I'm going to refine a suggestion I made a while back in one of my blogs. I suggested that it would be useful when repairing machinery to take a cell phone photo of the part in question, so you could show it to the person at the parts counter.
That has created problems. Some folks assume that a photo is worth a thousand words, and now simply hand their cell phone to the parts person and say, 'Gimme that part."
To help maintain the sanity of parts people across the country:
-The first photo should be of the machine's model number. The second photo should be a close-up of the serial number plate, with serial numbers clearly legible.
-Then take a series of photos, starting at a distance before ending with a close-up of the part in question. That will help the parts person identify where on the machine the part is located.
-Take time to look at the piece in question. Understand what it does on the machine, decipher how it is broken or why it isn't working correctly. There is an disturbing trend for folks to just take a cell phone photo and then hand their phone to the parts person at the local dealership with the assumption that everything the parts person needs is in that one, tiny 2-inch by 3-inch digitized photo.
Cell phone photos can be an immense aid in helping get the right parts efficiently. Or, they can make things worse because the person with the cell phone photo has no information aside from that one photo to help the parts person get the right parts.
If you're technologically sophisticated, figure out how to use your smart phone or iPad to access the internet, look up a parts diagram of the machine you're working on, and point to the specific part you need on that image. It will have the specific part number right there, and all the parts person has to do is type in the number to see if they have it in stock.
Be forewarned: providing a parts person the exact parts number of a piece that you want risks having that person come over the counter and give you a kiss of gratitude.