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Got Laughed at Today at the parts counter!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kage, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. Food for thought:

    Definition of STUPID
    a: slow of mind, b: given to unintelligent decisions or acts, acting in an unintelligent or careless manner, c: lacking intelligence or reason.

    Example of STUPID

    Someone who walks into a parts store expecting the counter person to be a mind reader and be able to figure out what part is needed to repair an old car built before they were born and modified with parts from 10 different other cars by the present owner.

    Definition of IGNORANT
    a: destitute of knowledge or education <an ignorant society>; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified.

    Example of IGNORANT

    Person, who needing employment gets hired by a parts store and trained to do the job that pays the bills (i.e. sell parts that are in highest demand for vehicles that are most common). Said parts person has no idea that &#8216;Whippet&#8221; was a car model at the turn of the 20th century or that early &#8217;50 Chevrolet vehicles used caged ball wheel bearings versus Timken Tapered Roller.

    Now just who are we talking about?
  2. You are a brave soul to admitt that here.
  3. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856



    This is too funny. Who's the dumbest now, smartypants?
  4. I underwent intensive therapy ahd have been cured of that problem. :D
  5. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,072


    In the 60's when I was a young punk in NJ,the parts stores mostly sold to mechanics and shops.Walk in average Joe customers were often treated like shit and charged full retail price.You would hear of a store treating walk ins like customers and giving price discounts...that was the place we bought our parts.That same parts store gave us the name of local car dealers that were friendly and gave a discount to walk in using a bogus shop.Some parts,like tranny stuff ,came from a dealer. It was important for the dealer parts guy to make the discounted receipt to a shop and not anyone I guess. Then I moved to western NY state in the 70's and parts stores were starting to give discounts to all and advertised the fact on the store front.
    So today when I go into a parts store I have phobia feeling I'm being ripped off and treated like shit :D Cure? Rock Auto and other online stores!!!
  6. cseay1949
    Joined: Jul 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    from Elkwood VA

    In Virginia during the 1980's parts stores like TrakAuto and Hi-Gear were revolutionary. They actually had more parts on the customer side of the counter than behind the counter. Joe Blow could walk around, look at, and pick out his own parts. I was still young, but I thought it was pretty cool when my dad took me to a TrakAuto and there in the middle of the floor was a Recon 350 Chevy Long Block. It was neat to see a fresh clean motor ready to go.

    Myself I worked at a NAPA store when I turned 18. It was in a 60 year old dilapidated building, and we actually had all of our pre-bent exhaust upstairs (getting some of those long pipes up and down that narrow stairwell was fun). Joe Blow paid list price, while the repair shops got jobber (50% list) if they did $$$ per month, and the really good shops got Master Installer which was 10% below jobber. If some customer was an A-hole, he got charged over list to make him stop coming around.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  7. If anyone ever in the Covina, Ca. area, try Ed's Auto Parts, old school family owned, all the guys know every friggin p/n by heart, if they don't have what you need and its not later than 1pm they'll get for you before closing at 5:00pm even on Saturday.
  8. Zerk
    Joined: May 26, 2005
    Posts: 1,418


    That's pretty much what I remember from working at an independant parts store/machine shop: Column one in the book was full retail, while column five was the friendliest price that your busy accounts were charged.

    Shops wanted to know both prices of course. The retail price was what they charged their customers.

    As for being on the hungry side of the counter, I once had a parts store trainee giving me hell because I didn't bring along the tag number for a carburetor. I needed an inlet needle and a float for a Rochester 2GV and he wasn't going to go looking in the book without a tag number:rolleyes:
  9. nightowlrodandcustom
    Joined: Jul 15, 2012
    Posts: 16

    from lindsay

    this is what i do when i go to THE ZONE ask the guy if i can use there computer(thats if he even understand english) then i tak the mouse and keyboard and show him how to use it
    i do one better at napa i ask to look up apart find it then go out back pull it and then throw cash on the counter and say thanks see you next time

    saves on the asprin
  10. Cyclone Kevin
    Joined: Apr 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,061

    Cyclone Kevin
    Alliance Vendor

    Lets just start out by say this 1st, "Support your local Auto Parts Store"

    I worked at the an AZ nearby by home in TC, I was offered that job because I did have nearly 25yrs of automotive technology, I also didn't take their initial compensation offering.

    I started out at the store as a PSM=Parts Service Manager, I ran that store with a store manager, we had up to 5 people on the counters both DIY and Commercial. As a Hot Rodder, I'd drive a 34 Roadster,3W in order to garner interest. If I wasn't driving a Hot Rod, I drive a muscle car, which would be my 69 Camaro or a 66 Mustang with a Blairs built 289. Both cars were lowered and have attitude.

    If we were to drive those cars then we needed to be able to get parts for those cars. Thus created a speed shop within the retail store that exists to this day,(mind you-most of these current employees are not trained to offer this service). Anybody that came in could get most anything that they needed if that part was available.

    As for bad parts, There are Value Craft,Duralast and Duralast Gold. It depends on what you buy the 1st time. You can't beat the Limited Lifetime Warranty on anything that it is offered on. 10yrs after I bought a Brass Radiator for my Camaro it developed a leak that I could have had fixed at a local radiator shop. I walked in with the radiator and the looked it up, within a day I had another radiator at no cost!:D

    Brake pads wear, if one wants to step up to Carbon-Metalic pads, by all means please do, they cost a whole lot more and don't come with a LLW.
    As for counter help, It's a nationwide company-what can I say? the company gets what they pay for:eek:.

    I ended up building up commercial sales and more than once I was told a part we provided would not work only to have to go the repair facility to show them how to install it. I didn't get paid to educate our clients, but that is how you build a customer base.

    By driving a Hot Rod to a parts store, customers believe that you have a better idea than a counter person who just knows how to as for yr,make & model. I made alot of friends that way, even joined a revived lakes club because the founding members liked the service provided and felt that I'd be a great fit into the club. Been in there for years now and we have one of the best memberships and swap meets that this area has.

    Don't just bash a store because some of their product may not be to your liking, do research 1st then check it out. That is the last thing that America needs especially at this time when many are losing their place of employment daily. If I wouldn't have had a bad zone rep that oversaw store operation,I'd still be there building customer base.

    If one goes to and puts in the vehicle that may have closest would've come with the parts desired, print the page out and take it into the store with its part # and you should have no problem getting what you want the 1st time right.

  11. cseay1949
    Joined: Jul 18, 2012
    Posts: 18

    from Elkwood VA

    One thing I do want to add is in my final year working at NAPA, AutoZone's were starting to pop up on every corner. And AutoZone had the corporate higher ups at NAPA scared. They actually came in, took us counter guys out to a steak dinner and gave us a presentation on the changes that NAPA was making in order to compete with the changing nature of the parts business. Becoming more open to the do-it-yourselfer (moving counters back, putting more stuff out front), better pricing (getting rid of the Made In USA TRW water pumps that had the NAPA brand, and putting some Made In China water pumps in the SAME BOX!), and focusing more on retail rather than wholesale sales. I enjoyed my steak and potato and started looking into a new line of work soon after.
  12. Cargo
    Joined: Jun 18, 2007
    Posts: 232


    Someone could have been seriously hurt. I'm pretty patient with the computer situation these days. I mean if your getting spark plugs and they run through the questions which include "Does it have air conditioning"? I know that it's just part of the stupid identification process.
    A few days ago I decided that I needed just a bit more pressure in my radiator and an overflow tank. I ordered the tank online and went to an O'Riellys parts place for a standard Stant 10lb pressure cap. The kid went to his computer to look it up and I told him to just go back and grab a he had to look it up. I said it is on a 1930 Model A and it's not stock. His buddy at the counter looks over and says "Dude, that's not gonna be in the book". Then he asks what motor, I tell him its a small block Ford but the radiator is not stock so just go back and get me the cap. He pushes a few keys and then..............HERE IT COMES, he says "Did you drive it down here"? "Yes". "Go out and take the cap off and I'll match it up". I came unhinged, are you friggin kidding me? If someone who didn't know better went out and pulled a cap off of a hot engine you know whats likely to happen! After I read the guy the riot act I just left. It's way beyond just dumb and dumber, some of these guys are flat out a danger to the public. I really miss real parts houses........................
  13. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,764

    from Oregon

    Doesn't matter if it's Autozone, Oreilly's, NAPA, or whatever. If the store has an online catalog I always find what I need there first, then write the numbers down before going to the store. Otherwise I'm standing there for 10 minutes trying to walk some idiot through what year Austin came with a 327 Chevy motor, or why the 427 doesn't come up as the correct year, or etc, etc, etc.
    They're all worthless and can't do anything without their computer.
  14. Faus
    Joined: Mar 5, 2012
    Posts: 175


    I work at autozone part time and I agree that most of my co-workers and managers are lacking in the automotive knowledge dept.... It worse at advance auto and oreillys.... I have management and co-workers alike asking me to help a guy with a pre 1995 car.... Hell.... One of my managers had no clue what Studebaker was or even Merkur.... Sad but they pay shitty for parts people nowadays... Luckily I am a teacher, so it's not my only job.
  15. IRISH13
    Joined: Oct 19, 2010
    Posts: 71

    from SoCal

    I went in the other day at Oriellys to get new motor mounts for my chevy truck with a 350. The girl said she had to order them and I could pick them up the next day. I went in, she wasnt there, but the guy behind the counter hands me 2 trans mounts. I said um ya I cant bolt the motor to these. He says, did you still want them? Both of these people were assistant managers.
  16. chevy3755
    Joined: Feb 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,044


    just tell them power windows and whitewall every time.....
  17. seth62
    Joined: Sep 5, 2008
    Posts: 1

    from arvin

    Or when you ask them for a Volkswagen radiator and they actually look for it or a muffler bearing idiots
  18. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    Anyone that would go into a parts store and ask for those items is the idiot.
  19. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    first post and it's a stab at a parts guy. nice going. kind of like your first day in prison; find the biggest guy around and kick his ass; establish yourself as a real take-no-prisoners tapout kind of guy.
  20. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    Hey, I'm no parts genius but I know enough to know there is no "standard" cap. Besides the pressure, the neck depth differs.

    Again, it's up to us to know what we want.
  21. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    i think there's 37 different radiator caps on our shelf.... go back and get ONE, and see if it fits.

    let me put this into Navy Storekeeper frame of mind: first off, you have to have a work order authorizing the job you're doing and it has to have the model, make, serial number, modification number, and process number for the job you're doing on it. then we can take the information given us and identify by Federal Stock Number EVERY LAST PART in that particular piece of equipment and get you a replacement for it. BTW, IF that part has been upgraded or replaced with a better one, we'll let you know that as well, and more than likely give you a copy of the change letter that covers it and any change in process that it might need. NOW; no snipe or turd chaser ever got ANYWHERE past the door showing up with a fuck-you attitude towards Supply..... and no parts went out without proper paper trails showing the tech involved had given all the information required.
    see; it's all relative to the attitude of the guy asking for parts: come in prepared to give any and all information you can, and don't be a DICK, and you'll probably leave with the correct part in your hands. be that guy who has to swing his nutsack around and bray like a jackass, you'll just leave pissed off and empty handed.
  22. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 582


    I spent a lot of years as a programmer, analyst and manager with computer systems. Also have spent a lot of time working on cars both hobby and for pay as my Dad owned a salvage for 30 years.

    Mixing the knowledge and experience of those two backgrounds leads me to believe that the major issue causing the 'twenty questions' to get most any part is the system design, not the guy/gal punching the keys.

    Why can't the beginning menu be selectable: start with make and model or part.

    Entering the part name first could allow one to bypass all the questions that don't apply: why ask questions that don't apply to the part needed???

    But, it is a lot easier (cheaper) to design, code and maintain the 'ask everything' design.
  23. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    i DO wish the system would let us do that.... most of the current online catalogs are so counter-intuitive to looking up generic parts that they're difficult to work around. most of the time, i use the specific vendor's online service instead of wading through our (often misleading) store system. when i worked the VW/Audi dealerships, we NEVER trusted the Etka system to find anything without punching in the VIN..... WAY too many variables and combinations. and that's JUST ONE major manufacturer..... Mercedes has FORTY THREE distinct models. every one of them has variables.... GM brake systems are a freaking NIGHTMARE without proper ID of the type used.
  24. Faus
    Joined: Mar 5, 2012
    Posts: 175


    Volkswagens have radiators.... They have had water-cooled motors for thirty years.... If you're talking 50's-70's beetles or 60's-70's other Volkswagens then they do not have radiators. If you walk into a parts store asking for a Volkswagen radiator then the parts guy is gonna think you're talking about a post beetle era Volkswagen. So do not call every parts guy an idiot, just tell them the year, make, model, and sometimes engine, don't assume the guy is gonna know what you're saying when you say radiator for Volkswagen.
  25. RagtopBuick66
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 1,182


    This morning standing in line at the O'Reilley's...

    Other Guy In Line; This truck is killing me. Can't get it to go into reverse.
    Me; Yeah, I'm having the same problem. Can't get mine into first or reverse.
    Other Guy In Line; Last place I went wanted $168 for a new TCM! I'm hoping I can get it a little cheaper here.
    Me; Man, I feel ya. Last place I went wanted $0.68 for the little plastic bushing I need for my linkage. But they would have to order it. So now I'm here. I hope they don't want, like, a dollar for it...

    I love driving an old car. :D
  26. 62rebel
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,817


    the ones of us who've had a type of car long enough to know the part numbers for the shit that breaks all the time just ask for that part number... sometimes we even know cross-reference in case that place doesn't carry our preferred brand..

    i know guys that carry little notebooks in the glovebox with every donor car and part listed so they don't have to be Indiana Jones every time they go to the store.

    then, of course, there's the Dogg the Bounty Hunter guys. THEY come in loud mouthed and thinking everybody is an idiot because they can't find parts he can't tell what they came off of.
  27. All Volkswagens have radiators, water or OIL, it does the same job, and, from the late 60's on, even the air cooled engines have thermostats! Yes they do! On the passenger cylinder head underneath is a thermostat that a rod runs up to a set of flapper doors to let the engine warm up. With this knowledge revealed, is it really worth showing the world of your knoweledge?

    "Better to keep ones mouth shut and let others guess your intelligence then to prove it ! "
  28. flacoman
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 75

    from Sunrise FL

    SNIP! _ Then he asks what motor, I tell him its a small block Ford but the radiator is not stock so just go back and get me the cap. He pushes a few keys and then..............HERE IT COMES, he says "Did you drive it down here"? "Yes". "Go out and take the cap off and I'll match it up". I came unhinged, are you friggin kidding me? If someone who didn't know better went out and pulled a cap off of a hot engine you know whats likely to happen! After I read the guy the riot act I just left. It's way beyond just dumb and dumber, some of these guys are flat out a danger to the public. I really miss real parts houses........................[/QUOTE]

    This is one of the few times you can use your handy dandy smart phone ... take a picture and bring it back.
  29. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    I know not everyone is on the internet, but everybody HERE is! It's easy enough to look up your own part numbers and cross references, and PRICES on the internet. Compare vendor to vendor, etc.

    I saved over $100.00 on an O2 sensor (and not a cheap replacement, an OEM unit exactly the same) just by shopping around and knowing part numbers.

    I used to own a couple of Cadillacs (although I'm NOT Mitt's wife). I saved hundred$ on parts by learning/knowing the GM part numbers and cross reference to Chevy, etc.

    No offense intended, but you gotta be a fool (for many reasons) to just walk into any parts store and ask for something when all this information is at your fingertips.
  30. monkeyspunk79
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 553


    The dirty little secret about O'Reilly Auto Parts is that they have lifetime warranties on their ignition points. So looks like I'm never paying for another set in my cars.

    Just sayin.

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