Just As I Thought

Fill ‘er up with irrationality

The other day I tried to get into a shopping center with a Costco and was thwarted by ridiculous lines of cars, blocking the entrances and the side streets. It looked like a 1970s gas line, but there was no shortage of gas — it’s just that the Costco gas was a dime cheaper than elsewhere.

The other day I tried to get into a shopping center with a Costco and was thwarted by ridiculous lines of cars, blocking the entrances and the side streets. It looked like a 1970s gas line, but there was no shortage of gas — it’s just that the Costco gas was a dime cheaper than elsewhere.

SUVs were lined up down the street, rumbling, their engines running and idling, wasting the very commodity they were seeking. And the Costco is in an industrial area, not a residential one — so these people drove from some distance and passed closer stations.

Let’s do a little math. Say your typical SUV takes 30 gallons of gas. A fill up at Costco versus a closer station is going to save you something like $3 a tank.

How much did the owner of that SUV pay that morning for a Starbucks Latte? A Happy Meal for the kid? Interest on their gas credit card last month? How much are they paid per hour, only to waste it in line for gas? To say nothing of the payment on that mammoth beast they’re driving.

Funny how people don’t factor any of that in, but irrationally flock to save 10¢ a gallon at a distant discount station where they probably waste half a gallon of gas just waiting in line. Oh, the predictability of American consumers.

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