchandise as far as the bankers were concerned,it pretty much ruined the Craftsman brand name.Been there,you see.What was,and is really annoying are the gimmicky tools.When they brought out the spline type wrenches and sockets people thought Sears invented them(!)No kids,sorry SK Did it first.About 60 years ago.Craftsman tools USED to be the best bread and butter hand tools,especially the tool chests and roll a ways,now it’s pretty much crap.That is why I have 10 Kennedy tool chests,etc. total.My last pre take over mechanics chest and roller I sold To a Sears Auto tech,as The less than a year old set He bought as a Craftsman BB set literally fell apart.
Sears sold out when they started selling Chinese tools as solid Craftsman stuff. People know, therefore they go elsewhere, word spreads fast. I no longer go there, I go elsewhere for my tools now. Bring back the quality, or plain and simple, Craftsman ends up most likely failing before it’s over.
So, what every became of your dialogue with the Sears big wig?
I haven’t checked back yet. I figured I’ll ask for an update in the Fall.
Try the Kobalt brand at Lowes.Had a look see,very good quality,some US,but mostly Taiwan.BUT,again not where it’s made,but how.The Craftsman brand is essentially ruined by the gangster bankers that relied on blind brand loyalty.Also,basically treating tools and all the stuff that goes with it as merchandise with a shelf life instead of as durable goods.If you see what I mean,look up the Ry Cooder video on youtube titled “no banker left behind”
An update,went to my local Sears for a 3/8 mag socket rail,the twist type with the magnetic back.was told that “we don’t carry those anymore”This ties in with the WJS story that the mighty eddy has stopped paying all the brand name supplies of craftsman kenmore and diehard.Sounds like the end is very near.the rail in question is made by Ernst Mfg. in the US.So maybe I will get it from them.Ever hear back from that “Big Wig”?
I know that socket rail you’re thinking of. I bought one, but never posted about it because Craftsman and Sears never added it to their websites.
I hadn’t asked Sears/Craftsman for an update yet, but plan on doing so in September or October.
Went to the nearest full-line (or as close as you can get) Sears store, and here are my observations/experiences. I wanted to get a couple screwdrivers, to replace ones that had been lost, plus had plenty of time to walk the aisles as my wife was clothes shopping.
More USA made stuff than the last time I was there. Got their middle of the road USA made screwdrivers for between $5 and $7 each, the price was on par with some other places import screwdrivers of seemingly similar quality. I got a couple of the ones with the red/clear handles and the little anti cam-out ridges on the blades. These look just like the ones I had for years that have served me well, but with the added benefit of the ridges. While some (many) of the boxed wrench sets were imported, it seems like more of the individual wrenches and sockets had USa stamped on them. I found USA made adjustable (Creacent style) Craftsman brand wrenches in multiple sizes, for only $1 or $2 more than the imported ones on the next rack that don’t have the Craftsman guarantee. I was very impressed with the lack of rattle or looseness on the 10 and 12 inch models. Other sizes seemed not quite as tight, but quite sturdy. USA ratchets were scarce as hens teeth, though. Overall, though, I’d say an actual increase in USA made stuff over 6 months ago. Prices were fair, probably as good as you’d find for a comparable USA made tool. There were also some good deals on certain tools, it almost looked like they did inventory and were discounting odds & ends, or tools whos packaging had been updated. Overall, I’d say that Sears was going in the right direction here, at least from what I found in this store.
The bad: customer service. I know I came in at a slow time, but seeing 3 customer service reps jawing with each other halfway across the store while I wandered the aisles obviously looking for something rubbed me the wrong way. I actually had to wait for the one person there who seemed to be working to finish with another customer to ask where I could find something. If those 3 were on break, they should have gone where I couldn’t see them, and if they weren’t, one should have come to offer help. I cant complain about the help I received, once I got help, but a goo manager wouldn’t allow that to happen.
The ugly: after I found what I needed, I headed to the checkout, and literally waited 10+ minutes, and got no assistance at the register, and I was the only one there! The one guy who seemed to be working, was busy with a difficult customer return one one register, and the other two registers in the tool section were unmanned. He paged for help, but no one showed up. Meanwhile, my wife made her purchase, ant texted me what was taking so long. I said waiting at register. After a while, she texted back and said to come to women’s clothing department. The clerk there saw her just standing there and asked if she was OK and my wife said waiting for me in tool section. She said to have me come there, that she could ring me up. So, I wound up walking to the ladies clothing, paying for my tools, and walked out past the tool section, where I could see they STIL hadn’t gotten anyone else to help that one poor guy, who now had 3 additional customers in line. I find that unacceptable. I know there were at least 3 other workers jawing when I walked in, but nowhere to be found to check out customers. I was so irritated at the long wait, and indifference of the other workers there, I may look around the Menards store only a couple blocks from Sears. They are carrying more and more USA made tools, at similar prices to the sears Craftsman rand, and I never seem to have to look for help making a purchase there.
Sears, you are going in the right direction, but you need to be sure that the management is motivating the crew to keep customers happy.
I used to love craftsman tool and still have a couple, however after years of arguing over broken tools and Sears conveniently not replacing them, I knew that their garentee is worthless, I might as well step up to a good tool maker or buy cheaper items that will break like craftsman does. Sears customer service is HORRIBLE! I can’t stand going there and having 10 people ask if they can help and not one knows their products! So you end up with a store meeting with all ten of them while they each attempt to figure out your need, problem is I didn’t need a dishwasher and a towel I needed a screwdriver that will last! Too crazy!
Stuart, any update on your conversation with Sears management?
Maybe a follow up article would be worthwhile with the intense response here.
I haven’t followed up yet, and they didn’t volunteer any updates either.
Stuart – I’m curious to see if they were ever forthcoming with any feedback. It’s just shy of a year now. It may be because my shopping with Sears/Craftsman is essentially next to nothing now, but I haven’t noticed any dramatic improvements or changes beyond the introduction of the recent Craftsman Industrial tools.
What comes to mind first is my “weed wacker”. I had my “old” craftsman weed wacker for almost 9 years and loved it. It keep up with my brother’s very high priced one. After the 9 years, a piston finally broke. I went to sears and I asked for the new and I thought better of the “weed wacker” that I had. To make a long story short, it is junk. Hard to start, all plastic and it not 1/2 the machine that it was only 9 years before.
I returned a 1/2″ drive ratchet (at least 20 years old) that broke. The replacement is now sitting in my “junk tools” tool box. 20 years ago I exclusively bought and used craftsman tools.
The latest “mess” is I ordered a set of templates for my 20 year old “craftsman” router. When I ordered the delivery date was May 10th (today is May 27th) and the item is “Processing for Store Pickup”. I stopped into “my sears” store and was told it wold not be available for pick up until July10th. Not only this, my wife has a “rewards” card and there was no way to even get the number into the “Messed up” web site.
I was once a very, very loyal customer, but as far as I can see I will never shop again at sears.
I still like Craftsman tools. I agree with most of the responses here.
I don`t like the fact the tools are now made in China.
The first tools with the lobster claw wrenches were terrible compared to the old USA versions. They fixed the raised panel wrenches from China. Now they are not so bad. The polished chrome wrenches are still of this design.
The last of the Made in USA sockets had bad chroming for several years.
I actually believe the China sockets are nicer than the last USA sockets were. deburring and polishing is lacking with the Chinese sockets but the stamping and chroming is good.
Yes get away from the gimmick tools that are destined to be discontinued. I would like to see a pro line made in USA Craftsman tool. I would also like to see the Made in China tools of higher quality. Dump the old 38 tooth ratchets. I would stick with the raised panel design that has been a Craftsman staple for years. Sears in year past never had to be researched for reviews of quality to purchase an item. The quality was good from top to bottom. Quality sells and keep the product simple. Bring back quality. Yard equipment like string trimmers don`t rebadge MTD. Strike a deal with Stihl or Husqvarna to supply small power tools. Snow blowers go with Toro or Ariens same with lawnmowers. Do something or fold and call it a day. I like Sears I think its not beyond saving but time is running out. The Craftsman Chinese tools are still better than other tools made in China. They do need improvement though.
I still have “made in USA” Craftsman tools but I haven’t added to them since Craftsman production moved off shore. It seems to be tougher finding “made in USA” tools but I hold out until I find them. So I have a “cats-and-dogs” collection but they are all American-made and guaranteed for life. I would be happy to start adding more Craftsman tools as soon as they move back home, body and soul, fully committed to “made in USA”.
I am s retired a and p aircraft mechanic 37yr continental airlines
Used craftsman tools until they quit
Replacing bad tools would not buy
Craftsman tools not good quality putty much junk. we ruined our country buying cheap. Not just tools
Look at Detroit usa
Thomas A Adair
Hopefully, Sears comes back. Stunning to see a company that started in mail order catalogs unable to make the transition to internet sales and remain competitive. As far as Craftsman tools, I bought my first set a long, long time ago. Made in USA, warranted forever. Hard to argue with a product like that. Bought a started set for a nephew and grandson but had to tell them the name wasn’t as good as it once was. Have purchased a few components, extension drives and the like for my set but look for other brands mostly now. Shame.
I too have spent many many dollars on Craftsman tools over the years. Thankfully alot of my mechanical hand tools are the old professional style. Just bought a set of wrenches & rachet set to put behind the seat of my new truck, was disappointed in th plastic container they came in, used it once to mount a ladder rack & a small corner broke off the container on first use . Was so sad to see Sears go by the way side, I remember as a very young boy shopping tools with my grandfather, I am now near 70, so they were a part of what was once Americana, sad that only lives in our minds today. Jim