The Legend Of The $1.549 Gas

Tony was pumping gas at a Maryland convenience store when he noticed something awesome: the gas, advertised for $3.54, was only $1.54. He then did the right thing and told the store about it. “My friends are ridiculing me for informing the store clerk of the error,” writes Tony, “but the way i figure it – I would be complaining if it had been ringing up at $4.54/gallon instead so how would it be any better if i tried to rip them off?” Good point Tony, and good consumering! Though, it sounds like not everyone was honest as Tony. He adds, “By the way, i noticed the place was unusually busy today. I imagine a few people informed their friends who told their friends…” What would you have done? Select your answer from our morality poll inside…

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  1. SomeoneGNU says:

    I’m too honest but mostly because I wouldn’t want someone taking advantage of a mistake I made.

  2. EWGF says:

    I’m always suspicious now of such a pricing error, no matter how much it would benefit me.

    If there’s one thing I learned from consumerist, it’s that cashing in a check that you don’t deserve is stupid, and I’m willing to apply to anything else.

  3. ideagirl says:

    @SomeoneGNU: Me, too. I also tell cashiers when they have given me too much change. /dumbass

  4. hypnotik_jello says:

    sigh, yet another gawker poll that doesn’t seem to submit in FF

  5. KD17 says:

    I probably would have already started to fill up before looking at the price so I would have finish filling the tank then went and said something and paid whatever I owed.

  6. squablow says:

    I know it’s wrong, but I would have went for the cheap fillup. Happened once here in Wisconsin, I think the price was like 36 cents instead of 3.60

  7. Well, Considering their ripping us off already I’d feel pretty good about ripping them off, though I’d hope it wouldn’t get the attendant fired.

  8. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Honestly, I may not have even noticed until it was too late. I’m notoriously bad at noticing things like that.

    Had I noticed, I probably would have told them after I finished filling up.

  9. KyleOrton says:

    I pick and choose the businesses that I want to lose money on me. Most gas stations I visit are locally owned with visible owners and I don’t want them losing $2/gallon.

    On the other hand, I enjoy only purchasing loss leaders at big box stores and would jump at the chance to cost the oil companies as much dough as possible.

  10. failurate says:

    A few months ago I probably would have told the gas station before filling up. Now, after signing up for a mortgage and a wife, if I find your wallet on the street, you might get it back, empty.

  11. BMRFILE says:

    The way I see it, if the gas stations are owned and operated by oil companies themselves, I would have spread it around and told everyone I know and never tell the clerk. However, gas stations are own by individual owners and they make very little on gasoline sales (we’re talking pennies per gallon). They’re certainly not the ones to blame for the high cost of gas.

    But I would screw oil companies any way I can.

  12. NightSteel says:

    @AbstractConcept: The problem with this idea is that the station owner will almost certainly end up eating the cost of the mix-up, and the station owners are *not* the causes of the ridiculously high gas prices. If I’m not mistaken, most of them have some sort of contract that specifies they will charge whatever prices their gasoline distributor specifies.

    I voted for ‘pay and drive off’, but I’m not 100% sure that I’d do that, because my wife and I’s cars get really good mileage, and even with high prices, I’m not feeling the pinch that badly. I’m sure if we drove less efficient cars, though, I’d fill up and call my wife to come do the same.

  13. Buran says:

    @failurate: can I sign up on the latter list?

  14. Manok says:

    I always pay at the pump so I would just pay and drive off. I hate going into gas stations.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I can top that…I will submit the receipt when I get home and copy/scan and figure out who to send it to here.

    Last October filled my car for .28 cents a gallon. When they changed price it should have been $2.89, somebody didn’t check placement of the decimal point!

    Filled my car for $4.30!

    And it was one those “faceless” gas stations owned by Shell Oil.

  16. Coder4Life says:

    The gas station is not ripping is us off. It’s the big companies…

  17. Verdigris says:

    I would fill up and just drive off, without paying… shows them right.

    But really, I would pay, then tell them. Might as well get in on a good deal, then tell them so it doesn’t happen again.

    America is all about jumping on benficial situations before they are gone.

  18. Fry says:

    If it was the station I worked at (with the bosses I worked for), or my local station in town, I’d tell them. Anyone else, fuck ’em. They are just about all owned by Big Oil anyways.

  19. TacoDave says:

    I live in Oregon, so we aren’t allowed to pump our own gas. It’s too dangerous.

    So I don’t even look at the price anymore, which is probably the whole point. Sneaky Oregon…

  20. thirdbase says:

    Screw em. Sign and drive baby.

  21. I would like to hope I’d do the right thing, but after putting $50 in my tank for the second time this week, I’d take the cheap gas a run.

    But I do tell folks when I have too much change and I return found wallets/valuables. It’s two-faced-ed, I know, but I don’t care.

  22. humphrmi says:

    To be quite honest, I wouldn’t have noticed the pump price until I filled, paid by CC at the pump, gotten the receipt, and gone home. Not that I’m dishonest, just lazy and don’t really care.

  23. MissTic says:

    It’s not the gas station owners that are screwing us…just sayin’

  24. ludwigk says:

    Gas stations around where I live always seem to be full of sketchy customers and attendants. I would fill up and pay, then, if the inside of the store didn’t look like a crack den, step in and alert them. Otherwise, I’d drive off. Not worth getting involved with the usual hooligan crowd.

  25. xl22k says:

    A couple months ago I filled up my car with 87 octane for ~ $3.40 / gallon only to realize when I was fiinished that the 89 octane next to it was $1.59.

    So…you can imagine how pissed I was. Now I always check before I pump.

  26. LunarLoki says:

    I would have filled up and then told all of my friends. It is the business’s responsibility not ours.

  27. nsv says:

    After the first 20 people came in to pay for $20 worth of gas instead of $80, how did they not notice themselves?

  28. hamsangwich says:

    Wow, I can’t believe people would rip off the gas station. They make hardly anything on the price of gas. Also, gas is a cash business. When that truck pulls up to the gas station to fill up the gas stations tanks the owner has to pay on the spot. Taking advantage of this offer screws the little guy and has no effect on the problem of expensive gas.

  29. If its an evil capitalist chain company, don’t tell them. Ever. Take as much as they stole from you. If its a small town owned by one guy business tell them before pumping.

  30. studio3d says:

    I ended up picking the majority choice (pump and then tell). When something is mislabeled, I like the department store policy of “You let me have it for this which makes me like you more and I tell you about it so you can fix it.”

    I suppose the best choice would be to tell the gas attendant before pumping… but I hate going in the store. I would probably press the button while I was pumping and tell them through the speaker.

  31. unravel says:

    I’d go in and tell someone before filling up, or pay the difference when I went inside. As nice as a cheap, full tank would be, acquiring it like this would make me a dick. Somebody’s going to suffer because of it, and I’d hate to think I played a part in say, a struggling parent or student losing their job (especially in this economy), or added to the thousands than an independent owner would have to cover by themselves. Even at the stores operated by the oil/gas companies, someone’s bound to be penalized :|

  32. unravel says:

    @nsv: Given the number of people paying at the pump with credit/debit, I imagine it’d take a good, long time before twenty people actually went inside to pay, in most places. My husband always pays at the pump, even if he’s going in for coffee or cigs.

    I don’t understand how it goes on for so long in some places, either though. It seems like people swarming to your pumps would set some serious “Oh noooes!”es off.

  33. Myotheralt says:

    the clerks can’t change the gas prices, only the managers can

  34. rachaeljean says:

    It kind of depends for me. Small, Mom & Pop-ish station? Tell them. BP or Exxon or something? Enjoy the windfall, w00t! “This is for the penguins!!!!”

  35. parad0x360 says:

    Considering the price of gas is artificially inflated to obscene prices I would happily pay the discounted rate, then i would come back with 20 gas cans and fill those as well.

  36. riverstyxxx says:

    Not entirely sure, you all make good points. I couldn’t come up with an answer because I wouldn’t be able to call my friends since I don’t technically have any. And I don’t even have a car.

    1. Gas is expensive already, why not stick it to them?
    2. Clerks aren’t responsible.
    3. Gas stations can’t charge much lower, so they would be at a loss. However, a lot of gas stations suck and the people are so rude.
    4. You would think that all the crowds of people coming in, paying 1/3rd of the normal total would set off something in their head.
    5. Driving off without paying is another option, obviously it’s stealing. I’ve never done it, but I don’t feel bad if I hear someone else does it. The usual reason is that it’s too expensive.

    I don’t have an answer though.

  37. WV.Hillbilly says:

    I just filled the tanks in my vehicles the other day, so this wouldn’t have done me any good.

  38. sam1am says:

    I amazed how almost everyone considers themselves an honest person, yet only 14% of people in the poll would do the right thing.

    It’s an obvious error and the store will lose money for every gallon of gas it pumps at that price. If you KNOW that you are not paying an honest price for what you’re getting, then it is dishonest. At least in my book.

    And for those who will say “well, it’s their fault for the error” just try to apply the golden rule. Would you want to lose $2 a gallon at a gas station you owned? The losses could be in the thousands for a single day!

    Honesty seems to be subjective.

    “Every way of man is right in his own eyes.”


  39. sam1am says:

    LunarLoki: Taking advantage of people, ftw!

  40. RookOmega says:

    This is a tough one.

    I mean, the price of gas at a station goes up overnight if something happens in the gulf, (how the gas in their storage tanks magically increases in price due to crude prices rising the next day).

    The oil companies seem to have no problem taking my money…

  41. @sam1am:

    Its not the right thing when the oil is being sold to the company by someone for a profit, which is stealing from that company because it is selling it for more than they had to pay for it, then the middlemen sell it on to you the consumer who feel the pain most because you at the bottom have to pay the most for the stuff you need because thanks to supply-and-demand and capitalism means that they will screw you for every single penny or dime they can. Welcome to Capitalism.

    You’ve been well and truly sucked in.

  42. modenastradale says:

    In all honesty, I think I’d fill up my car and never notice. Even now, I can’t really comprehend the fact that gasoline costs more than $2 per gallon, let alone nearly (or exceeding) $4. In fact, when I read this post, I thought: “What’s the fuss? It was just $X.74 at Arco this morning.” The X is becoming so arbitrarily large that I’m filtering it out to protect my psyche. :-)

    As to the ethical question of what I’d do if I realized the disparity… like many others here, I think it depends on the situation, but I’d probably tell before filling. Most gas stations are individually owned and have very tight margins. I wouldn’t feel right taking advantage of them.

    On the other hand, if I knew I was dealing with a store owned by a petroleum company, I would take the windfall without hesitation. In the last few years, petroleum companies have made incredible profits off the backs of ordinary people’s dependence on gasoline. I’d relish the opportunity to cut into their profits just a bit.

  43. Trai_Dep says:

    If there was a way to make the oil oligarchs pay, I’d wear a sandwich board and fire flares up and down Sunset Blvd to hook in new customers to take advantage of the mistake. Unfortunately, most of the stations are owned by indie operators, and they’re as screwed by Big Oil as we are.

  44. Anonymous says:

    @Communist_Gamer: You don’t have to buy your gas at the pump, you know. You can buy from distributors. Just be prepared to buy it by the truckload.

    Gas stations get to mark up the gas they sell. Aside from the fact that making a profit is how businesses get to stay around and continue to provide services, you’re paying a higher price per gallon for the convenience of buying your gas one tank at a time instead of having to get a reservoir installed in your backyard.

  45. Pooterfish says:

    I’m amazed at the people who are willing to take advantage of the store’s error and basically rip them off. I bet every one would scream bloody murder if the gas station accidentally charged them $5/gallon.

    And what’s with all the big oil hating? Crude is over $115/barrel and oil companies make only an average pre-tax profit on sales. I’d love to hear how you think you can produce gasoline at a lower cost.

  46. I dont even think its possible to drive off without paying anymore. The pumps dont even dispense gas without payment first.

  47. bohemian says:

    It depends on the gas station doing it. If it was the one by our house that has been jacking up the price of gas by 10-40 cents during morning rush hour and then putting it back down to the city average price after everyone has gone to work, hell yes. This is the same place that had the sign 25 cents less than the pump. When I went in and told them they just grunted at me. When I mentioned that was illegal the bothered to have the manager change it with lots of dirty looks.

    The same company owns that also owns like 100 stations in the area so it isn’t some mom & pop operation.

    If it was another station I would probably tell someone. Unless is was a corporate owned Shell or Exxon or something. Then I would be calling everyone I know.

  48. VashTS544 says:

    Honestly, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Just keep it to myself. Anyway, with the way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if riots started breaking out soon. Seriously, I wouldn’t. People can only take so much before they snap, as a whole.

  49. I would tell the station owner. your basically stealing from the station. The people saying it’s not their job to point out the stations mistake I consider thieves. I truly hope people who take advantage of stuff like this get charged with a crime.

  50. Blackneto says:

    I caught a break last year.

    I filled up, then noticed the price.

    I took a picture of it and the total and went in to pay.

    I asked the clerk about it but he didn’t care.

  51. StevieD says:

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    I don’t want to get screwed over by my mistakes and I won’t take advantage of others either.

  52. Allison4 says:

    This happened recently in Wilmington NC. The clerk accidently set the price at $.35 per gallon instead of $3.35. They were CRAZY busy all day with long lines and a bunch of people acting like they’re insane.

    After a few hours of this chaos, the clerk became suspicious and checked the pump to find the error. I wouldn’t have wanted to be her! Everyone had called their aunt, uncle and cousin to fill up, of course.

  53. antisane says:

    @hypnotik_jello: I had a problem with certain parts of this site until I allowed scripts from gawker in my NoScript FF addon.

  54. thirdbase says:

    @ wvhillbilly: Great post way to add to the discussion. Why would you even waste a moment typing that. Knucklehead.

  55. humphrmi says:

    I’d fill up my trunk with gas. Then drive to Peru. With lots of stops and starts.

  56. Charred says:

    Honesty is honesty, regardless of your circumstances.

  57. Bill Brasky says:

    I’m in school for a law enforcement degree. Dishonesty is unacceptable. (Degree or not.)

  58. Islandkiwi says:

    I’d chalk it up to gas station promotion, and do nothing. I mean, how would the clerks not notice something was horribly wrong?

  59. humphrmi says:

    @Bill Brasky: I know people in law school degree programs. Dishonesty is required by the curriculum.

  60. Onouris says:

    There isn’t a hope in hell they’d get told by me. Sure, it’s the right thing to do, but when have gas stations ever done the right thing themselves? As soon as the price of oil goes up, the price of gas goes up, including the gas that has already been made from the cheaper oil and is already in the pumps.

    That’s not doing the right thing now is it.

  61. kyle4 says:

    I’d fill up, pay and leave. They already charge up the ass for gas, and we’re being gipped by them enough. It’s there duty to notice the mistake.

  62. Nakko says:

    I would have assumed that some of the LCD/LED numbers were busted so that a 3 or a 4 just happened to look like a 1.

  63. god_forbids says:

    For the love of all that is good and holy, people! OPEC/oil producing NATIONS, not companies, are the only ones who control supply of oil. YOU, and the Chinese, businesses, and all the other users of oil make up the demand.

    Tell me again, how the hell are high oil/gas prices are the fault of:

    the Fed?
    the leader of the executive, USA?
    any other world leader?
    “oil companies”?
    oil refiners?
    local gas station owners?

    I realized when I was like 9 years old that prices can’t be helped by governments that DON’T HOLD THE KEYS TO THE PUMP. Cut your use of oil or go shoot some oil country leaders, oh wait that’s unpopular (Iraq). Or how about drilling the massive reserves in the U.S.? Environmentalists: NIMBY!!!!! NIMBYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

    OIC the only way to make prices in the U.S. half of what the rest of the world pays, is by acting like raving lunatics and doing the mad monkey dance whenever our flame-liquid costs us more beans, and threatening wild-eyed to slit the throats of politicians that don’t appease us with lawsuits and subsidies, ahhhh then we can fire up the Hummer and go for a ride.

    I can see why the world hates us.

  64. Charred says:

    @Onouris: Can you say “sophistry?”

    I knew you could!

  65. NereusRen says:

    @humphrmi: He said law *enforcement*, not law school, but… I’d say the same applies.

  66. wildness says:

    Bottomline: Mistakes are there to be taken advantage of, so do it.

    Back in the day, if you looked hard enough at Fry’s Electronics, you find a rack of $350 hard drives with price stickers for a $150 CD Drive on them and get a great deal (this won’t work anymore with the system they now use).

  67. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    When they have those obnoxious TVs on the pumps or speakers in the pump handle blaring advertising at me at 90db while I’m trying to just get gas, you’re damned right I’m going to pump and leave.

  68. Infinity_8 says:

    My Dad works for an oil company and does not have to pay for his gas, what a great perk! Oil companies average 4 billion dollars in profit per quarter. Do you think they are thinking of your well being by raising the prices? Do you think this summer that oil companies will be thinking of the hard working Americans when they raise prices to $4.00 a gallon? Oil companies are money hungry scum companies that only want to maximize profit at any expense. I can’t wait until more and more hybrids and vehicles with alternative fuel sources come out and oil companies days are numbered.

  69. @TheSpatulaOfLove: What, you don’t like to get the weather report while you pump your gas? It’s not like you are outside or anything…

  70. Namrepus says:

    I work at a gas station and this has happened before.

    Luckily it was the “Gold” grade gas was showing up for $1.599. NO ONE noticed it till I was almost off the shift and someone tells me about it. I call my boss and tell her, she says to bag the pump and hope to god no one caught on to it.

    Luckily, it turned out that the LCD screen was broken and instead of showing $3.599, showed $1.599

  71. karmaghost says:

    Where was this at? Looks like GetGo. I forget, does the GetGo pump reflect your Giant discount after you scan your card or does it remain the same on the readout? I’d chalk this up to a problem with the computer discount system if I didn’t know any better.

  72. unravel says:

    @riverstyxxx: People who attempt to justify their theft of gas with bad emo poetry about how it’s just too expensive to pay for are dicks, and I hope their cars explode (while unoccupied, of course).

    I know some people who’ve been penalized because some whiny asshat with an inflated sense of entitlement felt he/she was due for a game of gas ‘n go, leaving those working at the time on the hook for that tank of gas. Same thing at restauraunts, and the jerks who dine ‘n dash.

  73. kyle4 says:

    @unravel: There’s a big difference between filling your gas up and driving off and taking advantage of an error in their system and still paying. That’s a bad analogy.

  74. FrankReality says:

    I’m shocked… so few doing the honest and moral option.

  75. WingZero987 says:

    It’s really disappointing to read how many people wouldn’t do the correct thing. People will qualify and water-down their decision to make themselves feel clean, but really it’s a case of poor moral and ethics.

    Just like you want companies to “do the right thing,” you as a consumer have the same responsibility. Whether you like it or not, companies offer a service to society. We need GOOD companies, just like companies need GOOD consumers.

    Next time any poster is scumbagged, remember that you’re admitting that you’d do the same thing, so it’s just life being fair. Next time someone finds your wallet and returns it to you intact, you deserve that sick feeling that you’ll get because you know you’re not capable of doing the same kind gesture.

  76. kelptocratic says:

    Where’s the poll option for:

    “Fill-up, pay, leave, rent flatbed truck, buy a dozen empty oil barrels, return, and pump like my life depended on it.”

  77. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Not only would I fill up my car, but I’d take a dump in the windshield squeegee tank to clear up some room for a gas-hose enema.

    I’d have no regrets for “ripping” off the gas station….that’s payback for the 9/10ths of a cent bullshit.

  78. bigmil87 says:

    I would without a doubt fill up and tell everyone I know about it. It’s not my fault they made a mistake however I have no qualms in exploiting such mistake.

  79. Hawk07 says:

    Happened to me once except the price on the pump was only 2 cents cheaper than that on the sign. Big whoop.

  80. cuiusquemodi says:

    @Bill Brasky: I’m not… entierly sure how your second statement follows from the first. Would dishonesty be acceptable if you were not studying for a law enforcement degree?

    I’d like to say I’d do the right thing. Knowing myself, I’d fuel up and then keep the information to myself.

  81. celerium says:

    Consumerist is about fair play. I think honest dealing works if it goes both ways. I don’t want to merchants to rip me off, so I shouldn’t do that to them either. And I don’t.

  82. P_Smith says:

    My initial suspicion would have been that the pump was showing price per quart instead of price per gallon and that the seller was trying to rip people off.

  83. JollyJumjuck says:

    $3.60 a gallon for gas? I’m paying over $4.50 a gallon! Even at the right price, you people are still getting a bargain!

  84. Feba says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t be doing any of the above, as I hate cars. Driving makes me feel incredibly anxious; even just to a nearby store and back is awful. Ethically speaking, it is their responsibility, they cannot rely on the consumer to point out their mistakes– especially when many of them won’t even walk into the store. If a teller gives me incorrect change, I’m the one that has to realize if I’m losing money. If a company sets their prices too high, it’s unlikely I’d get a refund. It’s perfectly fair to me.

  85. whatevernever says:

    I had read somewhere that the owner makes more money when gas is cheaper then when it is expensive.They make only pennies right now. I don’t remember where I had read that though.

  86. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Riddle me this:
    If higher gas prices are caused by higher oil prices…and people are buying less gas because prices are high…
    How are the oil companies making record profits if they’re not making more profit on each gallon?

    i.e. Say the profit per gallon remains the same, and the price of crude goes up, yes the price of gas goes up, but the profit remains the same.

    Is this more Reaganomics?
    Wake up sheeple!

  87. Infinity_8 says:

    @unravel: There’s a huge difference between dine and dash, and using gas that was priced wrong. There’s stealing, and then there’s paying a cheaper price but it’s not your mistake. Oil companies price gouge, it’s a fact, and it’s illegal. My Dad told me 100% the companies gouge and no one can stop it, the governments tried. Ever heard what goes around comes around? They screw the consumer, if I get a chance I screw them. I would have filled up barrels of gas if I could.

  88. Phildawg says:

    @AbstractConcept: I love all the ignorant consumers who think running a gas station is such a damn money maker!!! There’s a reason why most stations are now corporate owned. Because the only one making the money is about everybody EXCEPT the gas station.

    Honesty is what made this country great. The lack of honesty in this country is why it deserves what is coming to it and what we are receiving now. God has damned America.

  89. theysaidwhat says:

    How is this even a question? How can anyone expect that it’s OK for they themselves to steal, which is essentially what you are doing when there is an obvious pricing error, but cry bloody murder when they are cheated by others?

  90. Anonymous says:

    If you are dissatisfied with the price you are paying for your gas, you have the right not to buy it. At the extreme, this may require a lifestyle change, such as taking public transportation or riding a bicycle (or to be more realistic, at least trading in for a more fuel-efficient vehicle such as a hybrid or a motorcycle).

    Alternatively, you may approach the management of the station and explain your dissatisfaction. You are not likely to receive a price break, but a good station manager might be able to provide some perspective.

    However, passive-aggressive methods of “payback”, such as exploiting gas station worker mistakes (or as LUV2CattleCall facetiously suggested, defecating in the windshield wiper squeegee container) represents a breach of contract between the consumer and the business. It is an unwillingness to trade value for value that has given capitalism such an undeserved bad name.

    If you are at the pump, and you notice that the price per gallon is $2 less than you know it should be, you have a moral obligation not to pump that gas until you have confirmed that the price is correct. To otherwise take the gas at a lower rate than the station is willing to accept is theft.

    I could see a station manager thanking you for alerting him of the mistake by allowing you to fill your tank at the erroneous price. That would be nice. But it’s not an entitlement.

  91. BuzzDar says:

    I would fill up my car then go get the second car then i would call Everyone i know to get the same deal Those stations are price gouging anyways so thats there own fault for having wrong price.

  92. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    If you think service stations are price gouging, you don’t know bupkus about how gas is sold. The stations make very little on a gasoline of gas. Maybe a nickel. Many of the larger corporate service stations are okay with it because they’re owned by the gas/oil companies. So they’re essentially buying gas from themselves. But a locally owned gas station is making money off your soda and Twinkies purchases and not off the gasoline.

  93. Pro-Pain says:

    I managed a named brand gas station while I was in college. This happens because of an error made in entering the info on the main register. Simple mistake really. But in this case a costly one. Oh well. Win some, lose some…

  94. humphrmi says:

    @NereusRen: I know he said “enforcement”, I said “school”. I was demonstrating a contrast.

  95. TexasBelle says:

    It’s your friendly neighborhood pedant, just checking in to say that $.549 is not 54 cents. It’s 55 cents. Don’t fall for stupid, meaningless pricing gimmicks.

  96. Gokuhouse says:

    I’m surprised more people wouldn’t be telling their friends! Once at a McDonalds their credit card machine was broken, so if you didn’t have cash they were giving away free food in the drive thru. Not a bad deal….although I wish I had ordered more!!!!!

  97. Onouris says:

    @Charred: On my part? I don’t think so.

  98. shiznannigan says:

    I’ve seen plenty of stories on consumerist where a store advertised something at a low price, but the customer was unable to get that price. In all those cases, the store was in the wrong, and should have honored the price even if it was a mistake.

    How is this any different?

  99. HOP says:

    i guess i would have told the store about the mis-pricing….the oil company probably wouldn’t have lost anything….the store owner would have…or some poor clerk would have lost half their miserable pay….i tell ’em when i get too much change also…..i don’t n eed anything that bad….yet…..

  100. Bill Brasky says:

    @humphrmi: #1. Law ENFORCEMENT. #2. You’d think that you’d have outgrown stereotyping. Oh, wait…I used the word think. Forgot who I was referring to.

  101. M3wThr33 says:

    Pfft. It’s happened to me before. I made off like a bandit and felt so awesome.

  102. ZekeSulastin says:

    I do so hope the amoral 45% of you who would screw the station get the same rendered upon you.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right. Stealing from a gas station – especially when you would complain if the situation was reversed – is still wrong, no matter how much you hate the oil companies.

  103. noquarter says:

    @ZekeSulastin: I do so hope the amoral… get the same rendered upon you.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right

    Do you know what a hypocrite is, Zeke?

  104. farker says:

    Surprised that so many of you “don’t look at the price” or claim they’re “too lazy”, etc to notice.

    Is that really being a good consumer?

    I would have told the attendant. They’d probably lose their job for putting the wrong amount up in the system.

    Here’s my prediction: If this gas-price craziness continues, the road-side sign boards will all go digital, and will be connected (along with the pumps) to a system in which the gas distributor can automatically update prices at all of their member stations without relying upon the attendant to do so.

  105. Keat says:

    There’s no way I want to sit around waiting for the attendant to call up the manager to get the error fixed. I’d fill up and pay, then offer to pay the difference.

  106. radio1 says:


    How it is wrong? You pump the gas at the price on the machine?

    How is this any different when you walk into a supermarket, and someone forgot to update the price on some of your groceries? By law, in most states you get the item for the price on the product not on the sign- which ever cheaper.

    Sure, if I was the owner of the gas station I would be severely pissed about the money loss. But I’d also be even more pissed at the attendant who put the right price on the sign right but then did not check the price on the pump itself.

    I would think an average attendant would notice such things. But maybe this was planned to screw someone over.

  107. mattbrown says:

    This reminds me of my trip to New Jersey (I will never go back), when my car was filled up. The attendant asked me to pop my hood, and he checked my coolant (which anyone knows you can’t do on a hot radiator), said “you’re coolent is almost out boss… you want a bottle?” I said “sure.” After this, and showing me the empty bottle, he asked me to pay cash. I said “Uhh… no. No I won’t be paying cash.” Because of my refusal to pay cash for the non-existent coolant addition, the shithead attendant then left my gas cap off. Which I figured out less than a quarter-mile onto the NJ Turnpike.

    He charged me $4.95 for the bottle of no existent coolant addition. In his tizzy of scam, he must’ve forgotten what he was doing because he also charged me $4.95 for my full tank of gas.


    But, hey. Dealing with a shithead gas station attendant and an open gas cap is better than getting a tank full of water.

  108. rjascott121 says:

    I would rip them off, HARD CORE!!!!!!!!!!! Hell, I’d go in to see if they had any barrels, and fill those up, too!

    screw the damn gas stations and the farking oil companies!

  109. ViperBorg says:

    My horse makes it’s own gas, thank you.

  110. guspaz says:

    Complaining at $4.54 USD per gallon? In Montreal, gas prices yesterday were $5.04 USD per gallon. $4.54 per gallon would be a steal.

  111. NoFlopScott says:
  112. bonzombiekitty says:

    @KD17: Yeah, id’ probably have filled up before I noticed the price was wrong.

  113. theblackdog says:

    I want to know where this station is in Maryland just so I can watch for a screwup again.

  114. Yogambo says:

    Several thoughts on this:

    Why is it when a store has a pricing error, say Staples keeping up a sale price after the sale on the floor, we work and believe we have the right to have the price it is tagged at? Yet here it is somehow wrong to expect the station to honor the price on the pump? Most any retail store will honor the price on the floor, even when there is an error. Then they correct it. But the same logic doesn’t seem to apply to big oil?

    A lot of folks want to stick it to big oil by grabbing what they can when these things happen. Of course, big oil feels not a thing, only the local operator. But the resentment most feel at big oil has nowhere to go, so folks are looking for some way to put it out there, even if it’s this.

    Big oil sits down in front of Congress and justifies the costs of gas and their massive profits by saying market forces ebb and flow. In essence, they are making a killing now, but later, they might not be. Well, we all know that is a pant load. But of course, the more we feel gouged by things like, not enough refinement capacity, gas prices that don’t jibe with demand, the more likely we are to seek alternatives. It is just a matter of time and motivation. So for once, perhaps big oil is right. They know they are going to take a big hit, so they are screwing us for every penny while they can.

    Yeah, I’d fill up first because that’s the price on the pump, so the one they should honor. But then I’d tell the attendant and put the onus on them. It is their mistake — if it is such. We’ve had gas ‘wars’ and promos before so there should be no assumption that this is ‘error’ on first blush. I follow the logic that if they price it and make an error, they like most all other retailers, need to stand by it. There are websites dedicated to this ideal. Hey, isn’t this one of them?

  115. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    “He then did the right thing”
    I’m bookmarking this and quoting it the next time Consumerist advocates taking advantage of people.

  116. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    @rachaeljean: Actually, most of the stores that are branded Exxon or BP are actually Mom and Pop (or local chain). There is very little correlation between the name on the sign and the owner of the business.

  117. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    @Yogambo: “Why is it when a store has a pricing error, say Staples keeping up a sale price after the sale on the floor, we work and believe we have the right to have the price it is tagged at? Yet here it is somehow wrong to expect the station to honor the price on the pump?”

    They should honor the price at the pump, but as a good neighbor, we should inform them that there is likely an error. If there’s no error, pump away! But constantly trying to take advantage of other people leads to a very cynical, angry existence.

  118. unklegwar says:

    I fully believe that if “buyer beware” is applicable, then so is “vendor beware”.

    Grocery stores and retail stores have policies that favor the consumer in case of price discrepancies. Some states even have laws requiring such policy. SO, it may be perfectly within your right to pump and go and feel good about a deal.

  119. elephantattack says:

    I don’t really care how bad it is… I would fill up, pay at the pump, drive to the nearest hardware store, buy as many of those gasoline containers as I could, will them up, and pay at the pump again.

    Meanwhile, I’d be dialing my phone to call all my friends. Then if they were at work or something, I would just go back with yet more gasoline canisters to buy it for them and sell it to them at a small profit!!!!

    I usually do the right thing in situations like this but look at the facts. The Owner of the gas station (at least the ones I go to, QT, Mobil, etc) probably has more than a single store. He probably makes a good chunk of change every year.

    If you’re too stupid to get your decimal in the right price then check it on the board, don’t be shocked when you’re fired for being remarkably dumb. Meanwhile, people like me, that are smarter than YOU will be making out like bandits with all of your boss’s gasoline.

    part of me wonders if this wasn’t some kind of stunt to increase traffic to a certain store.

  120. xr1ddl3rx says:

    You guys are crazy. At that price, i would’ve drank it….


  121. civicmon says:

    More proof that nothing good comes out of Maryland. I hate that place, the state of my own birth.

    PGC ftl.

  122. HeartBurnKid says:

    Here in California, if they advertise a price, then they must give you that price, by law. So I would definitely tell them, after I filled up, secure in the knowledge that they legally couldn’t take the bargain away from me, but giving them a heads-up so they can change it before the next guy fills up.

  123. wreave says:

    I hit a station a couple years ago at $0.27/gal instead of $2.79. I had already filled up before I realized it. The woman on the other side of me thought the pump was broken – she had only wanted to put in $5 worth, and it quit pumping at like $3.

    I went in and told the clerk, who made a change, but it was clear a bunch of other people were aware of the issue and taking advantage of it.