OMFG, I’m gonna SCREAM!!!!

I swear, if I  have to deal with just one more STUPID FUCKING BIMBO behind the counter of an auto parts store, I am going to lose my shit.

While I was thrashing around on that Bronco last weekend trying to get those broken bolts out of the heads, I managed to break the gulp valve for the air injection system that is mounted on a tube that goes between the heads behind the intake manifold.

It must have been rotten to begin with because all I did was bump it trying to get at those bolts and it just split into two pieces.

So I get up today and gird my loins for what I know in my heart is going to be a pain in the ass, gulp down some coffee and head up to the local parts house I have been dealing with.

I have run into a couple of dumbasses up there but for the most part they have people that know what the fuck they are doing, including a nice lady who is probably in her late thirties. When the dumbfuck kid picked exhaust manifold gaskets instead of intake manifold gaskets last weekend and I had to go right back up there, she looked them up right away went and pulled them and then made sure they were the right parts.

So don’t be thinking that hey, this Phil guy is just a hateful old mysoginistic bastard who likes to be hatin’ on the Split Tails.

Absolutely not true. I once trained a ninety pound soaking wet 19 year old girl to work on brand new Lincoln Town Cars and when I was done she could strip a dashboard and have it ready to pull to get to the heater core by herself in an hour and a half.

It’s the stupid people I don’t have time for and I lay the blame squarely on the owners and managers of these places that turn these incompetent motherfuckers loose on the general public without proper training or qualifications in the first place.

When we as consumers who have very busy lives go into an established business we expect competent help and by every measurable metric, those places who don’t supply that competent help should be punished by a severe lack of business.

It’s called Word of Mouth and bad news spreads fast people.

Schucks, Autozone and every place who even remotely imitates their business practices should be avoided at all costs.

Even NAPA, who at one point was universally considered to be just one step below the actual dealership in regards to knowledge and parts availability, has turned into a fucking joke. I walk in, there is a frumpy middle aged woman manager and a bunch of clueless idiots behind the counter.

If they can’t find what you are looking for on their computer in less than two minutes you might as well walk the fuck back out the door because they are incapable of  tapping into an unwritten knowledge base that is only acquired by years of experience, including hands on wrenching on vehicles and equipment.

Which is what virtually every NAPA store I ever walked into in the last forty years had.

Once inside the door you were greeted by some gray haired old fart with gnarly scarred up knuckles who knew every parts interchange by heart.

You need a water pump for a 77 Chevy Caprice and the computer said they were out?

Well, the water pump off of a 68 truck will fit and we have four of those.

That kind of knowledge is priceless and is also now pretty much impossible to find.

If the ALMIGHTY COMPUTER says we don’t have it, we can order it and it will be in next week.


So after the place I go to didn’t have this valve on hand, the guy tells me that he can have it in about two hours.

Me, being in a hurry and knowing better, asks where the next nearest parts house is.

Autozone is down the road a couple of miles.

I thanked him and took off down there. I walk in, there is some fat chick with blazing fake red hair behind one counter and a skinny twenty something chick behind the other.

Not a fucking guy in sight.

The unmistakable feeling of DOOM started creeping up on me.

I wind up with the skinny one.

I tell her what I want, the make, model, year and engine displacement.

I tell her the name of the part and SHOW HER A FUCKING PICTURE.


Nope, can’t find it, can’t even spell it right.

She shows me what she sees on the computer and it’s not even close. I try explaining another way to try and find it. She stops me and says she doesn’t know how to do that ,points to the far wall and suggests that maybe I can find what I am looking for on their “HELP” wall.

I put my hand up, tell her to stop and that she can’t help me. I leave. There is some other guy getting out of his car as I am getting in mine. I tell him to spare himself the misery,that they are absolutely incompetent in there. He grins and tells me he knows exactly what he is after. I laughed and said I even showed them a picture. Good luck pal.

I drove right back up to Tony’s Auto Parts, as I walk in the door, the guy I had been dealing with tells me he already ordered it because he knew I would be back.

I thanked him, gave him my number and came home to start in on this rant to blow off some steam. I wasn’t even half way through this when he called and said it was already there, they caught the delivery guy from the warehouse right before he made his run and threw it in.

It is sitting right beside me.

I would STILL be trying to find it if I had to keep dealing with the incompetent morons who seemingly populate every single parts house within ten miles of here.

Now if you will excuse me, I have shit to do.



24 thoughts on “OMFG, I’m gonna SCREAM!!!!

  1. I must say I am luckier mangy dog in heat. I have a local Napa Parts store here in The Wilds of Eastern South Dakota that I am good friends of the owner and he is an old wrencher and race car driver and restores classic muscle cars and he knows his shit and he hires young men and he makes sure they know their shit too as well as a couple of old farts that work part time for him. It is a pleasure to walk in and deal with someone that knows his shit. I sure gonna miss him when I move to Idaho… He even sells firearms in his store.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadly, this is now almost universal and getting worse as the amount of “on hand” stock keeps being reduced because everyone uses centralized warehouses and orders based on inquiry, especially for older cars. The only things on hand are for the last 10 years, if you are asking for a common part such as disks, brakes, belts and so on.

    On several occasions I have told the desk monkeys that if they don’t have it on the shelf when I need it, what is the difference with me using Amazon next day service versus waiting for their delivery system? It is usually cheaper and I can select the brand.

    Funny about Napa though, our here in the mid-west they still have at least 1 or 2 old timers on hand which saves a lot of time, especially the larger stores with attached machine shop services, those are usually best (and getting rarer by the day).

    The absolute worst bar none seem to be the stealerships. I go there when there is absolutely no other option, and invariably have the “we can have it here by tomorrow” response, even for a bloody screw or bolt.


  3. Regard yourself a lucky guy Phil. At least there’s a place you can go to where you’ve got a moderate chance of finding people who can supply a decent worker with the right parts.
    I wouldn’t even start trying around here. There’s only a slight chance of getting what you need if you first do an automotive parts database search in order to find the correct part number for whatever you need. They MIGHT be able ordering it but it usually ends with a suggestion to go to the car dealer representing that car brand. Did I mention that there’s just ONE FUCKING CAR PARTS DEALER in my area?
    The “parts” they’re mostly selling are what everyone can buy at a gas station: wiper blades, motor oil – you name it.


  4. Never heard of one, so I have to ask, what in all holiness is a HELP WALL ?

    ( We got a AutoZone nearby. They are incredibly good in all ways. It does come down to the management of the individual store and who they hire ).


  5. There are some part stores that you can look you part up online, see if the computer ‘thinks’ the store has it and get the part number. Sometimes that helps.
    The old guys behind the counter are retiring…


  6. I have gotten to the point of looking up the part on the computer, printing the parts list and any cross-referenced part numbers 0r changed/superseded numbers, along with a picture of the part that is broken (if it’s not in my hand) and where the part is/was on the engine. Include the webpage info from where you found the info also

    To go even further, I cut and paste into a word document, save it, and print that page (or pages) out, so when dumbass or dumbassesse behind the counter (or over the phone) can easily cross-reference what I have and what they have so they can tell me that they don’t have it in stock, amazingly usually even without looking.

    I do this with my car, I do this with all the appliances I repair.

    Nothing is more interesting than having a 4-8 page list of notes and parts for when you do your own A/C work, like replacing a blower motor or something. You think cars are screwed up? Air handlers really suck for ‘Yes we have that part, uh, no we don’t.’ One time my a/c blower motor blew, and I was able to convince the parts house to sell me a simpler and better motor by my research.

    Good luck with the brain-dead idiots. Hope you find decent help when you go to replace all three broken bolts.


    • And I always seem to get the red-headed stepchild model of a car. Ford Aerostar with the 2.8L Mustang engine, the model that most part houses firmly denied ever existed, to the point that I would walk them out to look at the motor data sticker under the hood. Volvo with a plastic radiator. That type of shit. So I know your pain.


      • Nothing like hearing “Naw, we don’t make that little widget anymore; you gotta buy the whole subassembly.” That’s bad enough, but then they add “But you’re saving money doing it this way.”


    • I also save the paperwork that comes with power tools and appliances, etc. You’d be amazed how many times googling even an old part number will turn up several sources.


  7. Several years ago I had to replace the battery in my truck. I stopped by AutoZone after work and had to be at an evening business meeting in a couple hours so I was still wearing my white dress shirt, pants, and tie. Suit jacket was in the truck. I go through the checkout and walk outside. Truck is parked right in front of the store windows in clear view of the cash registers.

    I had what I thought were all the necessary tools with me but lacked one item: a 10mm deep socket to remove the battery bracket. Went back inside and one of the guys working there hands me a box from under the counter. Sure enough, there’s a 10mm deep socket. I am not the first person who needed one it seems.

    Once again, outside I go and come back about 5 minutes later lugging the dead cell and returning their 10mm deep socket. There are three cash registers going and about 15 guys in line waiting to check out plus the three already being helped. The employee who had handed me the box earlier called out to me as I turned to leave.

    Him: Sir! Sir! Hang on a minute!
    Me: I returned your 10mm socket.
    Him: No. Not that. There are guys who come in here and buy a battery, then ask me to install it because they don’t know how. You just changed your own battery while wearing a white long sleeve dress shirt AND A TIE and didn’t even get dirty. I just want to shake your hand.
    Me: (Grinning from ear to ear and thanking him)

    He said all of that loud enough for EVERYONE in line to hear. I was smiling the rest of the night.


    • My local AutoZone has installed a couple of batteries for me since I got too old to lift them out. Without complaint, part of the service. They’ve reduced the warranty to the point that I’ll be shopping the next time. When the battery in my classic Durango goes. I think they’ll have to use a cherry picker to get it out.


  8. There’s an auto parts down the road where I’ll only talk to the women who work there. All the guys are dumb as a box of hammers. After having every problem eventually solved by the ladies I go directly to them now.

    My local NAPA isn’t what they used to be. New owners. I did have some fun letting a guy upsell me on something when I already knew they didn’t have it for my car model. Then he had to backtrack to try and sell me the stuff I wanted in the first place but wasn’t good enough for me the first time.


    • I actually had a young lady ask me if the carburetor I was trying to get was a 2 Volt or a 4 Volt carb one time.
      I told her she couldn’t help me and left. I was actually looking for a One Barrel for my 61 Ford F-100.


  9. I have an acquaintance who, with partners, owns 36 or so NAPA stores. He tells me the problem is the throwaway economy, and we, along with our vehicles, are dinosaurs. Kids have no incentive to learn to fix anything when it can just be replaced. There will come a time when parts stores will no longer exist – the vehicle breaks down, and you throw it away and order a new one from the vending machine.


  10. I save myself a lot of headaches by looking up the part online myself, I usually send my wife to get the parts and when she walks up to the counter and says I have a list and here are the part numbers they usually freak out. I even have the price listed so they can’t mess it up. I do the same thing with Home depot and Lowes I just text it to myself most of the store clerks are either too busy or just don’t know, I asked the guy in electrical if he had noalox and he looked at me and had no clue what I was asking for any respectable handyman or electrician is gonna know what that is and what it’s for.


  11. When I was a teenager, my town had a “Tony’s”. They always had what I needed for my ’50 Studebaker and later, my ’54 Ford. They knew me and gave me the mechanic’s discount. My current town only has AutoZone. The next town has O’Reilly’s, Advance and AutoZone. If there’s a Tony’s, I don’t know where it is. I don’t do NAPA, personally, for reasons lost in history but my mechanic uses them. I hadn’t given it much thought since I don’t do a lot of my own work any more and when I do, I get parts on the Internet but this is a Georgia town. Where the hell is the locally owned auto parts store? I guess they were killed by chains and Amazon just like the computer stores, radio parts stores and hi-fi stores.


  12. When I moved to the area I live in at present in 2001, there was an Advance Auto Parts store a NAPA and a Part Plus. I generally went to the Advance store as it had the longest hours it was open and more often than not, I would find out I needed something outside of business hours.

    At this Advance there were two young women working and a bunch of what I would call experienced counter people. However, every once in a while one of these guys would not be able to find it in the computer or in the store. The women were delegated to stocking the store mostly and handling deliveries. They would ask one of them and they would go find it immediately. They were both very smart and learned from everything they did.

    Time goes on and another young lady joins the crew and both of the women who I met at first became assistant managers and in time so did the other young lady. They all knew their shit.

    Here is what is interesting. One of the women is now a highly respected manager of an Autozone running the commercial department. Another is a parts manager in a GM dealership. The other is a manager of the Parts Plus store. They are all very smart and motivated.

    I realize that these women maybe either an exception to the rule or perhaps outliers from what ever the rest of you have experienced. I have noticed throughout my career that these days it is not universal at all as to who knows what is going on in terms of doing their job or not gender not withstanding.

    I have met an equal number of incompetent people of either gender and my only impression is that the further you get from the year 2000 as a graduating year from High School, the harder it is to find someone who actually knows their shit no matter what job they do. Our education system is a lot of the problem you face now in poor customer service. That and a lack of self motivation.


  13. I had a similar water pump problem on my 1977 Ford Bronco (last year of the original style) My water pump went out about 1 mile from a town in eastern MT. A guy stopped and asked what the problem was I told him and i gave him a check to buy a new one well the store did not have one (this was 1989). he knew the Auto shop teacher at the high school and he told the guy to tow me into the shop at the high school which he did. The auto shop teacher looked at it and said a water pump from a 351 would fit although it would be backwards on the bottom of the water pump as long as i did NOT tighten down the radiator cap and if I went under 50 miles an hour I would be alright. i was about 200 miles from home so after we got it in. I drove slowly home. The next day my Father (now deceased) looked at what they had done and said he would have never figured it out and he was 61 at the time and had been working on cars for over 40 years.


  14. Phil, I read almost all of your blog entry’s.They are some of the only emails other than my moms Q and great awakening red pill stuff that I read. Ive been a professional auto mechanic for 22 years and a shop owner for the last 10. 22 years as a Professional not counting the first 19 spent fucking around stripping bolts and fixing bicycles go carts and chevy 350’s…. You speak my Language, Busting my knuckles is all that I have ever done.
    Ive been following the broken intake bolt debacle for the past week or so. Sucks I feel ya. I got tips and tricks and tools to make short work out of that. And I wanna chime in, more than that want to come over with some of my tools and equipment and help you so you dont break your back hunched over that Bronco. Its a tall fucker I know. But in the end it would be just another a useless gesture from another timezone. Who the fuck would I be to armchair quarterback a seasoned vet like you about shit you already know… Anyway., You know your shit, and I am of no help out here. And for the record, not that I’m trying to suck your dick or anything here but Its guys like you that mentored me thought my proverbial justation period in this business. That is why it pains me to say (it comes at the end) what I have to say regarding those retarded ass motherfuckers in the chain parts stores. Now. YOU know damn right well that the majority of them are a bunch of fucking idiots. I do too. Thats why I do not ever except under only emergency circumstances do business with any shitball autozone advance or o fucking rilleys EVER unless im broke down somewhere… NAPA is a first choice when my local parts house is out of the question. Most everybody that works there, At their last job they were holding a spatula. And now they are selling you auto parts??? Asking the dumbest most vacuous questions about the vehicle in question no doubt. Duh… is that an ex or a dx? Duh… does it have 4 lugs or five? (for a valve cover gasket) ” I need spark plugs for an 04 F150 5.4 4×4″ Duh… is that a 4,6,8 cylinder? * asshole. ok is that the 6.0? No fucktard thats a diesel engine. I feel your pain I really do. I also do this shit with boats which can be the same kind of shitshow without the variety of parts stores,and something ive learned Phil, is this. Just incase you forgot, Come at these dumbshit motherfuckers with a FACTORY PART NUMBER. The internet is in your hand man , dig up a factory number… Its the first step in avoiding a homicide at the parts counter. By the way sell that bronco once you know its fixed. Peace, E


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