Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Grumpy Old Man: It Gives Me Gas...

Three Sense Off At the Pump!

Why do the gas stations treat us like we are idiots? Why do people Take it?

Yes, I know that gas prices are high and probably going to go higher. I know very few people if any are happy about this, but here is something that made me cranky even when the gas prices were half what they are today!

Nearly everywhere I go locally - perhaps this is a local thing: local to Metro Vancouver, local to BC, local to Canada? - I see on sandwich boards outside gas stations announcements like "3¢ off at the pump!". This is completely separate from the rather large and easily changed sign showing the cost of at least a regular litre of gas... in the US it would be a gallon of gas. I am not sure, but that would probably be 12¢ of at the pump in the US for comparison.

That doesn't sound so bad, does it? I mean there have been places offering discounted prices on gas for decades, though normally they were offering a discount for cash or a discount over their competitor's price. This however is an across the board discount for anyone coming into the station to buy gas no matter what the price on the big sign on the pole says. It isn't a matter of the sign on the pole needing updating, that is easily and seemingly constantly updated. This is a perpetual discount.

It is sort of like the furniture stores that were always advertising "50% Off"... I believe some sort of enforcement agency finally shut that advertising practise down by virtue of the simple question "50% off of what price?" If you don't ever sell your merchandise at full price you can't advertise the 50% off as a sale price. That basically is your normal price.

What gives with the gas stations doing essentially the same thing?

Now I can understand how it seems to have started with some stations like I mentioned offering a discount for people paying cash and then later for people with preferred customer cards or special coupons or similar from other branches or stores. One of our major grocery chains offers a discount for customers based on their purchase of a certain amount of grocery items. Some stations I believe also offer that discount to folks who carry the preferred customer cards, the same sort that lets you have a sale price on some items that customers without the cards don't get. The card are free, but they do let the stores track your purchasing practises... which I guess is a trade-off that I don't mind too much. It happens when you purchase stuff and rack up travel points too.

But what about a universal 3¢ off at the pump that is advertised at some stations? Basically it means whatever is on the sign you have to subtract to figure out the actual cost. They say today with our new "Carbon Tax" that the gas price in Metro Vancouver will rise above $1.50 per litre. Of course in reality, considering some stations offer 3¢ off and others 3½¢ while still others offer 2¢ off so the price might be $1.50 or it might be $1.47 or $1.465 or $1.48???

Does anyone really think that this discount is a discount? Are the general populace really taken in or just not caring? Or does it just make them feel a wee bit better - like a kiss on a boo boo?

"Hey! The cost to read this blog is $5 per viewing, but I am offering a $5 discount to everyone who reads it. So look I am giving away $5! See I am saving you money!" -he said sarcastically-

Okay maybe it doesn't make a huge difference, but it still makes me feel grumbly each time I see it.

~ Darrell


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