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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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I don't remember how long the motorcraft FL 1 filter has been around..I think before an A was added to it, but for any old ford guy not to know that filter fits just about everything and anything unless there is a small space issue would surprise me. Nowadays I run Wix filters...I don't know the number off the top of my head, but I know to cross-reference it to an FL1 and then it gives me 3 choices...naturally, I pick the most expensive one, just because, it must be the best one, right? lol...I wonder if an oil filter for an 89 mustang windsor is smaller..I bet it is...Why would you not just say a 302 67 mercury cougar...the 331 comment doesn't matter does it?..of course they will ask what transmission is in it and do you have the production date :)
 

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Most of the young people working in the chain stores seem to have a disconnect between their ears & brain .
No matter if you go in & ask for a FL1A oil filter or a 2 " doughnut gasket the standard reply seems to be mfg,model,year & eng . You don't know that ,you don't get squat .
Like I said a disconnect it don't matter how many times you tell them this is what I need ,that computor will be useless with the info you want ,for that car,that year that part did not exist let along get used on the car .
I was out of the loop when I moved out here for years & my go to parts store owner died , thank goodness his son is still there .
I've been finding a few new people .
 

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My BFF and I were just having this conversation yesterday morning over a hot beverage. Sure, I think a lot of the folks working in auto parts stores, especially "big box" versions, are "ordinary people" who take the jobs available because TJ Maxx has no current vacancies. They have a computer system designed to help them and lack the experience (and confidence) to be able to "sidestep" the format provided by the computer. I ALWAYS look up my parts before I go to the parts store and order them by part number. For one, if there is a mistake, it's MINE and I can't get mad at anyone else but me.

When I worked at AutoZone I had the experience of having worked, professionally, on vehicles for 25+ years. It was also 25 years ago and almost ALL of the folks working there had some auto parts or repair experience. So, when someone came in asking for a set of wiper blades for their '86 Monte Carlo, instead of going down the list in the computer so I could have them tell me what engine, transmission, if equipped with air conditioning, etc., I just said "Do you have an old one with you?" and grabbed the tape measure.

The Street Rodder's loved me 'cause they'd come in with questions like "I need some rear shocks with these ends that are 12" compressed and 19" extended..." and I'd reach under the counter and grab the "shock books", flip to the back and find something applicable. Nobody knows how to do that crap, today, sadly....
 

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@Woodchuck working at your local Autozone, that should solve the OP's problem!

Allen
To be honest, it was a brief stint but one I highly enjoyed. Every customer was different and there is a great satisfaction in helping people solve problems. If I could physically stand it I might be convinced to go back as a part timer in a year or two when SWMBO retires....
 

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67 coupe, 69 Sportsroof, 86 hatchback
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I goggle-eyed one the other week.
"I want a genuine Ford brass fuel float for my truck."
"Umm..."
"No, no, you don't have to look it up. It will be in a blue and white bag with "Motorcraft" on it. Bag about yay big and the manager who used to work here last year used to keep them under that counter just about right there."
"What, this?"
"Yes indeed."
"Umm, I don't know how to price this."
"I don't think it's in the system but I usually pay right at ten bucks for one."

I got it. The deer-in-headlights looks I get from this kid every time I've walked in the door since are priceless. I have no clue where not one single thing else is behind that counter, but....
 

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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".
They simply look at a computer screen. Not unlike searching Rock Auto. Yes, they are ignorant so they need to follow the input path.

Curious, did you need something other than a Motorcraft FL1a?
 

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Here in Glasgow Ky.,we have the big 4- Auto Zone,Napa,O’Reilly’s,& Advance. But there is 1 small independent with the rack of parts books that I use. He usually has what I need on the shelf, such as wheel bearings for drum brake and all the parts. The others? Nope. Plus He’s a local guy trying to stay afloat so, doing business with him keeps him open and parts for my 65 on hand….
 

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I have a 1930 Model A Ford, that I bought in 1969. It was less than 40 years old when I bought it. This was a LOT newer (back then) than our Gen 1 Mustangs.

I found when I went to the parts store in 1969 through the 1970's, people that were born in the 1950's and late 1940's, were so INCREDIBLY STUPID on Model A parts that probably none of them lived to see 40 years old.

It was SO DEPRESSING these people did not have a CLUE about a car, where almost 5 million were made and many were still on the road. All they could do was flip pages back and forth in their giant books behind the counter.
 

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Napa is my number one in service I go there when I need an odd seal or parts for some tractors. I don’t go to parts stores much for my mustang but when I go for my 73 ford that has 1989 rear and 1979 axles and a 460 out of a 76 Lincoln I have to remember to use that make and model depending on what my project is 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
This is going to sound rude, but the fact you didn’t know yourself what oil filter a SBF uses (your own SBF in fact) seems like maybe you have some things to learn as well before your next visit.
To be fair, I haven't put a filter on it in since 2006 when it caught fire. I do agree that I should know! At least I didn't buy a Fram. ;)

And just to be clear, I really was just so astounded, I didn't know what to say, and left because I didn't want to make it weird. lol

I recovered what few wits I have once I was back in my vehicle, and realized that I was probably being unintentionally jerkish. I'll find some way to make up for it later, I hope. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I don't remember how long the motorcraft FL 1 filter has been around..I think before an A was added to it, but for any old ford guy not to know that filter fits just about everything and anything unless there is a small space issue would surprise me. Nowadays I run Wix filters...I don't know the number off the top of my head, but I know to cross-reference it to an FL1 and then it gives me 3 choices...naturally, I pick the most expensive one, just because, it must be the best one, right? lol...I wonder if an oil filter for an 89 mustang windsor is smaller..I bet it is...Why would you not just say a 302 67 mercury cougar...the 331 comment doesn't matter does it?..of course they will ask what transmission is in it and do you have the production date :)
I don't usually say "67 Mercury Cougar" because believe it or not, most computer systems won't list it. Additionally, there wasn't a 302 in '67, just a 289. Not that it would make a difference partswise, but man would that bake their noodles. They do usually have Mustangs - sometimes going back to the early years, and sometimes not. I usually say "89" because that's my block, and it's always in there.
 

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Don’t know if it’s true but what I’ve heard people say that these chain stores, not just auto parts, have their business model as such they can hire people unfamiliar with the product. Hiring a person unfamiliar with the product is less likely to steal it. Not to mention cheaper.
 

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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.
Obsolete in the sense they haven't been made or probably serviced by Ford in 20 or so years .
In the late 60's and 70's the Mustang ( other cars as well) was also considered disposable
 

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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?
For my .02, it’s incumbent on us to reflect back when we went to the parts stores in our younger days. We went there not just for parts, more often with questions. They took the time to diagram solutions and walk us thru the processes required. And too giving us a tip or two about where to start next time. We might not have needed a part, but picked up a tube of gasket sealer of a can of mavel oil so as not to be a complete spong.

It is time for the student to become the teacher IMHO. If for nothing else but to pass on what we were given..

Last time round, I needed a thermostat gasket for our 66, a 289. I got what was expected, 4 or 8 cylinder, automatic or manual, 2 or 4 barrel, 350gt, Hipo or standard…..
They were not busy, so I took some time to explain that any 66 mustang with a v8 from the factory would be a 289, 4.7L and the thermostat gasket would be the same on all of them, no matter the carb or tranny. We chatted thereafter but about current vs classic cars and such.

Next guy up may be better served, maybe not but it is our passion to pass on either way.


Most of those shops are long gone. We all have likely gone to our local box auto parts store and
 

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Dumber!

I like to pay in cash, close as possible so I have few paper bills and fewer coins. This morning at the market I have a bill of 16.58 Euro. I give the girl a 20 Euro bill, a 2 Euro coin, a 50 euro cent coin, and a 10 Euro cent coin,total 22 Euro and 60 Euro Cents. What I expected back was a 5 Euro bill, a 1 Euro coin,and a 2 Euro cent coin. Threw her for a loop. Her much older colleague had to help.
 
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