Sean Goude: The Parts Store Is Tearing Me Apart

So I would like to take a minute to vent to you, my reading audience.  If, in fact, I do have a reading audience?  I’m going to discuss a topic near and dear to any professional mechanic or weekend warrior’s heart.  That would be the difficulty and aggravation we deal with on a daily basis trying to get parts and supplies from your local parts warehouse.

Dude...I needed a intake manifold not a water pump. Damn parts store

Now I’m not trying to knock every parts store out there, nor am I trying to single one out in particular.  I am however addressing a reoccurring problem and constant area of aggravation for me in particular.

I can only assume that I am not the only one out there that has ever blown a gasket due to some aggravation at the parts store.  Whether it be getting the wrong parts, faulty parts, or just some bad customer service I have had my fair share of problems at the parts counter.

I personally know several people that work at part stores and are very knowledgeable people.  But for the most part it seems like parts stores just hire high school drop outs with the I.Q. of a handicapped monkey.  As far as I can tell, the only requirement for an entry level position is the ability to push a button on the cash register.

When I go to get a part from the store, I expect a little more knowledge than the staff at your local McDonald’s.  I will give you a small example of the types of headaches that get me all worked up.

Duh... what's a MAF sensor?

I needed to get a pilot bearing puller attachment for my slide hammer.  So, I call around to several parts warehouses.  I was told by several places that it’s not a tool they would carry because it is not a common tool.

I personally don’t think it is an odd tool to request, but whatever.  I finally find a place that says they have it, so I went on their web site and found a part number to give them.  They say they have it in stock and quoted me a price.

I decided that I will just pick it up on the way home to save some time.  When I get there, I look for the tool for a solid ten minutes before the clerk tells me that it is a rental tool only and they don’t carry it for sale.

At this point the aggravation level starts to rise, but no big deal.  We call another store and they say they have it.  As it is already getting late I decide to just go pick the part up in the morning on my way to work.  I arrive at the other parts store at about 8 o’clock in the morning as they are opening up.  As I look over the tool isle, I start to come to the conclusion that they to do not carry the tool I required.

I grab the clerk and explain to him what I was looking for.  He to informed me that the tool I am seeking is a rental tool and not for sale.  My aggravation level has once again been kicked up a notch.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel however.  This gentleman informed me that if you want to keep the rental tool just keep it after you pay the deposit.  WOW was it really that simple.

So if you can rent the tool and then just keep it wouldn’t that be kind of the same as just buying it.  Hmm…  This had me scratching my head for a second.  I double check that there is no extra charge and after several stores and some driving in circles I have acquired the tool I required.

Now all of this could have been avoided with a little bit of better customer service.  If when I called to get the part the first time they had told me it was a rental tool that I could keep it probably would have saved me an hour overall.  Between calling around and driving to and from the various stores.

This is just the most recent incident that I have had to deal with and wanted to blow some steam off about.  There are many other stories that are much more aggravating and I’m sure everyone reading this has a good story of their own.

In closing, I want to stress that I could not do what I do with out the help of all these various parts stores.  They do the best they can, but for a mechanic in a pinch… their best just isn’t good enough.

I want to thank all the parts store clerks that deal with the worn out mechanic on his last thread from working all day and night to get a project almost done in time.  Sometimes its not easy to deal with mechanics like us especially when we know what we want and want it now.

Until next time, floor it and stay dirty.

– Ferret

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