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Thursday, July 17, 2008

A matter of principle

In late August, my friend Priya and I will be going to New Zealand for three weeks to film a travel series for a show called Roadtrip Nation. I'll probably be keeping up with my adventures on said trip through this blog, but the planning stages for the trip have obviously already begun. While our flights are paid for already and the production company has supplied us a camper van and a grant of about $600, we are still trying to cut costs however we possibly can during the trip--whether it be through Full Cycle Bikes in Auckland, who has generously offered to loan us bikes for the trip, or any other way we might save some dough--so that we are more free to travel further and do more sweet New Zealand-y things. I mean, we are poor college students after all.

So I thought that when I stumbled upon the small, independently-owned petroleum company Gasoline Alley Services (G.A.S.), they might be sympathetic to our plight. They're completely localized--drilling, refining, management--the whole nine yards, and they are proud to advertise themselves as such, untied to huge oil companies, embodying a youthful spirit of adventure. They even have a "My Roadtrip Card" that you can use as a debit card for your roadtrip expenses at any of the many locations all across the country. I had a pretty good feeling about the place, so I gave them a call and actually reached their General Manager, simply by asking to speak to her. Here was a company small enough that the girl answering phones sees the CEO walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck to her shoe. Jackpot, right? Of course these people would be down for helping us out? I mean, come on, free advertising with the New Zealand Tourist Board and airtime on an American travel series? Sure it's not product placement in the next Steven Spielberg movie, but it's a pretty sweet deal for a little upstart company that is younger than half of my t-shirts.

Fuck no! Of course not! Who were we kidding? This place is BUSINESS and BUSINESS makes MONEY! Fuck well-meaning mission statements and youthful ad campaigns! It ain't goodwill that makes this world go round, it's the ALMIGHTY FUCKING DOLLAR! I should have seen it coming. In fact, I shouldn't have even asked in the first place, but I honestly thought we had found a place that would be totally down with what we were doing and might want to throw in a couple buck toward gas in support of it. Even if they had given us fifty fucking bucks, one fill-up on this tank of a van we're driving around for three weeks, we would have gladly shelled our greenery into their cash registers for the rest of our stay, just because they were so fucking cool to us. But they weren't, and now I refuse to fill up at any of their stations. Big deal, right? For every time we don't fill up there, thirty other cars will, and it'll be no skin off their teeth.

Yeah, you're right. Us not buying their gasoline isn't going to make any effect--hell, they won't even know unless they stumble upon this blog by some strange twist of fate. But it's the principle here. The principle that they so proudly trumpeted on their website and in the conversations I had with them on the phone in the last few weeks. The principle so easily thrown by the wayside when they didn't see enough of an advantage to help some college kids better travel across the country they are so proud to be from. Shouldn't they want to show us how great it is down there? Help us see the beautiful scenery? Meet the wonderful people? HA! COME ON! THAT DOESN'T MAKE MONEY! YOU DUMB FUCKING KIDS!! YOU CAN'T REALLY BE THAT NAIVE, CAN YOU?!

Well you know what, G.A.S.? I'll gladly fill up at some oil conglomerate's re-branded gas stations the whole time I'm in New Zealand. Fuck you. It won't make a difference to you, but I'll have the satisfaction of a nice, honest ass-raping when I stop at the pump. At least when those bastards are ramming their oil-slicked, profit-bloated, throbbing dicks into my prostate, they've got the common courtesy to smack me in the face and tell me who my daddy is. You're trying to sell me hip independence with debit cards featuring artsy pictures of retro Chevys and rad surfboards, but we both know where that surfboard is headed.

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