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Dear Customer; Please come inside – Thanks Mgmt.

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

On my way home from skiing this weekend I stopped in a small town called Dillon to fill up on gas and this sign at the pump caught my attention.The hunter orange sign was offering a 5 cent discount to anyone willing to pay for gas with cash. Now, I don’t usually carry cash and the convenience store ATM fee would have cost far more than the discount I could have received, so I ignored the offer and payed at the pump with my credit card. But it got me thinking about why they were pushing such a significant discount. Is it because convenience stores are trying to cut down on the transaction fees credit card companies charge, up to 7.6% according to NACS. Or is this some sort of an invitation to draw pump payers into the store? According to a 2006 convenience store case study done by Envirosell, 46% of those who purchase gas don’t even enter the store. With a tightening economy and rising gas prices many consumers may opt to just pay at the pump and leave. When you are paying more attention to your wallet things like energy drinks, chips, pop and gum all seem like “luxury” items. And in a business where the sale of gas accounts for such a small percentage of their profit, convenience stores need a draw to get people back into the store. Are c-stores hoping for an impulse purchase of things consumers are less inclined to buy if they aren’t within reach? In the current state of the economy we plan on seeing more tactics like this executed by c-stores.

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