Sears Offers Crappy Tools And Service, First-Rate Apologies

We’re still not quite sure what Sears is. It pretends to be a retail operation, but in reality acts more like its existence is an elaborate anti-capitalist prank, aiming to keep consumers from exchanging their money for tangible goods. Take, for example, the case of Michael. He would like to order a Craftsman steel workbench frame from Sears, and Sears is doing its best to prevent him from owning one.

I have been trying to buy a red 6′ steel workbench frame for over a month. It’s not stocked so I had to order from

Order 1. I receive the confirmation email and pick it up at the store. When I get home and unpack it, I notice one side is extremely kinked/bent, but the paint and box is perfect. It was painted bent, passed QA bent and was shipped bent.

I call to complain and they tell me to return it to the store, and ask if they can order me another one. Sure I said, but she ordered two! Two separate orders, two add’l charges on my card. I manage to get one cancelled and about 10 days later I get the “available for pickup email” I head to the store (3rd visit) and watch my order go from Open to Processed in 4 minutes.

However 40 minutes later I learned it isn’t there as it “Missed the truck” The wall chart says 99% served in less than 5 minutes. I was served in 4 minutes, except there wasn’t a bench onsite. (minor detail I know) The clerk offers to order me another one for the third or (or 4th) order, I notice the price jumped $30 and he explains he can’t honor the online price. So I refuse to sign the credit card screen. I tell him to forget it.

When I get home to see if any of the credits have been put back on my card, I see a new charge for the 4th order at the inflated price. Unreal! So after 4 orders with 2 still on my credit card I still don’t have a workbench.

Let me know when the bankruptcy liquidation sale is, because that’s the next time I’ll be at Sears.

Sears power tools are Chinese rubbish, but the excuses and apologies are still top notch.


Edit Your Comment

  1. scoutermac says:

    stop shopping at Sears!

    • Billy C says:

      As a Sears employee, I take offense to the general “Sears sucks” sentiment. Just like other big stores including Walmart (which managed to rank top 3 in Canada both in best AND worst customer service, figure that out), customer service experiences are going to vary. One state/province’s stores could have more lax policies, or it could even be different between in-store departments, depending on management. I work in men’s casual, and I never hear about bad customer service from our clothing departments, or even the entire store itself.

      • Shadowman615 says:

        Let me guess, your store serves 99% of its customers in 5 minutes or less?

        • Billy C says:

          Yes, in my department at least. But then again I only sell easy stuff like khakis and polo shirts, not steel workbench frames. Thanks though for proving the ignorance of people not realizing BIG STORES tend to have more than one department. I’m pretty sure that’s just a slogan of that specific department.

  2. mikedt says:

    I think at this point Sears is really a real estate holding company just waiting for the real estate market to return. The merchandising is just something to tide them over till then.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Interesting that you say that. The news just came out that my local Sears is leasing the entire first floor of their huge two-story store to a Whole Foods. They own the building, naturally. There’s another Sears in a different state doing the same thing.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        haven’t they always done a little of that? i haven’t been to a sears in almost a decade, but the last time i was there i know they had leased space to a locksmith and an optometrist.

        • HomerSimpson says:

          Leasing space is one thing…a large part of the building is quite another.

          If you go to Sears/Kmart’s real estate site they have listings up for practically all of their stores. Goes along with what mikedt was saying about their being more than willing to unload properties if a buyer shows up.

        • nishioka says:

          This sounds way different. The JC Penney in town here has a gift shop, hair salon, portrait studio, etc. all in a corner… I’ve never seen somebody turn the entire first floor into a grocery store though.

    • FatLynn says:

      I’m pretty sure they make more money financing purchases than through actually selling stuff.

  3. The Cupcake Nazi says:

    Where are the top-notch excuses and apologies? I see some lame crap about not honoring a price, but not a single mention of an apology, nor of any interesting excuses.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Two stars.

      Came mostly for the “first-rate apologies” they advertised. Left disappointed.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Another one taken in by a false headline; I smell a Consumerist story here.

    • ovalseven says:

      Be patient. SearsCares will copy and paste one in the comments section.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    I would love to take those 4 benches off your hands;
    I’ll be there in 5 minutes or less to pick them up.

  5. simonster says:

    If you refused to sign the credit card screen, that probably means the preauthorization went through but the charge won’t post. You would see a charge immediately after you got home, but the charge should disappear in a couple days.

  6. dawgone says:

    Signing a credit card sale has nothing to do with authorizing the sale. It is simply to protect the merchant in case you dispute the charge. It proves you purchased the item, but a signature is not required to process a charge.

    • Chmeeee says:

      It probably is required for the register to finalize the transaction in the case of an electronic signature. I would assume he hit cancel instead of signing, which should cancel the transaction.

      Likely just an authorization that’s showing up, as others said, it will be gone in a day (hopefully).

  7. Marlin says:

    yea whats the point of the “served in less than 5minutes…” if EVERY SEARS scams the machine by logging it was done in less than 5 minutes.

    I have seen this at more than 1 sears and read that it happens at all the others as well. Its a fake metric so not only are they wasting time and money with the machines but pissing off customers who go there and wait over 5 minutes but are told they were helped in less than 5minutes.

    • NotEd says:

      I’ve been standing at Sears pickup and actuall seen my order get relogged in and start the timer over, even though no one has actually approached me.

  8. Gorbachev says:

    You know what they say…American made is top notch. No wonder the apologies are of high quality.

  9. hotpocketdeath says:

    I’ve lost all faith in Craftsman tools. My last tool I got from Sears was some jeweler screwdrivers that are extremely poor quality. That was the last straw. If I want a high quality tool, I’ll go with Snap-On.

    • mrvw says:

      I’m right there with you. over the last 2 years I’ve been replacing my craftsman stuff with snap-on.

    • Costner says:

      I agree that Snap-On is high quality, but you can hardly put them in the same category considering the price.

      If you want a brand that is on-part with Craftsman in terms of price yet is higher quality, check out Gearwrench. They are made by Danaher which is the same company that makes Matco and Kobalt. In fact, the rebuilt kits for Matco ratchets fit inside of the Gearwrench brand perfectly.

      I own a lot of Craftsman tools that I’ve collected over the years, but going forwrad I’d be hard pressed to buy anything from them. The quality has dropped, the service is horrid, and the prices are no longer competitive for what you get. Plus, I get a little tired of seeing their tools go on sale for 40% or 50% off every other month. Why would I ever be willing to buy anything at the regular inflated prices?

      Heck, I’ve even started buying some cheap Tool Shop tools from Menards, because although they are made in China and are cheap, they actually have a lifetime warranty. For things like deepwell sockets that I’ll likely never use more than a few times a year that seems to be a good way to go.

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    It’s sad. They used to be so great, and they’ve been around for over a hundred years. The original founders are probably spinning in their graves. I have a facsimile of an early twentieth-century Sears catalog and you could buy anything from them. Anything.

    I really miss the wish book. We’d circle all the things we wanted. Rarely got many of them but it was fun. The last thing I bought from them was a black satin bedspread that came with two pillow shams, and I picked it up at an outlet distribution place. I think I went into a store a few years ago, but there was nothing in there I wanted. :( Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  11. Bob says:

    One time my dad bought a Craftsman self-propelled mower from Sears and when we opened the box we found that one of the rear wheels wasn’t even attached. It wasn’t just loose. It was never attached to begin with. It was like the parts for that one wheel were just tossed in the box at the last minute by a lazy assembler, because the height adjuster and everything needed for that one wheel were was just laying in there. The mower was supposed to be completely assembled, ready to go. We took it back and they apologized and swapped it for a new one that was fine, but still, to ship a mower from the factory with a wheel and the corresponding hardware unattached speaks volumes about Sears’ quality control. The mower was “assembled” in Mexico, if that tells you anything. Craftsman tools used to be great, but now… I’m not so sure.

    • ovalseven says:

      “The mower was “assembled” in Mexico, if that tells you anything.”

      I agree. Sears sucks. I don’t understand this comment, though.

  12. NorthAlabama says:

    oh, remember the good ‘ole days, where you walked into the store, and paid for your stuff after you opened the box and looked at it first???

  13. az123 says:

    What I like is the it missed the truck thing… Sears system actually sends the ready for pickup out when someone in the store clicks that they have the item moved from the stock room to the ready for pickup room. So either someone at the local store clicked it for an item that was not there, it was there and they just did not want to get it for you… or they dropped it and totaled it when you arrived and decided to make up a story. Either way they are doing a good job of messing with you.

    Oh and them not matching the online price is BS, Sears will price match the online price for things.

  14. Earl Butz says:

    Got some of the last good USA Craftsman tools. Was in there last week, those tools are gone. I think they’ve given up.

  15. Costner says:

    I advise the OP to pay a visit to his local Sam’s Club and pick up one of the Seville workbenches. They are superior to anything Sears has to offer and are very reasonably priced. Plus they come with a very nice butcher block top, adjustable leveling feet, and a sturdy powder coated hammered-texture finish on the frame.

    If you don’t have a Sam’s club or aren’t a member you could possibly order one direct.

    But yes Sears is almost going out of their way to be horrible these days. Things are so bad at the store near me that people I know park at Sears when they go to the mall since they can always get a spot close to the door. That should probably tell the Sears people something, but they don’t appear to be listening.

    Finally – I feel the need to add this to any post about Sears since it is so relevant:

    • The Cupcake Nazi says:

      We have two of those…sturdy as all hell, I wouldn’t hesitate to put them through endless abuse.

  16. dush says:

    Bankruptcy liquidation will still be more expensive. They mark it up $100 then put it on “sale” for $20 less.

  17. Sarek says:

    Sounds like Sears’ CEO should participate in “Undercover Boss.” (though I’ve never seen any Undercover Boss episodes address the web presence.)

    But that’s only if management actually cares in keeping the stores alive. The above comments that they just want to sell the real estate may be spot on.

  18. quail says:

    Sad that Sears is less than a shadow of its former self. When I was in our local one one weekend some guy set up a stand and did a Shamwow presentation inside the department store. Really, Sears?

    Only reason I was standing there was for the wife to look over the Lands’ End sale items. Really tried to tell her the options are better online.

  19. dyt2020 says:

    I had a similar experience with sears…except mine was with purchasing a socket set on sale online. It was shipped damaged, and one size deep wall socket was missing and there was a duplicate of another size. This was clearly a returned item that was being sold as “new”. I didn’t care though, because it shouldn’t impact the quality of the product, and if it does, they have a lifetime warranty on the craftsman sockets. I just wanted them to give me the size that I was missing. I went through several phone calls and emails with overseas customer support. They wanted me to return the entire set and repurchase at the price that was $85 more (the set i bought was 50% off…on sale for $85 w/ free shipping)…they offered 10% and free shipping, which was still $60 more than I originally paid. They also wanted me to go to the store to return, and I told them that I shipped it to my house for convenience, and that would defeat the purpose.

    Finally, after over a week of going back-and-forth, I sent an email response that only said “You have got to be sh*tting me”, and went to the store and had them swap out the socket. The next day, I got a response from ‘Kevin’ which was the first English as a first language respondent who said:

    “I’m sorry for all the inconvenience this has caused. The missing 7/8in socket has been requested from the manufacturer. The part will be sent directly to you from the manufacturer.”

    At last! I ended up going against my principles and going to the store, then they decide to ship me the socket. I now have two 1/2″ drive 7/8″ deep walled sockets if anyone needs one :)

    We are getting to the point where outsourcing is not cost effective because resolution take 3x as long, even if it costs 1/3 the amount you’re losing customers who are getting fed up with the nonsense.

  20. SearsCares says:

    Dear Michael,

    My name is Stephanie L. and I am with the Sears Social Media Escalations team. Please accept our apologies for the damaged workbench you received, we understand your choice to have it returned. We would especially like to apologize for the multiple orders that have been applied to your credit card; we understand this can be overwhelming. We do appreciate your continued patronage and would like to contact you and go over how we can turn this into a positive experience. At you at your convenience please contact our office via email at and a dedicated case manager will contact you directly. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number your online order was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide your screen name “Michael” you used to post on this site, for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

    Thank you,
    Stephanie L.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

  21. NotEd says:

    That was like the long journey my wife has had with sears during our family room remodel.
    Before we started she gave me a cordless, 4 tool Craftsman set of tools for Xmas. Came with a Drill, Sawsall, circular saw and flashlight with a charger and 2 NiCad batteries. The charger worked once and then the batteries wouldn’t charge anymore. Took the package back to out local Sears and they figured out the charger was defective (no complaints there, as they were helpful in the store and swapped just the charger with one they had in the back, rather than having us return it like we had originally planned). Used the set regularly for 6-8 months, mostly just the drill and the circular saw a few times for quick one off fixes around the house.
    Then came the part of the project where I needed to use the circular saw to cut boards and paneling. The NiCad batteries would power the saw for 3-4 cuts for paneling. Then the blade would stop spinning at top speed and start tearing the paneling up or just die mid-cut. Worse we bought a Jigsaw that runs off the same batteries. That worked for about 5-6 minutes on a full charge before becoming unusable.
    Best part is that I tried to find any kind of support for Craftsman on their website there is not sustomer service link, email address or form. Tried contacting them through their “Contact us” form of the website and they would only get back to me with canned message essentially letting me know I reached the wrong department.
    The only good experience I had with Sears was when we went pick up some more tools and a few sawhorses the same day we rented a truck to pick up building materials at Home depot. The guys at Sears loaded the truck for us and sent us on our way. Later that day we got another email saying our order was ready for pickup. Turns out they forgot a few things the first time around. We ended up with an extra collapsible sawhorse in the end, as they could not seem to keep track of the order at the in store pickup. We returned it, but it was still nice to get something extra, for a change.

  22. BradenR says:

    A bit too late but now I know why our dishwashers always catch fire. We bought them at Sears! Trying to get service on one that hasn’t quite made it to the recall list is frustrating. Looking at the recall list, I found the majority of appliances recalled all came from Sears.

  23. Buzz says:

    Does another store have this in stock? If they do, Sears should send it to your home free of charge. Which company is floundering more, Sears or JCP? Both ships are in rough seas!