How Inconvenient

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Dear Editor:

According to various sources, gas stations only make a few cents per gallon. The National Association of Convenience Stores states that most of stations profits come from the items sold inside the stores.  The Association posts that more than 60% of earnings come from those purchases. Again, according to various online posts, 70% of customers only purchase gas.  The challenge retailer’s face is to increase traffic into their convenience stores. Their associations and other marketing groups present legitimate techniques to increase the flow of traffic exposed to items other than gas related purchases such as advertising on the gas pumps (many with videos to entice), and other techniques with the goal of altering consumer behavior. 

Then there’s the technique that’s less than honorable which I’ve experience more often than not in a couple of our local gas stations.  When finished pumping gas, “yes” is hit when asked if a receipt is wanted.  Has anyone else read “Cashier has receipt”? What good is my receipt to the cashier? Are they keeping a record of my total credit card purchases so they can be reconciled with the invoice at the end of each month? So then I have to go into the “convenience” store, which is the opposite of the convenience I expect when I fill up with gas. If I wanted to buy similar products or items, I’d support our local produce or free standing convenience stores mostly of the ‘mom and pop” variety. I don’t like my consumer behavior altered in that manner.

Many years ago, a former employee told me that his boss deliberately lets his pumps run out of paper in order to force customers into the convenience store for their receipt and therefore increase traffic and their sales of (mostly) grocery store products. I never interviewed station owners but it seems very plausible based on my experience. One of my gas receipts actually says, “Welcome to our store.” I don’t want to have to go into their store when I fill up; especially during a pandemic. 

Lastly, I had to take a picture of a notice on a pump some years ago which actually read, “Because of Salty Air, if the receipt doesn’t come out, please go inside to get one. Sorry for the inconvenience”…….no they are not sorry! Be advised accordingly.

F. Rogers


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