Coming from the other side of the counter…I’ve been a parts guy for nearly 30 years. Put myself through college working behind various parts counters. While in college and working a retail counter, had a guy come in wanting a water pump “for a 350”. Ok, fine. My standard answer to anything “for a 350” was “Ok, which one?”. Let’s be honest here, there are really only a handful of differences over the years on water pumps for a SBC, but this was the early ‘90’s when our store still saw guys working on pretty much any variation of GM V8…Chevy/Buick/Olds/Pontiac, etc.

Guy was bound and determined that he wasn’t going to tell me anything other than “It doesn’t matter, they’re all the same”. Never mind it could’ve been the short pump, the long pump, the reverse rotation pump, etc. He absolutely refused to even say what year the engine was (I didn’t care what it was in, just give me a year range and I’ll pull the right part). Guy started getting loud. I’d had enough.

I sold him one for a mid-70’s Pontiac 350. Yeah, the one that isn’t ANYTHING like any other GM V8 pump.

Needless to say, a couple hours later, guy came back in mad as hell. “This ain’t the right one!”

I just said “Sure it is, it fits a 350, and you said yourself they’re all the same.”

In the end, I got the guy taken care of. As a postscript, the guy had an ex-Olds diesel powered ’79 or ’80 Chevy C10 that had had an Olds 350 gas burner swapped into it. Just goes to show that the guy behind the counter may actually know what he’s doing if you give him a chance, but if you act like an asshole, you may pay for it one way or another. I’ll be the first to admit that too many of these $9.00/hour “sales associates” are entirely dependent on how good their electronic catalog system is (or isn’t), but it’s not always the case that the guy on the front side of the counter knows everything.