Kreg Owners' Community

Far too often these days and especially when it relates to purchasing tools at the big box outlets we hear or experience customer service nightmares. Personally, I have been on the end of a number of disaster stories when it comes to dealing with some of the employees at a certain well known DIY store where the staff wear orange aprons near my house. Sometimes you can't get help when you need it. Other times, you get help from someone who doesn't have a clue what they are talking about and just wants to give you an answer, any answer, so that they can carry on with whatever they were doing before.

But this weekend, I experienced a truly great experience when it came to someone actually helping me and following through with what they promised. On Sunday, I attended the Toronto Home Workshop Show (formerly the Toronto Woodworking Show). When I approached the two reps at the Irwin Tools booth, I had a specific question in mind for them. I explained to the first gentlemen I spoke with that I really liked Irwin clamps and that I had about a dozen of them that I use all the time. I also said that "not only do I like your clamps but my new puppy does too." He smiled politely and looked at me like I was weird. I went on to explain that my puppy had gotten a hold of two of my clamps in the basement and had chewed two of the pads on the end of the clamps beyond recognition. I asked him if he could tell me where I could get some replacements.

He didn't hesitate and gave me a piece of paper and asked me to write down my email address so that he could look into it and get back to me. I cynically snickered as I walked away thinking, "oh sure, he'll get back to me. I'll bet." Low and behold, that evening (a Sunday), I received an email from him asking me for the model numbers of the clamps. I sent those to him. Monday morning, I received an email from someone else at Irwin asking for my address so that they could send them to me free of charge.

It's easy to complain when you receive poor service and too often we never mention when someone has gone above and beyond to help out. Hat's off to Irwin Tools. They have a client for life for providing really great service to me this week.

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Comment by Bob Kunka on November 6, 2011 at 10:12pm

I'm a carpenter by trade and a retired Seabee (20 years) on top of that.  I wouldn't call myself a master craftsman, but I know my way around.

When I was laid off from the cabinet shop I was working at, I hit the unemployment line for a while. While searching for a new job, I was told that a new Lowe's was opening just three miles from my home.  I applied for the job and was accepted. During the interview I was asked to list in which departments I wanted to work in. I listed Building Materials, Hardware, and Tools. I was placed in the Hardware Department.

Lowe's does have a self paced computer training program for your department. You are trained in the basic knowledge of your department. A lot of employees don't utilize the training and usually they are the ones that the customer has problems with.

Retail stores are not int he business to make friends; they are in the business to turn a buck, and what usually happens when times get tough, the higher paid employees are the ones let go, which was my case. The remaining employees are required to work two or more departments, usually ones that they have little or no knowledge about. This happens at Home Depot also. I asked.

In my place, the manager hired a young kid with NO construction background to work in both Tools and Hardware. I went back to visit a few friends and went to the Hardware Department and asked a few questions about helping me to select the proper hardware for the project I was working on.  This kid didn't have an inkling of what i was talking about and didn't seem to really try.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it really isn't ALL the store's fault, whether it be Lowe's or Home Depot. For a lot of their employees, this is just a job; for others it's a foot in the door to other retail jobs.

I don't shop at Lowe's anymore because of how they treated me as an employee. I go to Home Depot, which is a further distance away. Some of that stores employees are dorks also, but 99% of the time I don't interact with the employee anyway because I know what I need, I get it and get out.

Oh, and I also get a 10% discount because I'm retired military, the same amount as employees get as their discount.

It's not a matter if the store is orange or blue, it's the attitude of the employees.

Comment by Mark on January 20, 2011 at 2:53pm

Had a great experience in the blue and white home improvement store. Talked to one guy just before the holiday's when looking at a few tools to purchase. My wife and I talked to him and he told about a few products that were not up to par. Showed us a few others, talked about the some worldly things, we thanked him for his time and left. The next day we returned to purchase the tools and a ceiling fan for the kitchen. He saw us and waved (while talking to another customer) we picked up everything he suggested and headed to the check out. While in line he came up and said hello and talked for a moment. He then proceeded to the cashier and whispered something in her ear. When we checked out she took an additional 10% off everything (including all the stuff on sale). What a deal and what a great feeling. The orange apron guys are closer to our house and good for a quick visit (a few good people there) but for my money, I'll drive the few extra miles now to the other blue and white store.


BTW, that's when I bought my Kreg master system. Yes, I'm new to the community.

Comment by steve kidd on January 11, 2011 at 1:57pm
I bought a new kreg jig from woodcrafters on discount, knowing a couple parts were missing. Figured i could buy or make the parts but emailed Kreg and told them what parts were missing. They asked for my address and free of charge the parts came in a couple days. Great service, nice to know someone cares about thier customers. That kind of service will continue to make me a repeat customer and tell of the great service.
Comment by Jens Jensen on January 8, 2011 at 11:42pm
I did same with a coffee pot  The pins broke off the top I emailed company and they said it was no longer available but to give them serial # and they will replace it after three yrs of brew with new model.I no this has no business in wood blog BUT the coffee pot is in my wood shop  so I will count it
Comment by Bill White on December 20, 2010 at 3:24pm

I have to add a comment about Kregs customer service.  Simply Fantastic.  Just got my Kreg Jig and tools.  Working with it the second time and the quick coupler tool broke. The bearings fell out.  Well, I called Kreg and no hassle at all.  They just sent me a new one.  You don't get that from China boys.

Comment by Mike McGuire on December 19, 2010 at 4:26pm

Fred, Your story explains a lot.  It really does.

Kenny, I know what you mean.  There is one fella at the store I go to that is really helpful and knows his stuff.  When I can find him it goes pretty smooth.  If not, well, you never know what you are in for.

Comment by Fred Odette on December 19, 2010 at 6:01am

I know a fellow who's son got a job as supervisor in the tool dept. of one of the orange apron stores.... his training was "read the box it'll tell you all you need to know on the box" . believe it or not that's what he was told.     He no longer works there.

Comment by kenny from Sundre on December 18, 2010 at 4:30am

I, too, had a couple of unhappy experiences with the people in orange that made me vow not to buy anything that they have to sell. However, last spring I was looking to obtain some shower doors in a hurry and swallowed a bit of my pride. I phoned them, got in touch with a lady who actually understood my predicument. she took my number, did her research and called me back. While she could not supply any fast than the local people could, she did her very best to help me. No matter how bad the bulk of them seem to be , there are still some who really care. 

Comment by ray vile on December 17, 2010 at 12:28am

I all ready posted this in my traveling router bit post but I was really impressed with porter cables response to my took lest then 24 hours for them to get back to me with a phone call from a tech that knew what he was talking about

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