When the Internet really started taking off in the late 1990s, it’s promise was amazing: reach out to people with information the world over. Make connections, learn new things, become inspired, grasp every bit of knowledge that you are willing to seek. Dream-world or not, that was the promise. That’s why shop classes throughout America were scrapped in favor of CAD-CAM labs. That’s why teachers openly mocked the kids who wanted to work with wood, or wanted to learn how to weld, or those who weren’t impressed with basic coding and animation techniques. In part, the Internet, for all of the promise, is at least part to blame for why there is such a shortfall of skilled workers and why there is such a glut of…well, go count how many YouTube channels there are and get back to me, okay? Go count cat pictures, or TikTok memes, or whatever will eat your time up.
The Internet did bring us information, but instead of using it to enlighten us, people weaponized that information. Suddenly, because they saw it on a website, it must be golden. They must know all. They must have every finite detail of what they are handling. And let me tell you, that gets really freaking irritating when I have a customer who is trying to hand in a return part that must have been kicked out of a pickup truck’s bed on the Interstate during rush hour. “The bearings in these tend to fail after it gets too hot.” That’s a good one. Or maybe, “This is what you get when parts stores get cheap-ass Chinese parts.” Fantastic stuff, sir. You are a god among men. We’ll just ignore the fact that after this water pump “slipped” out of the back of your Chevy due to the whole Carolina Squat thing, that it only stopped pinwheeling along the asphalt when a Kenworth hauling an aircraft engine ran it over. But no, tell me again how your purchase of a “cheap-ass Chinese part” is my fault, okay?
And the detail-obsessed, the ones with 30 million questions. Oh, you are a real treat. No, I don’t know the exact count of windings in the alternator you are purchasing for your 2010 Corolla. My point in this conversation can be summed up in five letters: IDGAF. This is a remanufactured alternator. It has been broken down, inspected, repaired, tested, put into a box, and you got a discount on the price over a new unit. Be happy, give me the money and please, go buy the kid an ice cream cone before he goes into a thermonuclear tantrum that neither one of us wants. Are you the type that is concerned where his coffee beans come from? Is there a “Shop Local” sticker on the back of your Hyundai? I grind my teeth sometimes listening to customers who want the life story of their part. One of these days I’ll snap. “Look, man, it was handmade by a twelve-year-old in a village whose name sounds like that noise that is made when Gordon Ramsay falls down the stairs while carrying all of his pots and pans. The kid will get three cents out of what you paid. Thank you for shopping here. Have a nice day.”
Use the ‘Net for good. Get advice from knowledgeable people and good forums. Look up historical documents that caring individuals have taken the time to scan in for your use in perpetuity. Check and see if we have a part in stock and if not, please, search for the store number, call us and place the order so that when you do finally get here, we have what you need, ready to go. But don’t come in acting like you are Wikipedia crossed with the 1983 service manual for your car.