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Opinion

Get Rid Of Paper Catalogs? No Way!

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Thinking of getting rid of paper catalogs? Don’t! They do have a wealth of information that’s not currently being included in the electronic catalogs. Paper catalogs have saved me more than once.

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Ken, Murray’s Discount Auto Store, Madison Heights, Mich.

e-CATALOGS CANNOT COMPETE

I’m a 30-year veteran of the parts business and have worked in various capacities, including counter person, truck driver and inventory/stock control person. I’m writing to say that paper catalogs have their place in this business. I’d take a veteran counter person over a Web-savvy counter person any day!

Why? Take a customer who comes into the store with a wheel stud in-hand, but has no idea of what the application is, except that this wheel stud fits their boat trailer. What will our computer-savvy counter person do in this situation? Probably shrug his or her shoulders and look dumbfounded. The experienced counter person will grab their paper catalog and match the wheel stud, thereby saving the sale.

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What happens when a store loses power and along with it, the electronic catalog? Do we say “tough luck, we can’t sell parts today”?

I have yet to see any electronic cataloging system show a picture of the exhaust system on any vehicle. How does the counter person know which piece of the exhaust system their customer requires? Again, the paper catalog trumps all because the counter person can point to the component of the system needed by the customer. This leaves a customer satisfied and loyal because someone actually used a visual to demonstrate what they need.

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I wouldn’t want to be without paper catalogs as a backup. Please don’t advocate to manufacturers that they should discontinue publishing paper catalogs, because they are one of the tools of my trade, and they make me better than my counterparts who rely on a computer only!

Perhaps the number of paper catalogs a manufacturer prints should be limited, but they shouldn’t be completely done away with.

Raymond D. Welter, ASE Parts Specialist, Checker Auto Parts, Minneapolis, Minn.

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