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Funniest lines from the parts counter

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

  1. Okay, okay... :oops: I was wrong. I admit it. :( But I'd just been hit in the back of the head with a shovel moments before I posted my reply... :confused:
     
  2. prpmmp
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,047

    prpmmp
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No!! You were going to buy them all up so no one could use them!!:) Pete
     
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  3. NORSON
    Joined: Jan 19, 2009
    Posts: 465

    NORSON
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I was a Chevrolet partsman for eleven years and a factory rep for twenty five. I must have worked with close to 300 parts people in those years. The vast majority were excellent. I spent most of my time getting along with the people I was dealing with and helping them anyway I could. I've been retired for over ten years and still recall the good times I had and the friends I made. Some of the smart guy posters should be so lucky.
    Norm
     
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  4. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,028

    OahuEli
    Member
    from Hawaii

    I've had my issues with "uninformed" parts counter people over the years, some of them really exasperating, but also recall a part time job at an auto parts store that I had in the late '70s while in the Navy. Even though I'd been a gasoline engine "wrench" for years as well as a diesel mechanic in the Navy, there were sometimes questions of which I had no clue what the answer was. When that happened though, I tried like hell to learn the answers so the next time the customer got what he needed.
    I don't expect some pimple faced kid at the O'Reilly parts counter to know anything about carburetors or points, and I try to help them out with pointers when they are trying to look through the dust covered books under the counter. Who knows, the right help here or there might make some kid curious enough to look more into the cars of our era. Look how many of these young fella's today like cars that are older than their grandpa? JeffreyJames comes to mind.
     
  5. So, today, I had a customer ask for a "diagnostic", meaning, 'read the "check engine" code'.

    Came up with bank 1 and bank 2 running lean.

    He then asked: "Do you have some of those 'bank' thingsI could buy...?"

    Cosmo
     
  6. DEEPNHOCK
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 312

    DEEPNHOCK
    Member

    Years ago when I ran an old school independent jobber.......

    One of our guys was a cutup..
    We'd say the darndest things to keep ourselves entertained..
    I remember once a guy came in and asked Tom if we had any twack dell lights.
    Tom looked at him with a straight face and said "No sir, we don't have any twack dell lights"..
    .
     
  7. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    Member
    from NB Canada

    What else would you expect from todays drivers?

    Back in the days of points and carburators there were lots of those people around too.
     
  8. Pretty sad to go to the parts store nowadays. Most of the clerks know zero about cars. If you can't tell them the make, model, whether it has power brakes, A/C, optional trim package, optional floor mats, they can't get into the computer and sell you a valve cover gasket for a '85 Chevy 350 engine. They have no clue where to look for it unless the computer tells them.
     
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  9. yep...all parts guys are total idiots , and every customer walking in the door are Mensa members
     
  10. Is that like "I meant'sa get the info you need before coming in, but I forgot..." ? :D
     
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  11. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,428

    Raiman1959

    I dated a girl back in the early 80's in Medford Oregon, who's family owned an auto parts store. She was so FAST with the counter-top rows of parts books...flipping thru' everything cross-referencing and looking for obscure parts. It was a real pleasure to watch her running her fingers along the books and diving right into a page with a sudden cutting motion...knowing where at, within 20,000 pages for any part under the sun! That was a real skill and dedication to her job....kinda miss those skills....those employees who worked in the parts stores back-in-the-day, were truly unique and I appreciated them.
    ----------I went to an auto parts store the other day, and the fellow behind the counter told me "check the other parts stores" because he didn't have a clue (or resources) as to look for 'generator' replacement....man, times have sure changed!!!....then, I needed a 'curved' radiator hose....he told me to ''buy a couple of them, and see if you can connect them...sorta, ..like on a garden hose!"....I mean, like.....''wow'' I know they make the ''real'' hose, because I've bought one before from the same store before few years backo_O....kinda made me take a step back in awe..., and I believe I'll look elsewhere for my parts from here on out.
     
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  12. Every single one of these stories in this thread reinforce why I only go to parts stores that have several requirements. yes they are getting harder to find and sometimes I have to wait till Mon when they reopen but, I always wait and make sure that I give them my business and not the dumbass auto zone or advanced.(some of you probly have great experiences with those stores, I do not and cant stand the sight of them. I am lucky to have several with in a short distance form my home.
    Requirements:
    1) Independently owned. it could be a Napa or just the old parts store that has always been there.
    2) There must be at least one old man that is there sometimes(or all the time) that knows what a Studebaker or a Packard is.
    3) This is the most important of all. They must have a rack of parts books. I don't give a dam about your computers and what they say, A book does not require you to put in the stupid computer how many doors it has or if it is 4 wheel drive. and requires some type of knowledge of cars to operate and locate the part within the book.

    Yes these are things that are becoming Harder to find with the advent of the internet and box store parts houses. But I will continue to go to those till I cant find anymore.
     
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  13. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,428

    Raiman1959

    I totally agree...I will still seek out reliable parts stores....I would hate to see them go away! They are a valuable part of the car genre..., but I think I will seek out the more reliable parts stores, and if that means driving a farther distance, or wait a little longer , than so be it....the 'old' days of stopping at 'most' parts stores, are not what they used to be...and that is a bummer, but....there are still some good ones out there....just gotta look a little harder, and I totally agree...if they don't know what a Studebaker or Packard is...maybe the next one down the road will:D;):D
     
  14. Deuced Up!
    Joined: Feb 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,646

    Deuced Up!
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Back in the Parts America days, many of their parts stores also did service. I was in one in Kansas City once getting ready to check out and the guy in line in front of me was doing the same thing. However, he also had a pretty large bill for service of some kind. Anyway, he hands the counter person his credit card and she runs it. Then she says I am sorry but that one is declined. She added, it says I am supposed to keep it but I will just let you have it back (and she slid it back across the counter to him). He says sorry about that and hands her another card. Exact same thing. Followed by a third card...no dice.

    Then the guy, digging through his wallet, says will you take third party check? The girl just smiles and said sure. I don't even think she knew what it meant. He gave her the check and then happened to glance back my way. I smiled and said, "you just want to buy my stuff too?" He didn't think that was very funny. I did.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
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  15. Yup those are dying places, but i'm lucky to have the best parts store I have ever been too right down the street from my house, Ladysmith Auto parts. They have been there for years, know me by name, and always seem to be able to help with everything. I went in there about 6 months ago and the owner was behind the counter, he said " I finally found that pump you were looking for." I said "what pump?" Jeff said "the one for a Nailhead". I had mentioned about a year earlier that I was looking for a new water pump for a 322 Nailhead for one of my many Buick motors I have collected. He had bought out the stock of an old parts store and they had a 322 water pump that he pulled out of the pile and set it aside for me. Yeah its 30 years old at least, but its new (well remaned anyway). you wont get that kind of looking out for your customer at freaking auto zone.
     
  16. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 660

    flux capacitor
    Member

    At 44 years old, I've been in the independently owned parts business with accompanied machine shop & garage, literally all 44 years & have seen the parts industry & seemingly society "customers from the newer generations" going down the same uneducated road, weither they've not been taught or just don't care to learn the basic communication skills it takes to carry out a phone conversation or know what they are driving. We have to walk the customer through the process. The reason independents can survive in today's markets with giant box stores is due to one simple fact, Service. All my guys & I are 2nd & 3rd generation to this background & die hard car guys each with a variety of high school hot rods & projects, I gotta say although we've rolled with the changes "computers" & the like to stay up with competition to have a one stop shop minded business , keeping up to date with the newer vehicles that surround us, we personally offer a step back into the past with our counter men & catalogs all within a quick grasp & have a massive library of paper catalogs we've kept & use everyday since 1973. About 10 this morning I looked up a top hose for a pal with a 53 Chevy pickup with a swapped in 261 & a different outlet size Ebay radiator , easy for me to do the old way with my simple to use books & knowledge of the size chart. If they ever had a contest based on speed or memorization of part numbers we'd probably be reigning world champs last 30 years. What many customers don't realize is that 90% of parts manufacturers haven't printed a catalog since the mid 1990s. So the old ones are solid gold. Alas, the caliber of parts personnel at big box stores sadly for the most part "not all" though, are the same caliber of thinker I wait on everyday as customers & if one hasn't dealt with modern public in mass quantities on a daily basis, they'll never know the full extent what a crazy scary world we all now live in as customers & parts idiots. As my best pal always said .... "Everybodys normal till you get to know them". Flux. :)
     
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  17. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    Member
    from NB Canada

  18. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 488

    mike in tucson
    Member
    from Tucson

    When I was probably 18, my dad had an account at an auto supply on St. Louis Street in Springfield Missouri. It was near Thompson Pontiac as I remember. I would go in and buy parts and tell the guy at the counter that the account was my dad's construction company. I would pay tax and wouldn't charge the items so I didn't get in trouble with my pop. Sometimes the guy who waited on me was Mr. O'Reilly.... he always said "tell your dad hi for me" It was the original Mr. O'Reilly, not his sons.
     
  19. Flux, you said something that struck a nerve with me...

    I was hired at Sears (Bismarck, ND) in the late 70's to work in the Automotive & Sporting goods departments. They wouldn't let me near the sales floor until I completed a short phone etiquette course and how....not to 'talk' to customers... but communicate and represent Sears professionally, and courteously. To this day I still use that training and am astounded by some of the flunkies I encounter of businesses of all types who answer the phones or greet customers with only 'What do you need?', 'Yahhh?' or 'Yes'. Let's not even talk about the self-absorbed, distracted or surly types.

    In writing that I'm also reminded about counting out or counting back change to a customer who has paid with cash. Almost everybody now crumples up your bills, coins and receipt into a wad before placing it into your palm, of which some spills out. I consider it a real treat anymore to have change counted back properly now. So much so, I will offer my thanks and praise to someone who takes the brief time it takes to do it properly. Sears trained me to do that also, and how to recognize or be aware of change making cons from con artists. Con artists use misdirection and other tricks to get you to give back more money than they should get. I don't remember the details anymore, as I haven't worked in front of a cash register in years. If those con artists are still out there, they must have easy targets in some of the change crumplers who have been given access to cash registers without proper training.

    Jumping down off my soapbox,

    Gotta56forme/Scott
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  20. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 660

    flux capacitor
    Member

    Yep, Chub was a great man & a great example of an American Dream story by hard work & good service. My dad still remembers the advice Chub gave him when starting what would become a lifelong business friendship. I know many of his kids & grandchildren well as we are still currently the company's oldest original existing independent account. We've seen it go from small business to what we see today. Then he had 3 company stores & now it's well over 4800. Springfield Mo. Is still our supplier & what a great company to be a part of. We represent as independents what many of you yearn for , so give the little local independent guys a shot, some might not be able to stay open long hours due to lack of finances or "siutable help" But Luckily we "independents" still represent the "old" way of doing business as it literally supports our lively hood. As a owner I need to sell you the part to pay my bills & employees & we want to be sure your satisfied with the service. Good thread. Flux
     
  21. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 488

    mike in tucson
    Member
    from Tucson

    Congratulations, flux. It is cool that there are original REAL auto supply stores left. I went into an un-named store last weekend and bought a bottle of Permatex....the sticky goo stuff. The guy at the counter asked "what do you use this stuff for?" I told him it was to seal the head studs in my flathead motor. He asked "why?" Of course, now days the auto supply carries what sells.....scented tree hangers and all.

    IF I had ever called Mr. O'Reilly the nickname "Chub", I would still be walking crooked with my pop's shoe up my butt.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  22. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 428

    H380
    Member
    from Louisiana

    And that is what the Wall Street focused corporate MBAs want. Why pay a guy with 20 years experience $25 a hour? When you just install a minimum wage drone. Build all the knowledge in to a web app. 1/2 day of training for a computer literate person and tada a new "Team Member".
     
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  23. mike in tucson
    Joined: Aug 11, 2005
    Posts: 488

    mike in tucson
    Member
    from Tucson

    Not just auto supply companies.... it is everywhere. They figure they can hire non-thinking folks for minimum wage and let them work thru a script on a PC in front of them. That's why they have to start with some question and work thru a matrix..... If you begin with info that is part way thru their matrix, it wont compute....so they start at the first question and work down. Call Dell and tell Punjab that you need a power supply, part number xxx and he will route you to the start of the matrix.
     
  24. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    falcongeorge
    Member
    from BC

    I am blessed to have what is, I think, the last surviving Deckers a couple blocks from my house. Not racers or hot rodders, but it is staffed by 3-4 50+ yr old partsmen (as opposed to "customer service representatives"). I try to deal there as much as I can, I just know the day is coming when I will drive by, and it will be gone.
     
  25. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,341

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    I went to the Napa store that also is the warehouse..The girl at the counter I think I knew 35 years ago but she wouldn't admit it..I asked for 3/8 fuel line..She said how long? After me thinking a bit she says, "longer than 10 minutes?"..I have never gone in there and not gotten thorough book looking, they even dig up old books to look in regardless young or old..
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
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  26. Trouble is with these new-fangled computers is when they program them with the questions to ask the customer, they are often wrong. They will ask "what type of car"- You say "Ford"
    "What year? " "1960" -"Sorry, they didn't make them back then- my listing says the first one is 1973". Or "there is no listing for a six cylinder" "but that is what all of them in Australia had!!".
    "No they didn't, or else my computer would say they did"
    Sometimes you get more sense out of the drink vending machine in the corner.
     
  27. flux capacitor
    Joined: Sep 18, 2014
    Posts: 660

    flux capacitor
    Member

    Agree totally. All it would take to fix that problem would be a programmer willing to come down to the grunt level & actually spend counter time in action with customers using their not tested software, then fix the silly prompts for the user. Literally not simply designing them but actually trying it out first before releasing it. We have the same problems or "gap" to fill & It's evident throughout every level of modern day parts store tech. Been preaching it for years. Flux
     
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  28. Not all of them. I have one great partsman who knows EXACTLY what I want the second I mention the part. She walks right to the shelf and pulls the right part without ever looking at the computer. I dread the day she retires.
     
  29. We have the same problem in the oil industry. Computer programs written by programmers for programmers, not particularly for engineering users.
     
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  30. e1956v
    Joined: Sep 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,471

    e1956v
    Alliance Vendor

    When you mentioned the money changer con men I had to laugh. Back in high school in 81 I worked at a Sinclair station where we still pumped gas and checked oil, not full service they called it mini service.
    My boss informed us that there were change con men working around town and to be careful, we carried a wad of bills in our coveralls so we didn't have to leave the islands to make change.
    It had been a slow day for the most part but suddenly I had three cars on the islands. I was helping all of them at once rushing between cars. This one guy was making small talk with me while I was working the three cars, he wanted some odd amount of gas $4.75 worth or something like that. I was running back and forth getting everyone taken care of. I made his change, he then asked if I had more ones for a five, the customers on the other islands were waiting for me to finish their fill up and make their change. The guy kept changing the amount of money and denominations he wanted in mid stream. He could see I was worried about getting the other customers taken care of and even told me to slow down and take it easy as he handed me more money and changed the way he wanted the the change back. With the other customers on the islands getting more impatient. By the time it was over and I walked back to the desk I knew I was screwed. He nailed me for like $40.00 . I realized he was probably sitting across the street waiting for multiple customers on the islands and the perfect time to nail me.
    It was so smooth, I knew what was happening while it was happening but he still screwed me.
     
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