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bluesideup
bluesideup Reader
4/10/12 1:59 p.m.

I was a delivery driver/parts room gopher at NAPA auto parts in college. Regular shop customer orders a clutch for a dump truck. I go to the back, pull the clutch assembly and when I checked inside the box I find there is oil on the friction material from the anti-rust coating on the pressure plate. Point it out to the boss and he pulls a different clutch plate to put in the box. I pointed out they are a matched set (says so on the box) and we should just order another. He says to deliver it that way. I'm just thinking of the poor bastard who has to R & R the trans on a Peterbilt.

So I get to the shop and the guy opens the box, he asks about something on the packaging (boss didn't repackage right so now there's oil on the friction material again). I told him I wasn't going to let him install it anyway since it's not a matched set. On the way out I asked him what I should tell the boss....his answer "tell him to shove it up his a--". I told the boss exactly that when I got back and he sent me on a drive to the main warehouse to get a new assembly.

The shop guys were always disappointed to see me show up in the NAPA truck since the other delivery driver was a chick with big boobs and blonde hair. I think they were happy I brought them the clutch on that day.

Conquest351
Conquest351 Dork
4/10/12 2:07 p.m.

When I worked at Firestone I had people call, and they still do at the Ford dealership, and want me to diag over the phone. I've even had people ask if I could "Hear that knocking noise/buzzing noise/plopping noise over the phone". I had a lady ask me the other day if the USB port from the car she plugs her phone into could send me information about what's wrong with the car. I told her, "No ma'am, we're not that sophisticated yet."

I had a customer come in with a Mercedes saying the AC didn't blow. I had my tech look at it and found the vents closed. I called the customer and informed them, very professionally. They came to pick it up and I could tell they were embarassed. I didn't charge them and let them go.

I have more, just have to remember them.

darkbuddha
darkbuddha Reader
4/10/12 2:23 p.m.

I've worked both sides of the counter and have plenty of stories. The real annoying thing these days is that most of the cars I go to get parts for are either as old or older than the guys working the counters at parts stores these days. I love it when I go in and ask for a specific part or part number and they respond with "what kind of car is it for?" At that point, it's just a fun game for me... "It's a 1989 'mare-coor' XR4TI." "A what?" "A 'mare-coor' XR4TI." "Is that a motorcycle?" It's all down hill from there, especially once I point it out in the parking lot and they see I've rebadged it as a Ford.

When I worked counter sales, 95% of our sales were to shops... there was one guy, shifty as hell, that would buy parts from us, rob the new stickers off of 'em, and return them. Apparently, he'd clean up the not-actually-broken part on whatever car he was "fixing", apply the stickers, and tell his customers that he'd replaced the part with a new one. We eventually caught on when one of his customers came in with a photocopy of the receipt from us to warranty a part, and after a bit of research we explained what that shifty bastard had done. Cops got involved in that one and we never heard from the guy again.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UberDork
4/10/12 2:35 p.m.

i feel like a good portion of the time people are testing me to see how little information they can actually provide and still get the right part, often witholding critical details for an added challenge.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
4/10/12 2:39 p.m.

I always feel bad when I go in, because I have to tell them, well, it's a '69 MG, but I need the clutch from an 89 toyota corolla gts to bolt onto a JDM 20 valve engine with an 83 Corolla transmission, connected to a hybrid toyota/mazda driveshaft that goes to a '94 miata differential with shortened miata axles. Oh, it's got a narrowed 4 core audi 5000 radiator, 86 MR2 rad hoses, an 88 Civic rad fan. It's got 92 miata spindles and brakes all around. Etc Etc. you get the idea.

You're going to have to just trust me. I won't yell at you, and I won't screw you. I think there's a Johnny Cash song written about my car.

BBsGarage
BBsGarage HalfDork
4/10/12 2:44 p.m.
Teh E36 M3 wrote: I always feel bad when I go in, because I have to tell them, well, it's a '69 MG, but I need the clutch from an 89 toyota corolla gts to bolt onto a JDM 20 valve engine with an 83 Corolla transmission, connected to a hybrid toyota/mazda driveshaft that goes to a '94 miata differential with shortened miata axles. Oh, it's got a narrowed 4 core audi 5000 radiator, 86 MR2 rad hoses, an 88 Civic rad fan. It's got 92 miata spindles and brakes all around. Etc Etc. you get the idea. You're going to have to just trust me. I won't yell at you, and I won't screw you. I think there's a Johnny Cash song written about my car.

I'd love to just see their head explode after you say that.

noddaz
noddaz Reader
4/10/12 2:52 p.m.
Xceler8x wrote: I was 16 and just getting into cars so I applied and got a job at the local Pep Boys. The GM thought it would be funny to ask me to find the rad cap to a 70 Super Beetle for his daughter. I couldn't figure out why those parts weren't listed in the book. In 5 years I'm going to go in and ask for a gas cap for a Nissan Leaf.

At the Nissan dealership I work at the service department wrote a gas slip for the tech that was doing the PDI on the first Leaf we had...

Bobzilla
Bobzilla SuperDork
4/10/12 2:59 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: i feel like a good portion of the time people are testing me to see how little information they can actually provide and still get the right part, often witholding critical details for an added challenge.

They do. It's the old "you don't need to know that they're all the same" attitude.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
4/10/12 3:07 p.m.
BBsGarage wrote:
Teh E36 M3 wrote: I always feel bad when I go in, because I have to tell them, well, it's a '69 MG, but I need the clutch from an 89 toyota corolla gts to bolt onto a JDM 20 valve engine with an 83 Corolla transmission, connected to a hybrid toyota/mazda driveshaft that goes to a '94 miata differential with shortened miata axles. Oh, it's got a narrowed 4 core audi 5000 radiator, 86 MR2 rad hoses, an 88 Civic rad fan. It's got 92 miata spindles and brakes all around. Etc Etc. you get the idea. You're going to have to just trust me. I won't yell at you, and I won't screw you. I think there's a Johnny Cash song written about my car.
I'd love to just see their head explode after you say that.

that's all fine and dandy. where my head explodes is when people want me to do the research for them. for example : "i want to put X motor in Y other car, what # do i need?"

Bobzilla
Bobzilla SuperDork
4/10/12 3:10 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote:
BBsGarage wrote:
Teh E36 M3 wrote: I always feel bad when I go in, because I have to tell them, well, it's a '69 MG, but I need the clutch from an 89 toyota corolla gts to bolt onto a JDM 20 valve engine with an 83 Corolla transmission, connected to a hybrid toyota/mazda driveshaft that goes to a '94 miata differential with shortened miata axles. Oh, it's got a narrowed 4 core audi 5000 radiator, 86 MR2 rad hoses, an 88 Civic rad fan. It's got 92 miata spindles and brakes all around. Etc Etc. you get the idea. You're going to have to just trust me. I won't yell at you, and I won't screw you. I think there's a Johnny Cash song written about my car.
I'd love to just see their head explode after you say that.
that's all fine and dandy. where my head explodes is when people want me to do the research for them. for example : "i want to put X motor in Y other car, what # do i need?"

Or my favorite..... when they start speaking alphabet soup. Does ANY parts lookup in ANY place, dealer/aftermarket/online, allow you to look E36 M3 up by alphabet soup engine code? No. They don't. EVERYONE looks E36 M3 up by application. I don't need to know EXACTLY what it came from, but a good idea helps.

Strizzo
Strizzo UltraDork
4/10/12 3:28 p.m.

on more than one occasion i had someone come up to the counter and say "umm, i think i need a starter, my car wouldn't start so i had to get a jump to come up here"

me: "well then it sounds like your starter is fine, and your battery is bad"

clueless: "um, i don't think so? because the car wouldn't start"

me: "well you tell me, since you came in asking, and now you're telling me what you need"

nearly as many came in and asked for a part and when i asked what kind of car it was for they'd say "oh, i dunno, its blue?" and point towards the door.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
4/10/12 3:39 p.m.

a girl just called me a minute ago, "hey, i'm about two blocks away in the bank parking lot and my car won't start. i think i'm either out of gas, or it sounds like my alternator. can you come check it out?"

Conquest351
Conquest351 Dork
4/10/12 3:46 p.m.

Some of that stuff makes me want to bang my head into the counter until I render myself unconscious... Then again, some of it makes me laugh till I pee myself.

Cuda
Cuda Reader
4/10/12 3:48 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: a girl just called me a minute ago, "hey, i'm about two blocks away in the bank parking lot and my car won't start. i think i'm either out of gas, or it sounds like my alternator. can you come check it out?"

Christ almighty she better be pretty.

MA$$hole
MA$$hole Reader
4/10/12 3:49 p.m.
Strizzo wrote: nearly as many came in and asked for a part and when i asked what kind of car it was for they'd say "oh, i dunno, its blue?" and point towards the door.

After doing 7 years at an AZ part time (1 day a week) I don't have any patience for stupidity anymore. You ask for a part for your 350 but it doesn't matter "they're all the same" you get LT1 parts. You call & tell me your car is blue & that's all you know "come on down I have it", click. You need a Cadillac Converter, sorry we don't sell those. You need a part for your Mazda Millenium, dealer only sorry.

poopshovel
poopshovel PowerDork
4/10/12 3:53 p.m.
EVERYONE looks E36 M3 up by application.

Do you mean E36 M3 or E36 M3???

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UberDork
4/10/12 3:54 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: i feel like a good portion of the time people are testing me to see how little information they can actually provide and still get the right part, often witholding critical details for an added challenge.

Oooh, that sounds like a fun game! Where do you work?

speedblind
speedblind Reader
4/10/12 3:57 p.m.

I think it's 50/50. As a customer, I generally know what I need and would be faster than the people at the auto parts store in looking it up and locating it. That type of customer, IMO, now shops online and has one or two local-ish places that get parts to them either next day or two days. The auto parts stores have lost us for the most part.

I did need an E36 M3 brake rotor next day once and it was over a weekend. Called around and found an autoparts store that could get it sent up from a nearby warehouse. I was more than happy to pay them, and they knew what they were talking about. Seems to be the exception rather than the rule though.

trucke
trucke New Reader
4/10/12 4:02 p.m.

Years ago I needed a thermostat for my wife's '84 Civic. I go to the local Honda dealer and ask for a thermostat for an '84 Civic.

They reply: 'We need the engine number so we can order the correct part".

I say: "All thermostats for 84-87 Civic's are the same. You should have a box of them on the shelf".

Their reply: " We cannot order it without the engine code".

I come back the next day with the engine code from the '89 JDM engine.

Their reply: "That's for an '89. They did not import that engine in '89."

Me: I just smiled and said "All thermostats for 84-87 Civic's are the same. You should have a box of them on the shelf".

They ordered the part. Took 3 weeks!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/10/12 4:05 p.m.

On the buyer's side, I had a funny one a few years ago with the local Volvo dealer counter guy.

Me - "Hi, I need price and availability on the fuel pipe for a '88 240. The connector that goes between the fuel pump and the filter?"

Volvo guy - "Oh... that little thing that looks like a crack pipe?"

"Yes! That's it!"

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
4/10/12 4:09 p.m.

Lady came into my dad's work:

Lady: "My car runs great in the winter and horrible in the summer."

Dad: "Lets go for a ride"

Lady: Pulls stick out and hangs purse

Dad: "Whats that?"

Lady: "That's my purse hanger."

Dad: "No, I believe that's your choke."

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
4/10/12 4:17 p.m.
trucke wrote: Years ago I needed a thermostat for my wife's '84 Civic. I go to the local Honda dealer and ask for a thermostat for an '84 Civic. They reply: 'We need the engine number so we can order the correct part". I say: "All thermostats for 84-87 Civic's are the same. You should have a box of them on the shelf". Their reply: " We cannot order it without the engine code". I come back the next day with the engine code from the '89 JDM engine. Their reply: "That's for an '89. They did not import that engine in '89." Me: I just smiled and said "All thermostats for 84-87 Civic's are the same. You should have a box of them on the shelf". They ordered the part. Took 3 weeks!

I don't go to the Toyota dealer anymore for a somewhat similar reason.

I needed turbo gaskets for my 1990 MX6 GT. I run a MKiii Supra CT26 turbo.

They would not, under ANY circumstances, let me order anything without a VIN. I even offered to pay ahead of time.

I could even give them a year, trim, everything. "1991 Toyota Supra Turbo 5spd."

No dice.

I finally walked out to the parking lot and came back with a VIN from the MX6.

"That's not a Toyota VIN."

ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGG...

I mean, i understand they want a VIN, but i KNOW they can order things without a VIN. Mazda can do it, and Toyota has done it for me in the past. I'm very sorry i don't have a VIN, so i'll give you every piece of information you need, even part numbers, and they still wouldn't order me anything.

Jackasses.

psteav
psteav HalfDork
4/10/12 4:30 p.m.

In reply to N Sperlo:

Long ago, my dad was an auto tech at K-Mart. One day in the early 80's, the proverbial little old lady comes in driving the proverbial '70 Nova with no options. Six cylinder, three speed on the column, but as clean as you would expect for something that's only done 20,000 miles.

She was complaining that her car was making a horrible banging noise when she shifted gears, and it was coming from the rear of the car. Dad drives it, and can't find anything wrong with it. Dad's co-worker drives it, can't find anything wrong. They go back to the lady and asked if the banging was intermittent, or if it was quiet. She said it was constant and LOUD.

So they let her drive it so she could make it do the noise. She pulls out of the parking lot, gets up to about 10 mph, and shifts from first to third. The car starts chugging and bucking, and sure enough, there's a banging noise from the back of the car that by dad eventually figured was the baffles in the gas tank that had been shaken loose.

She was adamant that her late husband had told her to drive the car that way to save fuel, and she wasn't going to change. After my dad assured her that the banging noise wasn't a problem, she went on her way.

bluesideup
bluesideup Reader
4/10/12 4:55 p.m.

Parts Guy "how can I help you today?"

Me "I need a screw (holding up said screw)"

PG now funny man "Hell yeah I could use a good screw too"

Other Parts Guys "snicker, ha ha"

Me "well you're going to have to ask one of these other guys because I don't swing that way"

PG .......now red in the face

Other Parts Guys "HAHAHA!"

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
4/10/12 5:00 p.m.
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: I don't go to the Toyota dealer anymore for a somewhat similar reason. I needed turbo gaskets for my 1990 MX6 GT. I run a MKiii Supra CT26 turbo. They would not, under ANY circumstances, let me order anything without a VIN. I even offered to pay ahead of time. I could even give them a year, trim, everything. "1991 Toyota Supra Turbo 5spd." No dice. I finally walked out to the parking lot and came back with a VIN from the MX6. "That's not a Toyota VIN." ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGG... I mean, i understand they want a VIN, but i KNOW they can order things without a VIN. Mazda can do it, and Toyota has done it for me in the past. I'm very sorry i don't have a VIN, so i'll give you every piece of information you need, even part numbers, and they still wouldn't order me anything. Jackasses.

If you NEED a vin, go hit up eBay for something remotely close. They'll never know the difference and don't have a clue anyway.

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