Friday, January 23, 2009

Boob tube boycott at the pump

I'm sure you've noticed the recent trend recently that many gas stations have been installing flat screen televisions on top of their gas pumps. My initial gut reaction to this was, "Oh goody!! Television while I pump gas! Now I won't be bored for the 4 minutes it takes to fill my tank!" But, alas, my initial enthusiasm was soon met by disappointment as I quickly realized that for every 20 seconds of news/weather or entertainment programing came 2 minutes of ads. So my 4 minutes was really 40 seconds of useful TV. Although, to be fair, one recent fill-up was a full 2 minutes 40 seconds as I would always consider any Billy Mays commercial to be useful television.

To make matters worse 1/4th of the screen on the left side are scrolling print ads. You can actually watch 2 ads at the same time! The gas stations are really trying to squeeze every last possible ad moment out of you when they know that they have a captured audience with no 30 second skip button. Personally, if I were an advertiser I would really see the value. We are drawn to the flickering light of TV like a moth to the flame. So while we are hypnotized into watching the gas pump television, we have no choice but to watch what the gas company wished to put in front of us. However, I suppose the idea hasn't caught on very well as of yet as half the ads are about advertising on their network of gas station TVs.

I guess I would be more willing to subject myself to this sort of advertising if I could see my share of the revenue being put into lowering the price per gallon. The least they could do is drop the extra 9/10th of a cent per gallon. You can't even buy a thought for less than a penny. It's the only product where we tolerate a company charging us tenths of a penny. What happens if I fill up with exactly 9 gallons of gas, does that extra tenth of a penny get rounded up or down? I'm willing to bet that they consider that a whole penny! Betcha that they don't charge that extra 9/10ths to the advertisers for their TV screens. Yet again, we the consumer are the ones getting screwed.

In the spirit of MLK Jr. day this past Monday, I say that we boycott whatever businesses that advertise on gas station televisions and that we keep boycotting until we no longer have to pay for that extra 9/10ths of of penny per gallon again!

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