Monday, September 22, 2008

Not hoarding

It seems only Hurricane Ike and the Nashville gas shortage could drive Gov. Sara Palin off everyone's radar. Nashville has, apparently, kicked into 'snow mode'. At the first hint of gasoline shortages from Hurricane Ike Nashvillians started buying gasoline like it was milk, bread and cigs when Snow Bird makes an appearance.

Our gasoline story goes like this:

A week and a half ago, Thursday, I made my usual run to Sam's which always includes topping off my 27 mpg sedan. I was astonished to see that every pump had an orange cone blocking it. The attendant told me that they were out of gasoline and it would be later that day before they expected more. Well, I still had half a tank. I could wait.

I was back in that same area on Tuesday and found that while most of the pumps were still 'coned' there were some cars filling up. However, as I attempted to pull in the attendent conveyed the bad news that they were down to their last 40 gallons and it would likely be gone by the time the few cars ahead of me were done. This time I couldn't wait and I headed a couple of miles over where I knew there to be three filling stations.

They did have gasoline but they also had lines of cars parked at odd angles trying to get in line. The pumps were very slow. We timed it and getting our 12 gallons took 7 minutes. Which is longer than usual and quite long when you've got hot and bothered folks wondering what's taking you so long. One fellow ahead of me in line finished filling up and gave me a palms-up, shoulder shrug. When I poked my head out the window to ask what that gesture meant he impatiently retorted that I'd blocked him in. Since when is pulling up in line 'blocking' anyone? What was really blocking us all was the fact that folks, in their impatience to get on the property weren't careful about positioning and usual egress wasn't possible. So I and the woman behind me backed up to allow this fellow room to back out and move out. Considering his ill temper--we were glad to help him leave.

Two days later, I got a call from my husband whose 40 mpg sub-compact was running dry. He was unable to find a station with gasoline on his way to work that morning. He estimated he had enough to make it back home but could I fill up the 5 gallon can for him to pour into his tank when he got home? In fact maybe I should make sure my car was topped up too if I found gasoline. So my son and I headed off on the Great Gasoline Search. While our neighorhood was dry another a couple of miles over still had several stations with lines. Thankfully, we only had to wait for one car ahead of us. I put 4 gallons in my tank and 5 in the gas can for my husband. Then I drove a mile up the road to the Farmer's Co-op, purchased another 5 gallon can, returned to the gas station to fill it up all to ensure my husband would have a full tank when he got home. I never would have guessed that I'd be adding 10 gallons of gasoline for my husband's car to my usual grocery run. But it makes more sense for me to search around for it and wait in line than for him to waste valuable income earning time in the search for fuel to get him to work.

So if you see me filling two 5 gallon cans, I'm not hoarding. I'm shopping for my husband so he can keep working to earn the money to pay for gasoline at $4.29 a gallon to actually get to work to earn money to pay for gasoline...


Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Frankly, I'm upset at the accusations of hoarding and panic.

My husband's colleague's pregnant wife ran out of gas while waiting in line Friday. He had to take a gas can to fill up so they could move her car, and people yelled at him for hoarding.

Meanwhile, there are real and serious reasons people need gas. It's not all topping off to go to the movies!

My newborn is going to need daily, cross-town doctor visits for at least a week after birth. I'm praying that the shortage (real or perceived) will have eased by then.

Kay Brooks said...

I expect it will. I'm sure it was worse this weekend because that's when people had time and money to actually buy gasoline. Those who plan ahead and can get around while they're all at work will probably fare better. Hopefully, we'll at least avoid the ill-tempered folks.

We're not joy riding either--groceries, church, slumber party--who could look at that sweet face and say "Not this weekend"? :-)

Nashteach said...

Well, although I'm kind of a news junkie, I didn't know about this until Friday evening while visiting my wife's aunt and other family in town for a visit.

Anyway, my SUV had about a third of a tank. I was a bit worried only because it was possible I'd have to go to Fairview to pick up the kids from their grandmother's on Sunday. She called on Saturday and told me the Krogers on Charlotte had gas and the lines weren't too long (she also told me about the guy in front of her who added one gallon to his car to top it off). Anyway, by the time I got there, no gas. I drove up Charlotte and then back Harding to no avail. I went home thinking I could use my whole tank just searching for gas.

We made the soccer game, the grocery. Grandma (they have like four cars) brought the kids home. I put my "lawnmower gas" of about 2 gallons in the car, and I'm still pretty much at a third of a tank.

I live 2 miles from work so I think I'm good for the week.

Kind of an eye opener, though.