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Anger over gas prices is misdirected

No one likes to get ripped off, and with gas prices reaching such high prices, everyone is feeling a pinch at the pump. With the rising tempers – and temperatures (gas prices tend to rise with each summer)- comes a rise in customer complaints and drive-offs.

Gas station clerks are feeling the heat. Customers are taking out their anger and frustration for the large companies on the workers. People yell and curse, and last year, an angry customer in Los Angeles threw a cup of coffee at a clerk and knocked over displays.

More seriously, life has been lost in the craziness of gas prices and drive-offs.

One gas station owner, Husain “Tony” Caddi of Fort Payne, Ala., was killed when he attempted to stop the vehicle of a man trying to steal $52 worth of gasoline. Alvin Dwight Benefield, the driver, was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter.

The pressure of high gas prices has fallen on the two individuals who have the least control over them: the customer and the clerk. Clerks cannot make the prices go lower, and they also have to pay a high price for gas.

“Everyone is suffering at the same time. If I could help to reduce that pain, I would,” said Sam Shirazie, a clerk at a Chevron station in Los Angeles, in a Sunday Associated Press article.

Even the owners of the stations do not make much profit. Ron Davis, division manager of Kansas- and Missouri-based Fleming Corp. said in the same article that retailers make about two-thirds of the overall profit on the items they sell inside the store itself – not the gasoline.

The profit station owners make from gas is only a few pennies per gallon. The market and higher-ups control the price of the gas.

“When I explain that to people, they’re just totally surprised because they expect us to make a lot more money,” Chevron station co-owner Anthony Sinai said in the article.

People have the right to complain about anything and everything. They also have the right to tell the clerks how they feel. But other than speaking in a moderate tone and passionate voice, people do not have the right to destroy property and definitely don’t have the right to steal.

The article states that in 2004, gasoline theft cost the industry $237 million. In response to the growing number of drive-offs, gas stations have increased employees and security cameras. In short, stealing makes the price go up for everyone else.

While people can’t control the prices of gas, they must control their actions.