Back in 2003, before the real estate bubble burst, I sold my house and moved to the other end of town. I paid a moving company to do the move, and the movers ended up packing up the garage into boxes, because I had barely finished getting the inside of the house packed up in time.
Quite some time after we got settled in the new place, I needed to use my tools for something or other, but when I looked through all the garage boxes, my tool kit was gone. It was a set of Craftsman tools - sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers and some miscellaneous stuff in a nice, compact case. All of it gone.
It was much too late by then to file a complaint with the moving company, but I was able to get by with the few screwdrivers that had made their way into the house before I moved. I think I bought a cheap hammer at Home Depot, and between that and the screwdrivers, I was set.
Six years later, I sold that house and moved in with my now-former roomie, and she had a cute little pink tool kit in her garage. I had to give my hammer to our next-door neighbor, because I had borrowed hers before I finished moving in (my hammer was still at the old house), and I broke it. Apparently hers was even cheaper than mine.
Since my roomie got married and took her cute little pink took kit with her, that left me with the one phillips screwdriver and my roomie's hammer that she left behind with a few other things. I used these two tools to assemble a cheap coffee table, but I kept the matching end tables in their boxes until I could get the moving boxes out of the living room (almost done!).
Last week I decided that it was time for the end tables to get put together, but by then I had misplaced the screwdriver, an essential item for table assembly. So I concluded that it was probably time to get a new tool set. I went online to Sears (gotta have Craftsman) and saw that they had their tools on sale, so I ordered an 8-piece set of screwdrivers (four phillips, four slotted), a 12-piece set of combination wrenches (they were the same price as the 9-piece set, so what the heck), and a hammer. Then I went down to Sears and picked up my order and was a happy camper.
Of course, now Sears has joined the parade of companies who send me emails telling me about their specials. Best Buy, Albertsons, Souplantation, and some others really love me and long for me to come and visit and spend more money. Normally, I just check the box by these emails and send them over to a folder where I don't have to look at them in my inbox anymore. But Sears has managed to make their subject lines enough of a teaser ("Look what we've picked out for you!") that I actually look at them first before I send them to join their compadres in the "Ordered Stuff" folder.
A couple days ago, I looked at one of their emails, and it was full of expensive tool sets that I couldn't possibly imagine ever needing. And I noticed, down at the bottom of the email, where they asked me for my opinion on whether their choices for me were good ones. They had five stars, ranging from "Not At All" to some enthusiastic version of "Yes" that I don't remember because it wasn't my answer. I clicked on the star that was slightly better than Not At All, and it took me to a survey asking for more information.
The survey asked me to choose the selection that matched the type of disappointment I felt, and below that was a text box for more information. Did I have an opinion for them? You bet I did! Here's the box I checked:
"Included products I was not interested in."
In the text box I wrote:
"I bought tools that I needed. Now I don't need them, but you're showing me more tools. This is not helpful, because I am a woman and the need to buy lots of tools is not in my DNA."
I think it worked, because today they sent me another email ("Think you've seen it all? Here are more great deals from Sears!"). Inside, they showed me a bunch of non-iPad tablets. We're making progress...