Push hard and live
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Carson City, NV
In the spirit of vaguely on-thread digressions...
When I started my career in the imported auto parts business back in 1974, the relationship between the merchant and customer had not yet been "Walmartized".
If you bought a part and decided you did not want to keep it, there was a 10% - 25% restocking charge. It had to be uninstalled, in original and clean packaging, and typically brought back within a couple of weeks. No returns accepted on electrical parts or tools.
Special order parts had to be paid for in advance, plus inbound freight once determined, and returns were never accepted on these.
These policies were not to inflate our profits, they were to contain imbedded costs that would have to be added to future pricing levels. A DIYer who did not really have the knowledge or experience to correctly diagnose and plan his work should not result in increased costs for more professional repairers.
And then Walmart came along and reeducated the buying public. In a short amount of time, consumers came to believe that they had a Constitutional right to return anything and everything, without charge, in new or well-used condition.
From that time to now the small, highly specialized vendors have been replaced by much larger, highly automated, globally-connected merchants who have done a more modern job of catering to Walmartized buyers. In many cases, such as Walmart themselves, the cost of returns and warranties is actually charged back to the manufacturer. This was not possible back in the 70's through sometime around the end of the century. The world has evolved.
Except in the salvage yard business. They have no manufacturer backup. They have no computerized inventory control systems (at least few do), and in the case of Alfa parts, the market is so small that the fine line between the cost of acquiring and breaking apart dead cars, the cost of storing the components, and eventual sales must lead to a narrow path between solvency and evaporation.
I suggest an operation such as APE be viewed not through the Walmart-customer's eyes, but as though they were the only organ bank striving to have a kidney or liver on hand in the sudden and critical event you need a transplant to live.
Carson City, NV
59 102 Touring (first Alfa $500 running)
65 Sprint GT (2nd Alfa, $500 daily driver)
102 Sprint (never did anything with it, but wish I had)
74 Berlina (first new car - now certainly rusted into oblivion)
61 Giulietta Spider G-Prod Race Car (where is it now?)
84 Spider Veloce (rarely drove it, so sold it)
86 Quadrifoglio (Dull car - no more 115s for me)
1971 Montreal "The Full Monty". Fair winds and following seas
59 102 Touring Roadster - restoration complete, enough Alfa for any rational man. Or irrational, for that matter
Oops. Add to the "present" list, 10204 01488, 2000 Touring Roadster project
Two 1946 Stampe SV4C (c/n 294 "Rocinante" - wife's favorite airplane. RIP), and c/n 235 "La Bon Temps Femme" (gone to a new home, but never forgotten)
Zlin 50LA (+9 -6 gees, titanium spar, 1200 lbs, 260HP rumored to now be in Brazil)
1946 Luscombe 8A
Starduster Too (recently spotted at the Nevada City, CA airport - over 20 years and an entire continent separating it from our stewardship in Binghamton, NY)
1955 Cessna 170B (wife taught me to fly tailwheel in this)
64 Mooney M20E ("Rambo". My faithful steed for over 40 years) Over 55 years old, and just returned from a trip to Argentina in him
Newest in the fleet
1967 Piper Super Cub on Wipline amphibious floats (a true "all terrain vehicle")
2010 Triumph Thunderbird
You can snap roll an Alfa only one time...