Time to Eliminate the Middle Man....
... and work directly with the wholesaler.
The mom&pop garage of the 50's used to supply common parts to any driver on the road, and you could drive in a bay and get a tie rod changed and be off in an instant.
I can remember back then when our family headed out west to settle. We'd drive along and dad had a problem and he turned into a shop, had it done and was off. Next place he'd have something else fixed and had an oil and plug change on the spot. Remarkably, and you won't believe this, but dad his brakes done in the car MFG plant in detroit. They opened a bay and did the job right there, that's how consciencious they were back then.
I stopped into a tire shop in a village of a 100 or so people. It was dead quiet and I thought I'd help the guy out with a sale. He had racks full of new tires he probably purchased some time long ago, and had a layer of dust on them, so you can tell he wasn't moving his inventory. Probably due to a bad business move years ago when he took a gamble.
He didn't have my size tires and I picked one style with an aggressive thread from a catalogue. He said he's have them in a week. I had to "call him" on the due day, and he stated they weren't in, and found out UPS delivered the tires to another city, and that he "had problems before like this". I said he needs to change courier service. He could have gave me a discount on balancing or something, but I didn't press the issue. Finally 2 days later I had the job done and the tires were the ones I asked for, but never again. (sometimes the tread pattern changes, you gotta watch for this.) The reason I mention this is to show an example where with a little effort, he could do something about the problem that filters down to us.
These days the shop needs to "order" the part for you, and you need an appointment. I understand the problem with businesses these days, but frankly the service garage was designed around instant service, and if you can't provide, you need to get out of business. If a shop doesn't have the capital for even the smallest inventory, it's no better than a mail stopover for supplies and should close down.
It occured to me that I could do the very same as the counter clerk could, and I wouldn't need to pay him. I'd get a corp license from the fed gov't, a matter of a few bucks, with a "business" address my home address, and have the stuff delivered to me. A tire changer goes cheap in these parts.
We need to lobby and get laws to have wholesalers deal with individuals as well as companies. Right now parts MFG will only deal with auto parts suppliers, and the repair shop adds it's percentage to the charge as well, when years ago they actually earned the money by getting the part. Now it's delivered to the shop, but he still charges for the part. Incidently, since we are dealing with thousands of dollars profit for the MFG, we should be able to buy new cars directly from them.
No It's time for change. I feel for the small shop, but most of these problems thay could solve if they wanted to. I think the system provides enough profit for them, they don't need to make any effort to spuce up the industry.
We are being gouged big time.