The High Cost of Gas Theft
By George Anderson
Based on the numbers, Jeff Lenard is right. The National Association of Convenience Stores’ (NACS) spokesperson told The Associated Press, “As the price of gas climbs, people’s values decline.”
The numbers certainly bear Mr. Lenard out. Last year, retailers lost more than $237 million due to gas theft, more than twice the dollar amount stolen in 2003. This year’s numbers are expected to top the 2004 figure.
While the financial losses are significant, there are also far too frequent human costs associated with gas theft. A case in point is the death last week of an Alabama service station owner, Husain “Tony” Caddi, who was run over by a driver seeking to avoid paying the $52 it cost to fill his/her SUV.
To cut down on theft and protect workers from the senseless type of violence that took Mr. Caddi’s life, many station operators have begun requiring customers to pay for gas in advance.
Mr. Lenard and Sam Turner, president of Calfee Co., which operates 114 Favorite Markets convenience stores in the Southern U.S., said that there is a financial cost associated with having customers pay in advance for gas. According to the men, prepaying cuts down on customers browsing and buying other merchandise in stores.
Moderator’s Comment: Do people’s values decline as the price paid at the pump goes higher? Is there a solution that allows employers to protect their
employees and gas profits without losing sales in other areas of their retail operation? –
George Anderson – Moderator