Fatherly advice and the end of an era: Sears and Craftsman

Fathers love to give advice.

Any of these sound familiar? Hard work never killed anyone; look both ways before you cross the street; measure twice, cut once; righty tighty, lefty loosey; do every job like it’s your last, and a million other lessons.

I’ve heard a million lines like that over the years and I find myself repeating the same words to my kids. I open my mouth and they come rushing out without thought or plan. It’s a genetic thing, it’s in our bones.

Choose wisely

I remember my father telling me another bit of advice. One Saturday afternoon my father was working on his car and he asked for an wrench from his toolbox. I ran as quickly as I could to our basement, grabbed the right-sized wrench from the toolbox and went running back outside. He took one look at it and told me to run back and grab another one just like it.

When I returned, out of breath from the errand, he said, “Nothing beats a Craftsman.” I looked down and saw the big silver Craftsman letters on the wrench handle. The two wrenches looked the same. I saw very little difference in the two, but the Craftsman obviously meant something to my father.


My father’s words jumped to mind last week when I heard the news that Sears has agreed to sell iconic brand name Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker and will be closing 150 of its 1,500 stores across North and South America.

Sears and Craftsman tools have been synonymous for more than 90 years. However, Sears has been struggling in recent years and made the move in an attempt to inject cash into the flagging company.

Guaranteed for life

When Sears began selling the Craftsman line they advertised the tools as having an unlimited warranty. The warranty program required no receipt or dated proof of purchase. My father was frugal with his money so I’m sure he found the lifetime warranty appealing. I can’t recall that we ever had to replace any of his tools, but he lectured me that hot Saturday afternoon that since he paid a little more for Craftsman, he knew that he could. 

img_2902-editedWhen I grew up, had a home of my own, and started to fill up my own toolbox, I would inevitably turn first to Craftsman. I have two left hands when it comes to being handy, it’s lost on me, but I still preferred the Craftsman name.

In any event, I find it hard to believe how far Sears has fallen. I know the state of shopping has changed. In this era of online shopping and big box chains, Sears feels so 1980. It simply has not been able to keep pace. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I thought of shopping at Sears, forget about actually stepping foot in one of their stores.

Sears and Santa

I find it odd kicking dirt on Sears since the store played such a big role in my youth. As a kid, I loved looking through the Sears’ Christmas catalog. I looked forward to the catalog coming in the mail. They had all their shiny new toys laid-out on page after page. I rifled through the catalog as fast as I could, marking the corner of every page that had something I wanted. By the end, I would have most every page of the toy section folded back.

My parents lived paycheck to paycheck,  so our Christmas’ were more on the sparse side, but it still didn’t take away from the pleasure I got coming up with my wish list.  

But times do change.

img_2895-editedSears has gone from the biggest and best to hanging on for dear life. And I won’t be buying any Craftsman tools in the near future, but I’m still pretty quick with the advice.

My most recent words of wisdom to my kids: “Nothing lasts forever.” Sears and Craftsman can certainly back me up on that one.





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