June 24, 2004
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Tuesday, on my way home from work, I had to get gas. I headed over to the Admiral station I usually go to when I’m commuting to or from work, as its right off the highway, and it generally has the cheapest prices along the path. I knew there was trouble as soon as it was in sight. Somehow, in the ~5 blocks between my office and the gas station, I’d traveled back in time 30 years!
It was a madhouse! Cars everywhere! 4 lines stretched out from each side of both rows of pumps, and snaked out of the parking lot and into the street. I had to pull a U-turn on Westnedge (a busy busy busy street, especially at 5 pm) just to get into the queue! What could possibly be going on? Had some disaster happened in the middle east while I was at work? Were we entering a new era devoid of the cheap and convenient source of energy known as fossil fuels? Or had I simply entered the 1970’s!?
Well, I was wrong when I figured that fear was the only motive that could drive so many people to wait in such a ridiculous line simply for a tank of gas. It turned out to be another common human attribute: greed. As it turned out, gas prices had risen about 30 cents that day. Admiral had been slow to adjust, and had hence lured every car to their station. Not that I should complain though, as I was nearly completely empty, and I would have paid nearly 2 dollars if I’d gone to any other station, in comparison to the $1.71 I payed. Capitalism at its finest.