Getting My Money's Worth
With gas prices rising faster than I can pump the gas itself, I find myself in a different world now each time I stop at the gas station to fill 'er up. Used to be a time when gas was cheap (last week) and I would leisurely take my time as the nozzle injected its spirits into my tank. Now, however, I desperately search the island around the pumps for the "perks" that help me to justify the beating I'm taking as the pump dial rounds $80 and the gas gauge needle hasn't even hit ¼ tank yet! For those of us with trucks; the price of a fill-up equates to something akin to new set of tires!
Now, while the liquid gold is finding its way into my tank, I busy myself with actions that make me feel a bit better about the mortgage payment that I can't make 'cuz of the price of gas. I start by using the little squeegee to wash not only the windows, but the whole car. Lights, hood, fenders...all of it! I figure I can get at least three cents worth of water out of that little 'ol bucket and a five minute wash job takes another two cents worth of life out of that rubber squeegee. Now we're moving in the right direction.
Paper towels? You bet! I tear off about seven cents worth to clean everything from the ashtray (and I don't even smoke) to checking every fluid on every dipstick under the hood. I've even gone so far as to polish my shoes, using the island cement as my shoe box. (I wouldn't suggest this with tennis shoes). Okay, the thought of using a $100 bill to pay for my gas is looking a bit better!
Whoa, there's four of them credit card applications up on the pump. I'd better take one or two of them. Shoot, the paper alone is worth a penny! Plus, if I get three cards with maximum limits, I can charge at least two tanks of gas.
I make sure to use the only station that stills gives me free air for the tires. While the pump's running, I use a screwdriver to let the air out of all four tires (yes, on MY car). Then, I use the free air to pump 'em all up again and get at least twelve cents worth of compressor time. Yippee! I've figured out the game now. Now comes the fun part. I take all of the garbage from my house and put it in those little tiny plastic bags. I put all of the bags in the trunk of the car before I go to the gas station. I figure that while I'm paying these ridiculous prices, that trash receptacle by the pump is precisely for my need. I gently open the trunk and gingerly remove the little bags of refuse. I then tiptoe over to the trash can with the tiny, tiny, hole in the top of the plastic and I vigorously jam and cram every doggone one of those bags into their can. Sometimes I have to use all four of the cans and a broomstick handle to force the trash down, but I figure this has got to save me at least fifteen cents.
Alright then, let's add up all of my perks and see how much more I'm getting for my money each time I gas up.
- Water and squeegee: 5 cents
- Paper towels: 7 cents
- Compressor time 12 cents
- Trash savings 15 cents
Okay, now gas doesn't look so doggone expensive! I'm getting a whole 39¢ worth of goodies and perks with each fill. If they don't get wind of my scheme, I'm going to save a whole bunch during the year.
The only problem with all of the savings is this: It takes me three minutes to wash the car, another three minutes to check the fluids, 22 minutes to let all of the air out of the tires and refill them, and finally, 17 minutes to play the trash receptacle game. All added up, this is 45 minutes. Using just the minimum wage to calculate earnings, all of this effort, had it been placed in a work setting would have made me $5.50.
So all- in-all, after great time spent planning and practicing, I'm losing money! If only gas prices hadn't doubled since Obama took office, I wouldn't be wasting so much time and money. I wonder if the gum I stepped in by the pump is worth anything. See you at the pump.