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COLUMN

Happytown

Vouchers are like depression gift certificates, city elections are like moving goalposts and gas prices are too damn high for Brian Feldman.

Photo: , License: N/A, Created: 2011:06:30 14:02:41


The two airport-adjacent stations have haggled with the city’s code enforcement board, pleading their case (which we’d love for them to reproduce, but neither station’s management would comment) in January to no avail. The stations then sued the city, and a hearing was set for June 30. Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez didn’t issue a ruling that day, but thankfully, there was a stand-in for headlines on the issue: performance artist Brian Feldman, who posted Sun Gas’ prices on a sign roped around his neck as he stood in front of the station for six hours. “This is a true guerrilla performance,” Feldman said, arguing that his presence was art, not protest, because he was “only the stand-in for the non-existent gas price sign.”

The bastard numbers are visible on the pump, however, so we wonder what prevents consumers from whipping out of the station with middle finger erect Matthew-Bartlett-style. Laziness? Try relativity. “Hertz was going to charge me, like, $9.57 per gallon to fill this thing up,” said Jay Buchanan, a 20-something from Boulder, Colo., standing at a Suncoast pump. Inside, one of the cashiers remarked to Happytown™, rhetorically: “You go to Disney and pay $4 for a Coke, and you don’t complain.” Oh yes we do!Slurp.

Back at Sun Gas, another employee complained of customers “taking out their frustrations on the little guy,” before he was reminded by his manager of corporate communications policy.

In other gas-related news, the lefties over at Organize Now! recently clued us in to a report entitled “How Speculation is Affecting Gasoline Prices Today” by Robert Pollin and James Heintz at the Political Economy Research Institute in Amherst, Mass. The authors suggest that without rich guys in suits (or likelier, pajamas) trading holographic oil over the Internet, the average price at the pump in May would have been 83 cents cheaper. “[Each] family spent $82 more in May than necessary for gasoline, and most of this $82 will have made its way into the pockets of large-scale speculators in the oil commodities futures market,” the authors write. God Bless America!

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