Parts suppliers, apples to apples

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Ricko1966

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Okay a whole lot of people have jumped on this bandwagon that the brick and mortar stores are just screwing our eyeballs out,and are just greedy and out to screw us. They are marking their prices up a million percent. Well Oreillys has over 6000 brick and mortar locations,Rockauto has 1. Rockauto employs 50 people , O'Reilly employs over 83,000 employees. Oreillys has way more overhead,rent,employees, employee benefits ,insurance on thousands of locations and people,alternator,starter,module testers,,loaner tools,test parts that they can't resell ,because somebody installed them and then returned them because it didnt fix their car,and they didnt have to pay any shipping costs to borrow and return the test parts.Code readers,who knows how many company delivery vehicles. They have millions more tied up in inventory,and even more money in extra inventory from the guys who just buy everything they might need,just in case, and then return what they don't need. No one does that to Rockauto. Now how about electricity on 6000 locations,maintenance? employee theft,walkin theft,break ins,armed robberies, the difference in expenses go on and on and on. Think what you want about your local parts store,but they Stock and do tons of stuff for our convienence.Their expenses are astronomically higher than mail order,drop ship warehouses. They aren't thieves they are just trying to pay their bills,their people,and keep the doors open and I'll be sad when they can't afford to do it anymore. And that's just Oreillys.Nationwide who knows how people are employed and how many bills, etc. get paid by all the different parts stores? Just today,only a few hours after I posted this,on another thread I see where 2 people,of the 6 or so that actually gave pertinent information,borrowed ball joint presses from autoparts stores. How much did that save them? Especially if they didn't have funds to buy a ball joint press. How many ball joint presses did Rockauto pay for,just to loan to people for free? See? Mail-order pricing to Brick and mortar pricing isn't apples to apples,it's not a level playing field. In my opinion the mail order places are the greedy ones,they won't even hire employees to answer the phone. Oreillys at least hires people to try to help you, they pay their counter people less than McDonalds pays their counter help,to try to keep the costs down,so they aren't going to get the best parts people but at least they have people to help you as best they can.
 

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fast 99

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All true plus now theft. I use to buy exclusively from local chains. They do provide a service not found on line. My real beef today, the counter folks can't think without a computer.

A friend this week wanted 30 wt oil for an older vehicle. They asked what kind of car before they would look it up, really?

Last year I needed 2 choke pull offs and kit for a Q-jet. First person didn't know what a pull off was. Second one did but couldn't find the correct parts with carb number and vehicle description. Went around back and showed them what I needed. Of course, not in stock.

Today I look up all parts and call with the numbers or buy on-line.

Business operations are changing those that don't change with it will be gone. Look at Sears. At one time you could buy a complete house from their catalog.

Walmart is another one. They saw Amazon was taking market share. Now they have close to the same on-line system and recently free shipping.

Good or bad like it or not times change.
 

Catbox

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It is sad for the local parts stores for sure.
My then 18 year old son was working at our last true hold out speed parts store.
He was the one that the other counter people would refer customers to when the vehicle was "old"...

One customer asked for points and the other nerds just kinda had that deer in the headlights look.
Max called him down to his computer and got him hooked up.
Customer asked "How do you know what points are?"
To which his reply was "I have them in my daily driver and have adjusted them many times."
 

nvrenuf

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I'm guilty of buying parts from RockAuto and Amazon (depending on what it is) but I do prefer my local O'Reilly's. I'm lucky as there's 2-3 guys that work there that are either familiar with older / more complicated stuff or they have really good search skills. The Autozone, Advance, etc close to me have crews that struggle with even the simplest things (like all thread - "Is that a brand name?" :banghead: ) so I avoid them.

I don't fault the employees for not knowing old car stuff since most of them were born after EFI, unit bearings, etc became the norm IF they are willing to try.
 

waterpirate

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My go to parts house is a independent. Been in the biz for 40 years, his son is now working there! He belongs to several parts groups and can pull parts from a lot of different whare houses. I recently went to get a set of six batteries for the gold mack. I pulled around back with them and went inside. I tell him I need 6 batteries, group ginourmous. lol He had them, loaded them and says I don't care if she has air conditioning or not.
Eric
 

Rustisbest

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My issue with local stores is inventory for the old junk I drive. "I can order it" they say. Guess what? I can order it too. Amazon or Summit usually here the next day and significantly cheaper. I usually invest the savings into buying the specialty tools needed to make my life easier. The loan a tools are usually missing parts and pieces, used and abused junk.

Good counter guys are rare, most don't know what a part even looks like without a computer image. I go in with a part number so I get the right stuff.

Batteries, oil, filters, belts and hoses I will by locally. Between the 4 parts stores in town they usually have those.
 

fast 99

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I'm guilty of buying parts from RockAuto and Amazon (depending on what it is) but I do prefer my local O'Reilly's. I'm lucky as there's 2-3 guys that work there that are either familiar with older / more complicated stuff or they have really good search skills. The Autozone, Advance, etc close to me have crews that struggle with even the simplest things (like all thread - "Is that a brand name?" :banghead: ) so I avoid them.

I don't fault the employees for not knowing old car stuff since most of them were born after EFI, unit bearings, etc became the norm IF they are willing to try.
To a certain point I agree. However, their job is to at least know how to look a part up. Local stores will be relegated to selling batteries, gloves and electrical tape.

Even Harbor Freight has to be cutting into the profit margin. Although I will never step foot in a HF store for the rest of my life, [contested $2 restocking charge]. I understand why people do.
 

Rusty Nail

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I thought about this plenty before.

I worked as a full service auto technician for more than 12 years.
I used to be a counter salesman at O'Reilly.
My retired DAD drives for O'Reilly currently.

Those facts alone should qualify an opinion about this, agreed?

Well, the parts guys that have to look on a computer to sell 30wt oil? Are wearing their liability on their back. They are printing a receipt with their name on it and it's no secret the world has gone mad and the general public is dumb. They would rather sue than work.
That also is no secret. Standing behind a register carries its' own dangers you may not respect. Enough. They gotta eat too.

Brick stores are extremely limited in size - and inventory by default. They are built to accommodate EVERYONE and look pleasant at the same time. What a pain in the azz. The inventory is in stock to accommodate what they will sell the most of. Joe Bob with a 40 year old truck isn't very high on the priority list. Space is limited and this is 2023.0 He/you/me are the extreme minority.
They will and can get the parts but they are likely in a warehouse with a lot more space than fits on a popular corner.

The 1000000% markup you speak of? Is WAY PAST worth it if I can walk in a store, buy a soda or snacks, use the bathroom, gripe about the dumb kid that never fixed a truck three times his age, have the part in my hands WITH A WARRANTY, then turn around, drive home and fix it RIGHT THEN.

OR I can keep staring at my phone, add debt to my credit card and wait before I have to give up and do something else.
Then pray to zombie Jesus that I am home when the parts get delivered so nobody steals them off of my porch.

I use both. Some stuff I can afford to wait on but some things I can't.
The mortar mark up pays for itself, imo. Don't mind a bit. Grateful for the opportunity but Reason and Logic are both on the endangered species list today. It's true. Look around.

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Grit dog

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@Ricko1966 youre 100% correct.
And to that point, I’m still a little spontaneous. IE I like to think I can wake up in the morning and go “yeah I’m gonna fix that today” and grab a cup of coffee and head to the parts store.
That experience is about 50/50. 50% of the time I end up ordering ______ online before I leave the store or parking lot.
I get it. It’s the new normal. That’s fine. More delivery vans and drivers than stores and counter persons.
 

Albrigap

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The manager of the local O'Reilly's just resigned to go to work for a local manufacturer.
No nights, weekends, holidays with more money and better benefits.
I hate to lose him but I don't blame him for the move.
There is no one else in the store that I trust.
It is sad!
 

HotWheelsBurban

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It is sad for the local parts stores for sure.
My then 18 year old son was working at our last true hold out speed parts store.
He was the one that the other counter people would refer customers to when the vehicle was "old"...

One customer asked for points and the other nerds just kinda had that deer in the headlights look.
Max called him down to his computer and got him hooked up.
Customer asked "How do you know what points are?"
To which his reply was "I have them in my daily driver and have adjusted them many times."
Sounds like my cousin! He's 61, been wrenching since he was a kid, has had many cars and trucks and worked on all of them. Two of his last three trucks were a '64 C10 and a '91 C1500, his latest truck is a '66 C10. He's also a retired professional mechanic and shop foreman/manager.
He went back to work for the O'Reilly's in Giddings, Texas, near where he lives, a couple of years ago. Was recruited by them, to help train some of the younger guys! He recently left them, for a big truck parts supplier near Austin, because they recruited him with more money and weekends off.
I think his '66 still has points/condenser distributor, but he has a later 350 instead of the 283 it had originally.
 

HotWheelsBurban

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The manager of the local O'Reilly's just resigned to go to work for a local manufacturer.
No nights, weekends, holidays with more money and better benefits.
I hate to lose him but I don't blame him for the move.
There is no one else in the store that I trust.
It is sad!
My local O'Reilly's, there's 3 people there that I trust. The rest of them aren't that knowledgeable. Back in the late 60s when my Dad worked at the parts store( that we eventually bought and ran in '78) most of not all the parts store countermen worked on their own cars. Even by the time I came into the business, girls were beginning to be counter people and work in our parts warehouses. But nowadays, I don't think many parts people do much wrenching anymore. Part of it is vehicles are way more complicated than they were "back in my day".
 

Ricko1966

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The manager of the local O'Reilly's just resigned to go to work for a local manufacturer.
No nights, weekends, holidays with more money and better benefits.
I hate to lose him but I don't blame him for the move.
There is no one else in the store that I trust.
It is sad!
And see that's where it hurts us all,trying to keep prices low,because they're getting killed by the internet, they aren't paying their people crap,they can't afford to. Seriously the people I know around here the McDonalds counter people have better hours and wages. I applied at Oreillys not to long back,they're paying significantly less than they did in like 1995 when I worked there. I wouldn't work for what they're paying now ,and most of you wouldn't either. I can understand somebody saving a hundred bucks on a part, but begrudge someone $2.00 on a tube of silicone. I also think when the locals are gone the internet prices will go up.
 
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wanderinthru

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I buy from brick and mortar if at all possible, can't get machine tooling anywhere around here. All my auto parts come from a mom and pop Carquest next town over. Most of the parts I need they have to order, I understand not alot of these old trucks around. Bought and will buy all the race car stuff from 2 stores in amarillo. I'll pay more at a brick and mortar store and not bitch.
 

JodysCars

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It's funny you mention Rock Auto. Rock Auto doesn't own any parts. They are just a selling platform. I am in the auto parts business. They use distributors to have the inventory and ship the parts. RA never sees the part.. There are benefits to buying local and supporting your local economy.
 

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