Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

Why I don't shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by NerdBoy, Sep 23, 2004.

  1. NerdBoy

    NerdBoy 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Posts:
    429
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    As many of you might know, I reside in the middle of an area that is grossly lacking in a good employee base for auto parts stores. The few parts stores are utterly devoid of any intelligence, and on the occasion that I actually find someone that is both able and willing to help me, I normally keep coming back to them. Every now and then, a horrible mix of a poor memory and convenience cause me to venture out into places that I have avoided in the past.

    Last night was one such time.

    About a year and a half ago, when life was still cold and empty, I spent some time working on a car for my (then) fiancee. For those of you with overbearing wives, girlfriends, or fiancees (or any combination thereof), you know what I mean by cold and empty. The rest of you can simulate the experience by kicking an angry wild boar in the cahones, and then laying on the ground for a bit while said angry boar gnaws at your extremities for a while before trying to have intimate relations with it. This wonderful woman owned (and, still does, surprisingly) a mid-90s Pontiac Grand Am, with the infamous Quad-4. Her water pump had decided to fail.

    Now, I am a big fan of ingenuity, but a car that has the water pump *under* the exhaust manifold, against the firewall, far away from the radiator, and connected to a timing chain that is impossible to remove without pulling the motor isn't ingenuity, it is poor engineering.

    In the process of replacing the water pump, I decided that it might be a good idea to replace the serpentine belt. It was already off, and the Good Lord and the alcoholic previous owner only knew when it had been replaced. Well, at least one of them knew, and neither were talking to me at that time.

    At that point in my life, I hadn't ventured out to too many of the auto parts stores in the area, and I thought I would make my rounds going to each, and seeing what they had to offer in the way of customer service, parts availability, and price. I decided to go to one of the two local Autozone stores.

    "Hey, it's only a belt. How could they mess that up?" I thought to myself as I drove to the store. I ate those words, later. See, I made the mistake of not bringing the belt with me. If I had, the two lessons I learned would have been much less of an ordeal. First lesson I learned is that not all belts are the same. See, I told the young woman with too much makeup behind the counter what year, make, model, engine size, and accessories the car had. She returned with a belt, which I paid for and brought home.

    It seems that differences between a 6 cylinder and a 4 cylinder escaped the pebble-sized brain of that young woman, even though the computer screen (yeah, I looked at it while she was typing stuff in, but I trusted that she would pick the right one from the list) stated "4 cylinder" and "6 cylinder." That trust was the first thing that I lost when I got back home.

    I'll give you a second to guess what happened when I got home.


    Time's up! You guessed it! That belt was waaaaay wrong. So, I packed it up, and dragged myself and the belt (oh, don't forget the old belt, this time!) all the way back to that Autozone. I exchanged the belt out with a different employee, who was nice enough to suggest that I compare the belt he gave me to the old, threadbare one. He wasn't nice enough to be apologetic, or even nice at all about the mistake made by the other CSR. In fact, he told me that I should have made measured it myself before going home with it. He had a point, but I don't think that was a time to place the blame on a customer.

    This is where the second lesson comes in. See, apparently, some manufacturers have a hard time with measurement. I'm guessing that the particular manufacturer of that belt was using one of those novelty "penis rulers" when they made that belt, as it was about 3 inches too long. I would have understood if the new belt was shorter, as old belts stretch. So, the CSR and I come to an agreement that maybe the more expensive belt would work. He grabbed it, compared it to the old belt, and it was right where it should be, size-wise.

    I made a mental note to put them on my "last resort" list.

    About two months later, I visited the other Autozone in my area for some spark plugs, where I was informed by the CSR that she "couldn't sell me anything other than what the computer said was recommended for my vehicle", even though I just wanted one step colder on the plug. If there were other customers in the store at the time, and she was busy, I would have been more understanding.

    So, fast forward to last night. The fiancee, who is now an ex-fiancee has asked me for a favor (what? Friends with your ex? That just unnatural!). Her alternator is going out. I agree to take a look at it. Turns out that she has an oil leak that has made the belt a dark, syrupy mess. I figured, just in case, I would have the alternator checked, also. Pulled out the alternator, and took it to the parts place that I have decided to use, as they passed the spark plug test with flying colors (not Autozone). So, I get home with a new alternator, and realized that I had forgotten to purchase a replacement belt. (D'oh!)

    It's late, so, with belt in hand, I decide to go back to the Autozone where I purchased the last belt, as it is 20 minutes closer than the store I prefer to go to.

    Guess what I was thinking? "Hey, it's only a belt. How could they mess that up?"

    Well, I will give them this, they did give me the right belt this time. Same young woman behind the counter as a year and a half ago (wow, I can't believe she still works there), goes off to fetch the belt. She flashes it at me, and starts to head over to the cash register to ring me up. "Could I see that for a second, I want to make sure it is the right one." She throws it across the counter at me, and I pull the belt out and measure it. With a look on her face like I had just knocked up her sister, and I was blaming her father for it, she says:
    "If you gave me the right information on the car, then it *is* the right belt."

    Now, what would you have done at that point?



    Disclaimer: I am not saying that all Autozones are bad. I have received good help at many Autozone stores. It's just the ones in my area. And, sadly, I doubt I will ever know if they improve, as I will never step foot in the two around me again.
     
  2. js4x4

    js4x4 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Posts:
    798
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    Yeah, the kids that work in the Autozone down the street from me are clueless too...last week I went in, took em 45 minutes to figure out what an idle air control valve was...didn't have it in stock *ordered one for me, cuz i wasn't in a hurry to get it...went back later in the day, cuz he said it'd be in that day...not there. *ordered it AGAIN. Went back on Saturday, and the kid behind the counter tried to argue with me, claiming my 305 TBI doesn't have such a part. Well, I gave him the part # (i wrote it down) he goes to look..oh, we don't have one-but the computer says we have 2. SOB!! I'm very displeased with em, and don't think i'll be going back. This is the same store that sold me the wrong gasket set ... /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif
     
  3. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Posts:
    17,669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    IL, USA
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    The unfortunate thing about autozone is that they have awesome parts and prices, but they won't spend any money to get *real* counter people.

    I consider myself as close to a professional in this business as it gets, and I simply cannot understand how a company with so much money can't afford to get one decent guy working there at the majority of the stores.

    At the three stores I worked at, the managers BEGGED me to work there, I worked 70+ hrs a week, and I OWNED the counter at all three........

    Then I got fired, accoused by an [censored] coworker of stealing a used car battery. /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif
     
  4. spincast375

    spincast375 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Posts:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tennessee, U.S.A.
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    I am in Nashville, and have nothing but success with them.
     
  5. unclematty

    unclematty 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2003
    Posts:
    3,164
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SLC UT
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    I only shp there when I have no other option.their customer service sucksthat's saying something being as how I usually run about 1500.00 in parts every month through my checker auto cash accountI don't get places that have poor customer service??? /forums/images/graemlins/dunno.gif
     
  6. Topdown

    Topdown 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2002
    Posts:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Washington, U.S.A
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    yeah... Autozone is on my list also.

    When looking for a new thermostat for a small-block the counter person asked me what vehicle, I said, "its just a 180 degree thermostat for a 350 chevy, 4bbl..." to which the reply was "what vehicle?" so I said "1996 Chevy Lumina" after all, thats the body that we were running at the track that year since I thrashed the Pontiac grand prix body that we had the year before /forums/images/graemlins/whistling.gif

    "The Chevy Lumina didnt come with a 350 V8" - "Your right, you want to get me a thermostat for my 350 V8 now?"

    in order to get the part, I had to make up a new vehicle so they could look it up...
     
  7. duece21

    duece21 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    Posts:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    As a parts person I can unerstand your pain. I use checkers by my house and it has only one good parts person so I use him each time. If he's not there I go somewhere else. I work in parts at freightliner. The misconseption here is that we are like autozone or checkers. /forums/images/graemlins/shame.gif I can only look up freightliners, not KW, not pete, not volvo, not international, but I still have to have the VIN# to look up any freightliners. Not one of these trucks are the same. I still get people in here trying to buy parts for other trucks like we are carquest or napa.
     
  8. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Posts:
    17,669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    IL, USA
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    That's ok, at last your customers have VIN numbers. I can't even get an engine code out of them half the time, and these are COMMERCIAL customers typically.
     
  9. duece21

    duece21 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2004
    Posts:
    501
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    Why there all the same! Most common response I get from people when I ask them for a VIN# to look up the parts. Then I tell them I could guess, but don't come looking at me when I'm wrong. My favorite is when a customer asks me what is wrong with their truck when I'm on the phone or standing at the parts counter. Especially electrical, If I could diagnose standing at the parts counter I would be a rich man. That's why I put my statement in my sig. I get tired of being asked all the time what's wrong with their truck. We have a fake crystal ball at my work and one day one of the older parts guys was asked for a water pump. Customer had no part for example, didn't know what engine was in it and had no VIN#. Don't get me wrong we will try, but this customer insisted we could go by year of truck and model. So the old man grabbed the crystal ball and said to the customer "I see you have a kenworth, Let's see a Detroit!." Then proceded to sell him a Detroit water pump. The customer then asked him if it was the right water pump. The old man responded. Of course it is, I got the number from my crystal ball. /forums/images/graemlins/histerical.gif
    Wrong, but funny.
     
  10. bigyellowjimmy

    bigyellowjimmy 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Posts:
    2,105
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    Autozones, Checkers, and Bank Ones in our area often have kids or losers working behind the counter. When I first moved here I couldnt believe it, now I just avoid them all.
     
  11. daleearnhardt01

    daleearnhardt01 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Posts:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    Damn as an Autozone employee I have to say sorry for my asshat coworkers down where you are. I know exactly what you mean and I try to go out of my way to make sure the customer gets want they need everytime. When Im back home for breaks and stuff the Autozone there is just like you say...terrible. So sorry for the screwups that my fellow Autozoners have caused. /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif /forums/images/graemlins/angryfire.gif
     
  12. nvrenuf

    nvrenuf NONE shall pass! Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Posts:
    13,072
    Likes Received:
    245
    Location:
    Mobile, Al.
    Re: Why I don\'t shop at Autozone in Southern IL (long)

    It's a shame but it's the computers that have killed the real parts guys. Places like AZ, Advanced, etc have such user friendly software that anybody can work behind the counter. I'm not knocking the few good parts guys that are still out there I'm just saying the manager no longer needs to look for someone with automotive interests or background, all they need is someone they think will show up regularly.

    As a 20 year parts guy nothing is more frustrating to me than dealing with these places. I'm to the point now where I only go to either Carquest (who unfortunately is a little higher in price and does not have hours convenient to me) or O'Rielly's (they are new in town and seem to be hiring up all the good parts guys from other chains, they also have better brands than most chains). It's a shame but the days of the hardcore parts guy are numbered. /forums/images/graemlins/doah.gif
     

Share This Page