Costco sues protester in gas price dispute
Does Costco really have the cheapest gas prices in town? A retiree says no and pickets outside the store to make his point.
Costco members love to rave about the warehouse store's gas prices -- so low, they say, they're worth driving out of your way for (unless you drive too far).
So why has a retired psychologist picketed outside a California Costco for three months, claiming Costco's gas is a rip-off? And why has Costco taken the guy to court? This dispute has gotten ugly. Post continues after video.
The picketer, Will Powers, claims that Costco falsely markets its gas as the cheapest gas in town. Reports Nick Wilson of The Tribune of San Luis Obispo:
He acknowledged that the store matches the lowest prices of other local gas stations. But requiring a Costco membership card and a debit, Costco cash or American Express card to use the station actually increases the price of gas for Costco customers over prices at other stations, Powers claims.
Costco sued, saying Powers has trespassed, threatened an employee, blocked traffic and called workers "fascist (an eight-letter "b" word we're not allowed to use here)." Powers acknowledged using the word "fascists" but denied the rest of the claims. (You can see video here.)
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Comments left at the newspaper's website devolved into a liberal vs. conservative battle (which seems to happen online no matter what the topic is these days). Here are several that seemed more germane to the story:
- From "E_T_2": "No matter how crazy this guy's protest is I find it amazing that a big box store like Costco goes on to sue."
- From "Insider": "Of all the good causes out there to rally for, he picks Costco gas prices? Seriously?"
- "WeizenBitte" said: "I always wondered what his beef was."
Is buying gas at Costco your best bet? It depends, personal-finance blogger Money Beagle concluded in a post called "When filling up at Costco doesn't make sense."
None of the stores is near where we typically go. … Unless we're driving past one or making a planned shopping trip, the 'cost' of getting gas would be about one gallon.
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I've found it's rarely worth the few cents my car has a 13 gallon gas tank...If I buy Gas at One Station for $3.89 a gallon or down the street at another Station for $3.84 a gallon then I save a whopping 65 cents for a tank of gas (That's if I am sucking fumes)...If I saved $10.00 per tank I'd be waiting in line but its really not that big a deal to me. I shop where I happen to need gas at the moment...
These people in line at Costco for 30 minutes...Well I'll just drive by and smile at you with my full tank of gas!
Of all things to worry about, the cost of gas at Cosco and this retiree's protest are not one of them.
as a psychologist you would think that guy would realize he is transferring his hidden aggression towards his father who always had gas at the dinner table towards the big evil corporation whom he feels powerless to stop.
The Costco Amex thing? It's actually a great deal - you get a rebate from them of 4-5% on gas purchases. That's a savings of 15-20 cents a gallon, and it applies at any gas station, not just Costco!
I had one recent issue with Costco gas, however, where I think something was amiss and worth complaining about. My car averages 20 mpg, my wife's around 22. A few weeks ago, we filled up one day apart at our local Costco - and the math said I got 14 mpg, and my wife 15. Nothing had changed in our driving habits, so that tells me either we both got a bad tank of gas on our previous visit, or we didn't put in nearly as much gas as we paid for on our current trip to the pumps. The next tank for both cars, our mileage was back to normal. This had happened to me once before, at a different Costco... so my eyebrows are definitely raised. Whether it's bad gas or an inaccurate pump, any savings you get from filling up at Costco disappear if your mileage drops 30%!
I pay with a debit card and have an executive account. No interest for a debit card and the 2% I save per year paid to me by Costco for using the executive account pays for the card. No cost to me to shop Costco. I will say I don’t remember seeing anywhere here in CA that Costco states they are the cheapest in town. I like using this service or product as I know it is always one of the lowest. I don’t want to waste time and gas searching to save one or two cents a gallon. This guy may be attempting to express his opinion but it should not be at the cost of harassing Costco staff or the stores shoppers.
I am a staunch Republican but there is a problem we need to address as a nation.
There is no transparency in these swaps. That is one of the reasons we had the housing meltdown. No one knew how much money people were losing and they still don't. Why do you think we have a debt of US $3 trillion today? More than all the other 2010 years of this country's spending combined. We are giving away money by the rail cars to SOMEONE.
The notional value of these trades in the US alone is US $615 Trillion in 2009. It is more today. That is 10 times the Gross National Product of all countries on Earth combined.
England has an even greater value than does the US in over the counter trades.
I for one would like to know by whom and where these trades are being made. Who is controlling whether I have the money to drive to my job next week or do I get to go on a vacation this summer.
Prices at the pumps at Costco or any other station have nothing to do with Libya (less than 5% of our oil comes from there) or any thing else.
It is strictly speculation by Hedge funds who have given money to the Campaigns of most of the people voted into office in Washington to not make these trade transparent.
If Will Powers would like to do something good, he should be out protesting the OTC swaps for oil and other products made with crude oil.
They can trade the swaps, but they need to be transparent and the price of oil will come back down to US $32 a barrel immediately.
The ONLY reason gas prices are so high anywhere is the fact traders are allowed to speculate on the price of gas on over the counter markets that are not disclosed. Oil should not be allowed to be speculated on other than for those that use oil products in their business such as airlines, large distributors or energy producers.
I live on Honolulu, in Hawaii. The posted price of gasoline at Costco is fairly consistent about being a few cents less than others. I would rather turn the corner and go to the lineless station 1/2 mile away for 3 cents a gal. more ....at a 20 gal tank we are talking 60 cents,,,,well worth it!
hey you do not like the price go somewhere else. I remember as a student at cal poly in the 60's the local tv station taped a protest that showed that we at cal poly were protesting the war in asia. But in fact there were only a few of the students were protesting. We told the TV Station to report with true facts or we would not shop at those stores that advertised on their station and the station found out that we did have the power and they came back and did an accurate presentation of the protesters. Is this another case of the media using its power to show something that is not factual.
Costco does not require the members to by gas at their stations. but I have found that they are usually the lowest in town. but remember all cost for gas change daily and they tend to change with each truck load. Some one else may have purchased yesterday that today..../
Here I sit hearing how President is created 250,000 jobs while I see millions of technology jobs shipped out to INDIA, thanks to our previous and current administration. ATM fees will be $5.00 (Chase has already launched the pilot).
And had someone not pointed out what was COSTCO doing with membership renewals, COSTCO wouldn't have settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit back in 2009 or so. Here is the link:
I can certainly say, Hey, every other country has such misleading business dealings, why not in America? Just look away and let it go on.....
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