Ever seen ads for Hazet, PB, or Proto? Those guys don't advertise much, because they don't really need to.
The people who put money into marketing are the mid-grade outfits like Snap-On and Mac, who make respectable but not marvelous tools and make up for that in advertising.
Maybe, but I suspect there's a lot more money selling millions of crappy tools than hundreds of really nice ones. Harbor Freight is making money hand over fist, and so are their suppliers. There's not a lot of money in selling $100 Swiss pattern files, because there are only a limited number of people who are going to buy them. Vaillorbe makes great tools, and they might have high margins too, but they aren't making huge profits.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Like a man that started a food chain of stores in the town I live in. He sold brand name food, same as any other store. Then one day we marked everythign down. I was a stock boy then around 17 years old. His idea was to make 10 fast pennies instead of one slow dime. He would by a boxcar load of an item and put it in his warehouse. A number of years later the three big names like A&P, Kroger and Winn Dixie closed and moved out of town. Now there are several of his stores around in the near by are, and the only other food places are one of each, Walmart, Audies, and one other store.
Many of the Harbor Freight tools are good enough for a one or two time use. I have some, but would not buy them if I was using them to make a living.Most of my better tools are the Craftsman tools from years ago. The latter ones have not been as good of quality.
+1 I had the exact same experience here too; supposedly a premium brand tool in this country 'n' all. Mind you, to be fair, I also had a Snap-On [TM] straight screwdriver bit snap off first time I used it (back in '78) maybe they've improved since.
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