Why are we loyal?

My wife pointed out the gas station. When I passed it, she didn’t comment or say anything. She just shook her head back-and-forth and let out a little “I told you so” smirk. I laughed too, because I knew exactly what she was thinking.

Even now with the petroleum industry charging an arm and a leg, I’m convinced there are two kinds of people in this world: people who fill up at the gas pump as soon as the fuel gauge hits three-quarters empty and those who wait until the very last moment. I typically fall in the first category. I’m religious about making sure the tank is filled.

In this instance, however, I was going against type and my wife was laughing at me because I was living dangerously. I was throwing caution to the wind or whatever cliché you can think of and letting the consequences fall where they may.

Oh, I wasn’t really taking that big of chance. We pass a gas station near our house. I knew exactly where I was going. My wife still couldn’t stop laughing at me.

Hey, remember me!

In this day and age, it pays to shop for the best gas prices. I’m not particularly loyal to Sunoco, but I’m consistent about going to the same gasoline station. The cost of gas there is pretty much in line with everywhere else, which means it never seems to go down, just constantly up. And in this climate, with inflation rising and nation’s fighting, the cost seems to skyrocket upward every other day. So, why do I keep going back to the same station? The answer is simple. It’s easier for me to track my gas expenses for the month. 

Making life easier

The surging gas prices though have gotten me thinking about loyalty and why we shop where we shop? When it comes to other purchases, I tend to hit the same convenience store and grocery store. I’m a creature of habit so it’s no surprise that Wawa and Giant Grocery Store rank high on my loyalties. They tend to be where we travel. With other things, I’m loyal because of experience. When I click open an iPhone or iPad, I know what kind of experience I should get. I know that I’ll be able to jump on and start “playing’ without the need for a lot of training. I’m not going to be surprised. 

Likewise, I’ve gone to the same doctor because I know what to expect. She’s going to dig and probe my diet and exercise routine. She’ll caution me about my weight, but I know she has my best interests at heart and will go the extra mile to get me the answers I need. 

In turn, I’m loyal back to her. 

Brands that play up loyalty

While I’m loyal to certain brands, I find there are other brands that I can’t wait to drop, I’m just waiting for a better alternative. These are the companies who don’t seem to care much about me. They provide little to no service or they gouge you to the point of crying out uncle.

For example, Walmart offered low prices for years, but didn’t really care about the cleanliness of its stores or creating a good atmosphere for its employees or customers. When Amazon came along, I could buy the same goods and never leave my house. I’m not saying Amazon is any better to its employees, but it meant I never had to leave the house. Oh yea, move on over Walmart. And, I’m sure when an even better solution comes along, I’ll be sure to drop Amazon too. I can think of a half a dozen other places that I’ve moved on from because they failed to work to keep my business.

The petroleum industry falls into this lineup too. Yes, we can debate the politics about the cost of gas going up and whose fault it is, but even with all that, I find it difficult to believe that the Saudi Aramcos, ExxonMobils, and Royal Dutch Shells of the world haven’t been price-gouging and taking advantage of the situation to fatten their already bulging wallets. So, yes, I believe in capitalism and will pay their silly prices, but, one day, when we have better solutions — whether it’s more petroleum produced in the U.S. or better fuel-efficient electrical vehicles or other sources of energy altogether — I’ll drop them faster than a tiger turning on its prey.

In the meantime, they got me and are probably smirking at me, the same way my wife was smirking at me when I passed the gas station. She knew my fear of running out of gas would eventually get the best of me.

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