Some kind soul needed a side-view mirror for a 2012 Ford F150. I also needed that mirror, however, this was apparently not the other party's concern.
Those side view mirrors are pretty easy to remove, as I've learned, and so began my adventure looking for a replacement.
I called my mechanic and they told me I was wasting money asking them to find or install the mirror. I was told it'd take less than 5 seconds once I had the mirror, and Napa would have it.
Napa didn't have it. They can order it but the sales guy kept trying to sell me the whole housing and I just need the glass with the snap-in fitting. They had that for $80 but it was a one-week wait. I figured I'd find it elsewhere. The other local parts outlets also needed a week or more to order the part at about the same prices.
A few years back Amazon had been really encroaching on the auto-parts market. I was able to find stuff that was previously considered NLA or 'unobtanium' for a few older vehicles. I remembered to check Amazon.
Amazon could only offer 2 days shipping on a $24.19 replacement part.
The mirror was installed in less than a minute.
I gather that services like having tools and testers to borrow, and a parking lot they'll let you work in may help keep the O'Reilly's and Pep Boys of America going, but it seems this battle is going to be lost. The ability to run out to the shop in the middle of a project for a part that you unexpectedly need (broke) is going to get more difficult, but is it worth paying the insanely inflated prices for the same part?