...i've been ripped off by places like home depot as well as sears too...
Exceptions to every rule. But that said, the old adages "You get what you pay for", "If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!", "No free lunch", "Can't have your cake and eat it too", etc. sprang up for good reasons, and have merit.
I'm not necessarily
suggesting that there's not situations where buying from Harbor Freight makese sense, but if you do so, set your expectations accordingly. I've seen the problems firsthand during time spent inside my company's factories in China, and I deal constantly with increased quality problems relating to cost-driven outsourced components and labor. Ex. Compressor casting that when sourced here were trouble free now generate frequent problems with micro-porosity. I could state 100 more examples, but won't.
Clearly the Harbor Freight business model caters to those customers who value low cost over quality, and as stated above, in general you can't have you cake and eat it too.
By the way, I wasn't going to get into this, but my real reason for no longer shopping often at Harbor Freight relates not to this quality thing, but rather to American jobs moving overseas. Corporate greed, facilitated by disgusting federal legislation has created a situation where for the first time in American history, our kids will on average enjoy a lower standard of living than this generation currently enjoys. Everything we buy today that's made in China that we would have bought yesterday from a U.S. manufacturer provides a job for a Chinese guy and takes it away from the guy who lives down the street from you. That's a problem for me. By the way, I also shop at the local hardware store whenver possible instead of at Home Depot, etc., for similar reasons.
Sorry for the soapbox thing. I had no intention to hijack this thread but this hit a hot button.