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Do I know too much, or are they getting dumber?

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I stopped at an Autozone tonight. I needed an oil filter and paint for my 331 stroker. They didn't have a reference guide over by the filters, and I didn't know which models would fit, so of course I asked.

And of course, they needed to know make model year. It's always mighty confusing for these poor parts people to explain that it's a 331 stroker going in a '67 Cougar. They don't have an entry for that. So as usual, I just tell them the model year for the part that matters here: I said '89 Mustang V8 5.0 HO'. That's not hard, right?

But apparently that was confusing. Blank looks. "What engine? What car?"

"It's a Ford V8. '89."

More confused looks.

"A Windsor?"

The elderly lady working, and 20something kid standing there both chorused, "What's a Windsor?"

I could not help myself. I was absolutely stupefied. How can you work in a parts store, and not know what a Windsor is? I suspect if I'd said "LS" or "Small Block Chevy" they'd have been just as lost. It was like walking into a McDonalds and asking for a cheeseburger, and having them ask what I was talking about. I didn't know what to say!

I just took a step back, and said, "No worries. It's okay, guys. I'll get this someplace else." I was chuckling to myself as I left. I hope I did not come across as a jerk. I certainly didn't act mean, and I did thank them as I left. I almost went back into the store to explain, but then I thought, "If they don't know what a Ford V8 is, I don't have enough time to explain what a Windsor is." They only know how to type what you say into a window on the screen, and have no desire to understand what they are selling, or why they sell it, I guess.

Is the information I carry around in my head about these cars (and many others!) that esoteric?
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thats like the time I asked for wheel bearings for the drum hubs from a 1970 mustang that were going on my 1967 mustang that had original disc spindles. You kind of have to guide them to the right answer, so in this case I think you have to blame yourself a bit for being a retrogrouch like the rest of us…
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thats like the time I asked for wheel bearings for the drum hubs from a 1970 mustang that were going on my 1967 mustang that had original disc spindles. You kind of have to guide them to the right answer, so in this case I think you have to blame yourself a bit for being a retrogrouch like the rest of us…
Next time I'm in the neighborhood, I'll stop in and explain it to them so I can stop feeling guilty for missing this "teaching moment".
 

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To e fair...its over 20 years since the last Windsor v8(pushrod anyway, don't know what windsor made since then) was produced after all. I don't expect any knowledge at all from parts store people....I just go to the book and look up the oil filter I need myself, no muss no fuss
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To e fair...its over 20 years since the last Windsor v8(pushrod anyway, don't know what windsor made since then) was produced after all. I don't expect any knowledge at all from parts store people....I just go to the book and look up the oil filter I need myself, no muss no fuss
Exactly! But they didn't have a book!!
 

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Next time just go in with the part number and avoid it drama
 

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It’s sad but it does illustrate the fact that these people won’t learn from anyone if we don’t take the time to educate them.
Side note- I was at the local hotrod swap meet last Saturday and didn’t see anyone under 40 who wasn’t dragged there by their parents.
 

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Your first problem is it’s Autozone.

Second, there are a bazillion combinations of engines and makes and models and it’s pretty unreasonable to expect them to know all of that, especially an engine that’s 20 years obsolete.

I don’t intend this to be insulting or offensive to you, but what you did was an arrogant dick move and a missed opportunity. They’re just trying to put food on their table. A 30 second investment of your time and they’d have known what a Windsor was for the next guy. I think you are doing a good thing by going back there to explain.

The next good thing you can do is not go to an Autozone. ;) Napa’s or Oreilly’s tend to have guys that know their way around a car.
 

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We’ve got a couple really good NAPAs here and several that are more or less the same as the other chains. The closest Autozone is 24 hour but not a gearhead joint. The tuner kid car parts place is excellent. Nothing but parts for that sort of crowd but they’ve got a ton of inventory, kids that know what they’re doing pretty much like it was back in the day for us.

When I was racing we had that same problem for parts at a chain store. I came up with models I knew that used whatever drivetrain we were using (usually GM) and used that. The point of sale software in these places makes it so they have to ask the questions.
 

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I think you could spend all day trying to educate them but your words would fall upon deaf ears (and texting fingers). I don't think most of the kids working parts stores don't care the least about your old car, or any others for that matter and for the most part want to just get through the day and go home. Judging by my local NAPA I think they would really prefer if I didn't come in at all and disrupt their social life.
 

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Unfortunately this does not say much for the longevity of our hobby. There are few younger guys that want and are willing to learn to work on a vintage car. When we pass on, will the generations that come after us even know what to do with our cars. I have talked with too many friends that say their kids don't want the cars when they pass, they just want the money.
 

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Few years ago I went to a FORD dealership and asked for a part for a FE, not one sole had any idea of what engine to reference.
That's a little bit more understandable since 1976 was the last year Ford put an FE in a car.
 

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Don’t blame the workers. The pay is so low that the jobs don’t attract knowledgeable applicants.

The people who do end up across the counter from the public are not given the proper training either.

Until there is some tangible incentive for the companies to change the current system we can’t expect an improvement in the meager service received.

Z
 

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Few years ago I went to a FORD dealership and asked for a part for a FE, not one sole had any idea of what engine to reference.
That's a little bit more understandable since 1976 was the last year Ford put an FE in a car.
And unless that dealer still has a microfiche machine and cards we can`t look up anything older than 1980 ! So even if I wanted to help I couldn`t.

FL-1A! That's all you need to know...Or tell them.
And this right here ^^^^^
The way you spelled it out they should have got it but you should have known FL1A unless you have a different oil filter setup like oberg or another type of remote.
 

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Your first problem is it’s Autozone.

Second, there are a bazillion combinations of engines and makes and models and it’s pretty unreasonable to expect them to know all of that, especially an engine that’s 20 years obsolete.

I don’t intend this to be insulting or offensive to you, but what you did was an arrogant dick move and a missed opportunity. They’re just trying to put food on their table. A 30 second investment of your time and they’d have known what a Windsor was for the next guy. I think you are doing a good thing by going back there to explain.

The next good thing you can do is not go to an Autozone. ;) Napa’s or Oreilly’s tend to have guys that know their way around a car.
Don’t blame the workers. The pay is so low that the jobs don’t attract knowledgeable applicants.

The people who do end up across the counter from the public are not given the proper training either.

Until there is some tangible incentive for the companies to change the current system we can’t expect an improvement in the meager service received.

Z
1. To the OP, yes I think knowledge on old cars is a bit esoteric.

2. For the younger folks “not interested” in old cars. Not sure what to say about it. A good friend of mine has 3 boys, 14, 8, and 5, and those kids absolutely ADORE my mustang. The 14 yr old has been pestering his dad about how to get an old car. Doesn’t help that restoring one is not a cheap endeavour, but I think the interest is there. Let’s not gate keep…

3. These two posts illustrate why you don’t get knowledgeable folks… pay. Most autoparts places are paying min wage (which hasnt moved in 13 yrs) or close to it, so the folks that have knowledge in this area, you expect them to work for peanuts? Whether you do or not is immaterial, those folks wont. Maybe the odd retiree here or there who needs to occupy his or her time, but for the most part? No. But “yOuNg PeOpLe nEeD tO eDuCaTe ThEmSeLvEs” Also no. Zero incentive. So for the time being, curb your expectations. [emoji2371]

Anyhow, know the part number you need, walk in and ask for said part number, pay and be on your way.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.


Sent from the interwebs... where else?
 

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For those who say a Windsor or an 89 Ford 5.0 V8 is obsolete is a bit inaccurate considering there are literally MILLIONS of them still operating, especially for a dedicated DIY bunch and stores like Autozone (I worked there years ago), Advance, O'Reilley, NAPA, etc are geared towards the DIYer. There should be SOME kind of training for new people to push something other than air freshener, tire shine and POS "remanned or new" alternators for modern cars which are throw-away vehicles with throw-away engines. Not too many are rebuilding an engine at home anymore. I worked with some idiots back then and there are idiots in these stores now. Some would actually like to learn and should be encouraged to. The doofuses should stick to stocking, dusting, and just operating the freaking cash register.
 
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