Such drama on a world scale leads to such challenges at grass roots level. While everyone has been focused on the bewildering goings-on in the financial world, suddenly, like missing a turning on the motorway, your own small orbit - more specifically your fuel buying strategy - seems to be heading rather rapidly in the wrong direction. You’ve got fuel in your tanks that cost more than you can sell it for. And you’ve got abuse from your normally fair-minded customers who think you’re a greedy ’wotsit’ because your fuel prices are too high. But, same as every day, you’re just trying to make a living. Some retailers have been hit harder than others however.
Certain organisations, like the high-volume supermarkets, can do their usual thing and beat the price crash - gaining huge publicity into the bargain. Then when the smaller retailers are accepting their fate, writing off thousands of pounds on fuel to try and shift it, these same supermarkets drop another 5ppl. If that’s not enough, the Adsa trading director - kick them while their down why don’t you? - tells the country’s hard-pressed motorists that they’re being ripped off at more than 99p for unleaded.
Even the government - yes, thank you Gordon Brown - has joined in. No wonder some retailers are feeling exceedingly sorry for themselves and who can blame them? This could be the tipping point for many - although those with developed stores and car wash businesses have given themselves some immunity.
But how long do you keep going in the hope that things might make a turn for the better?
It’s judgement time. Experience and gut feeling versus the figures. As I said, challenging times...