Old Idea + New Names = Same Results
Date Added: Sept. 8, 2005
Since the late 1990s, grass roots campaigns to empower consumers and lower gas prices have gradually grown, both in number and in variety. While this chain letter is new (first appearing in September 2005), the idea it proposes is an old one that hasn't worked yet, despite being bandied about for over half a decade.
Everybody is now talking about rising gasoline prices but to paraphrase Mark Twain, nobody is doing anything about it
We want to do something and we need your help. Only the People can show the Big Oil Companys that we are the King and not they; they depend on us the customer and they need to know this!
How we do something? Here is what we can do. Already Canadians and Swiss have implemented this strategy and their gas prices have dropped significantly. This is working in those countries now.
The first phase of the plan is this:
Everyone and I mean everyone stops buying gas from the two largest oil companies; Chevron and Shell - a boycott on the oil companies. This continues until these two companies lower their prices significantly. Then once the prices have been lowered the people resume business with Chevron and Shell.
Now, a few things could happen this point....
Firstly, Chevron and Shell may either keep the prices low (HA HA HA) or if they go back up then the people resume the boycott. As the world watches, so do the other oil companies. And they see that this too could happen to their companies.
The people must take some real action to create the change. We can not rely on our own government to help us; especially when our own president is profiting so highly from these gas prices.
Yes, it does take extra effort to find other gas stations. But how much longer are you willing to accept these prices and let these oil companies gauge and pillage our nation. When is it enough for you? I hope that time is now.
We are a nation of great pride, compassion, and creativity and this action is not against the essence of true American beliefs but in support of it. The forces that be now that are running the country now are not what America is about or the ideals that it was built on. We must join together to make a change.
Send this email as to many of your friends as possible. The greatest force for change is word of mouth.
Thanks for your time.
If the idea of boycotting certain companies' gas stations seems familiar, it's probably because this chain is essentially an update of another one that's been circulating since at least 2000. The premises are identical (boycotting the biggest companies will drive prices down), though the rationale for why it might work differs.
In the earlier version, it was suggested that a boycott would cause the stations (Exxon and Mobil in the original) to lower their prices, bringing business back. The other stations would then lower their prices to compete. The version above suggests that the other stations will be motivated to lower their prices simply out of fear that they may be targeted next.
I detail the history of the big company boycott, as well as describe why this type of consumer action doesn't take into consideration the true nature of the fuel industry (and, thus, has been ineffective), in my earlier article. But here are the main points:
Thus, we've come full circle. Of course, this is a simplified example. The oil industry is much more complex. For instance, even if you did avoid all Shell and Chevron stations, that doesn't mean you aren't buying Shell or Chevron gasoline. The companies don't just sell their gas to their own stations. Boycotting certain stations won't hurt the parent companies, but can have serious implications for the stations' owners (many of them independent business people) and employees.
Other popular armchair activist campaigns to lower prices have called for consumers to go without fueling up on a certain day, buy only the gas they need when they need it, stick to stations that only buy fuel from domestic sources and ask the President to lower prices.
To effectively influence lower prices at the pumps, consumers would have to decrease demand across the board, not just at certain stations. And, we'd have to do it for a long time. Boycotts are only effective when they send the message that we are so fed up with the status quo that we are willing to inconvenience ourselves until change is made. Going without gas would be an inconvenience. Going across town to buy it... not so much. Break this chain.