consumer stores or parts-to-the-trade, hardware and auto

A few posts mention that one can get a better selection and iirc sometimes better quality at an electrical supply house rather than a consumer hardware store (at least HD, and maybe Ace.)
But I wonder what you all think about buying auto parts, the kind that would be behind the counter at Advance or Pep Boys, at one of those consumer chain stores versus buying at an autoparts store that garages use. One is affiliated with PAPA and one with PABA, and they have few self-service items, just things in boxes with part numbers that have to be looked up in a book or computer. They both sell retail, but that's not their focus like Pep Boys.
Quality, price, other variables?
What I need varies from time to time. This time it is only brake pads and one rotor. (Yes, they would turn it for less than selling it, but I want to have it when I take apart the brakes so I can get it back together quickly. and I only have one car.)
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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This isn't alt.car.repair, it's alt.home.repair
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NAPA, baby, NAPA.
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