Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Splitter Like A Nut Splitter

Today I had another wonderful experience with the company previously called Fears and Boebuck, so once again we will call them by that name. At any rate, this retail giant has a famous tool line that we will call um, Raftsman. These Raftsman tools have a wonderful warranty, you break it, they replace it, no questions asked. To get such a tool however, you must pay a premium for them. Now oddly enough, of these very expensive and warranted tools, I have broken more of them than any other tool brand I use, including the cheap-o Chinese tools. But then again, that is probably because I own more of their tools than any other brand…

Just to take a detour for a moment, there are two things you pay for in quality tools. One is the accuracy of the tool, high quality tools should be accurate to the size and shape that they are supposed to be. For example, a 19mm wrench should measure out to 19mm, not 19.1mm. The tighter the tolerances, the more effective the tool will be and the longer it, and your fasteners will last. The other thing that you should pay for is the quality of the steel the tool is made of. Cheap-o tools are commonly made from mild steel, poor alloys, improperly treated steel, or as castings.. All of these factors make crummy tools. Steel that is too hard or too soft will break or gall on your work, crummy alloys break or even shatter and fail, improperly treated steel will either be too hard or too soft and will act accordingly, and castings should never be used to build a tool (forged or machined materials only). It is common place to find tools polished to a mirror finish, have color treatments or be laser etched at a premium price. All of these things don’t do much of anything in way of the efficacy of a tool. Don't fall for the hype!

Back on track, so, I took a broken adjustable wrench back to Fears and Boebuck to trade it in for replacement. I walked in, and went straight to the adjustable wrench isle. After looking for a while without finding a replacement, I asked the sales person if he knew where the adjustable wrenches like this one (as I held it up for him to see) were. He said, “oh, a nut splitter, those are down the socket isle on the left side” I replied, “It’s actually an adjustable wrench” he said “yeah, on the left side of the socket isle. So down the socket isle I went, was the wrench there? NOooOOoo…. So, I went back to the counter, as the department head was walking up, the kid behind the counter asked the department head to go help me locate the nut splitters. I handed the adjustable wrench to the man and said, “It’s not a nut splitter, its an adjustable wrench.” he replied “Yeah, they don’t make this style any more, the only ones we have are these smaller ones” and hands me a nut splitter…. One more time I said “its an adjustable wrench” he replied “we can give you the current model in exchange for your older model” So, I looked at the price tag and realized that the nut splitter was twice what I paid for the adjustable wrench, and knowing that I didn’t currently own a nut splitter but I did own a drawer full of other adjustable wrenches, I did what any other self respecting person would do and took the nut splitter.

Now, at the moment, I feel conflicted. Yes, I made sure that the sales staff were made aware that the wrench that I was trading in was not in fact a nut splitter. I also corrected both sales people when they identified my adjustable wrench as a nut splitter. Still, something inside of me is saying that what I did was stealing…. I am not sure I believe that part of myself though, but it still is nagging at me…

What do you think?

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