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History Remember when????????????

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by LANCE-SPEED, May 11, 2010.

  1. BBMan
    Joined: Feb 19, 2010
    Posts: 70


    In '70 or so, NAPA was among the first to start integrating foreign parts into their inventory. None of us parts guys liked it much, but we had to recognize the writing on the wall. Started with popular VW parts and look where all the suppliers are today. And there probably are 50 times more part numbers now than way back when, but it's a normal function of being in parts, to remember many commonly used part numbers and their applications, even today.
  2. 55chevr
    Joined: Jul 12, 2008
    Posts: 956


    In 1966 I walked into Studnik's Auto Parts in Valley Stream with a piston and rod assembly in my hand. I was just inside the door and from behind the counter the "counter guy" said Falcon or Comet. I said Falcon. This was at a distance of 20 feet. Try that today and let me know how it works out.
  3. billsill45
    Joined: Jul 15, 2009
    Posts: 784

    from SoCal

    There seems to be several reasons for the frequently poor service levels at many of the chain auto parts stores: for many of these people, this is simply a "McJob" ... low pay and "part-time" work schedules, therefore they don't expect to stay with it long enough to learn and really become knowledgeable. Also, since the income potential is limited, the chains fail to attract many people with an interest in cars and the automotive industry and who would like to make a career in it.

    The closest parts store to me is one of the chains. I rarely see the same counter person twice ... constant turnover of help.

    A (now departed) friend spent his working career with NAPA as a warehouse field rep. and as a store manager. He was a great resource when accumulating parts for a project ... always made sure that I remembered the miscellaneous pieces which saved me many trips back for things I forgot. He was a great swap meet pal ... had an encyclopedic knowledge of Ford parts from the late 20's to the 70's. :(
  4. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,398


    I'm going on 67, used to work the counter at Blair's...and you had better have some real knowledge about what part the customer needed, and what questions to ask before you went back the long row of shelves holding the parts...what gaskets for an Olds, and the difference between a 303 and a 324, for example, and lots internet to look it up, you had to know...or Blair had you scrubbing transmissions or cleaning the mysterious attic over the shop (where Oakie Adams used to live)....

    And yes, the junk yard was our primary source for original stuff, engines, sheet metal, rear ends...and again you needed to know what you needed...spent many an hour in the shower cleaning off the baked grease, but always worth it...
  5. Dogfacesmitty
    Joined: Mar 20, 2010
    Posts: 40


    I hear ya. I'm a mod on another forum for my "other" hobby. I'm constantly amazed and annoyed by people who can't do a little research for themselves. I know we all have to learn somehow, but, it can be ridiculous.
  6. Stevie Nash
    Joined: Oct 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,999

    Stevie Nash

    It is... they care about relationships in small midwestern towns...:cool:
  7. hollowpoint
    Joined: Apr 22, 2006
    Posts: 93


    i'm so old that fred flintstone was in my graduating class.
    there is a parts store here in the south bay that is run by a guy named john..been running it in 2 different locations. i don't wanna say the name 'cause then you all will discover my secret parts store.
    but, being the nice guy that i's peerless auto parts and it's on artesia and yukon behind the 7-11. used to be on artesia and prairie few years back but moved on down artesia.
    you can walk in the door with a part (especially f**d stuff) and he can tell you what it's for, the year and the p/n with alternate numbers if needed.
    quick story...had a 63 falcon sedan delivery a few years back. was burning out brake switches like crazy.
    went back to peerless to buy the second switch in a month and he asked me how i was installing them and i told him with a pair of channel locks. he reached behind the counter and handed me a socket designed to tighten them up with. told me the switch has a sensitive diaphram inside and i was screwing them up with the pliers. the other parts stores just kept selling me switches but john sold me some knowledge with the parts.
    that has kept me going back whenever i feel like getting service and not screwed (who knew there was a tool just to tighten switches?).
    if you are in the area, check the store out. has some knowledgeable guys working there also.
    one word of caution...he can be kinda grumpy sometimes.

    later dudes
  8. rallisracing
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 199


    I'm a second generation parts dad worked at one store for 50 years starting in 1958..I just grew up in the business. The chains ruined the business. They want minimum wage help, and spend more time on BS than caring about the customers. My previous store( I now work in a Ford Dealer parts dept) did not even send Christmas gifts to their larger accounts..just poor business people..They think because their name is on the door, people will come in to spend money with them. They have yet to figure out its the Employees who bring back customers, not the owners...So its hard to blame the guys behind the counter, when they have absolutley No future working there, and their friends have no one to go to for advice on whats needed for their car.....Yeah, I miss the way it used to be...
  9. It seems that once a week, someone starts the old "Pissing and moaning about the state of todays parts stores" thread. Most of the stories, I'm betting, are either pure Bravo Sierra or highly embellished. If most of the whiners were as smart as they think they are, they would do their own homework and know what to ask for when they walk in. I ride a Boss Hoss motorcycle with a 350 ZZ4 Chevy engine. When I go to Kragen for an oil filter or a set of plug wires, I know better than to tell them what it's really for, so I tell them it's a Chevy pickup. If they ask all of the 2wd/4wd, stick/auto etc., I play along. If I need a water pump, I tell them it's a Dodge motorhome with a 440. You have to be pro active. Don't expect anyone to know what you're building or what you're thinking if you don't know yourself. I'm pushing 63 years old and, yeah, the parts guys used to be better but so were we.
  10. Bama Jama
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 365

    Bama Jama

    I go to the web site of Advanced or the other one and find my own parts then go in with the part #. The NAPA we have close to me has an older guy that had his own store untill the chains ran him out of buisiness. He is the man to go to. I miss the old days. I miss going to the junk yard looking for parts. Most around here want let you on the yard.
  11. BBMan
    Joined: Feb 19, 2010
    Posts: 70


    My first boss in the auto parts business had a nicely lettered sign behind the counter and when I got my own store, I duplicated it. Many businesses besides auto parts have either forgotten or ignored its meaning and taken the easier, and initially cheaper path, by hiring inexperience to cut costs rather than hiring the best to build the customer base. The sign said, "Customers Make Paydays Possible".
  12. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,438


    But we are not that small anymore. 100,000 in Rapid City and surrounding area. :)
  13. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,719

    junk yard kid

    i manage the property that a hundred junkyards are on, lots of wierd things happen here. people are always callin for old parts and a lot of the time i dont know where to send them. I get my junkyarrrrrr, i mean wreaking yard fix almost daily. I buy any and all new parts and sometimes even oil, from one of a couple of Mom and Pop type stores. I dont care about the cost because its worth it for the service and the higher quality. I also dont return things unless its the sales persons fault. If i bought somethin at autozone i could return it and not feel guilty.
  14. Our place is one of those old "Mom and Pop" type places with a good machine shop and a hard wood counter with a cash drawer, there is a computer on the counter though. The problem I have is all the "dumbshit" kids that bring their stuff to me and haven't a clue what they are talking about, God help them when they try to put that engine back together. The problem I see is that HS auto shop is just a place to hang out and change your oil, no real teaching going on, and Dads put a wrench in your kids hand when he's old enough to look under the hood with you. I have run into a partsman or two that knows his stuff but they need to be tought they don't just happen.
  15. I'm 57 and got a chuckle last night when I stopped in the local AutoZone. There was a 17 year old kid buying antifreeze for his late-model VW beetle in the parking lot which had severely overheated (steam everywhere). I told him that would NEVER have happened when I was his age.......he didn't get it. I didn't try to explain that back then they were air-cooled. I doubt the guy behind the counter understood, either!

  16. I taught auto tech at Mt.Whitney in Visalia and mine wasn't. Hell we even had a stock car racing team...but yeah, the writing's on the wall, and it's only gonna get worse. Problem with the Internet is too often the first idiot that posts pictures of his piece of shit project is now the "expert", and all the sheep get in line and make the same mistakes. Teaching at Wyotech now and I'm still fighting against it!
  17. crewchief888
    Joined: May 9, 2010
    Posts: 19

    from NW indiana

    the first idiot that posts pictures of his piece of shit project is now the "expert", and all the sheep get in line and make the same mistakes.

    i saw this way too often with a 4x4 club that i had belonged to for 12 years. all it took was a couple of these dipstick "experts" to undo what we strive for, wheeling fun, but doing it safely, and being prepared for the unexpected.
    we had a core group of older members that have been wheeling for 30-35 years, and attempted to "mentor" some of the younger guys, and prepare them or what may happen. 2 of the so called experts continued to undermine the authority of our safety people telling probationary members and potential members to not pay any attention to what we had to say, that we dont even wheel with the "real members" i eventually had enough, and resigned

  18. metalman
    Joined: Dec 30, 2006
    Posts: 3,284


    Yeah, the old guys use to know what you needed without looking up the part number....but, do you think if they were still around they could? Years ago I worked the counter at a parts store. Back then most carried parts for GM, Ford, Mopar and AMC. If you had an import you went to the dealer or maybe a specilty parts house. When I was there, we stocked 20, maybe 30 different starters, probably less alternators (pretty easy to memorize 20/ 30 part numbers) yet they covered 90+% of requests. I haven't been in the back of a parts store in years but I can imagine they have to stock many, many more part # to cover the sales requests with the foriegn cars becoming mainstream and the domestics having so many different combinations these days.
    Not defending the average unmotivated kid behind the counter of course but if they still had to look up parts in a book we would all be waiting in line a longggg time. Better we have a click, click, here's the number!
  19. Bama Jama
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 365

    Bama Jama

    I worked at a shop rebuilding starters,alternators,generators,magnetos and anything else rebuildable on cars, trucks and heavy equipment in the '70s. We had stock items on the shelf if you didn't want to wait for yours to be built. We did absolutly no import stuff. I don't think you can go anyplace now that will do that.Cheap built Autozone parts put an end to it.
  20. 94hoghead
    Joined: Jun 1, 2007
    Posts: 1,290


    I walked into a local auto parts store the other day and told the kid behind the counter that I needed a PH8A oil filter. He asked what kind of car it goes on........
  21. Chuck R
    Joined: Dec 23, 2001
    Posts: 1,347

    Chuck R

    I always went to see Merle down at the parts store in Irvington. He was cool and had all the part numbers in his head. He has retired and moved to Colorado. We still talk a couple times a year.
  22. billsill45
    Joined: Jul 15, 2009
    Posts: 784

    from SoCal

    I was reminded of this thread today when I made a run to the local O'Reilly store for a carb base plate gasket (Holley 4 bbl on a SBC aftermarket intake ... only a few million vehicles with this combination running around). I told the counter man the application and after a few minutes spent playing with the computer he said "Sorry, I'll have to order it or you can get it at the Chino store". Chino is about a 2 hour round trip....

    They do have 31 flavors of air fresheners, though. No wonder the catalog/internet parts houses are doing so well. :mad:
  23. Rowdy_one
    Joined: Jun 14, 2008
    Posts: 84

    from Oh

    You could ask for ford 6 cyl points, and get the right thing, didnt change for years. How many also know same points fit international v8 LOL
  24. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,372

    dave lewis

    Same tool has 2 steps cut into it.. 1 for brakelight switch, the other for oil pressure switch..
    Yep, i used to be THE guy behind the parts counter..(over 30 years ) Still can't get the #s out of my head..LOL
  25. I can relate to your rant!!!!! Its the same for kustom stuff on here...... People are like ..... what size tire did that guy run back then ??? What does 55 trim look like on a 51 merc ?? Who out there has tried this before. All these questions fire me up!!!!! I mean doesnt anyone know how to do research and crack open a book anymore and actually read about something????????
  26. Just working today with a friend that owns 4 parts stores in my area ,we have been good friends for pretty near 20 years . We were having a conversatoin while we putting in forms for his driveway about some of the people that come into his shops about working there .He has a number of young people , women and men, that work for him and he is very selective who works for him. He looks for sharp minded, respectful , and clean cut people, his business is a joy to walk into they are a well oiled machine. And yes in this day in age there are still a good amount of younger people that know what hard work is and my friend John has just a few of them.
    Another point to ponder just before your frustation explodes at the parts counter just think what it is like to be on the receiving end of the verbal garbage that can come out of our faces at times. That is what keeps me grounded at times you get what you give so if you give shit expect it back and then some .
    By the way if you think that I am one of the afore mentioned younger people I was born in 1962 so you do the math....longhand with pencil and paper!!! I have faith that the next generation well do well in life only because they have to multi task everything , the world is a much faster place now than when we were kids think about it! My two nickels worth... inflation , Rob.

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