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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 heard the guy next to me ask for a water pump for a Toyota Torana- (the toyota everyone knows, but the Torana is an Aussie GM model- nothing to do with each other). The parts bloke says "so which one do you need a pump for?"
    - the customer keeps saying "Toyota Torana". In the end they both went out to the car park and had a look at the car- someone had stuck a "Torana " badge on the bootlid of a Toyota. Very early badge engineering.
    And yes, your'e not supposed to touch the glass on halogen lamps.
  2. sasquatch12
    Joined: Nov 6, 2013
    Posts: 38


    Great bunch of posts guys!! As an old fart who has been around this stuff, it gave me some great chuckles!!
  3. prpmmp
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,078


    The bulb itself!! There are also sealed beam halogen!! Pete
  4. Road Runner
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 1,257

    Road Runner

    You shouldn't touch the actual bulb, which is apparently sealed inside the glass of the headlight.

    I asked him: So what happens if rain, dirt or a bug touches the glass ?

    I didn't get an answer, but a younger guy smiled and gave me a replacement.

    I guess some guys have either spent too little or too much time behind the counter.

    These age groups are prone to produce memorable episodes, regardless the side of the counter or business.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  5. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,767

    from CenCal

    There are a lot of 'em out there.

    Somehow we've forgotten as a nation that Americans are friendly people. When did rudeness become a national pastime?

    There's a lot of fabulously rich jerks on the TV who we seem to be paying way too much attention to. :(
    slack likes this.
  6. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,767

    from CenCal

    My bad experiences at parts houses have been thankfully few.

    I was a teamster working at an equipment rental co in 1978, which was all about dealing with the public, and there I could tell some stories...

    But the worst parts counter was at a motorcycle shop where I went to buy a custom tail light for my hot-rod KZ900. The guy behind the counter was covered in Harley tattoos. He asked me what I was putting it on.

    When I told him a Kawasaki, he got snotty and remarked that "...riding a Kawasaki was like" ...ummm I gotta clean this up a bit... was like "having relations with a male prostitute. It feels good," he said, "until somebody sees you."

    I was shocked, as a customer, to be addressed that way. (Remember, I've deleted the expletives.)

    When I regained my composure, I held that chrome taillight up under his nose, and told him:
    "That's the only part of my bike Harley riders normally get to see."
    volvobrynk likes this.
  7. heinz51
    Joined: Aug 19, 2012
    Posts: 63


    me; i need some spark plug wires for a 74 Cad 500
    you; What model cad?
    me; Doesn't matter it's in a chevy truck
    you; What model chevy truck?

  8. I really think a lot of you don't understand at all how computers work ( retrieve information ) according to how the data is programed. I also think many of you don't get how people are trained at parts stores, and how those data bases work. But I guess that's more difficult than just being an impatient bozo and missing an opportunity to give some kid a bad time. The questions they ask are for a reason, just because you are ignorant of that reason doesn't mean the guys an idiot, that 98% of the time their system works. But that would require you to, oh, I don't know, JUST LOOK UP A PART NUMBER AHEAD OF TIME/ yeah, that's too tough isn't it.
    Read my post above.
    Dooley likes this.
  9. One of the parts house problems here in Wisconsin is a number of years ago the state decided that they needed to get everyone off welfare! They decided that those welfare recipients that had fingers could be trained to use a computer in a parts house. It is very difficult to be civil to someone that has saliva running out of his mouth while you are trying to explain what part you need. It is getting better, some of the droolers have died off over the years!
    I do have a local Napa that has 1 good counter man that is a car/truck enthusiast, so when you tell him that you don't know for sure what the original application was, he will still try to help!
  10. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,767

    from CenCal

    BTW, to any Harley owners here, I've met Kawasaki owners who were much worse jerks than that guy in my story.
  11. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 663


    After thirty plus years as a mechanic and shop owner my aching back told me it was time for a career change. I been in the parts business for nine years and manage a local parts store. In the last week i've had the following experiences with customers. Guy tries to pound a plastic pulley onto a power sterring pump with a five pound hammer-pulley breaks-"What do you mean it's not warranty?". Customer returns a brake caliper with the piston hanging out. He hooked up the hose and had his wife pump the pedal to see if it leaked before he put in the pads and bolted it on-warranty, right? Last one was today. Fella brought in a muffler that that had blown up, I mean it was turned inside out. Started the truck and heard a boom, wanted a free muffler. For every story people have abourt the people behind the counter I've got two about the people on the other side. Don't misunderstand me, 99.9% of our customer are great people, but that other .1% is the reason I drink.
    flux capacitor likes this.

  12. Well, I think there might be more to the story than you are telling, but I will say when somebody is an asshole to me, I don't go out of my way to do them any favors.I treat them like they should be treated...assholes.
    I've heard know it alls come up with the damndest crap at the drags too, but it's no skin off my back, I just ignore them. Unless they start on me.
  13. Good point. I worked at AZ while I returned to school. They give you all of 1 to 2 weeks of training and if you can fog a mirror they will hire you. They don't have any of the old books and they survive on volume business so if it isn't turning a profit they won't sell it. They had a 150% turnover rate company wide during my tenure there. Most of the good guys get so burned out they leave or they make them managers.
    Also 80% of their business is the average Joe that are just trying to save some money doing it themselves and does good to know where the engine is.
    It's been said here several times. Give them the information that the part came off of, if it is a late model that they would carry. Don't try to BS them or be a SmartA.
    Yes some of them are rude and they can be SmartA's if you don't like their attitude don't give them your business and let their manager why you are leaving and not coming back.
    All that being said yes a lot of the things that you here on both sides of the counter can be funny as heck.
  14. racer_dave
    Joined: Nov 16, 2012
    Posts: 206


    There are 2 guys at my local O'Reillys who are the bomb. They've chased so many things down for me for the racecars that are so far from original use. They've ordered me in 4 sets of different calipers until I found some I could use. Chased power steering servos and alternators off a forklift to use on my modified. Best chain store guys ever. In return I bet I do $4,000 a year there.

    Best parts counter ever? easy Lane Automotive, all staff is hot rodders and racers. Down side- I never walk out of there without spending at least a grand. I'm on the 'hand signed Christmas card' list.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  15. patterpillar
    Joined: Jun 16, 2013
    Posts: 83

    from Montana

    Parts related story. We were at work late one night and needed a pipe fitting to finish the job. My shift partner asked the "Boilerman" if he had 2 inch nipples. He answered with....... "No....But I think my wife does"...
    volvobrynk likes this.
  16. Here's a few from the last couple weeks:
    "You mean you want me to buy a book and READ it?" (in response to an engine code reading, and my suggesting a service manual).

    "Is there a difference?" (in response to being asked '4 or 6 cyl', after asking for an oil filter).

    "I'll be doing it myself" (particularly in response to an engine code reading, which revealed lean codes on both banks. Customer asked what could it be, was told intake leak, how bad could that be? Holes in pistons. How much is an engine?(!). $2000 + install.) Mind, he couldn't fix an intake leak, but thought nothing of swapping the engine.

    And there will be more, today, even. But I still really love my job. And, yes, I think I'm the parts guy you want, provided you don't start with an attitude.

    volvobrynk likes this.
  17. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463


    I used to work for a production engine remanufacturer.

    A kid comes in one day and says:
    "I need an engine for my car."

    I asked him:
    "What are you working on?"

    Kid paused with a perplexed look on his face and said:
    "My grandmother's carport."
  18. Dooley
    Joined: May 29, 2002
    Posts: 2,737

    from Buffalo NY

  19. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    I walk into my local NAPA and ask for header bolts. I know the thread count and size and actually bring one with me to match. Conversation ensues:

    Me: Hi, I need a set of header bolts for a custom application so don't ask me what car.
    Counterman: I need the make, model and year of car.
    Me: I bought a set here last year, the manager found them in the case back there.
    Counterman: I still need the make and model of car.
    Me: Can't you search the database for "Header bolts"
    Counterman: No, we can't do it that way.
    Me: Watch me. (Take out smartphone, go to NAPA website, perform search, find NAPA part number).
    Counterman: (Takes part number, performs search) No, sorry we don't have those.
    Me: You should tell your manager that you haven't been properly trained to service customers.
    Counterman: Blank stare as I walk away.

    Moral of the story: Don't you dare call me an impatient bozo.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  20. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,008


    So you are pissed because he didn't carry that part number? Or because you were smarter than he was?
  21. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    I'm pissed because the system is there, ready to find what you need, and nobody is training the employees how to properly use it. I can certainly understand if something is not in stock and me being smarter has nothing to do with anything.
  22. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 17,008


    I always look at it this way: The counterman is assuming the customer is an idiot who doesn't know what he is working on (most guys walking into O'Reilly's are). Your first words should be to tell him that you know exactly what you need, it's a "knewter valve for a '68 Henway, with the 368". Then he should be able to get it for you if you gave him enough info. If you didn't, he needs more info and you should give it to him. As many of the posters have said before in this thread, there are myriad varieties of some of these parts, and the counterman can't make a guess at which particular one you need. Now if you gave him all the info required to find that particular part number, and he still can't walk in back and pull it off the shelf, then you have the right to call him an idiot. But if there are still variables, you are the one in the wrong.
  23. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,082

    from California

    had a dead battery in my truck. jumped it and drove to the parts house, opened the hood and saw what battery it was, went inside and grabbed the same battery off the shelf and brought it to the counter. the counter guy says you need this same battery? I said yes, then he goes to where the batteries are on the shelf, comes back and says he needs to go to the back and get one. I figured he knew what he was doing and he comes back with a battery like the one I put on the counter.

    after he rings me up I asked about the core charge, he says he didn't put the core charge on because I brought the core with me..... so I tell him that this was not a core, it was the new battery off the shelf. I bet he felt like a dummy after that, he said most people go to the counter so they can look up what battery they need so when I put a battery on the counter he just assumed it was a core.

    that's not as bad as the kid at O'Reilys when I was looking at the batteries and asked if they carried 6 volt batteries. he asked what cars had six volt batteries? he seemed surprised when I told him just about every car built before 1955. I don't think he believed me.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  24. Agree with alchemy. Its a time consuming, sometimes demoralizing system but you have to have all the info before you go in. Especially when you have mix matched parts cars. I make it a point to track down numbers on all my crap(motors, Trans, rears, etc.) so I know what year they are off of and what car they were on. It makes life so much easier.
    Bigcheese327 likes this.
  25. I was in Auto Zone (don't say it...) about a month ago looking for brake lines for my '59. Figured they'd have a display... no dice. So I tell the guy behind the counter what I need, 3/16" diameter with the SAE fittings. He brings me the right length, but with the metric fittings. I tell him I need one with the SAE 3/8-24 fittings. He tells me that will be a bigger size tube, figure he was fixated on the 3/8 thing. After a little more banter, I left the brake lines and everything else I had on the counter and made my exit.
  26. had a customer came in last Saturday and ask for a fitting. i ask what type ...inverted flare , pipe, compression or what? didn't know. what size? didn't know. we have many bins full of fittings , what information can you give me so i can get you the correct fitting? didn't know. what are you trying to do? has something leaking underneath under his truck and thought i would just get him something to fix it. what is leaking , fuel , engine oil , transmission oil , brake fluid , antifreeze? didn't know..... and i'm the idiot for not knowing what he needs
  27. I've been in parts for longer than I care to admit to. If a person comes in with the right attitude, even if they don't have all the info I need, I'm happy to help and get them what they need. If they come in acting like an ass, I'm an ass right back.
    I had a dude come in tell me "give me small block Chevy valve cover gasketts." I say "what do you want... cork, rubber...??" he smiles and tells me"they are all the same, just get me some *%$&ing small block valve cover gaskets" he looks at his girlfriend and mumbles somthing about dumb ass parts guys. So I go back to the shelf and pull a set of center bolt valve cover gaskests and bring them up. he looks at them and tells me "these ain't right" I say "That's funny, they fit a sbc. They're all the same aren't they?"
  28. volvobrynk
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,587

    from Denmark

    This one is a classic, for me at least.

    I go to my local parts store, guy there is trying to be funny;
    what can I do you for? Laughs

    Me: sigh, I need NGK BPR6ES spark-plugs.

    Him: nope, can't do that, what model and make?

    Me: please don't, the old guy can find it from the parts number. And you end up giving the wrong plugs.

    Him: No, never. Model and make?

    Me: 1969 Volvo 121 B20B, milled heads, 3/4 can and dual weber's.

    Him: 1969 volvo's run BP5HS, and they are not in stock.

    Me; I know, but for my application I need the other plug.

    Him: but they won't fit. Car will at best run like shit, and stall.

    Me: I got them in now, I just need 4 new.

    Him: I'm telling you it won't run, but I sell them to you, as long as you don't come back and bitch'in about them.

    Me: as long as I get the parts a want, you will here no complains from me.

    That really throws my day off.
  29. 911 steve
    Joined: Nov 29, 2012
    Posts: 639

    911 steve
    from nebraska

    I also am from the other side of the counter having worked the shop parts counter at a Ford dealer for the last 10 yrs. We had a thread on Ford's employee website titled "stupid sh*t techs have done". a few of my favorites:
    1) had a tech bid out a big heater repair job on a silver Taurus. 3hrs later it was ok'd so he brought a silver Taurus in from the lot & did all the work. customer came to get car & drove 1 block & drove straight back with a non-working heater. turns out the tech did the work on the WRONG SILVER TAURUS.
    2) had a handicapped van with hand controls & no seat in for repair. tech said he would drive it in on his knees. everyone said that was a bad idea. as he was coming around the corner, he lost his balance but still holding on to the hand controls. the harder he held on the more he pushed the control for the gas pedal. wound up hitting 3 other cars in line.
    3) MY FAVORITE, but didn't happen here. had a truck from a septic tank co in for repair. the service advisor went to move it out of the tech's stall. thinking he was releasing the emergency brake handle, he was actually opening the drain valve for the tank which was full. as cousin Eddie would say "$h1++ers full"
  30. Bubba1955
    Joined: Jul 8, 2013
    Posts: 463


    I also used to work the parts counter at a John Deere dealership. We had one elderly widow that was probably in her mid to late 70's that had an ancient model 110 garden tractor. She worked on it herself and would bring in her original owners manual with the serial number and her own parts book and would point out exactly what she needed and the part number...It just didn't get any easier than that.

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