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Auto Parts Store War Stories

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by leadsled, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. matt68396
    Joined: Feb 27, 2009
    Posts: 4

    from nc

    I went to the parts store once to get a u joint for my 68 GMC. Told the guy I needed a u joint, told him the year, GMC 2wd half ton then he asked what motor does it have. I told him a 396.

    "well that's not factory motor, what did it have in it before?"
    that's the factory motor
    "no, GMC never put a 396 in a truck"
    I know they did b/c my grandpa bought it new from the dealer
    "he must have changed it at some point"

    I just had to turn around and leave. I can't believe they don't understand that sometimes their little computer might just be wrong.
  2. 500LBGorilla
    Joined: Jul 30, 2003
    Posts: 402

    from Austin Tx

    I went into the local mega parts store and asked the rocket scientist behind the counter for tie rod ends for a 73 Nova, he looks over his computer after he managed to close his mouth and says "Who makes Nova?" " Chevy" I reply In utter amazement.. Then he asks"Tie rods?" where are they? "The front end " I managed to get out from between my clenched teeth...after 5 more minutes with Einstiens lost son I went behind the counter and looked them up on his computer myself...
  3. Insane 1
    Joined: Feb 13, 2005
    Posts: 973

    Insane 1
    from Ennis TX

    Don't get me started on Ghettozone!
  4. stlouisgasser
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 671


    I did my time at the 'Zone pretty close to 20 years ago. My gosh, people say that like they actually did time in a prison or something. I really did hate it but I had to find some kind of job fast and it was very close to home. For the life of me, I will never understand why "phone" customers get preference over "live" customers that have actually made the trip to your store to actually spend money and we were supposed to make them wait while we answered the phone. Hell, they're still like that. The only good thing about that job was that the store manager respected my abilities and let me do what I wanted. I never stocked oil or shelves, I just stayed at the counter and helped people. I tell 'ya....those chain stores don't understand that certain employees build up a reliable customer base, or clientale, after a while, and when that valuble employee gets sick of the crap and does his customer base.
  5. When a new parts store opens around me I have a test. I go into the store, and the first counter man that says anything I ask for a water pump for a big block Chevy.
    If he says "long or short?" I know I have someone I can work with.
  6. MIKE-3137
    Joined: Feb 19, 2003
    Posts: 1,578


    I try to find the store where at least one racer or hot rodder works. I made a friend at the local Advance who's a drag racer, He gives me a good discount, and lets me hunt my own stuff when necessary. The Napa store gives the impression that they hate hot rods. When I was building the roadster I brought it by Napa to match up some radiator hoses, the older guy rolls his eyes and says sarcastically "here we go".
  7. D-fens
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 369

    from Huntsville

    Worked at an Advance store for a few months while I was between jobs.

    8 bucks an hour, 32 - 35 hours a week, manager wouldn't let me do a full 40hr week. Hostile customer base too, because I was the new guy in a town of people who all seemed to know one another (cue the banjo music) and everybody wanted to push the new guy's buttons.

    Manager got super-pissed when I landed a better-paying real job job and quit. Guess he expected me to work part-time for 8 bucks and hour for the rest of my life?

    As a customer:

    Went into a Pep-Boys looking for a gauge install kit. They didn't have one, no suprise. Ask one of the managers if they can order one for me. "Ohhh, no. We don't carry those, most of our customers don't hook them up anyway, they're just for looks"
  8. VonMoldy
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,555

    from UTARRGH!

    hmmm there is a an Autozone opening up a few miles away...might have to fill out an application.
  9. MercMan1951
    Joined: Feb 24, 2003
    Posts: 2,654


    After my stint at a NAPA while at school, and getting my last paycheck, I actually owed them money the day I left! :rolleyes:
  10. ltex old iron
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 515

    ltex old iron

    went in to oriellys auto parts kept asking for a set of header gaskets for a small block chevy and kept being brought head gaskets...they couldnt understand what a headER gasket was
  11. Good luck with that one. That would be like me walking in and asking for big block Mopar valve cover gaskets and expecting a response of "4 bolt or 6 bolt". Not exactly reasonable considering most of that stuff was built long long before the people who can afford to make 8 bucks an hour were born!
  12. BangerMatt
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 465


    Wouldn't that be because they are called Exhaust Manifold Gaskets?
  13. badsco
    Joined: Jun 11, 2009
    Posts: 104


    I worked at an engine builder a couple summers as a teenager. One day the boss got a call and after a few minutes hung up killing himself laughing. Apparently the guy on the other end had just got off the phone with his garage. Not satisfied with the answer or pricing the garage had told him, he decided he would just buy new valves and replace them as somehow they had been dropped....
  14. banditomerc
    Joined: Dec 18, 2005
    Posts: 2,284


    I say,where are your chrome exhaust tips?he asks..what year and make?sheeesh!!
  15. kopperkart
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 467

    from Wisconsin

    The version I have heard is EX= a has been and SPURT is a drip under pressure
    Old guys at auto parts stores are the only ones with a clue.
  16. Zookeeper
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,041


    There are horror stories on both sides of the counter. I was in the local Kragen and the guy next to me wanted a timing belt for his Chevy truck. The counter guy asked the year and the customer said it was a '98 half-ton, two wheel drive. I treid to hide a grin while I listened. The parts guy said, "do you mean a fan belt, or a timing chain?" Now the customer was getting indignant as he said, "well, all I know is the timing belt on my wife's Subaru broke and it cost a lot to get it fixed. The mechanic said it was because we let it go too long without changing. The one in my truck is a lot older and I can't afford a new engine, so I need a new timing belt for it, do you have one or not?" How would you like to put up with customers like that all day?
  17. unforgiven
    Joined: Sep 6, 2007
    Posts: 58


    got a place that I can call and order parts srnd someone else to pick up and finally pay for a few days later. He even got stock points for my model A.
  18. There is a lot to be said for dealing with one parts store, the one I deal with knows me and the kind of cars I work on and I am happy with the service I get. Maybe I pay a little more for some of the brand X stuff they order for me but over all it's worth it to get what you need when you need it, plus I do enough buiseness there to get a good cut on most parts.
  19. Tim Cowan
    Joined: Jan 3, 2009
    Posts: 41

    Tim Cowan

    I worked about four parts and machine shops from 1965-68, then made a career of the phone truck garage and telephone repair until 2000. Second parts job was at Jacksonville NAPA Warehouse & local store as a shop mechanic. My boner was buying a used 11 drawer Cornwell roller cab. It was in great shape except needed a fresh coat of paint.
    The store air compressor was larger than the one I had at home so I went to the store after hours on a Friday night and sanded and painted the tool box in the store shop. It was in the hot summer and I turned on an exhaust fan while painting. It was bright red paint and didn't realize until the next morning that the over-spray had covered the store inventory like the "dew over dixie". The boss got blowed out & I was chewed on a little. I changed jobs about six months later and there were still many parts in the store toned in a shade of red........
  20. Some years back I was going back to school and I had to get a part time job, so I figured why not try an parts store so at the urging of a friend who worked for AZ. I got a job there and quickly found out that the management was more concerned about appearances than true customer service. I as a newbie was usually one of the only ones there that knew how to turn rotors and drums and knew how to diagnose simple issues. They teach them that everything is in the computer. One day a guy came in looking for calipers for his 49 Plymouth, you can see where this one is headed. After about 10 mins of watching and laughing. I asked what did they come off of and got him what he needed. But the other guy never understood why it wasn't in the computer. I stayed there for about 6 months before I had enough and left.

    They have a 150% turnover rate with counter help and a 100% rate with Mangers per year.

    So if you find someone that knows their stuff at one of theses places count yourself lucky.
  21. :eek: Last year when I was laid off & job hunting I had applied at a Car Quest - get this - I had 30 years parts experience - but - they would not hire me because "I did not have a college associates degree" - get this even though I had gone to trade school for 2 years for auto mechanics back in the 1970's - :confused:
  22. So here's another one.

    From behind the parts counter I see a 50cc scooter "off-roading" through the ditch into our parking lot.

    The peg-legged 50 something year 5"4' guy comes in and ask me to have a listen. As I started to let him know this not a scooter shop, he starts it up, get on, revs it up using his peg leg to hold it back.

    "Can you hear that" he says. Then he mentions that he pulled the exhaust pipe off the get the tire off. I said "did you put the gaskets back on?"

    He replys:
    "Do you think that's what the round thing is on my porch is?"

    I say yes, and he shakes my hand thanking me and drives off.
  23. well some of the Napa parts people are just like hte others you just spoke about. I once went into one looking for a woodruff key for my generator, the dude had not a clue till I showed him my generator. His response " those half moon thingies" no but try schucks or autozone LOL ! ok and Autozone had them, needed just one, but had to buy that stupid blister pack of " various sizes" just to get the one I needed ! laughs !
  24. Idlzruf
    Joined: Oct 24, 2009
    Posts: 93


    Parts store I worked at was pretty cool.Unfortunatly all the corporate store came along and the owners wouldnt compete advertise.Son takes over next thing you know we had to trash all the paper catalogs.Fortunatly I was the one who had to toss them all now I have half a garage full of delco moog parts back to the 40s and parts catalogs to the 30s. I also worked at Autozone.How they stay in buisness is beyond me.
  25. fordflashback
    Joined: Mar 9, 2008
    Posts: 48


    I work a dealer, been doing Ford parts for a long time. I've heard plenty of stupid questions over the years. The best one so far was just the other day. This guy walks up to the counter and asks me....... "do you sell Ford parts here?" I was so amazed, I didn't quite know how to reply to Mr. Obvious. Yes, it does say PARTS DEPT on the wall. And we do have friggin' HUGE Ford oval hangin' out front, it lights up and everything.

    As for parts stores, when we need something from them, we order it online thru their websites. There just isn't anyone on the other end of the phone that can seem to get it right.
  26. Expert,
    An EX is a has been, and
    A SPERT is a drip under pressure.
  27. MedicCustoms
    Joined: Nov 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,094


    We have a couple parts stores here that I worked at as a kid. I still get calls from freinds at the part store asking me about parts. I like going in and asking for a part with the part # in hand and them ask me whats it for... Or the best one is to ask for a short water pump for a SBC and them ask whats it for so I them them its for my 1926 ford tudor and the look of horror on there face It's priceless. Some people just don't get it...
  28. skajaquada
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 1,642

    from SLC Utard

    since only one other person has mentioned it...

    This is THE best place for the interchange, pictures, hard to find part numbers etc on the web. Perfect example; working on '62 Nash Metro and needed some ignition parts. They couldn't find them in the computer so I went to rock auto and looked it all up. Called them and gave part number, no luck so I asked for a dist cap for a '74 MGB perfectly due to interchange on the site.

    Get your part number(s,) call them up and have them check it out. Don't forget to remind them to cross reference because many times they are too stupid to remember to do that and also remember that sometimes there is no part number cross reference but because of the features on rock auto's site you can get a diff year/model to ask for to get the part.

    Having been a parts store manager I understand their side. I also understand what I don't want to deal with as a customer so I take all option on their side out of the equation if at all possible.
  29. For me, those "automart" stores are great for oil, cleaning supplies, additives, but when it comes to parts, it's either napa or a couple of other "mom and pop" auto parts stores around here I go to

    OK, but why get your consumables at the chain store, but your hard parts at the "mom & pop" stores??? Why not get ALL of your items from the "mom & pop" store and support them wholeheartedly! I've never understood that above line of thinking!

    Around me, there have been close to twenty Mom & Pop parts stores close, all with some of the most knowledgeable parts people I've ever had the pleasure of doing business with! Even the young guys/girls at these stores had to learn, but they had great mentors that guided them without ridiculing them. Now, it's the answer to "can you operate a computer?" that gets a new hire on at the chains. I believe there are but a couple of locally owned car parts stores that are even remotely close by. The NAPA and the two O'Reillys that are close by, seem to be worth a hoot. The local CarQuestion is loaded with ignorance and stupidity. I needed a carb kit for a '75 Duster recently. The countergirl asked "What's a carbruator?" Yeah, really! The two guys there are not much brighter. AutoZoned doesn't exist, in my book. Buffoons and others that can't tell a set of headers from a pine-scented room freshener.
  30. capt546
    Joined: Oct 20, 2009
    Posts: 5


    I will tell you a little story that might interest you. In the 80's-90's I owned 11 auto part stores (Car Quest) scattered in small towns around Houston in 5 different counties. We hired old line mechanics that grew tired or just could not due the hard work anymore as our managers. They were the shepherd that kept a flock of high school gear heads together that worked the counters. We did ok, did not get rich but ok. In addition we also handled heavy duty truck parts since every town had gravel haulers or loggers and they had trucks. Again the heavy duty parts business was good.

    Then two things occurred in the late 80's and early 90's that killed our business. The first was Walmart, they built a store in each of these towns we had our stores in and overnight we lost all the oil and filter business, batteries etc. We were left with the hard parts that did not moves as fast as the oil and such.
    The second was the warehouse distributors of truck parts, a company in Dallas caslled Power Equipment started mailing newspaper advertisiments on a weekly bases to our fleets and end users. If you owned a fleet or just one truck you could buy heavy duty hard parts at jobber prices cutting out the dealers. Little did we know that these two events would destroy the fabric of our business. Back then the aftermarket parts were rolling in from Korea and other places. China was not yet a player. I sold all the business over a period of several years, some we shut down.

    All of this was before the internet and EBAY.

    Today I still have a cousin who owns a Napa store in Houston and I have the advantage of being able to go behind his counter and search and compare when looking for parts that might work. I feel sorry for anyone who is trying to build something and have deal with the computers today.

    An yes I do search the internet for the best price. Times have changed.

    Capt Mike

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