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Funniest lines from the parts counter

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 59Apachegail, May 13, 2012.

  1. I like to tell people when they bring in an old greasy , dirty, rusty part for a core or replacement, that for a small fee, we will transfer the old part's grease/dirt/rust onto the new one. Or if they ask if we have one "like this" we tell them no, all of ours are clean and new.
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  2. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,094

    from so-cal

    Evesdropping at a SUPERSHOPS back in the 70's
    "Sure kid, this 1050 Dominator will bolt strait up to your Pinto manifold using this adapter right here"
  3. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,807


    I've become the guy the rest of the staff shove customers onto when they bring in those oddball parts... shit, I love it. I had to cover at another store a while back and a guy walks in carrying a flathead crab distributor... knew what it was before he got to the counter and had the paper catalog out. another guy later that day carrying an accelerator pump for a '65 Tempest carb.... he had that carb number with him as well. we had him covered, too. great difference twenty miles makes in customers. I never heard the phrase "I ain't need 'em again" during that entire day.

    seems like a ton of what I read in the seventies car mags stuck better than what I was supposed to be learning in school.
  4. Six-Two, you kinda' sound like the guys I grew up dealing with.

    I guess I'm more fortunate than most, having dealt with so many dudes on the back counter of numerous dealerships.

    There's nothin' quite like sauntering up to the counter with a repair order in one hand (and your dick in the other) and askin' for a sub-frame bushing or sum-shit from a parts man who knows what he's doin'....

    Way back in the dark ages when I was a snotty-nosed apprentice, a young journeyman told me that in the business there are three guys you don't mess with, if you want to make a living:

    1. Your parts counter man.
    2. Your tool man.
    3. The dope man.

    In that order.

    Now that I'm retired and a hobbyist, I drive five miles to deal with real parts counter men rather than the dudes at the chain parts store 6 blocks from me; it just ain't worth the aggravation.

    Dammit, I just realized I'm startin' ta' sound like my old man....
  5. When guys tell them something is all the same, tell them some of these stories:

    Chevy G-van: with anti-lock brakes, the hub on the front rotor is like 1/4" longer. I presume the spindle is also. They're not interchangable, but the only difference is just enough wider you can't put the cotter pin through. Well, unless you grind out the castle nut slots - that will get you 100 miles or so in a pinch. But it will clunk and grind and in general sound like trouble.

    Chevy trucks with oil cooler: Not only is truck different from van different from whatever else, but they are also even different from a 5.0 to a 5.7 per the books.

    I say this because I have a set of lines I need to return. In a Pep Boys, they still have the circa-1994 state of the art computer systems - no pictures - the counter guy did his best to help me, but he had to use his own smart phone to look the parts up on the internet on Pep Boys' website to have photos to show people. On a phone it's hard to see what fittings and stuff they have on them.
  6. Dave Walker
    Joined: Aug 14, 2006
    Posts: 6

    Dave Walker

    From the early days of dealership computerisation -
    "ain't no good pointing at it, the computer says we haven't got one"
    Texas57 likes this.
  7. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,807


    ha! that's a common phrase from my Navy days when we were installing the "new" SUADPS inventory management system in the early '80's.
    more often heard was "yeah, we have one, but if I issue it to you we won't have it for emergency issue." this was commonly used to keep from having to find the widget in question when we KNEW the repair shop requisitioning it HAD one already. in those slow old days when req's took a week or more to process, and the part might not show up for a month or more, the repair shops commonly over-ordered parts. hey, that's how the Navy supply system worked in those days.
    and, to this day, I still don't get why I had a nylon stock for an M-14 in storeroom 11. we weren't the gunner's mates nor the gunnery dept. I moved that thing around for three years.
  8. Ozzie Bob
    Joined: Nov 24, 2009
    Posts: 4

    Ozzie Bob

    After spending almost 20 years behind a Spare Parts counter , most of this thread is true and accurate.
    When I was starting out I was working beside this old guy, he might have been 50 then.

    An old farmer walks in to the shop and asks another young bloke if he had rings and bearings for and old Massey tractor.

    From the deep bowels of the store I heard the voice, is it a 20 or 25 the farmer answered .....I will be there in a second , as the seconds rolled on , I hear the other important questions.
    Stock bore or oversize, crank std or under does it have a suck or blow fuel system........

    The other young bloke who I might add is a smart arse, just stands there in amazement as this OLD bloke slides out from behind the racks with a shop trolley with all of the required parts that the farmer ordered (rings and bearings) plus a sump gasket, a head gasket, some shim material, an oil filter, 5lts of mineral based oil and a tube of gasket glue

    The farmers face light up and from that day I realised how important it is, to know and understand how to read between the lines at the counter.
    The farmer paid for his parts and went on his way knowing that he should not have to come back to the shop AGAIN for more stuff.

    It is a dying art , so , if you have a good parts man , keep him busy and let the young punks play with the stereos and seat covers.

    Ozzie Bob
    fsae0607, Ford52PU and volvobrynk like this.
  9. a few weeks ago i guy comes in and says he was having problems with the battery we sold him , and we need to do something about it. it's not staying charged so he has been putting on a battery charger every night.

    after i looked at it i informed him that he would have a better experience with the battery if he actually had a serpentine belt on the car turning his alternator
    volvobrynk likes this.
  10. [​IMG]
  11. TX55Truck
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 9


    I was working on mother in laws jeep ignition cylinder and needed some tamper proof torx, so instead of going to work and getting mine I just pulled into a local parts store and grabbed a small set. Upon checkout the sales man tried to sell me some fuel additive. Stating " Pouring this stuff in your gas tank is like adding a turbo to your car" wtf!!! Does that mean if I use 2 cans I'll have twin turbos? Lmao I can believe what some of these guys tell customers ....

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  12. We tell all of our new trainees this first things first, "while clocked in you are to have no opinion on religion, politics or motor oil, period!" :D
  13. I had a customer who, after purchase of pads and rotors, asked me if we rented tools. We do, so I asked "what tool?".

    "The tools to do this...!"

    Recovering myself, I answered that we did not 'rent' basic hand tools.

    "Who does?"

    I said "No one that I know of, especially at 6:30 Saturday night"

    He left, and I just shook my head.

    Seems that with dealers charging over $100/hr, and other shops $60-$70+/hr, people get the idea that they should try to repair their own.


  14. Me: I need a 36" brake line
    Counter Guy: I don't have any that size all I have is 3 foot

    Good ol' AutoZone!
  15. Gdogg
    Joined: Dec 24, 2009
    Posts: 4

    from Michigan

    Me: I need a 5/8 barbed A/C hose connector
    Then: what kind of car is it for?
    Me: It doesn't matter, I just need a 5/8 barbed A/C hose connector
    Them: No you have to tell me what kind of car it's for
    Me: Ok a 2009 Trailblazer
    Them: (he's looking for it in the computer) (still looking) 5 minutes later, sir we don't have one for a 2009 Trailblazer.
    Me: Ok, how about a 2008 then
    Them: (He looks for awhile) nope
    Me: check and see if can you find one for any car and I'll be back later

    So I go down the street and get one at the next parts store.
  16. dos zetas
    Joined: May 10, 2009
    Posts: 175

    dos zetas

    I drove up to a Nordest Minneapolis NAPA on my old sidecar machine in my heavy winter clothes. When i got in the door the old grey-haired counter man said, "I saw you comin down the road and for a second I thought you were a German".
    I said, "Well I'm glad you don't keep a burp gun under the counter, then".
  17. Powerful Pete
    Joined: Sep 12, 2013
    Posts: 6

    Powerful Pete

    I've been behind the parts counter for 43 years. I wish I could remember half the stupid shit that happened .. on both sides of the counter.
    A phones and asks for a whatzit so I ask him what size engine. He comes back in a sec and says its 24 inches long.
    I make sure the knowitall that says they're all the same gets the wrong one every time and comes back with the right answer.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  18. 1952henry
    Joined: Jan 8, 2006
    Posts: 777


    At the end of the day, at least these people are willing to work instead of helping themselves to my hard-earned cash.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 1,418

    from Ojai,Ca

    Holding up a quad carb gasket, “i need one of these” I say.
    Counter Person going to his computer “Year, Make and Model” he says.
    “You are kidding”, I say and walked out.

    Go to second parts store
    Holding up quad carb. gasket, “I need one of these” I say.
    Parts Person reaching in box behind him on the shelf., “Will that be all”

    Now that place gets my business now even though it is farther away than the first one.
  20. i guy comes in one night a few weeks ago and asks for some brake line cheaters. i ask him what they are since i have never heard of them. he said everybody knows what they are , he has bought them before...trying to be a big man with his girlfriend along. after a little discussion i figured out he needed some adapters to adapt a steel brake line to his master cylinder. what size line? he don't know. what size is the threads on the master cylinder? he don't know. what master cylinder is it? i could get one from the back and check the threads. he don't know..aren't they all the same? i get him two random adapters from the drawer and tell him these should work since they are all the same
  21. ksmith
    Joined: Aug 4, 2012
    Posts: 38


    I had that happen to me before. They had no idea what plastigauge is. They tried selling me a tach.

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  22. Road Runner
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 1,257

    Road Runner

    I had to return a halogen headlight that failed after just a few minutes.
    The oldest guy in the Autozone store asked me: Did you touch the glass ? - You are not supposed to touch the glass on those lights.

  23. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    It's not just auto parts stores, I went to an electronics supply shop to get some resistors to repair the instrument cluster in an off topic Buick, gave them the value of the resistors I wanted, guy said "what are you fixing?" I told him, he said "We don't sell car parts here."
  24. Recks30
    Joined: Nov 7, 2013
    Posts: 28


    Pretty sure this had happened in every parts store in every English speaking country. Same as "I need ... for my Pontiac GOOOLE."
  25. Recks30
    Joined: Nov 7, 2013
    Posts: 28


    I've been in the parts industry since I was 17; for 15 years now. I've heard a lot of stupid conversation on both sides of the counter. About 95% of my business is with professional installers. I find the worst people to deal with are the guys in their mid-20s and younger and the 55+ crowd. The young customers think they know everything because they read it on the 'net and the old guys just think they know everything. My apologies if I offended anybody, but the best guys to deal with are the guys of any age that come in with a great attitude and explain what they want to do (if they have something out of the ordinary). The people that come in and know they have something unusual and rub it in the junior counterguy's face can stay out of my store.
    My young counterguys don't know much about pre-1995 and my old counterguys know very little about post-1995.
    My greatest concern is that this generation is turning in to a "do it for me" generation. That's great for my business, but for some reason working as an auto technician or a parts guy is not a respected career (at least where I'm from). The suit and tie job has become the norm, anything where your hands get dirty is looked down upon. It's almost impossible to find a good parts guy or tech now. At least in my market.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
    Ford52PU likes this.

  26. GREAT POST! To me that sums it up.
    Why guys my age (60) think a kid is suppose to know about parts and cars 50 years old is beyond me. When you come in and demand a part for a 56 Buick, you are one of maybe 10,000 owners of such, probably less. WHY do expect kids to have an encyclopedic knowledge of ever car ever made.When YOU were 20 in 1965 did you know every part number for every car made in 1915? Lots of guys my age are just bitter assholes, not ALL by a long shot, but it's not unusual. They are the types they hated when they were young, the "worlds gone to hell" type jerks.
    There's just no reason, no matter what to be a jerk.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
    5window likes this.
  27. Wedgehead426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2013
    Posts: 114


    Me: I need a oil pump for a 1977 Dodge Ramcharger, 360 4X4 Auto trans.
    Parts counter Kid look's at computer, goes to the back. come back and hands me a box.
    I open the box, and inside is a external (Big Block Mopar) oil pump.
    Me: This is not the right pump.
    Parts counter Kid: The computer say's it is.
    Me: The computer is full of shit, do you have one for a 440?
    Parts counter Kid: What year?
    Me: It doesn't matter, use the same info I gave you, different motor.
    Parts counter Kid goes behind counter and comes back with another box, inside is SUPRISE! A internal small block pump.
    ME: I will take this one.
    Parts counter kid: are you sure, this will not work on your 360.
    I then spend the next few minutes explaining the difference between big block and small block mopar oil pumps, and that these two pumps must have been taken out of their boxes and put back in the wrong boxes at some point. And the one I want will fit my 360.
    As I am paying for the pump, I overhear the kid talking to another kid implying I am full of it, because "why would they put the pump on the outside of the block when the oil is on the inside"?
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  28. my best experience to date was the following, I worked in Heavy Duty truck parts for over 30 years so I have seen it all ,but at a local autozone I inquired about a certain part I was looking for the nice young lady explained to me in great detail they did not stock these type of parts and to go elsewhere, I went home got on autozones website looked up the part ,checked their stock at the local store which they had ,had it pulled for pickup ,half hour later went in and picked it up best thing of whole experience was girl that told me they never stocked this kind of thing cashed me out you should have seen the look on her face lol, ya and I am one of those over sixty know it all "s
  29. The reason their are often issues in a parts house is the counter person just doesn't know but is afraid to ask for help on something he or she just doesn't know about sometimes the know it all just isn't on the customer side of the counter
  30. tiredford
    Joined: Apr 6, 2009
    Posts: 501

    from Mo.

    What he said is true.

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