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Everyone has a little Monty Hall in them
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Forsyth County News

After a car purchase, we are in a state of pure bliss when bragging about how we bought that new car for an unbelievably low price. Many of those on the receiving end of the story might comment on how can the dealership stay in business.

And it’s not just cars. Anytime we head to town to make a major purchase, I’m sure there are many that subscribe to my mantra: “Don’t pay retail.”

Like most folks I know, we are willing to pay for quality. We just don’t want to pay too much.

And I know of not a single, solitary soul who will bask in the glory of getting pounded and pillaged.

“I sure took a screwin’ on that one” is worse than saying: “I believe I’ll pull all those weeds today.”

No, any excuse for doing some dickering is an invitation for fun. It can turn a bit ugly, but for the most part, buyer and seller have danced a wonderfully choreographed “Supply and Demand Tango.”

Hopefully, we both walk away a little richer, be it with goods or pocket money.

There is, however, a glaring exception to this. Not a soul can smile over this. Every time we make this deal, we feel handcuffed. Hornswoggled. Screwed over. Robbed.

The crook has no gun. In fact, we do this to ourselves. All the time.

Writing about it now makes me so angry that I just might go buy a Prius. Well, maybe not that mad.

I’m talking about the chicanery and larceny that have been the rule of the day.

People going to the gas pumps these days look like they are re-enacting some kind of Bataan Death March. When we get there, our actions are akin to what we used to experience when we watched Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman during a Saturday matinee with a theater-full of screaming kids.

Just like in those days, we trudge to the pumps, cover our eyes and recoil at the horror of what we are paying to give a little drink to our cars.

I remember very well those college economics classes. My favorite was the one taught by a true, dyed-in-the-wool Marxist. The debates were lively and we seldom agreed.

I recall discussing commerce and fluctuating prices. In high-volume industries, the changes were gradual. Not anymore.

“Come back, Comrade Professor.” We promise we will never again tease you about the beard and ponytail. (Remember, this was the mid-70s and ponytails were worn by cheerleaders).

I am partial to buying gas at a discount store. I figure no one is filling my tank, washing my windshield, checking my tires so why would I pay inflated prices at a big oil company station?

But this recent increase makes being sense to be incensed.

Here’s what has left me with high-octane hypertension:

Ten days ago, I needed to fill-er-up. Driving by the scene of the crime, gas was $2.04 a gallon. Two hours later, I had to ante-up $2.07. I’m thinking we live in a world gone crazy.

But things got more bizarre. While filling up, the manager placed $2.09 on the board. It was like the Jerry Lewis telethon when Jerry would ask Ed McMahon for an update, whereupon Ed would gleefully slur the new inflated total.

Only the money wasn’t coming in. It was being sucked right out of my wallet.

Mind you, all this happened in a matter of an hour. The following day, the retailer proudly displayed $2.13.

What am I missing here? It’s understandable to pay more when the retailer has to pay more. But there’s no way the supply cost much more in a matter of hours, since no new gas had been supplied.

No, that’s price gouging. Taking advantage of us consumers. They’re putting the screws to us. And the merriment has continued. At last glance, the price was $2.29/gallon. Perfect timing for those heading out-of-town for the fall break.

This is utter nonsense. I’m sure those poor souls who are in a glass booth instead of thanking customers are hunkering down.

Maybe, just like in those monster movies, the villagers will rise up, light their torches and storm the stations.

But I doubt it. We’ll all sit in a line for an hour for the privilege of paying a mysteriously inflated price.

I’ve got a vintage 1970 Honda 90 in my garage. Anyone want to help me get it running?

I promise to pay you a lot more today than I would have paid you yesterday.

Mike Tasos can be reached at miketasos@earthlink.net. His column appears in the Forsyth News every other Sunday. He’s serious about that Honda 90, knowing he’ll have no problem filling up it’s two-gallon tank.