Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Time To Remember

For a few years now, we've probably all been inundated with well-meaning emails from family and friends beseeching us to boycott this gas station or avoid that one, all in an attempt to influence prices. Some of you have heeded that advice and some have merely deleted the emails due to a belief that we had no chance of affecting the price at the pump. That may have been true in the recent past, as I was skeptical as well, but I think that the efforts then were more geared to getting the recipients to alter their habits so that the senders could continue on the paths they had enjoyed.

I don't intend to denigrate the senders, as I firmly believe that there was no nefarious motive behind any email campaign to affect change in the buying habits of those to whom the emails were sent, but I do believe that it is human nature to depend on others to implement change in one's own reticence to do so. Again, I do not condemn, as I have been equally as guilty at some point in my life.

What we have seen of late, however, is a genuine desire to end the escalating and meteoric rise of the price at the pump, combined with a definite inability of many to do anything other than a stark cessation of prior purchasing practices. People finally reached a point where they had no choice but to embark on an unwitting, while coordinated, embargo at the corner gas station. Nationwide, demand has waned.

The result is that which previous and deliberately coordinated attempts have failed to achieve; we have succeeded in altering the price at the pump. To be certain, it has been painful to many and life-altering - albeit on a small scale - but we have managed to navigate through it with relative ease.

I write this in an attempt to remind people that we still have the power, in a capitalistic society, to effect change if we only realize that we do. More importantly, we must remember that we have this power before it becomes more painful than we'd like to begin the process. So far, we have had the good fortune to avoid economic disaster in our habits, but we may not always have time on our side. To be concise, please give more credence to emails in the future that beg for consolidated power to us, the consumers. We do have control, but not if we depend on someone else to hold the wheel.

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