Ed Lombardi 2018

Well, we are all aware that gas prices are outrageous, still climbing and there appears to be no end in sight. 

I saw something the other day that I thought was only a southern (South Carolina) deceptive way of doing business. In very, very fine print on the large road sign at the Shell on U.S. 50 in Winchester, they now show the price of gas in cash. That’s right; it is a cash price not a real price, not a credit card price. 

If you’re paying with a credit card which most people I know do, you will be paying a hidden price of 6 cents more per gallon. So instead of paying the $4.63, which was on the road sign, I paid $4.69. 

Needless to say, I was surprised because after shopping in the same place for gas for almost 20 years I rarely looked to see if the price on the pump was the same as the one on the sign. I just assumed (and we all know what that means) they were the same. 

I was more than surprised at the attitude of the person at the counter when I went in to ask why the price was different. The employee told me, “You should have read the sign.” 

When I went outside and looked at the road sign the letters were so small I barely noticed them — and my distance vision is great. I doubt very much they will care, but I will be shopping at different gas station in the future. Rude people just don’t cut it with me. Plenty of other places to shop. 

I was having dinner with a few friends (all of us are retired) when, as you can imagine, the topic of gas prices came up. It wasn’t surprising how many talked about restricting their trips to Winchester or the Maryland area for shopping because of the cost of gas. 

One of the couples told us about being invited to go to the movies at the Alamo in Winchester and they said their 1st question was what day of the week would it be. 

They only went to Winchester a couple of times a week. They said it was not on the day they went into town so they declined. They explained that their truck got about 16 miles per gallon and that it was a 60-mile round trip and it would cost them an additional $18 to go to the movies. 

Not a lot of money, but when you add the higher prices for food and everything else, and an extra doctor’s appointment here or there, they said it just seemed frivolous. 

For those who live on fixed incomes I can see the struggle. I’m a carnivore and so I like to eat meat, but when there is a $2-per-pound increase in your meat and everything else in the store goes up, you start to see the shrinking dollar effect. You go home with fewer grocery bags for the same amount of money. 

I have a friend who uses fuel oil to heat his house. He said they usually have an opportunity to buy fuel in June at a locked in price if they pay for it then. But not this year. 

He was informed that the fuel oil cost would be based on the daily market value. He chuckled and said that at today’s price it was almost double last year’s cost, which was almost $1,200. Ouch, that hurts. 

CBS News published an online article that said the average household will spend approximately $430 a month — or roughly $5,200 more this year — to live. For most people that is going to be tough. 

I know a young couple with 3 kids who work hard with 2 incomes. They said an extra $5,000 will be extremely taxing. 

For those seniors with fixed incomes I can see that happening to them as well. And with the stock market in free fall, they won’t be able to lean on their 401k to bail them out. 

On a more pleasant note, we continue to hear about the hardships of the Ukrainian people and it hits closer to home for me. 

I have a cousin whose wife is Ukrainian and they have been helping get people brought to this country, helping them find jobs and housing, and so forth. 

The other day they were able to get some of her family here safe and sound. Talk about a joyous reunion. Facebook was exploding. 

Have a blessed week.

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