How Convenient

The Air/Water machine at the 76 Station on Watt & Fair Oaks
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I think we’ve all figured out by now that more and more gas stations price their product depending on your method of payment.

The two-tiered system is completely legal, however is not an option for many gas station owners. Pumps that have the technology able to track dual-prices cost anywhere between $12,000 to $15,000, meaning many small stations simply cannot afford such a luxury…and are stuck with smaller margins due to processing costs.

Wouldn’t NOT upgrading pumps at a cost of around 60K to 100K also help with those margins?

At any rate, here’s a photo taken at the 76 Station on Watt & Fair Oaks. If you have coins on you, it’ll run you $0.75 to fill up those tires. If you don’t, the price goes up to $1.25. You know, “Same as Cash.”


I’m just now reading this article on from Monday about the increase in food stamp use in Sacramento.

With more people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the marketplace is shifting as more retailers accept food stamps and some retailers consciously market to those customers.

Well, that’s a catchy name isn’t it? And now even Whole Foods Market accepts your SNAP stamps. Our society sure loves to react to the symptoms of problems rather than the causes, huh?

Since 2004, SNAP benefits have converted to Electronic Benefit Transfer, or what is essentially a debit card loaded with the benefit amounts that are deducted by retailers. As discreet as gift cards, EBT cards lessened the social stigma and simplified the process for retailers, Berg said.

Wasn’t the “social stigma” sort of the deal you made with the government when you accepted the assistance? That is, regardless of where you stand politically, isn’t shame the one constant social regulator we have left?

That and the “Pants on the Ground” song, of course.

To the woman at the post office

Yesterday morning I stopped by the post office on Arden Way. I had to pick up a package which meant going inside and waiting in line. It was 8:35 a.m. which I thought would be early enough to avoid the crowds. As it turned out, they *offer new hours*: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon – Fri. So I decided to wait. Like every red blooded American I pulled out my handheld and started pretending to be super into something in an effort to avoid social interaction of any kind.

The “waiting area” began to fill with all sorts of Sacramentans eager to get some mailin’ done. We could all see the employees inside the office fussing about preparing to open. “You are right there, what’s the hold up? OPEN already!” a man uttered breaking the silence.

Continue reading “To the woman at the post office”

Slam! Crash! Plow!

The aftermath
The crime scene, er, aftermath, er, ground zero!

If you live here (this is mainly for you new readers), you know that cars find their way into buildings. Home, businesses, you name it. Young drivers, old drivers, and elevated drivers alike, we have it all in the 916. What is fascinating to me, however, is how we report these incidents and what information we reveal.

For example, on Sunday morning in Natomas an off-duty sheriff’s deputy “crashed” her sport utility vehicle into a Starbucks.

Police charged an off-duty Sacramento Sheriff’s deputy with felony DUI Sunday after she plowed into an open Starbucks coffee shop in Natomas, injuring an elderly woman … Brown said the driver of the car continued to push on the accelerator even after the car had come to a stop … Authorities believe Gargano, 37, was taking prescription medication, Leong said. He declined to name the specific medication, citing health confidentiality.

Sorry, the officer “plowed” into the coffee shop. What, no “continued to gun it!” And we are OK with her name but not her medical condition?

More details surface and the Sac Bee offers up a new article, SUV slams into Starbucks; deputy charged. We learn the deputy’s name and of course her personal tidbits in the comments section.

Then, two more crashes occur … Continue reading “Slam! Crash! Plow!”

Request to radio traffic reporters

As I’m driving around, slightly zoned out (but not so zoned out to be a danger to myself or society), the traffic reports are usually the same, so I don’t pay too much attention.

There are, however, instances where a reporter will give information on a major accident or hazard that is sure to clog up the roads for some time, and the reporter rarely repeats where this incident is located. He or she will just say, “So stay clear of THAT area!” and move on with the rest of the scoop from the (insert sponsor’s name here) traffic center.

All I ask is that they simply wrap it up by saying, “Again, that’s on northbound Watt near Folsom” or wherever the incident is.  I find myself having a DVR reflex, like I’m reaching for a phantom remote to hit the back-up-15-seconds button to hear the location. Alas, there is no such technology in my rig.

Am I just being picky?

UFO story brings us back

Remember when things were going so well in this country that we cared about space exploration and whether or not we were alone in the universe? This UFO story in Sacramento should help you recall those memories of old.

Plus, this story is one of the few examples of the comments feature being used less annoyingly by “news” organizations. They read like a story. A real page turner…

So, please to enjoy. And, if you’re like me, you can’t help but remember that episode of The Brady Bunch where Greg plays a joke on the gang by fabricating his own UFO.

Sacramento Trivia Alert!

When we’re not asking the tough questions and searching for the right answers, we enjoy us some Sacramento trivia. With all the tension surrounding the state of the world right now, we were thrilled to hear from “Anna in Sacramento” today.

Anna writes (in my best Casey Kasem voice)…

Dear Sac Rag,

“Okay, we’re having a fit of nostalgia here in the office/random memory (very random!). Can anyone name/remember the bands that played at KWOD’s 1998 Summer Concert at Arco Arena (also known as the show that Green Day canceled because their drummer got bonked on the head by one of the guys from Third Eye Blind)?”

There’s not a ton of information on the InterWeb, so what say all you thirtysomethingers out there?

One squirrel says to the other squirrel

Here’s the second installment of my five part story on squirrels. Watch out Lisa Ling, I’m coming to getcha!

The reports that Redding firefighters are blaming a flaming squirrel for a grass fire that briefly threatened a home.

Firefighters say the squirrel set off the blaze yesterday when it shorted out a power line, caught fire and dropped into dry vegetation. It took eighteen firefighters and six fire engines 20 minutes to battle the one squirrel blaze.

One squirrel blaze! Badda bing! And the squirrel stock photo they used…very rich. If I didn’t know better I would suggest that is making with the jokes.

UPDATE: hasn’t thrown their fun hat into the ring with a, er, nutty squirrel photo.

People Helping People

Who else gets mistaken for employees in retail establishments or is frequently asked by fellow patrons for assistance?

I know not to wear red garments when going to Target, and anyone who wore a blue chambray shirt and khakis in the ’90s* could have been mistaken for a Blockbuster employee.

Tonight at Longs, I helped a young girl pick out just the right microwave popcorn and a woman select a glittery hair clip for a friend’s 11-year-old daughter’s birthday. I was approached by each of these people — maybe they admired my taste in diet soda (all Coca Cola products are five 12-packs for $12, plus CRV; no coupon required) and laundry detergent, so they trusted my judgment to make consumer decisions for them. I truly felt like a Maven in Malcolm Gladwell’s eyes.

Does this happen to anyone else on a regular basis?

*Note the proper position of the apostrophe. The apostrophe indicates where I left off something that was already there, namely “19.” The incorrect way would have been to write it as “90’s.” For more information please refer to Grammar Girl’s guide to dates. As you were.