Hello, forum. I need to vent. I haven’t been on in a while. I sort of took a hiatus / semi-banned myself due to some folks taking offense at off topic references I made that were offensive to folks that seem overly offendable, in my opinion. But nowhere else would be interested in discussing this probably.
To the point. Has the older model of the auto parts store finally died for the most part? Ten years ago or less, there were at least two parts stores in town that seemed knowledgeable. The guys were older. They smoked at work. They offered sound advice. They had computers to look up parts, but they also had thick books with yellowing pages that they sometimes reverted to for an oddball vehicle or part. They measured things with calipers. They could match a bolt, washer, etc that you brought in, and then they would sell you one of those items if you wanted, rather than an $8 packet that contains an assortment of various sizes - most of which are the wrong size and you’ll probably never use. You don’t see that kind of place much anymore. It’s all chain stores or mail order.
Case in point, I changed the transmission fluid in my wife’s toyota recently. I just pulled the drain plug and changed the fluid. Probably should do the filter also, but I skimped. I didn’t replace the crush washer on the drain bolt, because I didn’t have one and I thought I might get by. But alas, fluid seeped from the drain bolt. So off to the auto parts stores I go. My old standby store has closed. So I try Oreillys. I like the folks there ok, and they seem to be fairly knowledgeable at my location. But the washers they sale are in an assortment - $8 or so for the pack. I find the same at Autozone. I don’t like our Autozone much anyway. The folks don’t seem to know much there and seem hell bent on selling fuel system cleaner or paper shop towels. Finally I try the old Napa- which is now an Advanced Auto Parts. I find another assortment pack for $8. But I tell the guy at the counter (who’s smoking a cigarette) that I’m pretty sure it’s an M18 washer and I only need one. He goes to the back and retrieves one fiber washer and says “you were right on the size”. “What do you want to pay, will $1 work?” Yes. Yes it will. Problem solved. But I think that type of parts store is going by the wayside.