Dec 102007

Dual confession time:

  1. I have no idea if I used “whom” correctly in the title. It sounds better to me, but if you know the rules for “whom”, please comment and let me know for future reference.
  2. Despite understanding anarchy innately at a young age I spent many, many years in liberal circles and was often swayed by their views.

It’s the second confession that’s the most salient to this post. One of the things one most hears from liberals in their daily conversations (and one of the most frequent arguments against anarchy) is that the government somehow holds corporations and business back from screwing the little guy. The theory is that businesses don’t care at all about their customers and simply want to leech every last penny from our overburdened wallets. Of course, this is a complete fallacy that I’ve addressed here in the past, but this weekend provided an amazing example of the flip side…

From the Associated Press via Yahoo! News

An employee closing Trig’s Minocqua Shell for the night mistakenly entered the price of a gallon of gasoline as 32.9 cents instead of $3.299 on Monday night.

He left about 10 p.m., but drivers could still use their credit cards to buy gas.

Word of the bargain spread fast in the rural northern Wisconsin community, with 42 people buying 586 gallons of gas in an hour and 45 minutes. One person had pumped 27 gallons and two purchased 18 gallons.

Local police saw the horde at the station and called store manager Andrea Reuland, who went to the station and pushed the emergency stop.

“There were cars two deep at each of my pumps,” said Reuland, who knew many of the drivers and told them they were being dishonest — the main store sign had the correct price.

“I was very upset that there’s that many dishonest people,” she said. “They knew there was a problem, and they took advantage of an employee’s mistake and I think that’s terrible.”

This is exactly the kind of story the blogosphere loves and posts about 33 cent gas have been springing up all over the place. The problem is that most of the posts (and most of the comments) seem to be taking the side of the thieves. Yes, I called them thieves. People are cheering for the people who gleefully paid only $0.33/gallon for their gas and booing the police and station manager who put an end to the “jackpot”.

Of course, this mentality is a result of the disgust people have with the ever-increasing gas prices here in America, but, as usual, they’re aiming at the wrong targets. The average gas station only earns one or two cents per gallon of gas. It’s not the station owners who set the prices, but the oil companies themselves. This station owner has been robbed of more than $1700 in gas. Yes, I’m aware that there are laws on the books stating that businesses must honor the “shelf price” of a product, but if you think the law is the be-all end-all of right and wrong then you’re either new here or just visit to look for arguments. The only reason there was such a rush at the station was because people were telling friends, family and strangers about the “bargain price” and they knew it was a mistake. As is most often the case, the consumers were just looking out for themselves and were happily screwing over a gas station that had served their community for years. So I ask: who’s screwing whom?

Oh yeah… and kudos to the police officer who was apparently the only moral person in the area that evening for calling the station manager to end the theft!

  One Response to “Who’s Screwing Whom?”

  1. I am speechless at this… but I’m sure it is the same everywhere, be it in the states, in Asia or in Europe. Glad that you see it this way, instead of doing the same like the other bloggers supporting the ‘thieves’ (as they are called).

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