So the Old Ruminator was looking for an oil change the other day for his trusty Honda Accord. The Old Ruminator used to always change his own oil, saving enough money to buy a case of beer every 5000 Kilometers or so. But with arthritis setting in (the joys of old age) crawling under the motor to struggle with a cranky oil-pan bolt or trying to replace an oil filter is not a joyful prospect.
So I went online for some coupons. Checked Jiffy Lube first and they had a few bucks off some sort of “Supreme” package. The Old Ruminator doesn’t like the cost of “Supreme” packages, so passed on that one. Then went to Mr. Lube and there was a $10 off coupon for any oil change.
Leary of being conned into something I really didn’t want, I approached the local outlet cautiously looking for some sort of signage concerning costs. None anywhere! As I approached the entry bays a friendly old geizer motioned me forward to an open door. But I wasn’t going anywhere till I knew what I was in for. After all, arthritis or not, I know what oil costs at Canadian Tire and I’ll do damn near anything for a free case of beer.
So I asked the old geiser what the costs were. He handed me a brochure containing a table of perhaps 15 different oil changes ranging from $49 to $89 bucks. “Can I have that one?” I said, pointing to the $49 “Standard” oil change special. “Absolutely” he helpfully said and in I proceeded forward. Oh, I never met such a pleasant bunch of characters. “Sir”, this and “Sir” that. But after popping the hood and undergoing some preliminary checks I heard my main service repair guy say….as he pecked at his computer “That’ll be $57 before taxes” Whaaaa?
“Hold everything” I said. “How did we get from $49 to $57?” I says, and “Don’t forget my $10 coupon”.
“Oh, that’s becuase you car uses 5 W20 oil instead of 10W30”. He says and his partner in crime helpfully shows me the Honda Engine Oil thingy which, naturally enough, has 5W20 written on it. At that point we began a long and protracted discussion about the costs of oil and I was determined to convince them that there is NO DIFFERENCE in cost.
A half-hour later and almost $60 bucks poorer, I was at my local Canadian Tire checking out oil prices.
Here they are, as of April 10th, 2014.
Castrol Edge Synthetic – Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $11.99/litre
Motomaster Formula 1 Synthetic – Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $9.79/litre
Mobil 1 Synthetic – Both 5W20 and 10W30 – $12.29/litre
Pennzoil Platinumb Synthetic _ Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $6.29/litre (on sale)
Mobil Supreme – Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $7.29/litre
GTX High Mileage -Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $4.79/litre
Quaker State (Conventional) -5W20 =$ 5.79 and 10W30 =$5.99
Penzoil Conventional Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $5.99
Motomaster Formula 1 (Conventional) Both 5W20 and 10W30 = $5.29
In summary. In ALL cases the price is the same. Except that the Quaker State 5W20 is actually CHEAPER!
So Mr. Lube. Is this some sort of rip-off? Clearly, there should be no premium price for 5W30 over 10W30. God knows what kind of gunk your selling in the first place, but it’s pretty clear you are “stealing” from your customers and you just lost a customer that came to you for the very first time.