Greetings, Happy New Year and Sorry Again for the delays.
I'm posting here again because the price for a gallon of Regular gasoline at my little store has gone up 20 cents in a week -- from $3.39 per gallon to $3.59.
The national news media says this price spike is due to oil refineries shutting down to switch from their Winter-blend gas to their Summer blend.
I don't know, maybe. Sounds like a hype to me, though. Is the Summer blend thinner? Thicker? Sweeter? What?
To sort-of counteract this, and at roughly the same time, my boss recently dropped prices on beer and cigarettes -- the two biggest items people come into my little store for.
Cigarette prices drop by 40 cents per pack if you buy 2 or more packs. Beer prices, meanwhile, have dropped a dime each for 24-ounce cans up to $2 on 12-packs and 18-packs.
All this happened just in time for the Super Bowl -- good timing. We reportedly now have the cheapest beer prices in town. And our cigarette prices are pretty reasonable too -- for Washington state, where there's really no such thing as "cheap smokes." Before the price change, our cheapest pack of cigarettes was $6.39 plus nearly-9-percent sales tax.
My boss has made these price reductions -- which come straight out of his profit-margin -- because business has been pretty flat since at least September -- and the Summer wasn't the business bonanza we'd all expected, either. I was surprised that we even received Christmas bonuses this year. The boss is trying to come up with more reasons for people to come INTO the store -- because that's where he makes his profit, not on the gas.
Every time I hear something on the national news about how the economy's improving, I just think about how slow things have been at work, how many people are still on Food Stamps or Unemployment, how we've all had to redefine what "a busy night at work" means.
There are still a few people out there with money ... but we haven't seen too many of them, lately.
How are things in your neck of the woods...?
In other updates, our last Real Worker left in December, and now I'm mostly surrounded by a crew that's just collecting a paycheck. A LOT of stuff is left for me to take care of at night -- when I allegedly have All The Time In The World. Stocking, cleaning, emptying garbages, vacuuming, taking care of customers -- you name it, I do it all.
We hired a couple of new people before the holidays, but on a bad day neither of them do all that much, and there were a LOT of things Management apparently didn't tell the newest of our employees. She ALWAYS has questions whenever she works, and she can't seem to remember all that much.
I can always tell when I've had a couple of days off, because when I go back to work on Wednesday evening, the store is usually a shambles and it's clear that nothing much has been stocked since I went home Sunday night.
I've complained about this a couple of times, but my manager just shuts me off. Just a little more effort out of everyone else would make me a happier guy. I know they all have demands on their time, but they sure don't seem to Do Much. And if that's the case, why do I always feel like I'm running around like a crazy person...?
Our store motto sometimes seems to be: Let the 53-year-old bald tired stressed-out guy do it.
But it's always been like this, and I don't see it changing much until I can't keep up anymore.
At least they're still paying me....
So, stop in and see me sometime!