KMart's Vintage Oil Stock

TC

Messages
1,644
Location
California
While strolling through a So. Cal. KMart last night, I glanced at a few random bottles of Shell Rotella. It was old stock, referring to the old "SJ" standard. Then I picked up a bottle of Pennzoil Synthetic...same thing. Since API "SL" came around in July 2001, these oils date back as far as 3 yrs. (Most/all of the other brands there were current SL.) Then I remembered... (Nov. 2002) "'Shell Suspends Shipments To Kmart Because Retailer Sold Oil Too Cheaply,' The Detroit Free Press reports that because Kmart was promoting Shell Oil Products' Pennzoil and Quaker State motor oil for 99 cents a quart, way below what Shell felt the products should be sold for, the company has stopped shipping those motor oils to the retailer. Kmart said the decision wouldn't affect its marketing strategies as it struggles to get out of bankruptcy protection. Normally, Kmart sells the products for between $1.50 and $1,89 a quart." http://www.gmdc.org/News/iri_newsletters/news111502.html So I'm wondering...where the heck is this vintage oil coming from? KMart's warehouses? But if bankrupt, they shouldn't have had much inventory, especially since vendors may have been gun shy about shipping to them. So is this Shell's "payback" by supplying KMart with their obsolete stock? KMart emerged from bankruptcy in May 2003...perhaps Shell's attitude through that point was "If we don't know we'll get paid by this bankrupt retailer, we'll dump our old stock on 'em in the meantime...???" I feel sorry for anyone who went there, paid about $5/qt for Pennzoil Syn for their new car, and ended up with a pre-2002 spec oil, if only for the principal of it.
 

Patman

Staff member
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22,000
Location
Guelph, Ontario
My local Walmart has a lot of vintage stock too (it wasn't dumped on them like in this case though, it simply is stuff that doesn't sell). What is funny in this case is that some of this oil is actually older than this location of Walamrt! This location was just moved here (from another spot) only 3 or 4 years ago, but some of the oils they've got are at least 6 years old if not more (for instance, they've still got some Advanced Formula 15w50 Mobil 1, as well as tons of TriSynthetic 15w50 too) They've also got a lot of SJ formula Pennzoil (mostly in 20w50 and 10w40) I even spotted some really old Walmart brand synthetic, under the name "Walmart's finest" This is SJ stuff too, they don't even use this brand anymore, the newest stuff is all "Tech 2000" now. At least this Walmart doesn't have any more old yellow label Syntec 0w30 though! [Razz] There is a Zellers near me which has about 60 or 70 liters of the very old Syntec 0w30, SJ formula, but it's so old it's not even the same bottle shape as now, but the skinnier one from before the yellow label stuff. I feel sorry for that store, as they've got about $500 worth of oil there that they'll probably never ever sell. It makes me wonder why these places don't at least just stick this stuff that obviously doesn't sell, into a big display and sell it for $1 per liter. At least they'd get something for it, instead of it continuing to collect dust forever.
 

TC

Thread starter
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1,644
Location
California
Very interesting... Sounds like this isn't a KMart-specific problem. You gotta wonder, one of the canons of running any business, including a Fortune 500 firm, is to not produce substantially more product than will ever sell, or will move off your distributors' shelves. I'm sure the business equation is much more complex than that, but then again, maybe not! I agree, whether it's Chinese-made rabbit's feet or small gold ingots, what's the point of keeping it warehoused or on display for years at a time while collecting dust? The bottom line: something's only worth what folks are willing to pay for it. Therefore keep lowering the price until it moves, or sell it off to a liquidating firm. One unfortunate aspect is that the SA/SB/SF oils sold at the "$1 Only" chains are clearly labeled such as "for pre-1988 vehicles" for those who flip the bottle over, whereas the WalMart and Zeller's SJ stock you mentioned has no such warning, of course. So many folks with new cars are putting this obsolete stuff in the crankcase. No big deal (especially since it's syn), but then again, there's good reasons why the SL cert was seen as needed several years back.
 

Ed

Messages
135
Location
Southern California
If you can get the SJ rated oil cheap enough I would say go ahead and use it. SJ isn't THAT MUCH better. New SJ is probably a lot better than SL with 2 or 3 thousand miles on it. If nothing else you could use it as a flushing oil.
 
Messages
6,123
Location
Texas Hill Country
our local walmart in new york always has a sale rack in the auto oil section. Its stocked with crap oil that won't sell, but sometimes it has decent stuff in it. Last week they had about 15 bottles of 5w30 quaker state "winter formula". Whatever that is, lol. They had about 10 bottles of Chevron supreme 10w40 and I snapped them up for 88 cents a quart for my fathers work van. I have seen a bunch of off brand gear lubes in that pile also. Some of the stuff in there they probably couldn't give away. JH
 

ALS

Messages
1,862
Location
Pittsburgh
You should see what they're selling Mobil One for $5.79 [Eek!] At least that's what my local K-Mart is charging. $4.28 at Advance Auto.
 
Messages
2,923
Location
Georgia/Retired
I found three bottles of very old Pennzoil stock at a local Wal-Mart. The Pennzoil GT 20W-50 had a coupon on the back the expired in 1989 and two bottles of 10W-40 had t-shirt offers that expired in 1987. I was going to buy the bottles just for nostalgic reasons but they scanned at $1.77 per quart so I put them back. I remember them selling for $.99 back in their day.
 
Messages
11,247
Location
PA
Our nearby W*M is tidy and no old stock. [Big Grin] One parts jobber I pass through has some old 5w-50 Syntec. I bought all that SJ Superflo Semi-synth for 1 cent each, still liking that deal, about 20 left. My Mother-in-Law showed me an old bottle of SG (or SH) QS that she thought I could use. Pass. There are still some metal cans in her basement, I remember using some in her old Ford, 3 years ago.
 
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8,467
Location
Colorado
If they are selling old stock at K-Mart and maybe Wal-Mart (the reason for the lower prices?) then that is a good reason to go elsewhere in my opinion. I would rather pay a little bit more for fresh motor oil. I remember coming across some information supplied by Pennzoil in answer to somebody's question. According to Pennzoil motor oil does have a shelf life of at least 18 months (unopened bottle). And if a motor oil sits on a shelf too long eventually it will no longer meet requirements. One of the things I used to like about Quaker State motor oil was that there was a year of manufacture on the bottle. I would buy oil and check the year that it was made. I remember I would check oil in a place like a Target Store and all of the synthetic oil seemed to be old. I would pick out the conventional oil that was at most one year old. I am buying oil at a Chevron distributor. A woman that worked there assured me that all of the oil was fresh stock after the facility went through a management change. They still sell Chevron oil but they switched from Baldwin to Wix oil filters and air filters after the management change.
 
Messages
10,898
Location
Nokesville, VA
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: It makes me wonder why these places don't at least just stick this stuff that obviously doesn't sell, into a big display and sell it for $1 per liter.
Did the UPC number change when the oil changed from SJ to SL? If not, that could account for the reason why they don't do that. Their computers don't know any difference between the new stuff and the old stuff. As an example of a store that does mark down old stock, I was at Home Depot and I needed a GFCI outlet. They're usually about $12 or so. I was looking over the selection of GFCI outlets and I noticed 3 old Leviton GFCIs that I recognized as being last year's model off by themselves. I thought they might be cheaper so I took one up to the self checkout and scanned it. $3.09. I went back and got the remaining two.
 
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13,132
Location
By Detroit
Given proper storage (not extreme heat or cold), I suspect you might not see a significant difference side by side on VOAs between an SJ and an SL of the same brand, other than different levels of additives between the two. If an oil can stand up to the rigors of being thrashed in an engine for 3000 miles, it surely can handle 4 or 7 years of quiescent storage.
 
Messages
9,365
Location
USA
quote:
Originally posted by TC: (Nov. 2002) "'Shell Suspends Shipments To Kmart Because Retailer Sold Oil Too Cheaply,' The Detroit Free Press reports that because Kmart was promoting Shell Oil Products' Pennzoil and Quaker State motor oil for 99 cents a quart, way below what Shell felt the products should be sold for, the company has stopped shipping those motor oils to the retailer. Kmart said the decision wouldn't affect its marketing strategies as it struggles to get out of bankruptcy protection. Normally, Kmart sells the products for between $1.50 and $1,89 a quart." http://www.gmdc.org/News/iri_newsletters/news111502.html
This reminds me..I have a source that does advertising for shell oil...tells me that "shell does not wany any of their distributors selling any shell products (QS, Pennzoil) for less than $1.29 a quart" They won't allow it. Just another reason to stick with Chevron/Havoline. [Wink]
 
Messages
2,858
Location
DELAWARE
quote:
This reminds me..I have a source that does advertising for shell oil...tells me that "shell does not wany any of their distributors selling any shell products (QS, Pennzoil) for less than $1.29 a quart" They won't allow it. Just another reason to stick with Chevron/Havoline. [Wink]
Shell has this to keep their product from being branded a "economy" or "low brand" oil. Not unusual in the business world to keep public preception that a product is of a higher class. Shell makes their money already once the distributor buys it but wants future business based on a perception that their oil is in a certain market class and pricing it below a certain point and at maybe below wholesale cost is not in their best interest. Hootbro
 
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