What happens when an international company decides to return the premium hand tool market and a small-town craftsman supports the move? Well, not much. How about some background?
On the 5th of February I walked in to my area’s family-owned and operated (since 1915!) hardware store and asked if they carried Stanley products. The answer was, “of course!” and I had figured as much because the yellow rectangle was everywhere on the shelves. “I’m interested in a new line of chisels Stanely came out with and now being sold on-line; can you get a set for me?” The owner and I talked specifics, and the conversation ended with an action for him to see the chisels at a dealer ‘marketplace’ next week, where he’d order said chisel set.
He did see them (I called the next week) and said they were indeed very nice! And expensive. We agreed on a price, and the order went in. And so the waiting went on and on until yesterday, when I called to check the status of the order. An email had come after three weeks of waiting, the owner said, in which the Company (Stanley) said they wouldn’t be selling the chisels by a single set – a larger order was required. The owner went on to work with his Chicago distributor in an effort to get a combined order that included said chisels, and at the end of the day the owner called me a final time.
“I’ve never spent so much time on a single product,” he said, “but I’ve spoken with Stanley. They’re going to sell me a single chisel set but with an upcharge of $10 because of the limited quantity.” Wow. Untold thousands of dollars spent on product development, adverstising and testing and then a person can’t buy them without such hassle? Trying to support a local business in a traditional, order-the-product way and it was almost impossible. Not a warm and fuzzy feeling from Stanley, huh?
Anyway, still waiting (maybe next week?) for my chisels, at which time I’ll do a blog update on them. Carly Simon’s got nothing on me, man! :-)
-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive