If I must see advertisements at the gas station, why isn't my gas cheaper?
Ads? What Ads?
So, I pull into my local gas station and pull up to the pump proceeding to undo my seat belt and open the door. It's a sultry 5 degrees with a 35 mile per hour breeze gently blowing my last two hairs around, so I hurriedly open my gas tank lid and step up to the pump, quickly sliding my card in and out of the slot until it reads it correctly. Now I am ready to get some gas, right? I flip the handle up, and it begins by asking,"credit or debit?" on the screen, as if I give a hoot! Either option is destined to continue on endlessly asking questions, pin number, zip code, do i want a receipt, shoe size... you get the drift. I just want some gas NOW so I proceed to answer all it's inane questions, shove the nozzzle in the tank, and press the handle to get things flowing.
Suddenly, I hear one sexy woman robot (or Commander Data imitating Dr. Crusher) behind me ask, "Are You Hungry?" I spin around quickly to find it is the screen at the gas pump, and it now has an ad for beef jerky where Bigfoot whizzes in some guy's face for playing a prank on him, which did not cause me to want anything to eat or drink, and yet it was comical at the same time. As I enjoyed the humor for a second, up pops Regis with Sharon Osborne doing some bit. It wasn't as funny as Regis felt it was, but still entertaining enough for me to forget how cold it was for a moment as well as that I only wanted ten dollars in gas. We are now nearing 15. It was then that two things came to mind, "they did that on purpose to trick me into buying more gas!" and more importantly, "Why is the gasoline here the same price as down the street?"
Why isn't it? ... Why not?
I have learned in my life that advertising is supported by money paid by the company doing the advertising to the ones running the advertisements, in this case the gasoline station. Since they are being paid to run these ads to captive audiences, shouldn't that decrease their overhead and make the gas cheaper? Seems like a reasonable question to ask, not even taking into account the amount of extra gasoline they sell because people are watching these advertisements, possibly awaiting some coupon. (which is an advertisement of a different sort) In turn these advertisements and coupons will get more foot traffic into their store, where the big profits are made. It is an ingenius idea, to be sure, and i hope the one who came up with it was compensated in the extreme although i doubt that, either. I still wonder, though, why is the gasoline there not cheaper?
Fact is, I could go about to several of these stations and ask, but would most likely get the patented, "I don't know. We don't set the prices" routine.(I have) I could contact their upper management, and most likely get the same response. (I have not) I could even contact the president / CEO of the parent oil company, but would likely get some mumbo jumbo about oil costs and refining capabilities we have all heard for years. Or, I could ask our old dear friend, Mr. Common Sense.
ME: Mr Sense,...
C.S.: Please, call me Common
ME: O.K. Common, why is the gasoline at this place not cheaper than at those others without ads?
C.S.: Why not?
ME: Oh.yeaahhh! Right. Thank you Mr. Common Sense
We still keep stopping there. It is on our way home, brightly lit, has clean restrooms, whatever our reason is. that is why, and now you know why the gas there is no cheaper than those other places. WE allow it to be. There are many areas of life in today's world where it's the same, we are overcharged or mistreated, and we are to blame for allowing it, sometimes even thinking it's a good thing (airport oversecurity comes to mind) and there is nothing left we can do about it.