Auto part store policies. Who makes these stupid decisions?

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Apr 29, 2021
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Americans like to sue. So they rather avoid liabilities, than get sued by Americans and lose and pay them more for damages

This is also true. In my example above, the store I worked at had a policy. Glass jars of spaghetti sauce or baby food or anything - if any glass broke the entire tray (generally 12 or 24 jars) had to be thrown out. They were worried of the liability of ANY glass shard on the bottle or getting under the lip of the lid, which would in turn kill someone and they'd be sued. Yes, it's absurd. Yes, an employee could just wash off the bottles to eliminate any chance of this.

From a purely financial standpoint of the grocery store, 12 jars of baby food isn't food. It's $12. They're not going to risk a $1 million lawsuit over $12, which is probably a writeoff anyway. And they're not going to pay an employee $10 for an hour to wash off $12 worth of food, which would be a net $2 win. Not worth it. From the store's perspective, resources are unlimited but they cannot risk legal exposure to be sued. So it goes to the trash.

Now, I've often thought these stores could just have a donation section, and you sign a liability waiver. But then that's not "free" for the store either. That involves lawyers, and documenting and inventorying waivers just to give stuff away. And when you give a customer a gallon of motor oil, he doesn't need to buy a gallon of motor oil. So now the generosity is competing against the business model...

There really should be a "good Samaritan" law protecting businesses that act in good faith to donate stuff, so they cannot be sued.

Capitalism is twisted in many ways.
 
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Nov 23, 2015
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Not really the same thing, but just on waste in general:

I worked for a while at a big public state R1 University, and held the title of "Scientific Instrument Specialist" in the Chemistry department. It was my job to keep a lot of things going, and I could be rather resourceful at fixes outside paying manufacturer's high prices(if the parts were still even available from them).

If you needed to "dispose" of asset tagged university property, it went to the surplus warehouse. The warehouse was operated by Inventory Control, and every Wednesday anyone with the university could come in and get anything in the warehouse for their own university business uses.

There was a LOT of office furniture, and frankly I never even asked if I wanted a new desk or desk chair or whatever since I'd just go get one from there. It might take a couple of weeks for exactly what I wanted to show up, but it would.

Of course, though, there were a lot of computers, and more importantly there was a whole lot of of equipment that made its way over there.

Over the years, I grabbed a couple of HP 5890 GCs, for example(that's a pet favorite of mine) and was able to add to our department's capabilities by doing that.

Even if something didn't work, I'd grab it if I maintained a similar one just to have parts on-hand.

The computers were another big one. I didn't need $500 Dell office PCs, but older computers could either be ready-to-go backups for instrument computers or could provide parts to keep one going. That stuff is insanely valuable when you need it, especially as acquiring second hand items on university money could be...difficult...to say the least.

Unfortunately, though, a policy came in that all computers had to be recycled. Initially it was for data security reasons, although that made no sense to me since computers could only be sent to surplus with either DBAN run or with the hard drive removed completely. I begged and pleaded and tried to get exceptions more than once, including escalating it up the chain to the VP that oversaw that department. Sometimes it was little stuff like something with a power supply I needed, but there were bigger things too.

I went in one day and there was a Bruker QTOF Mass Spectrometer, a probably $500K+ unit. I found out where it had come from and was going to take it, except for the lack of a computer. I had a few problems on that front. For one, the software would have been impossible to find, but that was no real issue since the guy who had surplused it saved the hard drive and also had the software install disks. He'd boxed them up and sent them through university mail the day after I contacted him. The real issue, though, were the 3 proprietary interface cards needed to run it. The computer was there. I escalated enough, with my chairs backing, explaining that this wasn't JUST a computer but a fundamental part of the instrument and without it the piece was effectively a big pile of scrap metal. The director of inventory control agreed, and sent down that they needed to let us take the computer if we took the instrument. I went to get it, and the guy who ran the warehouse "couldn't find it". He was pretty obviously upset with us for getting an exception to the rules(why, I don't know) but argued with me when I stood there and pointed to the computer I needed and had permission to take. He jerked me around two more days, the director finally came to the warehouse with me to retrieve it...and the computer recycler had come that morning so it was gone.

By the time I left, the guy who ran the warehouse had found out that many things like that QTOF had their own imbedded computers that operated them, so suddenly they were subject to automatic recycling and not put out on the floor either.

Somewhere or another in there, I'd had this conversation with the director of Environmental Health and Safety, who I knew really well(and still keep in touch with) as I had to work closely with her in other aspects of my job. She was livid also, as she had seen first hand how my department as well as a few others kept their day-to-day operations up, and recognized not only how much money we were saving and also how good it looked for the college's environment aspect to "reuse" as much as possible before recycling.

Thank goodness I'm gone from there, but by the time I left, surplus was useless unless you needed a desk or chair...
 
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I just saw a news video of the disposal of brand new, unopened ventilators that were produced at the beginning of the Covid 19 scare last year. Dumped in a landfill waiting to be covered over. Link below.

You fail to mention or miss the part that the ventilator WERE NOT APPROVED for emergency use or normal use. Crush them.
 
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One of the issues, in my experience, was the person making the snap decisions to dump the equipment, software, etc., has no understanding of its worth. Worse, he didn't give a .... I would bet that at least some of the stuff had to be replaced, software rewritten, you name it. We are talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.
 
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Advance has a policy that clearly states they will honor price match but in stores the sales associates won't honor said policy. I had bought Valvoline motorcycle oil on sale a long time ago and on the website it was cheaper than in store but they gave me a discount but was still cheaper online so after I got home I looked it up online and visited my local store who also didn't want to honor the pricing. I told them that I could literally return this oil and then buy it online and then pick up in the store at the cheaper price and then they finally resolved the issue and gave me a refund. I noticed they've updated their policy and is not the exact same as it was a few years ago. This is copied from their website and the last part is what applied to me.

"Prices on AdvanceAutoParts.com may vary based on the customer's zip code and may differ from in-store pricing. If a customer places an online order for pick up at a local store, they will receive the lesser of the two prices automatically. If the customer prefers to purchase the product in the store, Advance Auto Parts Team Members will match the online price."

I have a friend who has worked for Advance off and on over the years also switching over to Auto Zone & O'Reilly's who does commercial sales and told me that for some reason that the workers at Advance always have issues with adjusting the price when a customer asks about it. I can't remember what the old policy said word for word but it did state that the store employee will honor competitor pricing and even their own website. I literally read it aloud to the store employee and he still didn't want to honor the pricing so when I went out and brought the oil back in and said I wanted to return it he changed his tune and issued a refund of the difference. It's not just Advance but they all are like this, have polices on price matching and then find ways to not honor it.
 
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Apr 25, 2017
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People are confusing these store's website prices with their in-store prices. They operate independently due to market reasons. If you need the website price, you have to buy it online and select in-store pick-up. If a store chooses to honor website pricing, consider that a courtesy.
 
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Can you imagine how many parts get bought, doesn't fix the problem, and are tried to be returned ?
 
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Mr Leamonhead,

The manufacturer didn’t give the store credit for broken jars ?
How would I possibly know, or even remember, this detail from decades ago? My educated guess is that the store likely would receive a credit. Waste, is waste. Did you miss the point?
 
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Not automotive store, but I was glad when my son told me that Costco offers their end-of-day food left overs and near-expiration-date items to local food banks.
 
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Why should a auto parts store keep leaking bottles of oil for sale
Find an empty bottle (why would a store have this ?) and transfer the oil from the leaker to this one. Not my suggestion, was posted earlier... :rolleyes:
 
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Find an empty bottle (why would a store have this ?) and transfer the oil from the leaker to this one. Not my suggestion, was posted earlier... :rolleyes:
I'm not defending the policy, and think it's a bad one, but I understand it.

Say you're an auto store selling 5 gallons for $30 and one leaks. Now you have to source the identical empty bottle, which would mean you'd have to have duplicate bottles for every product on hand. That's space which costs money. An entire back room storage area to store empties.... wasteful. Then you have to have an employee transfer the contents, relabel it, and sell it at a discount, say $20 for this transferred oil. That's taking time when instead he could just upend the bottle on the waste bucket and call it good. So now a customer comes in who would have paid $30 for the product but sees this and buys it for $20. You just canabalized a sale and lost $10 plus whatever time you paid your employee plus the wasted storage space for empty containers...

OTOH, the local grocery store does exactly this with eggs. They transfer the good eggs from containers where there were broken eggs, into full dozens and sell at a discount... so it does exactly what they should do with oil in this discussion...
 
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Say you're an auto store selling 5 gallons for $30 and one leaks. Now you have to source the identical empty bottle
Check my post earlier in this thread.... :ROFLMAO:
 
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it make a lot of sense, no it doesn't
'
Does it irritate me? Not at all, I could care less what they do with products that are either damaged or not selling.
 
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Just a thought.... How many people salvage a leaking milk jug or 2-liter soda vs getting it into the sink as quickly as possible so it doesn't leak in the fridge or on your floor ?
 
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So this is why their prices are 3x anywhere online. :LOL:

But to answer your questions, the company's legal/regulatory dept makes these rules.
 
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FWIW I have a bunch of scrap parts upstairs I need to spend a day going through and either throwing away or put in the metal scrap pile. Anything over 12 months on hand is considered idle inventory and counts against a dealer for money we get from the manufacturer. That is why we don't keep random old parts in stock.
 
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I've been to countless part stores due to a busy deal week. During this week of store visits, I've seen two policies that I just cannot wrap my head around.

Policy #1 - O'Reilly. Whenever a product (in my scenario, a 2.5 gallon jug of 15W-40) has even the *tiniest* leak (was leaking through the foil seal at the top, barely a few drops), it must be immediately removed from the floor and disposed of (poured into the used oil container). It cannot be cleaned up and sold, cannot be sold at a discount, cannot be given to a commercial account/customer, cannot be even be donated to a good cause. Just disposed. This is what I was told from a manager who I know for sure bends rules and hates waste.

Policy #2 - Advance. Whenever a product goes on clearance and doesn't move (seen oil before, but this time it was oil filters), it is disposed of and/or destroyed. Same as above, cannot be sold, cannot be given to a commercial account, cannot even be donated to a non-profit. Advance takes it a step further and makes it well known that anyone who does not needlessly and wastefully destroy the items will be terminated on the spot. There have been several times I've offered to pay a very fair price (several dollars when an item is marked for their infamous 5 cents), offered to pay retail, even offered to take them to a known legit non-profit auto repair place for them with proof. Nope. So I got to watch an employee destroy about 75 oil filters with a hammer... It was actually somewhat rage-inducing knowing that someone in real need could have used one. A simple thing like a free oil filter so they could get to work to better themselves could have made their entire week brighter. Or when AAP recently got rid of all of their Carquest brand oils. Instead of destroying both, you could have donated both the oil and filters that didn't sell to a willing local garage and done free oil changes. Could have been to seniors, college students, people in tough places...pick a demographic. Not only would it not be wasteful, but the publicity could have been amazing for business.

Instead, it's destroy it or you're fired. Nice. Am I the only one who gets extremely irritated with stupid policies like these?
i have seen the carquest clearance at a couple of Advance Stores.as a former Commercial Parts professional i can add some insight but can never rationalize company policy. ADVANCE acquired carquest and kept some of their product line/names. my personal experience with carquest was not good. our specific store had no problem with employees buying discontinued merchandize . if the disposition said destroy in store then it was golden. some product was returned to warehouse, other destroy in store. why is this, simple store space is limited, we had more than 160,000 sku's as ours was a hub store. Corporate made deals from ROANOKE virginia constantly, hence the clearance of product. a buddy is still a parts pro at a different location and they put the carquest oil on clearance at good prices. blame legal for many of these policies. back in the day, official policy was NOT to read codes. i had a nose to nose with a district manager, who was later fired, when i printed the official policy at the time. all about law suites, read a code offer an opinion, sell part no fix call lawyer and sue. The parts have a warranty, which can not be honored later. so destroy them.

I've been to countless part stores due to a busy deal week. During this week of store visits, I've seen two policies that I just cannot wrap my head around.

Policy #1 - O'Reilly. Whenever a product (in my scenario, a 2.5 gallon jug of 15W-40) has even the *tiniest* leak (was leaking through the foil seal at the top, barely a few drops), it must be immediately removed from the floor and disposed of (poured into the used oil container). It cannot be cleaned up and sold, cannot be sold at a discount, cannot be given to a commercial account/customer, cannot be even be donated to a good cause. Just disposed. This is what I was told from a manager who I know for sure bends rules and hates waste.

Policy #2 - Advance. Whenever a product goes on clearance and doesn't move (seen oil before, but this time it was oil filters), it is disposed of and/or destroyed. Same as above, cannot be sold, cannot be given to a commercial account, cannot even be donated to a non-profit. Advance takes it a step further and makes it well known that anyone who does not needlessly and wastefully destroy the items will be terminated on the spot. There have been several times I've offered to pay a very fair price (several dollars when an item is marked for their infamous 5 cents), offered to pay retail, even offered to take them to a known legit non-profit auto repair place for them with proof. Nope. So I got to watch an employee destroy about 75 oil filters with a hammer... It was actually somewhat rage-inducing knowing that someone in real need could have used one. A simple thing like a free oil filter so they could get to work to better themselves could have made their entire week brighter. Or when AAP recently got rid of all of their Carquest brand oils. Instead of destroying both, you could have donated both the oil and filters that didn't sell to a willing local garage and done free oil changes. Could have been to seniors, college students, people in tough places...pick a demographic. Not only would it not be wasteful, but the publicity could have been amazing for business.

Instead, it's destroy it or you're fired. Nice. Am I the only one who gets extremely irritated with stupid policies like these?
most of the bs is about legal stuff
 
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