As you may know, I’m a country boy from Iowa (this is different than a farm boy from Iowa). Living in Colorado, I often go back to see friends and family in Iowa. This necessitates a drive through Nebraska. Anyone who has ever driven through the state of Nebraska knows that this is a long and arduous process.

On one such trip with the family, we were coming back from Christmas in Iowa when we needed to make a pit stop for gas. When we have to stop, we use the Gas Buddy app to find the best and cheapest gas (or “economical,” as I like to say). After searching for a bit, we found a place called Fat Dog’s Gas Station, which is actually a chain with locations spread out around Nebraska.

Gas Swindle 2The app advertised a price of $2.47 per gallon, and as you can see, the sign outside the gas station confirms this. I pulled in, and Berit and the kids piled out.

But it didn’t take me long to notice something was amiss.

Gas Swindle 6 (1)I looked down, expecting to find the gas listed at $2.47. Instead, what I found was gas listed at $2.87 – a $.40 differential. See, the fine print – which people rarely look at – mentions the need to pull up to pump 1 & 2 to get the low price listed. Everyone else is just out of luck, or stuck waiting for one of those pumps to open up.

The average person will pull up to the gas station, assume octane 87 is the lowest price listed, hit the button, and fuel up without another thought. For those that do notice, the hassle of moving the car or waiting for a pump to open up is a high price to pay, so they resignedly take the higher price.

In either case, Fat Dog’s is screwing their customer with the fine print to make an extra dollar. Or, for the average car with a 20-gallon tank, an extra $8.

Then let’s look at the photo that says “Fat Dogs. You are nowhere.” What it should say is “You are nothing to us.” Using the fine print to trick customers into a $.40 price differential is offensive and ridiculous. It’s using customer behavior for bad instead of good.

Given that I am not the average customer, I piled the kids back in the car, took a ton of photos, and wrote a long blog post about it. And based on the reviews of several Fat Dog’s locations in Nebraska, I’m not the only one who noticed.

So who’s brand takes the hit? It’s not just Fat Dog’s. It’s Conoco and any other company who supplies gas to Fat Dog’s.