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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Gas Crisis...

The Gas Crisis

A few weeks ago we had a gasoline crisis.  The media reported that we are on a major pipeline that brings oil from the Gulf.  The report mentioned there could be about 25% less flowing because some oil refineries still are not back to normal since Gustav.
Immediately phones started ringing, people started calling other people, and everyone jumped in their car and sped to the gas station Ė just in case there might be a shortage.
Lines grew; other people saw the lines and figured something must be going on.  So, they got in the line too.  After all, if there was going to be a gas shortage, they wanted to be sure their tank was full.  
People who didnít actually need gas decided to top off their tanks.  Rednecks cleaned out all the gas cans in their garages and filled them up with gas. 
Sure enough, gas stations started running out of gas.  What a surprise!

The weekend came and people who actually needed gas couldnít get gas.  Gas pumps were covered with plastic bags at station after station. You could tell which stations were sold out because they were the ones that didn't have a line.
People started calling gas stations looking for gas. Gas stations ordered gas, but couldnít get it delivered fast enough.  If a tanker was spotted on the highway, motorists followed it and flocked like flies to the station that was getting gas.  Lines backed up on roadways and tempers flared as traffic was blocked.
More gas was used driving around looking for gas and sitting in line waiting for gas than for actually driving. When regular gas ran out, people went to premium, so it was quickly drained too.  
People bought extra cans of gas and carried them around in the trunk of their cars.  Gasoline is like dynamite that could go off in a confined area if vapors ignite. Catastrophe was riding around the city waiting to happen. 

So far, no fireballs have been reported.
Entrepreneurs filled gas cans and sold gas at an inflated price to people who didn't have any. For $5, extra they told them where they got it.  

Price gouging at gas stations was widely reported, and a hotline was set up to report it, but nothing was done about violators as far as anyone could tell.
AAA reported that the crisis would be over by the weekend.  Why ask AAA?  They give maps, directions and make reservations. They are a travel agency, not experts on economics or the marketplace. 

They also are not experts on human behavior.
I went to seven stations while running on fumes before I found gas and then paid $4.49 a gallon.  At first I thought the station was sold out because there was no line. When I saw the prices, however, I knew why they didnít have a line. 
Eventually stations began to get gas deliveries and lines became shorter. Most everyone had filled up already -- not to mention the stockpiles of gasoline in rusty gas cans all over the city.  This city could go off like the Fourth of July.
The media is trying to calm the panic by reporting that there is plenty of gasoline if people will not panic and run to gas stations like a bunch of lemmings just because every one else does. 
Telling people not to panic is a sure way to create panic. Watch out! They could stampede for the gas pumps at any minute.  

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss


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