The NEW Advance Auto Parts

Employees are NOT their best part!

You are simply a commodity to be tossed at will

Now that I don’t work there any more I have no reason to bite my tongue or suck it up. This is just another chapter in the Gospel according to Bob.

About Me? 9 years military, 15 years in IBM system services and management, 5 years software development, 11 years auto retail retail sales, manager, parts pro, 40 years as senior car hobbyist.

Over the 11 years I was with Advance in a variety of capacities, general sales, assistant manager and as a Retail Parts Pro, I have watched a devolving of a once enviable company into a totally disconnected dictatorship. The working model was “Don’t make waves! We don’t care!” The prevailing attitude was one of trying not to “create a disturbance in the Force”. because when you do it draws attention to the event in question. Then managers have to do their job… MANAGE!

There is a very heavily entrenched “good ole boy” network at the District level of management. And it really isn’t that subtle. Rampant favoritism on who gets the new stores and primo jobs is obvious. How exactly does one GM get 3 new stores in 5 years? And why isn’t that even questioned? They chant that they promote from within. Well, unless you are on the DM’s short list of favorites or are related to them in some way, that’s not real likely. Nepotism is for the most part frowned upon in most businesses. But apparently there are local exceptions to this rule. a lot of them actually by my tally. Once again the tally in my 11 years was pathetic. If you are constantly going outside your company for GM and above it makes a very bad statement to your capacity to train and/or your trust in your own personnel. Or maybe internally they chose not to take that nightmare on. That is why when I figured out the way it worked I vacated and moved laterally.

Now, the business management model that I was taught is that as you go up the chain of command these individuals are supposed to be able to mentor and solve the issues from the lower levels through experience and knowledge. This core trait is routinely not possible with the perpetual influx of “management” from other business types. [ie. food chains, shoe stores]. There was virtually no mentoring that was observed by me in the 11 years.

Asset protection is almost non-existent. Internal  ft, both money and goods, is appalling. At times it is virtually ignored. They appear to treat it as a cost of doing business. But in this case it is charged to the store. The GM takes the hit each and every time. Problem solved! It is diverted from a corporate issue to the store level. I don’t know about you but when people steal my stuff I get really pissed off! They just send it to the store level as a loss and save the time of resolving a theft issue. And it is another of my personal observations that the HR department was spineless. Lots of investigating. Nothing more, What would be HR firing offenses any where else are solved by re-locations. Now they are a problem for someone else. Kinda the corporate version of 3 Card Monty.

The management IT systems in place are so heavy handed at micro-managing the operations that it is nothing short of a royal pain to function at the store level effectively. The stress levels were amazing. In my personal opinion a perfect example of way too much information. And then couple that with an ultimatum of a calculated goal based on this information gathering and you have one overpowering system. Is it really relevant how many women between the ages of 40 and 50, with green hair, driving a blue Prius bought wiper blades on the third Saturday during a full moon?  And in my case the persistence of an all-powerful SPH [Sales per Hour] and SPT [Sales per Transaction] was actually fatal.

Yep! This number was used to fire me. And unfortunately anyone else that can’t fit the sales parameters. Or they will make it one. In order to out you. One mans opinion.

The pushing of “add-ons” to unsuspecting and/or uneducated consumers by a trusted parts provider falls into a very gray area of ethical behavior. And that really did trouble me. After many years in business I have always strived to give customers the benefit of the doubt and assist them before the sale. Not just sell a bag of parts to them and let them figure it out. If you are any kind of professional that is an asshat way to do it.

The in-store systems were nothing short of archaic. Their idea of a system upgrade is to give you a flat monitor and call it a day. Unfortunately the boxes are leftovers for 10 years ago. And the economic choice to contract the IT support [IBM] overseas is actually comical at times between the language issues and the scripted responses to ordinary problems especially after hours when there is a heightened sense of urgency. And they treat you like a schmuck. And don’t try to escalate anything. That is a major trauma.

My impression of salesman was that they were supposed to sell stuff! District Commercial Managers appeared to be totally ineffective on generating new revenue. No real due diligence on these guys that I had seen. I know in my 15 years in the IBM business we knew who all our clients were and all of the clients of our competitors. In the car parts business you would think that a simple cruise down the local streets around the store would net us some business. Nope! Not there. At least not at the three stores I was at.

And despite Advance Auto Parts vocal concern for ” brand recognition” has been summarily executed with the abandonment of all sponsorship for major auto sporting events. No more NASCAR events, no NHRA events,  no NSRA events and now no Monster Jam! How crappy is that! One NHRA top Fuel team co-sponsorship. That’s it. Not a good showing for the self promoted top dog. My experience with Marketing 101 was that you were up in your competitors face everywhere they went. What did Advance do? Run and hid. Sad but true. And if you are top dog, or so you claim, you need to act like it! Put your logo all over the frickin place. But it’s not me. And, I don’t know about you, but I can’t see a radio commercial!

Now there have already been many incidents logged on these sites. Along with a variety of other questionable events and incidents. Feel free to add your input to any / all of these sites.

Advance Auto Parts Employees – Beware of Advance Auto Parts new metrics!

They are after you and you will not get unemployment if they use it!

They are laying the groundwork for it as you work

As a former employee, a retail parts pro, with 11 years at Advance Auto Parts I was released the first week of January for not meeting their sale requirements. This is after serving as an assistant manager at 2 stores and serving as a Retail Parts Pro for 5 years. In the subsequent weeks I have discovered that I have been denied, yes I said DENIED, my unemployment. The reason given was that I intentionally did not meet their requirements after being warned. The key word here is intentionally!

You were fired from ADVANCE STORES COMPANY INCORP on January 08, 2014 for failure to meet the employer’s standard of job performance. You received warnings prior to your being fired. You had performed the job satisfactorily in the past. It has been established your failure to meet the employer’s standards was intentional.

This is a direct quote from my unemployment denial letter. And because of their legal tactics prior to my release they made sure that I was not eligible for unemployment. Will I fight it ? More than likely. Will I protest it ? More than likely.

This is both troubling and annoying.

Troubling because after having seen some of the lists that are out there regarding this, it is a simple extrapolation that this metric is being applied in a selective manner. If the rules are applied across the board, as they claim they are, it would put a long list of individuals , including General Managers, in jeopardy. But the twist here is that there is a selective application by the District managers. They should be writing up any and all on these lists, but my suspicions are that they are not. Unfortunately it is also my opinion that this metric is being used to single out and eliminate specific employees. Those that may be high on the pay scale [me], those that are close to retirement [me], and even those that they are just trying to out for whatever reason [Dunno].

Now we get to the annoying part. It has become more and more apparent that they seem to have a good ole’ boy mentality. And there seems to be an aire of ignorance as to what the District Managers are actually doing. And that appearance seems to go up the ladder to the higher levels of “management”. As long as it doesn’t make waves they don’t seem to be too concerned. At least that is the way I see it. If you have worked at Advance Auto Parts any length of time I am sure you have seen at least one example of this. And they do it in a calculating pointed way.

So … if you believe that you have either witnessed these “phenomenon” or possibly even been a target / victim as I believe that I was, let me know. This is called fact gathering. Now there have already been many incidents logged on these sites. Along with a variety of other questionable events and incidents.

If you have any additional information it would be greatly appreciated if you could forward it to me for a fact gathering project. Your input has value. Feel free to be verbal. Thanx ahead of time.

It’s official! I am an old retired guy!

It has finally come to that time! I have retired!

Bob and Faye
Bob and Faye at Red Robin

There I said it! Retired. Not Retarded! Retired! It has been an interesting couple of weeks since I was released by Advance Auto Parts. But I must say that it may have been the engine I needed to  head in a new direction. With the go ahead from my senior advisers it was finalized. What direction that is exactly is a bit shady at this time. The paperwork is in so here we go.

My main focus at this point is Faye Deans’ health and well being. We will have 43 excellent years together in February and I intend to have quite a few more. She is my Gravity! [ If you haven’t heard the song, my favorite version is by Leslie West, then hit the link at the end and give it a listen. That is it! Dead on! ] So with this whole mix I am getting her medically covered until her Medicare kicks in in March next year, because of  a 24 month hold on benefits with SS  Disability. And VA is going to cover me free so we are good.

That leaves me with some breathing space for now. I can spend some quality time together and get all the stuff done that I have neglected for one reason or another.  Also know as a Honey-Do list. Much of it was postponed and now I can’t use the ole’ I’m tired from work or I gotta get up in the morning bit. Won’t work no more! cause don’t work no more!

Now, let me rephrase that last statement. I can work if I want to. I am limited as to what I can make before I get penalized. So as long as I stay within those parameters I am good to go. And it will get me  plenty of  leeway to participate and relax. I said that too! RELAX! So I may just be taking a part time job to get some pocket change. I do have to stay in the Captain Morgan you know! And when cruise time comes around I don’t have to schedule around it. I can cruise all of them! That will be way different! And I can work on my cars unmolested by a work schedule. That’s going to take some getting used to.  And working at my lesiure is way different. I will let you know how it works out.

There is a major effort afoot to make sure we Party On The Patio a bit more! A new to me grille is on the way and a couple of new tables and the plan is set! Stay tuned. Let the grilling begin! When the weather is appropriate of course.  For now this is the plan . Let’s see how well I can pull it off.

I thank all of you for your input so I believe I am moving in the right direction!

NOTE: Before you go you gotta give this a listen! My Gravity By Leslie West! Faye Dean says I have to include my unofficial theme song – Dinosaur – by King Crimson. Another special tribute to Faye Dean is  a song that even she likes from King Crimson – Heartbeat

A new chapter is ready to start! Consider yourself informed!

Gee! This is a no brainer!

Just relaxin!
Thinkin about stuff
Since my release from Advance Auto Parts I have had a chance to look around at my other options and one thing has reared it’s head. The simple fact that I don’t have to be out in the freezing cold putting on wipers or installing a battery is reason enough to not even consider going back to the auto retail environment. And even though it is called an optional service by the chains it is both expected and required. Even if it means putting employees at risk in below zero plus temperatures. And this is from people who probably haven’t ever done one. Just an observation.

It appears that I can get my VA insurance coverage for nothing. Getting all the details right now but I will fill you in as it comes around. Way cool I should have gotten it a long time ago. If I can get Faye Dean covered we are good to go for an early retirement. Fayes Medicare is delayed till March next year. A small disability fine print thing. We will see if she can get Medicaid until then. But for now I am good.

Well, with a couple of small glitches. I went on a ride along with Faye to the doctor the other day. And with my insurance in limbo I had the doc do a quick check up. For the most part I am OK. So I annoyed the techs with the pulse reader. Annoyed by them thinking the machine was bad. After two readers, a check was done the old fashioned way and Nope! the readers weren’t broke. I have a known documented low heart rate. It was certified. Then they did the BP. It was 150/100. A bit on the high side. My first response was “Well! Duh! I just got fired!” Then Doc told me it was up the last time I came in. Oh! Crap! Here it comes! I am now on BP meds for the next month. And … now for the bad part. No caffeine! OMG! No more regular coffee. And I have been drinking a pot every morning for many, many years. That won’t change easily. So I made a stop on the way home to get the GREEN label coffee. It’s not as bad as I expected. But it is like getting a jumpstart from a dead battery! Whatever it takes I guess.

I have to take care of Faye Dean. So I will do what it takes to be here for her. And for me. So that’s it for now. Stay tuned for updates.

What happens when you are NOT aggressive

In the case of Advance Auto Parts you get fired!

It happened to me. Today

It all revolves around a financial objective of dollars per hour. However nifty it may be to the accountants it has a very nasty taste of pushing things on people that they don’t really need. And that smacks of a gray area of unethical behavior on behalf of a large corporate entity taking advantage of a uneducated or unknowing consumer. All in the pursuit of  those dollars per hour! Is it of concern to me? At this point not really. I have been a part of a couple of corporations where we built an excellent business without sacrificing our core business ethics. So I will continue on and keep my ethics alive and well.

And it really doesn’t have any real meaning to them if you have any seniority or other value. In my opinion age and seniority are actually a major liability with them, in my case. I say that because if you have seniority you are probably on the higher end of the scale money wise and also on the management end. This is a liability both for you and them. And in this day and age they are more about justifying your existence than any other issue. Pure dollars and cents. Customer satisfaction and service knowledge are not even a discernible part of the equation. Sad, isn’t it. The concern is for the almighty SPH [Sales per Hour]  If you can’t meet their standard you are expendable. Pure and simple.

At this point in time I am still in a gray fuzzy area. My brain is going ten thousand miles an hour right now. So I have to take a deep breath or two and calculate my next move. There are a couple of options out there so I will have to play them all through and see what will work best for me. At this point I am overtly concerned for Faye Deans’ health and welfare. So my next steps will have her well being in mind.

So for now I need to try and take a few deep breaths and calm down. A bit of the Captain should help with that. Then I need to gather my resources and plot a strategy. But for now my prime objective is to relax and not have a heart attack over this.  These guys are not worth it at all. Advance Auto Parts can kiss my whatever at this point and any contact with them in the future will be considered hostile in nature.

And as I have said before “one disaster at a time!” And maybe with all my issues of dealing with IndyMac, One West and now Ocwen this should be a cake walk. Hope so.

Consider yourself informed!

Signed, Bob Motter -Free Agent- EX 11 year Advance Auto Parts Retail Parts Pro