Inflationary Pressure

10 03 2012

WWJ-TV Detroit:

Man Shot At Detroit Gas Station, Reportedly Over Price Of Condoms

DETROIT (WWJ) – A man was shot and killed Friday night after an apparent dispute over the price of condoms at a Detroit gas station.

Ordinarily, I would end it there, because you can fill in the blanks for yourself. But this story gets better from there.  And I happen to know a little about the subject matter.  Yes, condoms, but more so about gas stations and quickie marts.

WWJ’s Beth Fisher spoke to an employee at the BP gas station on Fenkell and Meyers, where the shooting took place on the city’s westside overnight. The employee said the argument was apparently over the price of a box of condoms.

He said the customer bought a box of condoms, but made a comment that he was overcharged and could have bought them somewhere else for a cheaper price. After being told he couldn’t get a refund, the customer allegedly began tossing items off the shelves. That’s when, according to the employee, the overnight clerk came out with a gun and fired a warning shot, which struck the customer in the shoulder.

I looked up that street corner on NYT Census Explorer. Yep, solid ghetto. In fact, that gas station’s census tract is 100% black.

Stuff at gas station convenience stores costs more? Duh. Your corner quickie mart isn’t Wal-Martinez, it doesn’t have the ability to leverage favorable prices from the wholesalers. A corporate owner-operated chain like Quik Trip or Race Trac doesn’t even have W-M’s market leverage. If you wanted the box of condoms at the cheaper price, you should have bought them where they were cheaper.

Ron Scott, with the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said they are working on conflict resolution between gas station owners and Detroiters, something they will be discussing at a meeting on Sunday.

Rhetorical question: Why are black neighborhoods the only ones where “coalitions against police brutality” and “community activists/organizers” exist? Another rhetorical question: Why is this goober group concerned about quickie marts all of a sudden?

“And as we watch this man was beaten on camera and crawled into the station, never once did I see the proprietor, as well as the people who were going to that gas station, help that individual. We are saying secure your facility, safeguard us as a community,” said Kenyatta.

Of course you’re not going to see the proprietor on the station’s security cameras. What proprietor of a ghetto quickie mart hangs around the premises after midnight? After the proprietors of those gas stations hired me in 2010, they didn’t even go to their stations except to fill up their own cars, and yes, they did have me make sure their business account reimbursed their personal account. They had me as a GM to visit the stations from time to time. Even though all five stations were in decent areas, I felt no need to hang around all the time. It was just how ya doin’, is everyone behaving, give me the the important receipts and paperwork, time to do some cash reconciliation, etc.

Besides, you would need to turn on a camera in New Delhi, India in order to see the proprietor of a lot of these stations, at the rate things are going.

If this alderwoman’s bill passes, and stations are required to buy all this extra security, many of them will go out of business.  With Detroit being a “food desert” bereft of big box grocery stores, (wonder why), the corner quickie mart is the grocery store.  That’s all gone if this ordinance passes.

Scott said part of the problem is the general relationship between customers in the communities and gas station owners and employees.

“The problem basically is that you have people who work in the stations who do not have a reasonable relationship with the community, where the respect for the dollars that they spend is accorded to them in the terms of human respect. On the other hand, you do have people in the neighborhood who come in, or people who might engage in negative activity, where the lives of the owners are threatened,” said Scott.

What it comes down to, said Scott, is respect.

“I’ve been in similar situations in some of these stores where I’ve been disrespected. And now we’re talking about young, specifically African-American men. One of the major things in the community that you want is respect… and I think people here don’t have skills in terms of de-escalation of violence,” said Scott.

How many times have you walked into a gas station quickie mart, and you got the feeling that you had to kill someone or beat someone up because you didn’t have a personal relationship with the owner or the employees behind the counter? It happens to me all the time…sure. As far as this bit about “respect,” well, all I know is that quickie mart employees have had bad attitudes toward me on several occasions, but I hardly thought about killing someone in earnest. Quickie mart employees aren’t exactly in it for the long haul, looking to work there for 40 years to get a gold watch and a retirement party. In good economic times, they’re mostly younger people looking to make a little bit of coin, in bad times, a lot of established adults have to take these kinds of jobs to feed and house the brood until the economy turns around and better situations open up.

Again, when I had that job, (for the record, two stations were in Edwardsville, where the owners lived, one was in Springfield, Illinois, one was in Rolla and one was in Columbia, Missouri), I worked directly under the husband and wife pair that owned the stations, and in fact, I did my job in their home office, where the husband previously did the same job, and I didn’t even want a personal relationship with the owners. At the same time, I was the boss of 41 people, and I didn’t want a personal relationship with them any more, because it’s not a good idea to mix business and pleasure. When you try to be friends with your bosses and employees, you’re only begging for trouble.

Perhaps it’s fortunate for the women in this man’s life that he’s no longer in this world.  For he was about to fuck them with gas station condoms.

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