givers and the takers: generosity and greed
first hours after the Sept. 11 airline hijackings and subsequent
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,
we at OOIDA began receiving a huge number of phone calls from
members. The phone calls covered two very different subjects.
The first was to me very predictable and filled me and our entire
staff with pride in the people we work for and represent. Our
phone lines literally became swamped by members seeking to find
ways to volunteer their services in any way possible to assist
in this terrible catastrophe.
subject of the phone calls came shortly after the first and still
within only a few hours of the attacks. This subject, although
I suppose predictable, still came as a shock because it occurred
with such force so soon on the heels of this national tragedy.
The subject of these calls filled us with loathing and disgust.
the calls we began receiving was the call from Tim Von Duyke who
said he was fueling at the Flying J near Fort Pierce, FL. He said
he was stunned as he watched the price of diesel go from $1.439
per gallon to $1.849 per gallon. And George Earls who stopped
in Haubstadt, IN, where the price of fuel had jumped about 40
cents a gallon to $1.72 at the Williams and Flying J Truck Stops.
A nearby SpeedWay stop went to $1.749. Other reports from around
the country were just as typical. Loves near Ranger, TX, went
from $1.359 to $1.809. Flying J in Tyler, TX, went from $1.319
to $1.709. Flying J in Elroy, AZ, jumped from $1.409 to $1.809
and Flying J in Bakersfield, CA, leaped to $1.979 from $1.539.
other truckstops, both independent and chains, jumped on the price
gouging bandwagon, none seemed as bold or consistent throughout
their network as Flying J, both in the speed and amount which
they raised their prices and the slowness in bringing them back
down. Most of the truckstops and service stations who raised their
prices dramatically on the 11th had dropped back to normal pricing
by the 12th in the face of customer complaints and adverse media
publicity. A review of the Flying J fuel pricing web site shows
their network-wide average price at 2:30 p.m. CST on the 11th,
just a few hours after the attacks, had risen to $1.696 per gallon.
At 4:30 p.m., the average dropped to $1.602. At 8:30 a.m. on the
12th, the average had dropped to $1.555 and at 1:00 p.m. on the
14th to $1.49.
a letter posted at Flying J Truck Stops on Sept. 11 from their
president, J. Phillip Adams, addressed to Flying J customers.
response to the cowardly acts of terrorism carried out this
morning on American soil against Americans, we wish to advise
you that during this time of peril for our country, many major
fuel terminals, both at ports on our coastal waters as well
as inland, are being closed for security reasons. This will
result in temporary shortages over most of the country.
you to avoid panic buying and the hoarding of petroleum products.
Doing so will only intensify this most difficult situation and
cause undue added stress to the anticipated critical supply
that it is our primary objective to keep supply available and
we will keep you advised of the supply situation as it develops.
please join all of us here at Flying J in prayer for those families
directly impacted by the loss of loved ones and for our leaders
that they will exercise prudence, resolve and strength in the
aftermath of this national tragedy.
In this case,
the words and the actions truly do speak for themselves.
also those who didnt jump on the bandwagon. A representative
from Bosselmans, for example, mentioned that while they got a
bit nervous watching what their competitors were doing, thinking
maybe they knew something we didnt, checks with
their suppliers indicated no supply or price changes so we
calmed down and just said no.
surveyed many of the major oil companies and found absolutely
no evidence of supply or price disruptions and no significant
indication that any oil refineries were shutting down. Several
indicated that while they had initiated increased security measures,
there were no supply problems. Its important to note that
even if there had been price or supply changes in this short period
of time, there is absolutely no way truckstops could have experienced
any cost increases on fuel already in stock. Several oil company
representatives also indicated that while they had little control
over what non-company owned retailers were doing, they found those
actions extremely distasteful and that company owned retail outlets
were instructed to hold the line on prices.
decide for yourselves the appropriate response to these unconscionable
acts of greed but I can say without hesitation that I would never
buy another drop of fuel or do any business at all with someone
who would seek to profit from one of the most tragic events in
our nations history. We may very well see real price or
supply disruptions before this war on terrorism is over. That
makes it all the more important to send the message now that we
wont be taken advantage of by greedy profiteers who seem
to hold the value of profits above everything else.