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I worked for AutoZone on three different occasions. I left the last time on good terms with my store manager, and all of my co-workers. You will wonder why I willingly worked for this company over and over if I hated it so much. I can only say that I needed work, and that was what was available for me. I eventually left (hopefully for good) for a plant job that lead to another plant job that pays more than double what my last salary at AutoZone was. I am actually less disgruntled now than I was when I worked there.

I was inspired to do this after reading the second report showing that AutoZone was one of the worst companies in the US to work for. I don't know if that is fair. I worked for O'Reilly Auto Parts for a few months, and it was a lot worse in many ways.

From an employee standpoint. Anyone can work at AutoZone. Most people that work there start out with zero automotive knowledge. None of them are mechanics. Mechanics charge $80/hr. AutoZoners make around $8-15/hr. Asking the 20 year old kid at AutoZone how to change a timing belt is like asking a cashier at a pharmacy how to do an appendectomy. A lot of us learned how to fake it until we could break out a manual and give exact instructions, but some of us would give terrible information that could cause more problems than you started out with. Emphasis is placed on selling high margin products. Oil is very low margin. The company doesn't actually make money from selling the oil, to customers, they make money from the companies for stocking it. So, when you buy oil, it looks good on the ticket, but you're not doing anyone any favors. So, it is up the the store to sell add-ons. Oil filters make sense. It's good to change your filter when you change your oil. Oil drain plug/gasket is something it is good to be reminded of from time to time, but it's not really essential every time. Air filters need to be changed from time to time, but they are a HIGH-MARGIN product, so that is what stores will push every time. Those stores have to keep up with it, and they are compared to other stores with how well they sell air filters. So you'll have oil <10% markup, oil filter 100% markup, oil drain plug 100% markup, air filter 300-800% markup. Basically, everything with a low markup will have accompanying parts that you "need to do the job right" that may or may not benefit you that make up for the low margin. Additionally, parts that have a high initial margin, but have a high warranty return rate will fall into this category, and this includes batteries, brakes, water pumps, etc. The company also benefits from being able to move large volume for vendors. This determines what products will be placed on the month's Checkout Challenge. This is usually either a cheap Chinese made flashlight, degreaser, shop towels, hand cleaner or fuel additive. Employees are required to ask you to buy this. If the wrong person sees them fail to do it, it is a big deal. It doesn't matter how much of a hurry you are in, you will be asked to purchase add-on items, and a Checkout Challenge. Employees complain about not wanting to do this all the time, but it doesn't matter. So, you've had someone who makes little more than minimum wage, that has to pay for their own uniform help you figure out what part you should buy, tried to sell you some type of add on to bring up the profit margin, tried to sell you something for the company to get a kickback from a vendor for moving high volumes, and brought you down to the register and tried to sign you up for a customer loyalty card. That doesn't sound like much, so why were you in the store for so long? EVERY STORE THAT DOES ANY BUSINESS IS SHORT-HANDED. There will be consistently 2 people on the counter, and if the store has commercial, there will be 2 in the back. Phones will be ringing off the hook. Customers will be wanting wipers, batteries, and light bulbs installed as well as alternators and check engine lights checked. Returns require 2 employees to be involved, which is impossible if someone is outside with another customer or on the phone with a customer. This is an example of a company dumping on its employees and giving a middle finger to its customers. The people who provide and handle the money that makes that company go are being treated horribly because they know that you won't go anywhere else. If you do, the experience will be just as bad elsewhere, so you'll come back. If you are a customer or an employee, you deserve better than this.

On parts, AutoZone handles Dayco rubber, Johnson-Control Batteries (Duralast is a store-branding, and doesn't manufacture anything), Fel Pro gaskets, Gabriel shocks/struts, Timken bearings and seals, and select factory parts that are top of the line or close to it. (You may argue that Gates is far superior to Dayco, or Federal Mogul's National and BCA bearings are better than Timken, but they are all close and a matter of preference.) They do not sell Borg-Warner electrical, Akebono brakes, Raybestos brakes, Clevite internal engine, Federal Mogul internal engine, Moog steering&suspension, WIX filters, or Delphi pumps&compressors, and if you buy one of these products in a different brand, you are getting an inferior product. Most other stuff, they are comparable to their competition. Rotating electrical parts are about the same, mid-grade brakes are a little better than the other guys' mid-grade brakes. Hydraulic parts are basically worthless which is only slightly worse than everyone else's hydraulic parts.

My advice is to know exactly what you need and be prepared to wait. Otherwise, go and pay a little bit more at NAPA or CarQuest. You can save money and still get good quality parts by knowing who carries what brands. O'Reilly's has good electrical parts, above average brakes, but terrible batteries, for example. All of them do price-matching, so make sure you take advantage of that. They'll only have to call and verify. (Great way to get Moog suspension parts at APC prices is to have Advance match AutoZone's price.) Please, just don't blame what goes wrong on the poor guy behind the counter. They are trying to earn an honest living working for pork and beans money, and they are get crapped on from customers and district managers. It's a miserable existence slinging car parts, but good customers make the days so much better.

Review about: Autozone Part Replacement.

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Anonymous
#1455507

Az to CSK to...I worked at Autozone from the late 90's to 2001. At the time Pitt was running the place and there was a real esprit de' corps.

Managers were treated to cruises, big meetings in Vegas, etc. It was still a crap place to work but the Autozone model was the wave of the future. At least managers who received respect passed it down.What changed was simple....Pitt Hyde retired. The new leadership decided the party was over and started to cut corners.

Manager conventions and parties disappeared instantly. The "street wear" uniforms cut costs of storing and buying clothes, badges etc. The training and educating of employees on automotive systems all but disappeared. Instead of paying honest employees a living wage, they started hiring sketchy ones for lower wages and instituting more fraud checks.Employees were always judged on their Witt scores and ticket average, but this is a selling job.

If you're here for the discount on air intakes and *** cans for your Civic, this isn't the job for you!I left Autozone in 2001. It was a part time gig that was interfering with my day job, and working till 11pm then getting up at 5 was killing me, much less the stress of customers and the revolving door of managers. They would work me 29 hours but not make me full time (30) because then they have to work me 45(????). So I went to work for a competitor (CSK) and had a much easier Job with better hours.I work for an old school company now, who's trying to play catch up.Thankfully I was able to jump to the distribution side where I make more money and work only 40 hours a week.Consumers....take heed.

Experienced parts guys were run off by the poor hours, less help with more load, and /or ineffective upper management. The average person stays four years, managers usually less. The kid at the counter knows less about your car than you do, unless he owns one.

Same with the old guy, who may be able to take a '70 Roadrunner down to a shell and reassemble it perfectly, but takes his newer ride to a mechanic friend.A great piece of advice....if you pull into the lot and don't see a vehicle anything close to what you are trying to repair, the advice you'll be given was read off a computer screen, is faked, or from a friend of friend, etc.If you're really serious about properly repairing your vehicle CORRECTLY...Invest in your car and knowledge and buy a manual, then go to U-Tube. Buy the proper tools, not rent the used up crap at the store, and prepare to take some extra time to do the job right.

Anonymous
#1451150

I worked for AZ for bout 10yrs in the 90's everyone back then knew what the *** they were doing and if you didn't know you were soon pushed out.Something changed in late 90's early 00's they started getting rid of everyone that had been there for years and had automotive knowledge and hiring little idiots for 7$ an hour that didn't know a damn thing unless the computer gave them the name and part # but anyway everything you say is true the only thing I can say is that ALL Autoparts stores are pretty much the same they will all take you for every little thing they can I now work for advance and this place is so freakn disorganized the store manager doesn't seem to know how to run a damn thing and seems to be lost most of the time but every time I try to suggest something he always knows better advance is horrible as far as paying what they say they will at least where I'm at in Phoenix az they will give u half assed promotions like telling you oh your the assistant now do all this extra work but you are not ready for the title and damn sure no money it is ridiculous corporate company acting like a mom and pop shop so beware all these companies are like a bad high school trip no one ever seems to be happy to be there I love the work hate the *** and you will find someone that don't know a damn thing of what they are doing are running the stores I see the store I am at closing some time soon and keep an eye out on your money I just recently found out I was supposed to be getting a cash bonus every month ain't seen *** so someone is keeping the money so always keep track of hours worked vs hours paid cause at advance you will always have 4 to5 hours taken off every check anyway my 50 cents lol

Anonymous
#1425988

I just want to know if they price match same item lower price found. But I couldn’t read all that so can anyone tell me if they price match.

Anonymous
Mount Dora, Florida, United States #1278485

Your a joke to even post this. Lmao.

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1392097

No, he's not. It is accurate, thorough and knowledgeable.

Was it complicated for you? Too many big words or sentences?

Have you actually ever worked at AZ? Or perhaps this is AZ Corp responding...

Anonymous
to Former AZ employee #1484506

I work at AutoZone now. Not necessarily a mechanic but I've been working on stuff since I was 9 so I know my way around.

If half the people who came in now a days knew what the *** they drive it would be useful info. Also yes it matters if your car was built from this date to this date or if its 4 wheel drive. It also matters if you know if it's a coup or sedan. Or if it has 15 inch rims or 16s what most people do not understand is we literally stand around and put up with *** from people who can't put a wiper blade on or put a bulb in.

Anyway yeah AutoZone is alright. But is not exactly your cars dealership.

Anonymous
Jacksonville, Alabama, United States #1274919

I was a "zoner" for 5 years in NW Florida. I can attest to everything that you stated.

Our store, although one of the smaller-sized store in our district, it was also one of the highest volume stores. During my 5 years there, we went through 4 managers and two DM's. My first manager Mr. Merriman, lived in an RV and his job was to travel across the country to different stores when a store was in need of management, until the position could be filled.

It was challenging working for AZ. Most of the managers would quit because the work demand could not be met with the work-hours that were allotted. Many times, the management would be reprimanded for scheduling too many employees or too many hours. I cannot count how many days our store would have lines backed up to the wall, week-old merchandise totes strewn about the store, and phones ringing off of the hook.

All while being staffed with one "grey shirt"(management) and one "red shirt" (non-management). People would get angry in short order. We were expected to polish the floors, stock merchandise etc and wait on customers with two people. A common phase heard from customers was "***, ya'll need to hire some more *** people".

Regardless of long wait times, our business was 4 times that of the local Advance Auto. Most of this was due to our superior staff, and established rapport with customers. I was excellent at working there and customers would request my service. I never did get a raise, which was difficult with the high turn around rate of management.

I did leave AZ, and started a working for Advance Auto Parts. Working for AA was not much like AZ. I ran circles around the AA staff and was promoted to management in 3 months. Working there made me feel like the Maytag man.

It became monotonous and finding a new job was inevitable.

To the original poster, thank you for sharing your very truthful experience.

Anonymous
to Anonymous Mount Dora, Florida, United States #1278487

That's due to poor management ability.

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1392098

Management is only as good as the tools with which he/she is given to do his job. Moron. Or again, AZ Corp?

Anonymous
#1240674

I am a current employee, and I swear what you have just described is what I currently experience every single day. It's almost a little scary how correct you are in your statement, considering we've never met each other and you just took the exact thoughts out of my head.

Anonymous
Houston, Texas, United States #1214057

Napa and O'Reilly offer the same exact battery. One says napa the other says super start but both manufactured by east penn... there are only 2 major battery manufacturers

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1277103

East penn and johnson controls are two different companies and manufacturers

Anonymous
Wenatchee, Washington, United States #1203739

As a 42 year parts veteran, and a guy that spent 5 years at an O'Reilly store.(unavoidable) I will tell you that finding a parts store that has counter people that have been at it for more than a year is where you need to shop. The "O" & Zone & Advance etc (big box) are nothing but a stopping point for employees that can't find employment, just got out of school or are to lazy to pursue a career.

The corporate entities that own them don't care about them. They just care about getting your money. So if you get a wrong part from the kid that makes $9.50 an hour, don't be nasty to him/her. Just try again or move on.

Look at established "local" mom & pops that have the buying power of a Auto Plus, Parts Plus, Uni Select etc.. You will be happy when you do.

Anonymous
#1182503

I wouldnt complain folks, I have worked for both Oreilly and Advance and the grass is not at all greener! Auto Zone is the ONLY place you will get an opportunity to grow.

Oreilly forget it, if your not from Arkansas or Missouri they wont even notice you. In fact Oreilly will hire you and love you until your 2 year time comes then ZAP they fire you to save money on 401K match and give your job to some k18 year old kid at a cheaper rate, they hire to fire so weird !!!!

Advance is such a mess with the merger with Car Quest it's a real disaster. Manager and upper level corporate execs quit every week. I know of one commercial guy they forgot was even working for them.

So Stay at Auto Zone at least you have a chance to move up.

Relax and give yourself a chance.

Its always easy to look at the bad side of anything but trust me its far worse at the other companies. Auto Zone is the Nationwide Leader so you are with a strong the strongest group.

Anonymous
to Anonymous Norcross, Georgia, United States #1256946

Oreilly has all kinds of advancement opportunities no matter where you live, show up daily show a willingness to learn they will notice you, also bring up your "RPMS" and that becomse noticed also. I have been there for a month and a half I hired in as a Parts Specialist, (also and unofficial RSS) but where I have a hobby working on vehicles, also background of being a supervisor but no experience in parts selling they wanted me to started up with just the parts specialist, I have already got a phone call to become an Assistant, I was noticed and had the opportunity to move up, also in just that month and a half I have seen our driver transfer to another store for a promotion, the guy that came to our store was for a promotion.

We have a dont say no policy, we will get the part for the customer regardless even if it means ordering from a competitor.

Oreilly advancement also is where most the time advancements are from within the company not straight off the street. However I know there is exceptions to that.

Anonymous
#1162869

Great review! I'm saving this! Hit the nail on the head about the oil and the add-ons.

Anonymous
#833507

I work at autozone for years u hit the nail right on the head! That is exactly what happens at autzone they allso claim sale = more hrs for employees thats bs.

Its just there way of getting employees to push add ons and checkout challenge. They do everything they can to limit part time employees to 25 hrs a week no matter how busy the store is.

And most store managers ive met have almost no automotive knowledge. :,-(

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1488202

Four years late to the party. Lol.

My manager needed his assistant manager to put spark plugs in his vehicle not long ago. He seemed pretty lost over it.

Anonymous
Richardson, Texas, United States #784179

What is with the superfluous use of commas, Sir? It's really distracting.

Try talking through your comment before you send it, and put in a comma when you naturally pause.

Anonymous
to Grammar Geek Redlands, California, United States #815043

Nobody cares

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