It's About Time

by Ed Newman
Marketing & Advertising Manager, AMSOIL INC.

The general most acclaimed by students of military history is undoubtedly Napoleon Bonaparte. Most of us remember Napoleon only for Waterloo. Few Americans realize that Napoleon was the most written about human being of the nineteenth century, with more than 100,000 books devoted to analysis of the man, his actions, his ideas and his life.

According to military historians, the battles of Napoleon consistently rose above the expected. For more than 20 years Napoleon showed genius and skill as a general on the field of battle.

In part, Napoleon's success had to do with his view of time. He once stated, "The loss of time (in war) is irreparable." And in another place he said, "I may lose a battle, but I shall never lose a minute." Time was of supreme importance for him.

One problem with time is that it's totally inelastic. We are each given but twenty-four hours in a day, and that designated time can not be stretched.

Another problem with time is that once it is gone it is gone forever, unless you are Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day. Murray plays an arrogant, obnoxious weather reporter who gets stuck reliving the same day over and over again till, eventually, he gets it right. It's both great fun and thought provoking. Unlike Murray, we do not have this luxury. Waste today and today's gone, baby. We can try to get today's tasks done tomorrow, but then we have tomorrow's responsibilities staring us down.

Because of our failure to understand the nature of time, we are often bad at managing it. As a result we often feel out of control.

Everything takes time. For most of us, work fills a major portion of our days. Then we have the making and eating of meals, shopping, fueling, running errands, driving kids to friends' houses, doing dishes, cleaning, laundry, coaching sports, church, community and family commitments, doctors, dentists, paying bills, correspondence, phone calls, and an exercise regimen if able, and its no wonder modern people feel hurried and harried, swamped, buried, overwhelmed and crushed by demands on our time.

Often there are second jobs or ailing parents, plus unscheduled car maintenance, all of it conspiring to eat our time. As John Lennon succinctly observed, "Sometimes life gets in the way of living."

Time is too fleeting, in too short supply. We just don't have enough of it. One result is that people feel stressed and fatigued. They are not looking for more ways to fill their time. They are searching for ways to free up time.

Then they are reminded that it's time to change their oil. Again.

What if life had a pause button? Wouldn't it be great? You get behind on your paperwork and voila! You press the pause button. Everything stops till you catch up and push play again.

It's a silly thought. Time doesn't work that way. In fact, it's so absurd very few people can even consider it. It's not realistic.

How about this one? What if you didn't have to change your oil so often? If this were possible, a lot of people would be very pleased. As long as their vehicles were not put in jeopardy.

Silly thought? Not at all. Yet the way some oil industry pundits react you would think such notions are as absurd as the pause button.

"Customers want to minimize their vehicle maintenance time and changing engine oil is their single biggest remaining maintenance item," GM's Mike McMillan has been quoted as saying. "Addressing that issue is very important to us." It is well known in the industry that the technology exists to extend drain intervals without compromising engine durability

The reason for talking about extended drain intervals is that they are right for our times. People are looking for ways to scale back on responsibilities so they can live a little more. Let's face it, isn't that how you feel yourself? Always having to run here and there gets old after a while. You have more important things to do. And so do your customers.

The times have been a-changin' and there doesn't seem to be an end to it. For a variety of reasons people seem to have less time instead of more. There is a segment of your community who would embrace almost anything that gave their lives even a smidge of relief from unnecessary time consuming chores.

As it is, motorists are already extending intervals out of neglect. So why isn't this industry actively evaluating the benefits of longer drain lubricants that protect our income from the changes that are coming in automobile manufacturers recommendations at the same time? Isn't it about time?


This article originally appeared in National Oil and Lube News, August 2002.

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