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(The New York Times)   Craftsman, "America's most trusted tool brand", shafts real American craftsman with Chinese made, patent-infringing knockoff. Searsiously? What a bunch of mother-Roebuckers   (nytimes.com) divider line 86
    More: Asinine, made in china, Craftsman, wrenches, Americans, United Technologies Corp., industrial designer, Mr. Craig, plain  
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3628 clicks; posted to Business » on 08 Nov 2012 at 11:42 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-09 09:08:27 AM
You returned the junk and you still shop at Harbor Freight.

That's a false assumption on your part, Englebert Slaptyback. But thanks for the misplaced sense of moral superiority. We can all sleep better now knowing you've put me in my place.
 
2012-11-09 09:11:57 AM

Elzar: Jesus craftsman has been cheap chinese donkey balls for years and years now...


Some of their things, yes. Most of their hand tools are still made in the US, have a lifetime warranty, and don't suck. The "evolv" brand they sell is Chinese made and about 5% cheaper than the US made stuff, so why not just get the US stuff?

My dad still has some Craftsman tools that belonged to his father. Some of the new tools I bought from them seem to be of similar quality even after some solid use around the house and on my car.

The only hand tool I don't buy from Sears/Craftsman is their click-type torque wrenches: they're way overpriced and only have a 6-month warranty. Harbor Freight ones are cheaper and have a 1-year warranty. For important stuff like wheel lug nuts I always double-check with a Craftsman beam-type torque wrench and the Harbor Freight one has been right on the money.
 
2012-11-09 09:26:33 AM

Any Pie Left


That's a false assumption on your part


Really? Then why did you go back again after you returned the machete?


I took the broken unit back to the store and showed the manager the lack of real machine screws. I asked him if he would sell such a product to his own family. Recently I was back there, they are of course still selling the machetes.


Did you just stop by to see if they were still selling those awful machetes? That seems unlikely.
 
2012-11-09 09:43:05 AM
The company that makes the Max Axess wrench and other tools for Craftsman, the Apex Tool Group, is being acquired by Bain Capital, the company founded by Mitt Romney, in a $1.6 billion deal.

Why am I not surprised.
 
2012-11-09 09:52:29 AM
Any handyman worth his salt knows that Snapon is far superior.
 
2012-11-09 09:58:08 AM

starlost: its been said already. more people want price over quality. there is a national commercial by a law firm asking if you have been injured by a table saw. they say the accident could have been prevented because of the fairly new technology that can sense when a finger or flesh is touching the blade and stop it almost instantly. because your saw doesn't have the technology the commercial says sue-sue-sue. i think many of the manufacturers don't use the technology simply because people don't want to pay for it. i've heard it adds around $75-100 to to the price of a table saw. kinda makes it tough when you are shopping for or trying to sell a cheap piece o'crap.


Plus, this doesn't work for all applications. For instance, my dad uses a motorized band saw to slice up deer. Obviously you cant have a flesh sensor on that.
 
2012-11-09 10:00:38 AM
I have a the recalled Rigid 2" granite top 10" table saw, made in China. It was recalled due to sloppy design when using a dado stack, and the blades can throw. My solution is to not use a dado stack ever, and when I change the blade to make sure there's enough thread on the bolt. Still would be a bummer if a blade ever does throw.
 
2012-11-09 10:23:23 AM

Skyfrog: I'm surprised it took this long. Remember years ago when Walmart's big thing was how their stuff was all made in America. That didn't last very long.


It was significantly less honest than that. The slogan was "We buy American whenever we can, so you can too"... a statement which contains exactly zero meaning.

Uh, yeah, we'll buy American if the price is perfectly identical to the Chinese price. Oh, such a thing never actually happens, but if it did, then we could totally buy American!!1!1
 
2012-11-09 10:27:59 AM

jonnyh: sendtodave: This is Fark. It'd be easier for you to just blame a) the Chinese or b) the corporations for being all corporation-y and making money.

The consumer has no choice any longer. The corps have redefined what baseline quality and price are now. What used to be considered to be acceptable quality is now a luxury offering. What was once crap is now accepted. I think about my how my Grandmother used to shop for coats. She'd tug on all the buttons to make sure they were sewn on correctly. Do that now? You'd be arrested for damaging the clothing.

Take the example of shoes. What a decent, made in America shoe? Then you're looking at either Alden or Allen Edmonds. Alden, which I prefer, tend to cost $500-$700 a pair.

Now, those shoes will not only last for many years, but if they do wear out, Alden will restore them to nearly new quality for a nominal cost. With some care, you could expect them to last for life. I've had a pair of Alden wingtips for 10 years, redone once. Another pair for 5 years that still look like they came out of the box. And they don't make your feet hurt or turn into callously crap, either.

Compare that to, say, Florsheim. OK, you can get a nice pair of shoes from them for $175. Guess what? The heel is glued on, and will drop off in a year. The leather will distort and then crack. But it's 4x cheaper, even if it won't last 1/4th as long. And that's the new expectation for the the American consumer.


I'm not sure if you are disagreeing with me, or agreeing with me. The "corps" gave the consumers what they wanted: Lower prices.

Now, the consumers have come expect the lower prices. Meaning they won't compromise on the low prices, they just magically expect better quality.

Curse the corporations for giving consumers the crap they deserve?

Quality was always expensive..Sweatshop goods made things cheap. Raised the standard of living for everyone! "Even poor people have TVs."

But, now you have people looking around at all their cheap crap and going "I deserve quality!" It's kinda funny. No, you deserve what you are willing to and can afford to pay for.

My dad still has two pair of Florshiem shoes that are older than I am. Got them in the early 70s. They were $500 US each paid back them.

You get what you pay for. And that's all you get.
 
2012-11-09 10:43:03 AM

urger: I have craftsman stuff that my great-grandpa first bought. And I have some crap that I bought recently that sucked ass but also had the Craftsman name on it. Sad to see a brand that once was the watchword of quality destroyed by MBAs.


No kidding. Bought an electric drill at a rummage sale the other day just because it looked like a 1930's sci-fi ray gun (i'm a sucker for industrial design). When I looked at it more closely I realized it was a Craftsman, and with a little googling determined it was at least 60 years old. I plugged it in and it ran like it was new. Meanwhile I can't tell you how many of their more recent cordless models I've thrown away. There was a time when you wouldn't gotten laughed off a jobsite for showing up with Craftsman tools instead of Makita or similiar. But those days are apparently long gone.
 
2012-11-09 10:53:14 AM

SpaceyCat: I still have one of my first Craftsman socket sets. Purchased in the early 80s. The shiat I've done to those wrenches would have busted a lesser wrench.


Plus, when they did break, that "lifetime warranty" was truly honored. My dad, while attempting to remove a particularly stubborn spark plug (back in the 80s, when working on a car didn't require $200K worth of specialty equipment), somehow managed to break his Craftsman socket wrench. 3 times in the same day. And this was one of those big, heavy-duty ones. Each time, he'd just head back over to Sears, and they replaced it on the spot, no questions asked, even though he had just been there replacing it an hour earlier.
 
2012-11-09 11:16:40 AM
Go the extra mile & buy made in USA. It matters. Your jobs are in the USA. I'm gonna go buy another loggerhead tool and sone grand kids can use it too someday. FU china
 
2012-11-09 11:18:57 AM
I've had good luck with Kobolt hand tools from Lowes. They have the lifetime replacement warranty like Craftsman. But I live in an apartment and don't actually need them to do any hard work, so their quality could be from the fact I don't use them much.
 
2012-11-09 11:28:34 AM
So I guess the real question is: What brand should I be loking for if I don't want crappy tool? SnapOn?
 
2012-11-09 11:30:18 AM

Breathe Laugh Twitch: Skyfrog: I'm surprised it took this long. Remember years ago when Walmart's big thing was how their stuff was all made in America. That didn't last very long.

It was significantly less honest than that. The slogan was "We buy American whenever we can, so you can too"... a statement which contains exactly zero meaning.

Uh, yeah, we'll buy American if the price is perfectly identical to the Chinese price. Oh, such a thing never actually happens, but if it did, then we could totally buy American!!1!1


Actually, prior to Sam's death, Wal-Mart did have a significant % of products made in the USA.
 
2012-11-09 12:02:25 PM
Sometimes all you need is a cheap piece of crap made in China. I recently bought a reciprocating saw for doing some demolition which is probably the only time I'll ever use it. Do I really need to spend an extra $100 for something that I'll use once?
 
2012-11-09 12:13:21 PM
I remember Sears had the Companion line of cheap tools if you didn't want to pay for a craftsman. In the last 20 or so years I found that if it had a cord on it it was a piece of junk. Their only good tools were the wrenchs, sockets, screwdrivers, etal. Sears dropped down to Kmarts level.
 
2012-11-09 01:11:10 PM

Asako: Sometimes all you need is a cheap piece of crap made in China. I recently bought a reciprocating saw for doing some demolition which is probably the only time I'll ever use it. Do I really need to spend an extra $100 for something that I'll use once?


Nope. That is pretty much my philosophy. Going to use it once or twice? buy cheap. Going to use it more? buy quality.
 
kab
2012-11-09 01:36:12 PM

Asako: Sometimes all you need is a cheap piece of crap made in China. I recently bought a reciprocating saw for doing some demolition which is probably the only time I'll ever use it. Do I really need to spend an extra $100 for something that I'll use once?


Then you probably should have saved even more money and rented it. :)

I'm at the point now where I decide if I truly want some random material possession, then I'll make sure that I buy something I won't ever want to replace. It's off topic, but this is generally extremely true with musical instruments and gear. 'Settle' now, and you'll simply spend more later, especially considering the loss you'll take on a resale. And yes, I've learned that the hard way.
 
2012-11-09 01:58:43 PM

majestic: Breathe Laugh Twitch: Skyfrog: I'm surprised it took this long. Remember years ago when Walmart's big thing was how their stuff was all made in America. That didn't last very long.

It was significantly less honest than that. The slogan was "We buy American whenever we can, so you can too"... a statement which contains exactly zero meaning.

Uh, yeah, we'll buy American if the price is perfectly identical to the Chinese price. Oh, such a thing never actually happens, but if it did, then we could totally buy American!!1!1

Actually, prior to Sam's death, Wal-Mart did have a significant % of products made in the USA.


After Sam's death however they started pulling this crap:
To do business with Walmart you had to open your books to their accountants sothey new exactly how much profit per unit you were making. If they did business with you they'd gradually increase their orders from you until virtually all of your industrial capacity was geared toward servicing them and you had to let all your other clients go. At that point they'd start demanding discounts from you until you were barely making any profit on your sales to them. When the manufacturers finally balked at this since they weren;t making any money "The Wizards of Bentonville" as they called thier accounting Dept would bring you in , go over your books and then point out how you could save 30-40% in labor costs if you closed your US factory and moved production overseas, and and they'd like you to meet Mr. Ling who just happened to have a Chinese factory that could build your item for you.

then they'd hit you up for one more round of discounts knowing you could afford it because of your new, lower, labor costs
 
2012-11-09 02:03:05 PM

sendtodave: I'm not sure if you are disagreeing with me, or agreeing with me. The "corps" gave the consumers what they wanted: Lower prices.


I'm disagreeing with you.

The consumer is the proverbial boiled frog. I have vintage sweaters from the late 60's that cost between $9 and $14 new (they were NOS, an amazing find). These were sold by Sears, and were Puritan brand. Each button hole and edge was finished with suede, and the buttons were real buttons. The wool was, well, wool - mohair at that price, too. The weave was too dense to see through. I have a pair of levi's that had a price tag of $4 from the same period. Four. Bucks.

According to the www.dollartimes.com, multiply by 6.66 to get parity with today's dollar. Guess what? The math works for the sweater, more or less, depending upon the store if there's a sale running. It's hard to find Levi's for under $30.

OK, so the price is effectively the same or higher. The quality? No way. Sweaters today are see-through. Levi's last about 6 months.

That's the rub. What used to be baseline is now luxury, and at luxury prices.
 
2012-11-09 02:28:33 PM

DigitalCoffee: I'd be happy just to get a coffee maker that would last more than a year.

[csb]
Couple years ago for Christmas i got one of those Hamilton Beach Brew Stations. In less than a year the plunger broke. I got lucky in that it broke in the closed position. Many had it break in the open and had hot coffee run everywhere. Then I got a Sunbeam 12 cup coffee maker. That lasted less than a year when it just stopped working. The light on the switch worked, but it would not brew. That was replaced with a Mr. Coffee that ended up dead in about 8 months just like the Sunbeam. Now I have a Black & Decker coffee maker that's lasted 2 weeks so far. Every single one of those was made in China. I went through EVERY box on the shelves (all brands and models) and only found ONE not made in China, it was some expensive (over $100) German contraption that made SINGLE cups of coffee. It use to be that you got a new coffee maker when you broke the carafe, not when the maker just stopped working.
[/csb]



Get a french press if you want to make good coffee forever.
 
2012-11-09 02:43:57 PM
Am I the only one that buys tools at garage sales and estate sales.. why buy new crap for retail when you can find used quality old stuff for pennies on the dollar.... I have all old craftsman and snap on hand tools... I doubt I've spent over 2 grand on tools and have a good set for home, garden and vehicles
 
2012-11-09 02:45:38 PM
Cheap crap may sell well until they demand quality. Apple computer gets lots of resistance because its cost. But quality has made it the richest company in the history of the USA. Pay attention MBAs
 
2012-11-09 02:51:16 PM
One of the automotive forums I frequent pointed this out a couple years ago, along with side by side pitcures of the American and Chinese products. I'm not as much into wrenching on cars, which is good, considering how easily the Chinese stuff breaks. I've spent more time running up to a store for a needed replacement tool than I have actually working on the cars.

As for the Kenmore crap I have in my kitchen, I'll never buy a big ticket from there again.
 
2012-11-09 02:52:39 PM

Elzar: urger: I have craftsman stuff that my great-grandpa first bought. And I have some crap that I bought recently that sucked ass but also had the Craftsman name on it. Sad to see a brand that once was the watchword of quality destroyed by MBAs.

Jesus craftsman has been cheap chinese donkey balls for years and years now...


Yeah, isn't this old news?
 
2012-11-09 03:03:48 PM

darcsun: One of the automotive forums I frequent pointed this out a couple years ago, along with side by side pitcures of the American and Chinese products. I'm not as much into wrenching on cars, which is good, considering how easily the Chinese stuff breaks. I've spent more time running up to a store for a needed replacement tool than I have actually working on the cars.

As for the Kenmore crap I have in my kitchen, I'll never buy a big ticket from there again.


The first time I managed to split a Chrome-Vanadium socket right down the middle while trying to loosen a bolt, I felt like farking superman. I've done it often enough since to know its not me, its the crap tools I'm using
 
2012-11-09 03:22:43 PM

DigitalCoffee: I'd be happy just to get a coffee maker that would last more than a year.

[csb]
Couple years ago for Christmas i got one of those Hamilton Beach Brew Stations. In less than a year the plunger broke. I got lucky in that it broke in the closed position. Many had it break in the open and had hot coffee run everywhere. Then I got a Sunbeam 12 cup coffee maker. That lasted less than a year when it just stopped working. The light on the switch worked, but it would not brew. That was replaced with a Mr. Coffee that ended up dead in about 8 months just like the Sunbeam. Now I have a Black & Decker coffee maker that's lasted 2 weeks so far. Every single one of those was made in China. I went through EVERY box on the shelves (all brands and models) and only found ONE not made in China, it was some expensive (over $100) German contraption that made SINGLE cups of coffee. It use to be that you got a new coffee maker when you broke the carafe, not when the maker just stopped working.
[/csb]

/use to be that you would strip the head on a frozen bolt with your socket
//now the bolt stays intact and the socket shatters into pieces :-(
///farking Chinese crap


Ziroshi

DigitalCoffee: I'd be happy just to get a coffee maker that would last more than a year.

[csb]
Couple years ago for Christmas i got one of those Hamilton Beach Brew Stations. In less than a year the plunger broke. I got lucky in that it broke in the closed position. Many had it break in the open and had hot coffee run everywhere. Then I got a Sunbeam 12 cup coffee maker. That lasted less than a year when it just stopped working. The light on the switch worked, but it would not brew. That was replaced with a Mr. Coffee that ended up dead in about 8 months just like the Sunbeam. Now I have a Black & Decker coffee maker that's lasted 2 weeks so far. Every single one of those was made in China. I went through EVERY box on the shelves (all brands and models) and only found ONE not made in China, it was some expensive (over $100) German contraption that made SINGLE cups of coffee. It use to be that you got a new coffee maker when you broke the carafe, not when the maker just stopped working.
[/csb]

/use to be that you would strip the head on a frozen bolt with your socket
//now the bolt stays intact and the socket shatters into pieces :-(
///farking Chinese crap


Mrs. Relax had the same problem until she purchased a Zojirushi No problems and been going strong for 5 years. We have a Zojirushi rice cooker that has to be at least 15 years old. I just wish they made toaster ovens.
 
2012-11-09 03:40:05 PM

jonnyh: //mah first greenlight
//aw shucks, it finally happened to me


Good for you but gotta warn you...it's like meth. You keep submitting stories looking for that same high and get redlight after redlight, next thing you know you're outside the coffee shop leeching WiFi and panhandling trying to scrape up the $5 for TF.
 
2012-11-09 03:41:06 PM

tin_man: cheap_thoughts: Dewalt

I bought a new cordless drill/impact combo at Christmas time two years ago, because I had a gift card to a local store. Didn't have much call to use either one much for most of '11, but used them both occasionally. In March of '12 I started remodeling my bathroom, and my new Dewalt 18v drill, that was still shiny, made through about two days of standard use. Junk.

The impact turned out to be alright, but I'll never spend money on Dewalt again. Might as well buy the cheap knockoff stuff if it's not going to last any longer than that.


Milwaukee
 
2012-11-09 04:35:46 PM
[takes notes]
 
2012-11-09 04:57:25 PM

Joe_diGriz: SpaceyCat: I still have one of my first Craftsman socket sets. Purchased in the early 80s. The shiat I've done to those wrenches would have busted a lesser wrench.

Plus, when they did break, that "lifetime warranty" was truly honored. My dad, while attempting to remove a particularly stubborn spark plug (back in the 80s, when working on a car didn't require $200K worth of specialty equipment), somehow managed to break his Craftsman socket wrench. 3 times in the same day. And this was one of those big, heavy-duty ones. Each time, he'd just head back over to Sears, and they replaced it on the spot, no questions asked, even though he had just been there replacing it an hour earlier.


That used to happen to me. Then I got tired of having to interrupt what I was doing and run to Sears to replace broken tools.

Snap-On: There is a Difference (when you are using the tools professionally anyways)
 
2012-11-09 07:04:24 PM

jonnyh: sendtodave: This is Fark. It'd be easier for you to just blame a) the Chinese or b) the corporations for being all corporation-y and making money.

The consumer has no choice any longer. The corps have redefined what baseline quality and price are now. What used to be considered to be acceptable quality is now a luxury offering. What was once crap is now accepted. I think about my how my Grandmother used to shop for coats. She'd tug on all the buttons to make sure they were sewn on correctly. Do that now? You'd be arrested for damaging the clothing.

Take the example of shoes. What a decent, made in America shoe? Then you're looking at either Alden or Allen Edmonds. Alden, which I prefer, tend to cost $500-$700 a pair.

Now, those shoes will not only last for many years, but if they do wear out, Alden will restore them to nearly new quality for a nominal cost. With some care, you could expect them to last for life. I've had a pair of Alden wingtips for 10 years, redone once. Another pair for 5 years that still look like they came out of the box. And they don't make your feet hurt or turn into callously crap, either.

Compare that to, say, Florsheim. OK, you can get a nice pair of shoes from them for $175. Guess what? The heel is glued on, and will drop off in a year. The leather will distort and then crack. But it's 4x cheaper, even if it won't last 1/4th as long. And that's the new expectation for the the American consumer.


Read this guy's bio if you want to read a sad tale of American industry turned to rust.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_F._Johnson

Endicott-Johnson Co. & The Square Deal

In 1899, Johnson became co-owner of the business, which was renamed the Endicott-Johnson Co. Under his presidency, the company grew to eight factories in Broome County, New York, employing about 10,000. Endicott-Johnson was the first company in the shoe industry to introduce the 8-hour workday, 40-hour workweek, and comprehensive medical care. Despite paying some of the highest wages in the industry, Endicott-Johnson was consistently profitable.

Although Johnson oversaw many different factories throughout the Susquehanna Valley of Broome County, he attracted many immigrant workers to the area by offering to build homes. Although the name Johnson was given to the city in NY where George F. arrived, the city of Endicott better reflects his intimate vision for a prosperous community. This is because Johnson himself developed nearly all of the residential neighborhoods in Endicott, selling houses to the workers at a cost to himself of $1000 each.

Until he died in 1948, Johnson saw to it that Endicott-Johnson employees received a range of benefits that were not typically offered by most employers at the time. The company also created parks (containing swimming pools and carousels that anyone could ride for free), medical facilities, restaurants, libraries, and recreational facilities-all designed to provide high quality goods and services to the employees for free or at a low cost.

The Square Deal Towns of Endicott & Johnson City have set the precedent of eager industrial labor habits for Broome County. The humming EJ factories and neighborhoods were the origins of International Business Machines. Endicott and Johnson City were where George F. Johnson revolutionized the pay system and improved relationships between capital and labor.

Here is a quote from George F.: "To know in the morning that your compensation is fixed; to know that you must do the same thing all day long, to know that whether you do a little more or a little less, whether you are more or less interested and more or less efficient, your pay is automatically fixed-creates the most deadly monotony that I can believe possible". Here he describes what was then called the piece worker system, whereas Professor Melvyn Dubovsky calls Johnson's ethic "welfare capitalism".

The community of Lestershire was renamed Johnson City, New York in 1916 in honor of Johnson, and Endicott-Johnson workers built two arches over the area's main road in the early '20s, one at the entrance to Johnson City and the other in Endicott, New York stating that they were the gateways to the "Square Deal Towns". Endicott-Johnson would become the largest manufacturer of footwear in the United States, employing 24,000 workers at its peak.
 
2012-11-10 02:13:41 PM

AbbeySomeone: DNRTFA but I have been looking for a quality handbag made in the US. LOL. WTf?
i buy and sell vintage items and the pre 80's are in demand and sell well. I have a Kitcehn Aid stand mixer from the late 70's that is awesome and can't understand why the new ones don't work.
What's that? Cheap manufacturing, cutting standards and questionable inspections?
I'll thank people like The Mittens for making the Vintage world go round.


Dooney & Bourke still makes a good amount of their bags in the US. Hell, if you like pistachio-colored alligator print leather, I'll sell you mine.

I recently bought a Fluevog-branded bag that was made for them by Saddleback Leather. While the craftwork is done in Mexico, it appears to be done ethically by craftsmen with some holy shiat levels of material. It is a BEAST.

I also bought a pair of designer jeans recently. Seven By All Mankind has a lot of their manufacture done in the US.
 
2012-11-11 07:31:49 AM

mr0x:

I remember a long time (obviously outside the US), people were suspicious of US manufactured items because it was believed that US manufacturing has built in obsolescence (esp. vehicles). People preferred Russian since it would last even thought it would not be pretty.


Oh yeah, I remember the slogan: bends but does not break.

I still have some communist era power tools that simply refuse to die.
 
2012-11-11 04:54:32 PM
They tried to fark the guy that invented the quick-release ratchet, too.

They're sort of like the Microsoft of physical goods.
 
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