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How do you handle this question?

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  • How do you handle this question?

    You go into a parts store (national chain with a pre-pubescent teenager working the counter) looking for a "non-Sudebaker specific item" For instance, brake hose for your converted-to-disc-brakes Stude, or a circuit breaker, light bulb, regulator (after you've converted to 12V neg.) or an air cleaner (after you've switched to dual carbs)...

    The first thing out of the little b***ard's mouth is "What make, model, and year is your car?" It doesn't matter what my dang car is! I just want a brake hose about 14" long with a banjo fitting on one end and... etc.!!! Of course, they don't have any familiarity with the parts they sell, they can just match them to a part # on the computer.

    I need a good stock answer for these idiots who keep trying to look up my 51 Champion in their computer, then tell me they don't have a dual chamber MC that will fit!

    Any suggestions (polite, wise-assed, or sarcastic) will be appreciated... I know, I should find a "real" parts store instead of a Checkered-Past store but there ain't none in Vegas!!!

    Las Vegas, NV
    '51 Champion Business Coupe G899965 10G-Q4-1434

  • #2
    I usually start by explaining to the counter person what I am looking for. 16 or 66,the counter person will usually treat you with the same respect you show to them.



    • #3
      I'll tell you what, I was one of those, as you call "little b*****ds" who worked at an Autozone for about 2 1/2 years. I sure suprised a lot of people who thought I didn't know anything about their classic car, well, I proved them wrong. I was so glad that I was going back up to Happy Valley at the end of the summer so I didn't have to deal with all the old stupid people that thought they had to insult me everytime they came in. So how about you get off your high horse and show them some respect, they have to learn sometime, would don't you be the teacher?

      Randy Wakefield
      1955 President


      • #4
        I have had similar problems. I was looking for a radiator hose for my 52 Commander with a 64 289 engine. I went to Pep Boys and I saw a whole rack of radiator hoses. Of course their computer didn't show a 52 Studebaker with a 64 engine, so I asked if I could just go look at the rack. He said no one was allowed back there so I went to Auto Zone. They had the same set up but the guy said sure, just go back and pick out one .

        My Studebaker has a 2002 GMC Sonoma rear end in it and I wanted a driveshaft part. I went to the Chevy-Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealer and asked the girl at the parts counter for the part I wanted. She said that she had to know the VIN number in order to look it up in the computer. I told her that I had bought the rear end at a junk yard and I had no idea what the VIN number was on the truck it came off of. She went out in the shop and got a VIN nimber off of a truck that was out there and then was able to look up the part. Of course they wouldn't sell me the part by itself, they said I would have to buy the whole driveshaft at $750.00, so I left.

        By the way, in an earlier thread you said you wanted some dress up parts for your 51. I have a rechromed hood ornament and some fender ornaments. The hood ornament is pitted on the underside but not on the top side. The fender ornaments are pitted, but don't look too bad. Let me know if you are interested.

        Leonard Shepherd, editor, The Commanding Leader, Central Virginia Chapter,


        • #5
          I suggest you search out the parts store (probably independently owned) that has older experienced counter people who will let you look in the back to match up belts and find hoses that will do the job. Once you've found them, keep going back to them, they are an invaluable resource and deserve to get all your patronage. My local Carquest store has helped me out dozens of times.

          Tim K.
          '64 R2 GT Hawk
          Tim K.
          \'64 R2 GT Hawk


          • #6
            Are there no manufacturer websites where you can do a search for the equivalent item for your car, like you can on the DuPont paint website?

            Gates rubber or similar, you'd think someone would be smart enough to create one considering the Billion dollar car hobby.

            John Clements
            Avantilover, your South Australian Studebaker lover!!!
            Lockleys South Australia
            John Clements
            Christchurch, New Zealand


            • #7
              Just out of interest I did a search on the Gates Rubber website and found the following details for a 1952 Studebaker Commander

              I feel sure they'd be happy to assist with queries.
              Here is their Parts Store Locator

              Smart company - why would you go anywhere else.

              John Clements
              Avantilover, your South Australian Studebaker lover!!!
              Lockleys South Australia
              John Clements
              Christchurch, New Zealand


              • #8
                55pres - I always show plenty of respect, but I don't always want to go through the ordeal of saying "it doesn't matter what car I have... what I want is (fill in the blank)" And I'm not the teacher, I'm the CUSTOMER!!! The customer wants to know if you have a ... (fill in the blank) regardless what car I have!! And since the customer is paying, training is not included (for a substantial discount, I might consider sharing my limited knowledge).

                GTtim, I wish we had an independent here, but to my knowledge (which may not be complete!) we don't as far as I know. Anyway, the young AND old parts counter professionals (?) don't know how to leave their computer alone and just take care of the customer.

                Istude - I'll PM you on the trim items.

                thanks for letting me vent!!

                Las Vegas, NV
                '51 Champion Business Coupe G899965 10G-Q4-1434


                • #9
                  vegas paul -

                  I fully agree with "55pres" (Randy).
                  Why...because THEY (the parts guys/girls)...may have the part you want! OR...THEY may have the part you want to order....

                  Now...being polite...and maybe taking a coupla valuable minutes to help you find the part that "you" want....WILL...get you much better service in the future. AND...there will be a future having an old car.

                  While it's petty easy for me to be short or sarcastic to people...I've got a pretty good repore (spell?) with a small shop near me because after years of asking for parts that don't nesessaraly fit what the book says it'll fit, the guys that work there aren't afraid to help me. Why...even though the part I ask for won't be listed in the "book" to fit a Studebaker..they all know I'll work with them to find what I want.
                  It also helps if you have a part "simillar" to the new part you want now.

                  Just my experiences.

                  As was said in an old Patric Swaze movie..."be polite" works.



                  • #10

                    There MUST be an independant parts store in Lost Wages--er--Las Vegas[].

                    The key is Parts books. Even our PepBoys will give you the same routine,(year,make,and model--"ain't in the computer") but they still have a four foot long bank of catalogs on the counter. You just need to find someone willing to take the time. Go in when they are not busy. Many, many parts catalogs have in the back listings of part numbers with very specific specs. Many younger folks don't know this. An invaluable resource when you get your hands on some of these.

                    (read it backwards)
                    (read it backwards)

                    Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong. -A. Lincoln


                    • #11
                      Yeah, and don't forget to look in the superceded section if your part is no longer available. You might find it has been replaced by something which is on the shelf.


                      • #12
                        You all must have gotten the wrong impression - or I told the story wrong! I WAS POLITE! I'm only sarcastic and frustrated when I vent anonamously on the forum! Seriously, I was patient and polite, but what good does that do when they say they can't look it up for me if I don't tell them what year/make it is for. I left the store saying thanks, and everyone was happy and fine... except I left empty-handed, and they were none the richer for my visit.

                        Mike says if I was polite they could help me find the part. That's my point Mike. They can't help me unless I give them a specific application. Today I'll go looking for a "T" for a 3/16" flare to accomodate my brake light switch... There is no such part# for any vehicle, it's just a generic fitting. Hopefully, they'll let me browse in the drawer for the 15 seconds it takes to find it. OR they'll spend 5 minutes on the computer plugging in insane descriptions and then shrug and say (nicely) "Sorry, we don't have one".

                        REALLY folks! Iam always polite (except with you guys), and it is still frustrating (but I don't take my frustrations out on someone who maybe able to look up a part for me next week).

                        Here's something even better - I looked up a part on, and I found it. I went to the store (I know that not all store inventories are as large as on-line, but it was worth a shot) The parts guy says he couldn't find it without a year/make. I said just look on and type in "residual check valve". He says "I don't have access to, just my parts database"!!! They don't have internet access in the store!

                        Thanks for listening and for the suggestions... Remember I AM POLITE dang it!

                        Las Vegas, NV
                        '51 Champion Business Coupe G899965 10G-Q4-1434


                        • #13
                          Normally I don't reply to these type of posts..
                          I don't like getting involved in this type of what usually turns out to be a flaming season..

                          I have been in the auto parts business for thirty two years now.. Started in a "chain store" auto parts, worked myself up to dealers, and did a short gig in a wrecking yard parts sales..

                          Attitude is a factor in how your treated.. Althou dealerships frown on treating customers on how some of them should be treated..

                          I have and will help anyone that is trying to research, adapt, or update/upgrade something related to automibles..
                          IF!! They are not wasting my time, they will buy the parts from me.. They are patient, and it's do-able..

                          You have to remember that as cars & trucks have gotten newer, they also have gotten more technical..
                          I would like to see someone off the street try to look up a ujoint for a mid eighties GM vehicle without a VIN, or at least all the info needed to look it up..
                          Reason, some BRILLANT higher-up decided to put u-joint (and several other parts)so you need to know alot about what your looking for..
                          It goes on and on..
                          Same way with trying to look up a replacement mirror for a late model GM truck.. There are about thirty different possibles!
                          The VIN narrows that down and makes it quicker, more accurate to get the right part the first time..

                          This wasn't the case when our Studebakers were made.. But when you try to change something that wasn't made that way it's sometimes a challenge..

                          It helps if you go on-line and do your own research.. It also helps if your not in a hurry.. And the business is not busy at that time..

                          I have people that come in and ask about things that they want to do.. I ask them what they are wanting to do, and if they are in a hurry.. If it's possible, I have them write down what it is they want, and leave it with me.. I work on it in my non-busy time and I call them with the completed list and prices..
                          I have made several friends, and sales because they gave me the time to research it..

                          I hope this helps you understand the otherside of the counter of the parts business..

                          Grants Pass, Oregon
                          65 Commander 2door
                          64 Wagonaire's (1 parts car, 1 Canadian fixed roof disc brake car, the other sliding roof South Bend car.)
                          63 Champ
                          63 GT Hawk
                          51 Champion Starlight Coupe
                          George King
                          Grants Pass, Oregon
                          64 Station Wagon with fixed roof (Canadian Car)

                          66 Station Wagon with fixed roof. Project car, complete For Sale...

                          64 Wagonaire sliding roof South Bend car. For Sale...

                          63 GT Hawk

                          51 Champion Starlight Coupe For Sale...


                          • #14
                            Often I try to come equipped with a new part number (like for Stewart Warner or whatever) to make everything easy for me and the vendor. Most the guys at different parts stores the in town I live have really tried to help and sometimes go the extra mile and pull out a few parts to compare with my old one. The only stores I have found a pretty consistently snooty attitude is NAPA. O'Reilly and Carquest seem to be most helpful and Checker is so-so (they would help you, but they know so little that they are pretty helpless).

                            Some of the younger ones really are interested in the older stuff because it can give them a little challenge instead of the same old things - like something for 2002 Buick or a 2004 Chevy.

                            I'm usually reluctant to say something's for a Studebaker right off the bat, but sometimes it can help since some parts still show Studebaker applications.
                            " the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.


                            • #15
                              The STRAIGHT answer is easier when you think about it. Today's younger adults have been raised on computers. If not RAISED on them, they've found themselves in jobs where they either embraced them or found a job with some lawn service.

                              I had dinner with a bunch of teachers last night. They've had to work with kids that have been graduating from our public schools over the past couple decades. These are kids that respond to interactive things - video games, computers, cellphones.... You want them to look it up in a BOOK???? C'mon!

                              What George talks about doing for some customers is nice - what'er you, George? - about my age???[:0]

                              There was a guy at the local NAPA who actually KNEW what a Studebaker was and was tickled to be able to help find what we both suspected WAS/IS in NAPA's inventory. The store changed owners and the guy was gone overnight.[V]
                              But! Happy turn of events - he's come back! It's fun to watch him drill the youngsters about what they can do IF they'll bother to find the paper catalogs and at least TRY.[^]

                              Miscreant adrift in
                              the BerStuda Triangle

                              1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                              1960 Larkvertible V8
                              1958 Provincial wagon
                              1953 Commander coupe

                              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.