It finally happened, I paid a Bill, a C note, a hundred bucks to fill my car tonight. I passed on the line at Costco where they were charging $4.51 and opted for a Valero station that was charging $4.55 and 9/10ths, (can we dispense with that little marketing gimmick now).
Hardly anyone at the pumps at first but one businessman type pulled up in a late model sedan and left after putting in $40. He was either topping off or just going for the half tank option, one chosen more often now according to the attendant that came out to check a pump.
I asked him if he was seeing more people opt for the partial fill and he said yes. Same traffic but less gas per vehicle. A girl in a brand new V.W. Bug pulled up and I asked her if she was going for the full fill and she nodded yes. How much to fill that I asked, “$60 where it used to be $30, and I drive less now”.
The Hispanic guy that pulled in front of her was on his cell phone as he began pumping. He’s a laborer judging by the appearance. I don’t know how much he makes but he ran it over $71. without a wimper. I’m guessing that was a days pay after taxes.
As we drove away my smarter half informed me of the positive side of the high gas price outrage. I was informed by her that this will lead to an exodus of illegal immigrants. Wait, I said out loud and the genius of that thought hit me.
We concluded the busboys will go first followed by the lawn maintenance helpers. Maids and domestic help go down too. Those jobs and those in dozens of other categories will suffer when budgets are reconfigured. The construction industry is in a prolonged slump but no one noticed (or reported) if the scores of undocumented once employed by home builders left or stayed.
Farm workers are soon to feel the brunt of the drought in California. Farmers on the West side of the San Joaquin Valley are chosing which crops to ignore as water rationing begins. Bye bye.
Once the undocumented make their way home it’s doubtful they will return, at least until things turn around. The teal leaves say it may be awhile.
So is this a good thing really? I think so. Local and State social services will catch some relief and any slack will likely be taken up by U.S. citizens who lost their jobs and need food stamps and a few bucks to get by.
The down side of course is the human element. Some very decent people will have to turn tail. The hard work of cleaning our gardens and clothes or mopping our dirty floors is below many Americans but the poor from Guatemala, Mexico or San Salvador do it without complaint.
When they leave and return to their village and families the money flow stops. We don’t know that kind of hardship.
Our family is cutting back. Less dining out, more cooking at home and fewer trips outside of town. One thing we decided to do as a family is support one particular Mexican restaurant when we do dine out. It’s a second generation family owned establishment that puts out a great product for a reasonable price. It would be a shame if they went down.
We’ll give a little more when the church seeks special donations for affected families.
Finally, back to the price of gas. Does anyone remember the Southwest Airlines runway overshot in Burbank California four years ago?
Does this surprise you?