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Does "In Stock" Mean Anything Anymore?


NAXJA Member
Within the last month I had two separate orders cancelled from two separate vendors because they did not have in stock that which they showed as having in stock.

Morris 4x4 did not have the Borla header they claimed to have.

Rock Auto did not have either of the two Walker catalytic converters they claimed to have.

I am not buying the idea that it is related to Covid. If Covid has taught us anything it is that computers work while lazy humans don't.

I don't know if it is their own ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) shortcomings or that they don't actually maintain their own inventory and are depending on someone else's ERP. And if depending on someone else's ERP are not bothering to do a reality check more than once a year.

Regardless of the reason, they need to figure out how to fix it because Amazon sure seems to have this figured out and is going to eat everyone else's lunch. And I am no fan of Amazon. I much prefer a marketplace with lots of competitors. One giant tends to turn into a monopoly.

So Morris 4x4 and Rock Auto, get your act together. And if you don't stock it be clear about that.
A similar thing happened to me last year with a Flowmaster muffler, the supplier was a eBay trader in the UK. I bought the muffler on a buy-it-now as an eBay shop item and 3-days later I got a message saying it was out of stock. The customer service rep said that their computer says stock was there, but the warehouse says it isn't. In the old days before internet eCommerce this was usually understood to be either human error or theft. I ended up buying a Walker Dynomax muffler from RockAuto. It arrived in a few days without fuss.
We used to run into this problem from time to time at the Napa stores I worked at showed in stock but couldn't find it talk about pissed off customers in 35 years I worked at 4 different locations for them had this problem at all of them.
Same thing could be said about shipping times. I've seen as high as 8 weeks shipping lead time for certain items. How? If you're limited to what's in-stock then how does it take 2 months to get something in a box and out the door? Amazon and other retailers figured it out pretty quickly.
Happens to me every week. Its infuriating.

Listed as 'in stock'. buy it. Get a tracking number in email 5 minutes later. 15 days later call them asking where the f my stuff is (tracking shows 'label printed") and "oh, its on backorder..."
Those automatically generated emails are another peeve.

The most annoying are those that tell me my item has "shipped" when in reality nothing more has been done than initiate the shipping process. No package has been handed off to any shipper, but since a label has been created someone thinks that counts as an accomplishment of some form.

I have to give credit to a company does better than this: Prusa.

I just had to order a replacement piece for the 3D printer. The email that normally would pretend to tell me my order had shipped was far more honest:
Your order with the reference number #xxxxxx*has been packed and the tracking number has been generated. The package is shipping. Your tracking number:*xxxxxxx

I also have to give them credit for getting a part from the Czech Republic to Idaho in just two days. $13 shipping for a couple of thermal resistors via DHL. I figured we would be down for over a week.

There are still some companies that provide customer service.
I get it. I finally tracked down a company that had two base plates for a Porter Cable 505 sander "in stock"; so I ordered one. Never got an order confirmation or tracking info. Sent them an email asking what was up. They refunded my PP. Don't want the refund, want the part.

I emailed the company a week after that asking about the item and was told the part has been discontinued, and their site was wrong. I know the part is discontinued that's why I ordered from you...duh?

I have two of the 505 sanders (have you ever used one?); one with a slight upward bend in one corner. a little hesitant to try and straighten it.

Back to the topic at hand; yup, hate it.
Once again...waiting 7 weeks for valves from kibblewhite precision machine....website says "available"

After 3 weeks, called and was told I'd get a call back. I got an email saying it would be minimum 4 MORE weeks.