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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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A QuikTrip just opened up near our house at the intersection of Cave Creek and Deer Valley, just down the block and exactly on my way to work. This is an important development because it’s the closest thing our isolated subdivision has to a corner store. The nearest grocery store is a good three miles away and the other gas stations are one and two miles distant. They’re fine if you need gas, but if you just need a quick gallon of milk or snack item, it’s far enough to make it not worthwhile.

Plus, QuikTrip has a great grand opening incentive: a free travel mug and free refills until November 8th! This is, I think, a great way to do business if you can afford it. Soda drinkers are typically quite loyal to a particular chain of convenience stores. Or, at least, I always was when I was a soda drinker. I had determined that particular chains and particular stores within that chain had the best calibrated soda fountains or the quickest service and I patronized those exclusively. By getting them acquainted with the company’s offerings on a lengthy trial basis, QuikTrip can quickly accumulate customers.

It might get expensive, but QuikTrip has pretty deep pockets and can afford to offer such a sweet deal. Unfortunately, the deal also attracts the free riders and evidence of them is available at every visit. My wife was commenting to me today that she’s never seen such bicycle activity from neighborhood kids since we’ve lived in the area—which, at seven years, is as long as the neighborhood has existed. It’s also funny to see the children experimenting with bizarre concoctions, mixing disparate drinks together with the abandon that comes from the freeness.

We’ve also seen an influx of the moochers from the southern reaches of our north Phoenix area. I am proud of my position in life and it is not the position I occupied as a child. My wife and I have worked our way up the ladder of success and it has been a tough journey every rung. I don’t hold lack of wealth or success against people unless they display a lack of ambition or drive. It’s the welfare mentality of expecting something for nothing or hoping for get-rich-quick schemes that really irks me. These are not future patrons of QuikTrip. They are living examples of the free rider problem. I suppose it’s wrong to generalize from appearances, but the appearances suggest definite conclusions.