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Brick and mortars...

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
I went to 3 parts stores today looking for an input seal and gasket for my TJ(ax-15). I know I have purchased these at the parts stores before. None of the workers in all three stores had any idea what I was talking about, nor was it in their computers. As far as they were concerned, I was crazy, and there was no such part. Not one person offered to help find them for me. If it is not in their computer, then you are out of luck...

But as luck would have it, I have a computer myself. I am going to order one and probably not be charged tax or shipping. well maybe shipping, but I bet the whole package will be cheaper than at the brick and mortar. For stores worried about being passed over by online purchases, they don't really offer any customer service. All three stores told me they couldn't help me, and left it at that.

It sure isn't like the good old days. The guys at the parts stores have no idea about working on cars. That is just their job, and all they have to do is look it up. If they can't find it, they are done.

Well if I have to look it up, there is no sense in me going back to purchase it there, especially if it gets delivered to my door.

I will be sad to see them go, but honestly I get better customer service with the online companies. I won't miss them too much.
 
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Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
38,062
Salem, Oregon
You can chalk a lot of it up to those people who work at said stores. Every so often you'll go to a brick and mortar store and find someone who has been involved with automotive for long enough that they know what to look for. For the most part though, like everything in adult life, you have to advocate for yourself it seems.

I've learned that for the most part, you can't rely on anyone else.
 
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ac_

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
I remember back in the day when I was a fleet mechanic Napa would run vendor sponsored clinics for parts guys and local mechanics. They were basically one-night events that gave you basic trouble shooting their parts. Like say ac-delco alternators would come out and take one apart and show us what goes wrong with them, and if anything was serviceable. That way the parts guys were aware and the mechanics could troubleshoot better. Now adays, I go into a napa and it is hard to find people that even know what a throwout bearing is.

I can't really say that for sure ,but I have 3 different part stores within 2 miles of my house and one of them is a NAPA and have yet to meet anybody in NAPA that knows anything about cars.

The other day I bought a felpro oil pan gasket from NAPA and specifically asked for fel pro because they had the threaded stanoffs that hold the gasket for you if you are working on it upside down. He grabbed the part and we opened it and sure enough they were in there, and he told me he had never heard of that before. I got the idea that he hadn't replaced many oil pan gaskets in his career.

Sad thing is when I got home from the 3 parts stores, I plugged in my Jeep and year and got the part number in like 10 seconds or less. Then I put the part in google and found tons of places that sold it. One of which was NAPA. haha.

Needless to say I have one coming from AMAZON.
 
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Squatch

Master Thread Derailer
Supporting Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,717
Everett, Wash, United States
I feel your pain, @ac_. Fortunately, the NAPA here in old downtown Everett has some real car guys working the counter. One has been there for as long as I've owned my house, which I bought in '96. As for the other stores, it's hit-or-miss. I actually wrote an article for my Rambler Club newsletter once about an experience I had just trying to buy a battery for my '66 Rambler Classic, a car that they tried to tell me didn't exist. :facepalm: It's like @Chris says, it's the people who work there. Most are store workers, not car people. They could just as easily be your checker at the local Safeway... :confused:
 

cliffish

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2017
2,708
St James, NY, United States
Most are store workers, not car people. They could just as easily be your checker at the local Safeway... :confused:
And they may very well work at Safeway also. The culture of retail nowadays is to keep the hours down so they do not have to offer benefits. The pay scale is also not commensurate to being able to employ anyone with any real experience on the counter.
 
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ac_

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
It sure isn't like it used to be.

It is weird that not one person thought to google the part number. I googled the part number faster than they used their own software to get me the wrong number. I get some people don't know what they are doing, but they were happy enough to let me know that the part I needed wasn't in their software so that is all I get. No more service after that.

It is fine, just opened my eyes that I am a pretty good parts guy! I did it faster than the professionals on my own.
 
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Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
38,062
Salem, Oregon
Like I said, you have to advocate for yourself these days. I can relate this same story to healthcare related issues as well, including doctors who genuinely just don’t seem to care.
 
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lindsey97

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Feb 23, 2018
255
Wynnewood, OK, USA
You should try o'reilly's in Pauls Valley, OK. They are pathetic. Tried to order a wix 46081 air filter for my Jeep. They say "we have microgard". I didn't fucking ask for microgard. "Oh well, we can order a AC Delco". OK, but I asked for a wix.

So I walked out. Bought a Wix on ebay, and it actually beat o'reilly's. They called and told me my AC Delco was in. Hope the AC Delco tastes good, cause they gonna eat it!

One would think that they would want my business, I have over 15 vehicles, tractors, machines, dump trucks, and such. Last time I looked, they all required filters.!!
 
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ac_

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
You should try o'reilly's in Pauls Valley, OK. They are pathetic. Tried to order a wix 46081 air filter for my Jeep. They say "we have microgard". I didn't fucking ask for microgard. "Oh well, we can order a AC Delco". OK, but I asked for a wix.

So I walked out. Bought a Wix on ebay, and it actually beat o'reilly's. They called and told me my AC Delco was in. Hope the AC Delco tastes good, cause they gonna eat it!

One would think that they would want my business, I have over 15 vehicles, tractors, machines, dump trucks, and such. Last time I looked, they all required filters.!!
See you get it! That is exactly what I am talking about.
 

Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
4,434
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
I'm OK'ish with the fact that I might be giving the counter guys an education. I'm good with sharing knowledge. What really burns my ass though is when they are out of a part..."we can order it for you," they always say. Ya, I know you can order it....but if you have to order it, than I might as well order it and save myself another trip.

What I've been doing lately is the Order online and pick-up in store. That is a pretty quick way to get stuff, plus I get to pick my own parts...without educating the guy behind the counter. I'm pretty fortunate though, I have an auto-value AND a Napa in my town, that both have decent service counters. The people at Napa have been there as long as I remember...and I know most of them by name.
 
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ac_

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
I'm OK'ish with the fact that I might be giving the counter guys an education. I'm good with sharing knowledge. What really burns my ass though is when they are out of a part..."we can order it for you," they always say. Ya, I know you can order it....but if you have to order it, than I might as well order it and save myself another trip.

What I've been doing lately is the Order online and pick-up in store. That is a pretty quick way to get stuff, plus I get to pick my own parts...without educating the guy behind the counter. I'm pretty fortunate though, I have an auto-value AND a Napa in my town, that both have decent service counters. The people at Napa have been there as long as I remember...and I know most of them by name.
If you are going to ship it to the store you might as well ship it to your house then you don't have to go anywhere.

BTW I get they can't stock everything, but I agree with you, in that if it is something that is pretty common, I get aggravated with that too.
 

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,929
NorCal
A lot of it has to do with the technology of the day and the current generation. I was a parts store counterman for 13 years. We had racks and racks of catalogs to look, cross reference, and research for parts look ups. Today, you punch a few buttons, and if nothing comes up easy, you're out of luck. I deal with it daily in my current job.
 
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Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
4,434
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
If you are going to ship it to the store you might as well ship it to your house then you don't have to go anywhere.

BTW I get they can't stock everything, but I agree with you, in that if it is something that is pretty common, I get aggravated with that too.
I ship to store cuz I can stop on my way home from work. I order it at work, they pull it and have it sitting there, ready for me.
 

cliffish

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2017
2,708
St James, NY, United States
I'm OK'ish with the fact that I might be giving the counter guys an education. I'm good with sharing knowledge. What really burns my ass though is when they are out of a part..."we can order it for you," they always say. Ya, I know you can order it....but if you have to order it, than I might as well order it and save myself another trip.

What I've been doing lately is the Order online and pick-up in store. That is a pretty quick way to get stuff, plus I get to pick my own parts...without educating the guy behind the counter. I'm pretty fortunate though, I have an auto-value AND a Napa in my town, that both have decent service counters. The people at Napa have been there as long as I remember...and I know most of them by name.
yeah order online and pick up in store, did that this weekend replacing front brakes and frozen caliper on my daughters highlander...even had a 25% online coupon that would not have applied if I had just walked in.
 
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billiebob

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Oct 31, 2015
3,832
Kootenays, BC, Canada
honestly I get better customer service with the online companies
YES, we are driven to believe anything on line is superior.

The truth is online finds the cheapest source, sometimes that is accurate. The problem is WE do not support a slightly more expensive product sold in a local store staffed by our neighbour who has years of experience, but needs a living wage.

That online guy might be living in India, he earns $5.00 a day and is online 24/7..... and WE ALL support him instead of our neighbour. Me? Never, I shop local for everything, unless I have to drive 300 miles to Spokane to find the experience i need, but that is still bricks and mortar.
 
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ac_

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
A lot of it has to do with the technology of the day and the current generation. I was a parts store counterman for 13 years. We had racks and racks of catalogs to look, cross reference, and research for parts look ups. Today, you punch a few buttons, and if nothing comes up easy, you're out of luck. I deal with it daily in my current job.
I remember those days. Those guys(you probably) would never take no for an answer. If you couldn't find my part in there it didn't exist. Nowadays the if it isn't in the computer it doesn't exist, except it does.

Seriously 3 different part stores, and not one person googled it after they couldn't find it in their software. (3 out of the 3 stores had no idea what I was asking for either The guy a Napa got me a front pump seal. I had to explain to him that an AX-15 is a manual transmission.) When I did I found a shit-ton of them, and one at NAPA where I just was. Since I am lazy, and can wait till Wednesday for it, Amazon is going to help me out.
 

lindsey97

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Feb 23, 2018
255
Wynnewood, OK, USA
The reason this is so frustrating for me is that I grew up in a parts store/garage. My mom went back to work when I was 7, and I stayed with dad at the shop. My father owned it, he bought it from his father-in-law. We had over $100k in stock parts. This was from 1977-2005. I cannot understand why they no longer want to stock anything, even the popular moving parts.

I am thankful for the education and upbringing I received in that shop, taught me a lot about the farm equipment, how to field expedient repair something, and so on. God knows it has helped me stay in the dirt business, dealing with heavy equipment.

I was installing a front track bar, and a rear bumper on my TJ today, and I thought to myself: This is so much easier than working on the dozer, or my 5 ton military 6x6's. Sometimes we take it for granted what we actually know and have access to compared to other around us, i.e. tools and knowledge.
 
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ac_

ac_

zombicon
Supporting Member
Jun 15, 2017
4,230
AZ, United States
YES, we are driven to believe anything on line is superior.

The truth is online finds the cheapest source, sometimes that is accurate. The problem is WE do not support a slightly more expensive product sold in a local store staffed by our neighbour who has years of experience, but needs a living wage.

That online guy might be living in India, he earns $5.00 a day and is online 24/7..... and WE ALL support him instead of our neighbour. Me? Never, I shop local for everything, unless I have to drive 300 miles to Spokane to find the experience i need, but that is still bricks and mortar.
I don't feel you got the point of this thread.

I would support the brick and mortar if they would support me. If the guy in India can get me the right part the first time and take care of mistakes, I am fine with that but the local brick and mortars had no idea what I was even asking for.

I wasn't looking for the cheap way out. I am always trying to buy the best part always. But if it is not in the brick and mortar computer base they don't know what else to do. Half the time I go in with a part number and they still can't find what I am looking for unless I give them my vehicle specs

The first part store tried to sell me a front pump seal instead of a input seal. The second store tried to sell me a transfer case front seal instead of a input seal, and the third place tried to sell me an output seal for the transfer case.

Before i finally gave up and called "India" (or google)

I would be more than happy to support my brick and mortars. if they could support me.