If You Think Price Doesn’t Matter…

August 3, 2009
ROUTE 66 SHEA'S FILLING STATIONImage by gobucks2 via Flickr

OK – no big epiphany here, but I wanted to relay a story. This morning in Ludington, Michigan, on Route 10 (a busy commercial drag) there were two gas stations directly across the street from each other at a primary intersection. One was advertising gas for $2.59 a gallon and the other for $2.58. Both were self serve, clean operations with equally desirable access. Guess which one had a line at the pumps while the other one was completely vacant? You guessed it, people were lined up 2 deep, willing to wait and didn’t seem bothered just to save a penny a gallon.

For the typical fill-up, this might have amounted to a total savings of 13 to 20 cents. For this amount of savings, people are willing to wait? You can’t tell me that it’s mostly about perception and culture. I think that more than anything, people would just feel foolish standing at a pump that costs a penny more when obvious savings were in plain sight. This has to speak volumes about human behavior when considering much more expensive purchases where obvious savings range in the hundreds to thousands of dollars for the same product. Stop and ask yourself which operation you’re running.

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