While filling up my Honda with $40 worth of gas, I was suddenly reminded how we have completely forgotten to bitch about fuel prices.
Which reminds me: Who in the hell watches Becker? I see promos for it on WGN all the time. How did Becker get a syndication deal? Who says, “Hey, I got to get home in time to watch Becker!” I mean, come on! Becker?
That’s what I was thinking as I watched the fuel pump briskly pass the $40 mark. Yesterday, I noted that CNN predicts that gas will become even more costly. Get ready for $4 a gallon. And yet, no outrage.
Meanwhile, the fuel industry announces record profits. I guess somebody figured out that if you raise prices, you increase your bottom line. See, I always thought that prices increased as a result of corporate cost. Not so, I guess. Congratulations, Exxon shareholders. Somebody cracked the formula for riches.
Imagine if the milk industry followed the same model. What if, for whatever reason, the cost to produce milk increased. So the milk farmers sell their milk at a higher price. Then milk distributers, like Coleman, pass that cost onto us, the milk-chugging consumer. We pay the the price because, well, Rice Krispies don’t crackle by themselves. And besides, it’s not Coleman’s fault that milk production costs are at a record high.
And then, imagine grinning Coleman executives announcing record profits.
That’s exactly what Exxon did last year. I loved the press release. Exxon claimed that the record profit was not the result of increasing the price of gas, but because they “streamlined their processes.” Bastards. They streamlined the process by adding bigger numbers to the price.
Everybody should do it. If a Pontiac Sunfire retails at $16,999, why not sell it for $50,999 instead? Seems like an obvious move for job-slashing Detroit, no? All you have to do is reprint some sales signs, and you can pass that cost to the consumer, too. We won’t complain. And if we do, just explain that the manufacturing costs for plastic hubcaps have skyrocketed. We understand. Later, you can pass off the record-breaking profits as a result of “synergized efficiency,” or some other bullshit none of us understands. You might have to suppress more skeptical nay-sayers with allusions to patriotism.
Next time my paycheck is dropped onto my desk, I’m tossing it back and announcing, “Rates have increased, my friend.” See, the cost of me thinking of stupid headlines for stupider products has gone up. Blame the war in Iraq. So if you want more work from me, it’ll cost you an additional zero. Don’t complain. We’re in war economy! Just pass the increase down to our clients, who don’t know their ass from their elbows anyway.
Aside from The Angry Czeck, no one else seems alarmed that $4 a gallon is on the horizon. We’re the land of the wealthy, after all. Except if you’re poor. Then $4 a gallon might as well be $50. But then, we don’t care about the poor anyway.
Right now, I have a handsome view of traffic at the intersection of Cantrell and Markham. Every other car is an SUV. Maybe that’s why we don’t care. We know that, all things being unequal, high gas prices is the punishment for saying “Fuck You” to reasonable fuel consumption.
Some years ago, a coworker of mine demanded that we all boycott gas stations for a day to protest high fuel costs (back when gas was encroaching a whole two buck per gallon). This woman drove the biggest truck at the agency. One of those monstrosities that gets about nine to a gallon. Instead of forcing gas-station owners out of business, I recommended that we ride bicycles to work instead. Which turned out to be an unpopular suggestion, probably because it sounds too Chinese.
We’re not protesting high fuel prices because we believe we had it coming. That’s the only explanation I can come up with. Maybe when gas hits $10 a gallon, we’ll groan.
Meanwhile, I recommend alleviating your gas costs by investing more cash in Exxon.