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#4475017 - 07/30/17 09:26 PM Parts store stupid customers
addyguy Offline

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 14288
Loc: Canada
This is a reply thread to 'Auto parts store idiots' thread. I work as a parts-counter person at a Canadian Tire store, and have for five years now.

To start with, you are somewhat right; there are a lot of people hired by stores like ours that shouldn't be there. Low-bidder thinking does get you people who are just there as a body, and don't know or care. But there are people, such as myself (if I may brag a bit) who do care about the job, know a thing or two, and do learn as we go.

One big problem is that there is a divide - 'retail' parts places, like ours, are married to a system that is 'year, make, model' to look up don't go by knowing parts, cross references or stuff like that. It is a system that is designed for speed, to people in and out as quick as possible. Smaller 'garage' parts places go by old-school guys who KNOW parts from working with them. They take their time looking up cross-references or diagrams to find parts...they are in no hurry. Some retail systems have no functionality to look up by parts numbers..just year, make, model.

As my title suggests, there is also a problem with customers who have no clue! You would no believe how many times a day I have someone come in and ask for parts, and they have no idea what year their car is, or what engine it has! Sometimes it does not matter, but a lot of times, it does! The real kicker is these people often get mad at me because 'all parts are the same, just go get it'. I try to help people, and say 'when you bought it, what engine did you get'? I usually get an incredulous laugh, and 'I bought the blue one!'

Another one we get is people who want to fix something on their car because they are too cheap to have a shop do it, but they don't know how to do it, and just expect we will tell them exactly how to do it. Yes, a lot of ex-mechanics can do it, but as said above, most of us in a retail setting aren't techs. If you are coming to buy parts at a parts desk, and are doing it yourself, you should know what you are doing. But no, these customers come in and want you to walk them through exactly how to do some complex repair, and get mad when you don't know all the steps, specs, and tools they need!

The other one that really fries me is the number of lazy jerks who send their wife in to pick up parts, when they know even less about cars. Sure, some women do know a lot and are fine, but honestly most don't. To top it off, they think if you can't help them, if they 'threaten' you, it will work - 'If my husband has to come in because you gave me the wrong part, he will be very upset'

So there is a flip side to this!

2010 Kia Soul 2U - 2.0L I-4, auto; 126k miles.
M1 EP 10W-30; OEM Kia filter.

#4475026 - 07/30/17 09:34 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
user52165 Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 1332
Loc: CA
OK, now do you feel better?

#4475029 - 07/30/17 09:37 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
Urshurak776 Offline

Registered: 08/21/12
Posts: 445
Loc: North Carolina
Working with the public (especially these days)........nope.
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe, 125,000 miles, Supertech Full Syn high mileage 5W-30, Auto7 Filter.
2014 Kia Rio, 80,000 miles, Havoline Pro DS Syn 5W-30, WIX Filter

#4475040 - 07/30/17 09:49 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
JHZR2 Offline

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41805
Loc: New Jersey
Sounds like those customers would make great employees for most part store chains smile

Good people are hard to find, somewhere near 50% of the population is below average... its just that they consume, reproduce and vote.

#4475050 - 07/30/17 09:58 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
Linctex Offline

Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6178
Loc: Waco, TX
Been there ... done that

"I need a fuel pump for a Buick Grand Marquis"

(lady buys 4 qts oil)
Ma'am would you like an oil filter?
"what's that? I just dump in 4 quarts of new oil every 3000 miles"

(Man sets a RUSTED SOLID Quadrajet on the counter)
"I bought this carb 2 months ago, now it's flooding out"
(I drain water out of it.... yeah, right - looks like he found it in someone's backyard)

I could go on forever.
"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

#4475051 - 07/30/17 09:58 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: JHZR2]
pkunk Offline

Registered: 03/19/11
Posts: 257
Loc: NM, USA
Originally Posted By: JHZR2

somewhere near 50% of the population is below average...
2008 Mini Cooper Clubman (toad)
2000 Mercedes ML320
1994 Dodge 2500 Cummins
1999 Ford F53 V10 Coachman Motorhome 34ft

#4475061 - 07/30/17 10:07 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
dogememe Offline

Registered: 04/15/17
Posts: 614
i work at a major auto parts chain in the us, thing is, i'm not a professional mechanic. sure, i fix my own stuff once in a while, but i'm not an ase certified master mechanic who is here to fix your car for free. i am not here to diagnose your issues. i am simply here to sell you the correct PART for your YEAR MAKE MODEL with ENGINE SIZE and yes, I can look up fluid specs and stuff. i'd say at least half of the people who work at this company have never even changed their own oil...

Edited by dogememe (07/30/17 10:08 PM)
2007 Ford Crown Vic P71 4.6 ~124K Miles, SynPower 5W-30, Royal Purple Filter. *Daily Driver*
2010 Ford Escape 2.5 ~70K Miles, SynPower 5W-30, Wix Filter. *Turo Rental*

#4475067 - 07/30/17 10:11 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
bdcardinal Online   content

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 11016
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA

At the dealer we usually want the VIN, last 8 works most of the time. I have no problem telling people if we sell a lot of a certain part, I do that here a lot, but don't ask me if a specific part will fix your problem. Also when people come in and say they have a code P1XXX what is causing it, don't be surprised when I refer them to service or ask if they followed the flow chart. Pulling a code is just a step in doing proper diagnosis.
2014 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack
1995 Ford Mustang GT

Ford/Mazda Parts Counter
NRA Benefactor Member
Opinions expressed are my own.

#4475070 - 07/30/17 10:13 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
bbhero Online   content

Registered: 03/20/15
Posts: 4635
Loc: Virginia
Good post addyguy. I appreciate the good people who work in any form of retail. Like I mentioned in my previous the O Reilly's people are really very good. Tomorrow I am going by there with a hand written letter to their district manager giving the staff there a lot of credit for being so great.
Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic 5w30 Federated Auto 4612ex
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."

#4475078 - 07/30/17 10:16 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
Chris142 Online   content

Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16844
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
When I worked at Kragen auto parts I went around with a knucklehead that swore that a smog pump was an alternator and wanted me to test it for voltage output.
02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40

#4475085 - 07/30/17 10:17 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
merconvvv Offline

Registered: 07/10/16
Posts: 682
Loc: il usa
Most auto shop workers are great.

Very down to earth, friendly and helpful.

Edited by merconvvv (07/30/17 10:18 PM)
1988 Mazda RX7 na PP 10w30 Noack 4.7
1994 Chrysler Concorde 3.3
1999 Ford Expedition 4.6 QSUD 10W30 NOACK 5.0

#4475121 - 07/30/17 11:05 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: dogememe]
CR94 Offline

Registered: 03/20/16
Posts: 1120
Loc: Western S.C. since 1996
Originally Posted By: dogememe
... i am simply here to sell you the correct PART for your YEAR MAKE MODEL with ENGINE SIZE ...
I'm sure there are bad examples on both sides of the counter.

That said, it irritates me when a knucklehead who only knows what he sees on a computer screen asks the engine size---on a year and model that never had but one engine size. Why waste everybody's time with irrelevant questions? That's as much the fault of sloppy computer programming as of the clerk. In one case, an Advance store asked that nonsense question, but neglected to ask whether it's for the sedan, hatchback, or wagon, and I forgot to volunteer that information. They ordered the rarest (wagon) version, which wasn't what I needed.
2011 Toyota Prius now at 88K
1981 Mazda GLC (323) retired at 606K
1972 Subaru DL retired at 190K
1954 Chevrolet retired at 121K

#4475125 - 07/30/17 11:16 PM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
aquariuscsm Online   content

Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 18183
Loc: Dallas,Tx USA
Originally Posted By: addyguy
To top it off, they think if you can't help them, if they 'threaten' you, it will work - 'If my husband has to come in because you gave me the wrong part, he will be very upset'

That's when you laugh in there face and tell them to go bring his pansy self in there,because you know he's a total puss if this grown man is sending his wife to go run his errands.
1996 Nissan 300ZX 5-speed,Arctic Pearl(#175 of 300)
Quaker State Ultimate Durability 10W30
2012 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L 2.4,auto,San Marino Red
Pennzoil Platinum 0W20

#4475159 - 07/31/17 12:50 AM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
daves87rs Offline

Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 16986
Loc: Michigan
Yep, and have a friend who is a manager at an auto parts stores who has many great stories to tell...

Working in retail (and trying to escape it again), today's consumer makes it hard to be a professional person....the lack of respect is scary! I pride myself in being good at what I do-but in the past few weeks I have had my life threaten for something that was not in stock.

Lots of angry people....
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Henry Ford

#4475171 - 07/31/17 02:19 AM Re: Parts store stupid customers [Re: addyguy]
Silk Offline

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 4567
Loc: New Zealand
Here in NZ we used to tell them make, model, year, chassis no and engine no - eg, N14, SR18. These days we have a national data base, and just give the rego number. We have a Repco store just up the road, I don't bother to ring these day, I just open Repco Navigator, enter the rego number and look up parts I need, it tells me what parts, if they are in stock, and which nearest branch has them...and my price and RRP.
1987 BMW R65 - Penrite V Twin 20/50
2005 Nissan Expert - Gulf Western 10W-40
1996 Volvo T5 - Penrite HPR15 - 15W-60. Ryco syntec filter.

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