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Discussion Starter #1
Old rednek dude came in and asked for a refund on a fuel filter. The box looks nice, he has a reciept. No problem. I open the box and smell gasoline. Uh oh. It's covered with a weeks worth of road grime. No deal.

I tell him that I can't give a refund on a used part. The old goon says "Yes you can, Wal-Mart does." I politely informed him that this isn't Wal-Mart and no I am not going to give him a refund for a used part.

I asked him if the filter didn't work like it's supposed to, you know, filter the fuel. He said it worked fine, it just didn't fix the problem he had with his truck. I asked him why he thought someone else should pay for his mistake. The mistake being his misdiagnoses of the problem. He just stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face. He didn't understand at all.

The filter was $3.

Number 2

Lady comes in and says "My car won't start, will you check my battery?"
Remember, the car won't start so it isn't with her. It's 20 degrees with a 30 mph NW wind outside so I ask a few questions first.

Me "Ma'am, What sound does it make when you turn the switch?"
Her "Nyang nyang nyang nyang, but it doesn't start."
Me "It seems that the battery is ok if it make that sound. The sound is the starter spinning the engine."
Her "No, I'm pretty sure it's the battery."
Me "Ok would you like to buy a new one?"
Her "No, I want you to check mine first."
Me "Ok, Where is it?"

Reality sets in at this time. She realizes that I can't test a battery that I don't have.

Her "I guess I'll have to get one then."
Me "What king of car do you have ma'am? I need to know so I can give you the right battery."
Her "Just give me a damned battery."
Me "Ok."

I gave her A battery.

1hr later

Her "You gave me the wrong battery."
Me "No ma'am, I did not."
Her "Well it won't start my car and it doesn't fit right so something is wrong with it."
Me "It won't start your car because the battery isn't the problem ma'am. Also you never told me what kind of car you had so I just gave you A damned battery like you asked for."

She left.

Larry
 

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I went to Autozone the other day. I called ahead and asked if they had a blower motor switch for a 79 Chevy PU. They said they did, and I had them put it on hold.

I went to the store, and there was a 500 lb Black guy chit chatting with some girl behind the counter. They completely ignorned me, and when I finally got their attention, they informed me that they don't sell blower motor switches. I told them that they did, and made them double check it. Finally, fatty meandered back in between the aisle and found one. He stopped to eat some cold french fries like a complete slob, and he wandered over to the cash register. I then put my check book on the counter and asked the fat guy if he had a pen. He said "no" and just stood there like an idiot. I then stormed over to the other "associate" and asked them if a multi-million dollar company like Autozone might have a pen. She managed to find one and I wrote the check.

Same old story, over and over again. I just cringe every time I call the place or walk in the door.
 

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Just one of the guys
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I know that MOST A-Zones and Advanced have those type of people but I do have to speak favorably for ours. We have both and although I like Advanced more than A-Zone, both places go out of their way to help you out. The associates seem knowledgeable and at Advanced they have some gear-heads working there. So if they are into cars/trucks you can rest assured they know a little bit of something. But yea the stories are great. And at times you know that there are idiots on both sides of the counter:D
 

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Nairb,

When I have an experience like yours and I know complaining at the store is useless, I find their corporate web site and make a complaint there. You wouldn't believe some of the responses.
 

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I love going into the parts store to buy parts for my S-10. If I need a thermostat, I cant say "thermostat for small block 400 chevy". That would breed the response, "what vehicle is that in". In my ******** fashion, I would truthfully answer "a 1983 S-10 pickup" After searching high and low in his computer, the sales kid says "that is not in my computer".

I have been able to find knowledgable people at NAPA and Orielly's. Parts Plus and Auto Zone are always questionable. I understand that they cant know everything, but after selling a few hundred thermostats for old chevys you would think that the part numbers would sink in. At the very least, you would think that they would have seen a Small Block 400 engine option on 70's chevy pickups a few hundred times while searching for parts.

Chris
 

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We have an Advance a few blocks from me and there are some of those there too but I'm in there a lot and know the ones with the knowledge by their first name and when I call I ask for them.

A person at the A-zone once tried to argue with me that they didn't put a 396 in a 67 Impala only small blocks because that's what his computer said. I left and went to Advance and asked for Greg.

Rodrunner
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If I have to go to another parts store for something I don't even bother using the counter help. I look up the parts on the company website and walk in with part numbers in hand.

I still buy all my important parts from Napa because of the quality. My local store is an independent franchise. I don't even have to tell them what kind of car it is or what engine, trans, rear diff. They already know because I've been going there for so long.

I do have quite a few stories. Some of them involve new employees. You know, the ones that get hired to fill quotas. They are an interesting breed of idiots.

Larry
 

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I wanted an egg-salad sandwich
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MI2600 is right!

Corporate websites are great, usually you can get the email and number of the District manager. I find that when you do complain, mentioning the fact that the competition, is just around the corner ALWAYS helps! I have at least 8 parts stores within a mile of my house Autozone is the closest. They are fine for easy stuff like batterys, oil etc.. But when it comes to parts for my ranchero I goto NAPA. The autozone is loaded with teenagers, who despite what they think, are not auto experts. The Napa has guys that are 40-50 and they know cars. In the case of auto stores, its the guys behind the counter that make the store good or bad. The pep boys by my house is HUGE but the clerks SUCK! They wont ask you if you need anything, they wont acknowledge you. They will go out of there way to help "chicks" however. (thats why I always send the wife to pepboys)
 

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MI2600 said:
Nairb,

When I have an experience like yours and I know complaining at the store is useless, I find their corporate web site and make a complaint there. You wouldn't believe some of the responses.
I've done that several times with this store. They always call me, and tell me they are working on their personel problems at that location and send me a 20.00 gift certificate. I don't want the gift certificate, I want service at the store I use.

Oh well, some things never change.

Autozone offered me a job, and I told them they couldn't afford me.

I think I could double that store's sales however.

I would consider it for 75,000.00 per year.
 

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Well it might sound silly that they need to ask all the stupid info just to snag a sbc thermostat but I think alot of the stores have tried to idiot proof their computors and they can't open to any application page without all the blanks filled in. Technology for you. The only thing computors are good for is inventory control, and even then it isn't all it should be. I can't count the times the computer said it was in stock and it wasn't and visa versa. A good partsman with the old paper catalogs is still more efficient.
I have been on both sides of the fence. I always carry in my old part and compare. I think there is some unwritten law that the further you drive, the more likely you are to get the wrong part if you don't take the old one in.
 

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coldknock said:


I still buy all my important parts from Napa because of the quality. My local store is an independent franchise. I don't even have to tell them what kind of car it is or what engine, trans, rear diff. They already know because I've been going there for so long.

Larry
God bless Napa. Amen. :D
 

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swapping tie rod ends on a dodge truck. first one goes right in, tightens right up no problemo. second tie rod end, doesn't want to seat, then the threaded end starts spinning, making it impossible to tighten. I called oreillys to inquire, i was told to hit it with a hammer. now i know i'm a *******, but it don't seem right to hit a new tie rod end or ball joint with a hammer to install it.???
 

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Sent mywife to Auto Zone to get some tranny fluid for my van,91 Voyager.She calls me and tells me they do not carry it,that shee will have to go to a Dodge dealer and purchase it there.I told her that they do have it.She tells the ding-dong behind the counter that.He said they did not.I tell her to go tot the fluids rack and told her what type I needed.She goes up to the counter with it,I hear her tell the kid"My husband said you are a Dumb ***!" I could hear everyone in there laughing.It was funny.
But Larry seems to know his stuff.Hey Larry,tell them you will be willing to travel and teach these guys something and they can pay you some sweet money for educating the ones who need it.If they will not do that.Move to Louisville and manage the Okolona Auto Zone.
 

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This a good partsman story. I was on a job about 3 hours from home and blew the power steering hose on my 97 power stroke Ford. I borrowed another contractors pickup and went after a new hose and a couple wrenches to change it, about 15 miles each way. I got the stuff from O'Rielly's. Wrong hose, back to the parts store and they only list the one I have. I am dealing with a large young person of the dufentile persuasion. I go to Ford garage. They also only have the one that O'Rielly's had but show that the last couple months of production took the odd ball one I had. Out of desperation I went back to O'Rielly's to see if they could use my old ends and make one up. Young dufentile says no they can't. I am trying to see if I can get back where they make hoses to see if I can come up with some ideas. He's not helping. By now our conversation has attrackted the attention of someone a little older. He said let me see it. He disappeared and came back a few minutes later with my old end on the new hose, and never charged me anything for doing it. Young dufentile muttered something about he didn't know you could do that.
A great partsman who saved my bacon that day. and just lucked out that he came back from lunch before I let the dufus turn me away.
 

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Willowbilly,

It is always nice when someone comes up who knows a thing or two. I have gotten to the point that when I get the counter idiot first, I just look over him and start talking to the guys I know to be knowledgable. They then tell the new guy what I need. Sometimes at NAPA they just tell me to go back there and look through things when I need odd ball fittings or something. Of course they have seen me weekly for years.......

Chris
 

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My old NAPA store in Big Lake Alaska used to let me turn my own drums and rotors in the back room, got where they didn't even charge for it. Or if I was looking for a molded hose I could just go back and rifle through the stock. They had all good people who knew their stuff. The store sold out to another company that owned all the stores in Anchorage and they changed the whole place. Rented a different building next door and hired all young guys with tattos and metal things poking out of their heads. The last (only) time I went into the new store was a sad day. The new kids were nice enough and I didn't get the wrong part or anything but it just wasn't the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'd dearly love to have a crew of gearheads at my store but the company won't allow us to hire knowledgeable, full time people and pay them a decent wage. The majority of the people working for the company are part-time with no benefits and, depending on the area, are paid $7-$8 an hour. They have little to no knowledge of anything mechanical and have no incentive to learn. They know that they won't be in the parts business any longer than it takes for them to find a full time job with benefits somewhere else.

The companies don't care because they're saving boatloads of money and opening new stores everyday. The company stock is stable because of it and it sometimes goes up. As long as people continue to put up with sloppy service and pay for cheap parts, they will not change. The company has no incentive to make changes. They're making money.

Larry
 
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