Back in 2008, when I was still buying Craftsman tools, they made a lot of hand tools in the USA. They were good tools – great tools even – and at attractive price points.
Many Craftsman tools were better or lower priced than competing offerings. Some tools were even less expensive than comparable tools made by the same OEM.
By 2012, things had been changing.
I conveyed my disappointment via private emails and conversations, but nobody seemed to give a damn. Then I took it upon myself to write a post about things:
The Craftsman brand that I had known and been heavily invested in seemed to have shifted their focus, targeting gift-givers and holiday season deal shoppers. This became more apparent as time went on.
The brand seemed to shift from a focus on solid core tools, to marketing-driven tools.
I felt that I was ignored as a customer – excluded. They didn’t care about me, or selling tools to me, they cared about Christmas and Father’s Day shoppers, who they can woo with 50-in-1 PowerLeverage EXTREME-Torque Diamond-Tipped Universal All-in-One-Fitment-type tools and sets.
I gave them some time, but things got worse, never better.
In 2015, they wanted my feedback. We had a long discussion, and they were open to readers’ feedback as well.
I now believe that I was misled. They heard us, but didn’t listen.
The feeling of exclusion never went away. Now, things have gotten so bad that there’s nothing left for me in Sears’ Craftsman lineup, or Sears’ tool catalog at all. Maybe there is, but I no longer care.
When I wrote that open letter post, I hoped I could help change things, but all I really wanted at the time was to be heard.
Did anyone call me a SJW? Or that I was whining and bitching about something that isn’t an issue? That I was exaggerating? That I was a snowflake? No, because most readers, or at least those who commented, shared the same views.
Discerning tool users who prefer good quality USA-made tools are minority customers these days. More people want cheaper tools. So, sometimes we have to remind brands that we’re still here and looking to buy good tools.
At the time, all I knew was that I was a discerning tool user, and I was being excluded from Sears and Craftsman’s marketing focus. It sucked. Talking to Sears or Craftsman didn’t do anything. So I shared my disappointment and criticism in a public space.
Maybe someone did share my post somewhere else, and the audience there called me an unjustified SJW snowflake for wanting something other than the gimmicky or lesser quality Chinese-made tools being emphasized.
The other day, when I posted about a female maker’s comment about Makita USA’s Miss Makita marketing, I tried to be as neutral as possible, knowing it could be a problematic topic if mishandled. Still, I didn’t expect the ensuing discussion to be so hostile or divisive. Yikes.
One of the last comments in the other post: People please keep, your own values and political stance to yourself.
I avoid political topics like no-name tools from the bargain bin. But tool-related? There’s a grey area that involves country of origin, tool box pricing because of tariffs, safety rulemaking, OSHA regulations, and other such things.
I am truly sorry that some of you feel there’s no room here to ever even touch upon gender in the tool industry, or that some of you were personally offended.
Some of you thanked me for the post, and some of you voiced your dissatisfaction with the post, and I hear you. But some of you were less kind, with comments like “Strike One,” or that I should keep my values to myself.
ToolGuyd is what I want it to be. For many readers, it’s what you want it to be, too. If you’re not happy about something, speak up – I will hear you. I don’t cater to demands, but civil requests, polite comments and criticisms, and preferences? I will absolutely give you my ear. That doesn’t mean I will automatically agree or accommodate, but everyone has a right to their feelings, and to be heard and considered.
Comments are closed here – and I closed them in the other post too. You can reach me via social media or email here.