Tools.

The other day I heard that Sears sold the Craftsman brand to Stanley, as I was on my way to RadioShack to buy a potentiometer, some solder, and maybe a few resistors. The retail world has certainly transformed over the last few years. Stores that used to anchor malls in suburbs around the nation are dropping like flies.
 
I immediately got on the Sears website to see what sales were going on, hoping to get a few choice deals before the vultures circled. Sure enough, they were cutting prices on Craftsman-branded goods, although nothing too severe to make me think they would be shuttering the Anchorage Sears doors this week.
 
I swung by the store anyway, mainly because I've always liked cruising the aisles and looking at the tools. I've never been a Mac or Snap-On kind of guy, mainly because I never had that kind of money for tools I would just end up abusing and leaving to rust. Craftsman always fit in that sweet spot for me where I could rely on them yet not feel a strong sense of personal loss when eventually my neglect would ruin their functionality.
 
I walked down the aisles, checking out the items on sale and noting that few were things I really wanted or needed. Sure, that cordless 19.2V hand-held compressor would be cool for filling up bike tires, but $130 is more than halfway to a Silca SuperPista, which would get me far more street cred in the parking lot before a time trial. They didn't have the socket sets I wanted in stock, and I was beginning to lose hope that I would find something to spend my children's college funds on.
 
Then I saw it.
 
A Craftsman 5-drawer tool center with 108 piece mechanics tool set. On clearance.
   
I had to have it.
 
I really didn't need the tools, but figured I could leave them out in the rain so their patina would match my existing sets. As with most Craftsman tool sets, it was primarily comprised of cheap filler I wouldn't use anyway.
 
What I really wanted was the tool chest for my bike tools. As I mentioned last week, my current "leave them wherever" tool organization strategy has proved ineffective. My Park Tool case was too small and the pile it held overflowing. I needed a centralized storage location, preferably one at waist level so I wouldn't throw out my back reaching for a 5mm Allen wrench. This one should do the trick.
 
I'm actually excited by the potential of a consumer-grade tool chest.
 
I need to get out more. Maybe go find some of that internet porn I keep hearing about. Something. This is just sad.
 
What's sadder is that Sears probably isn't going to be around too much longer. It's been part of my life. It's where my parents used to buy Toughskins jeans for us kids. They'd get passed down through four or five cousins before the denim would be flexible enough to bend at the knees, and still have enough life in them for a few more generations of hard use. It's the source of catalogs we used to mark up pre-Christmas with bookmarks, folded pages, and arrows, only to get absolutely nothing we so carefully requested. It's where I buy my Kenmore appliances, until Sears sells that too and I can find them at Walmart. It's where I get my "rain tools". It's just one of those constants that doesn't seem like it will be a constant much longer.
 
When Sears finally dies I'll miss it, then I'll move on. I'll buy my replacement rain tools someplace else. I'll get my appliances at Lowes or wherever. My kids will never know the joys of stiff-legged running in new jeans and extremely chafed thighs. Live will go on.
 
Won't be the same, though.

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