Perhaps in your travels you have seen the fuelperks! promotion that is at many gas stations and supermarkets these days. Every gas station seems to have some kind of free gas rewards system, and in my area, they each have their own supermarket discount buddy. Holiday has Cub Foods, BP/Amoco has Rainbow, and Super America plays the town bicycle and honors any and all competing coupons.
The usual deal in these promotions is “for every $50 you spend on food at X store, you get 10¢ off per gallon of fuel up to X gallons.” This seems like a good deal. After all, groceries are a necessity expense, so why not take advantage of benefits given on a necessary expense? Would I benefit from this deal?
Well, I checked it out. I have two BP stations within a mile (0.7) of my house, yet the nearest Rainbow Foods (savings on up to 20 gallons) is 2.5 miles away. The nearest Cub Foods (savings on up to 12 gallons), where I buy my food now, is 2.6 miles away, but the nearest Holiday station is 1.6 miles away. The nearest Super America is 2.1 miles away.
Goodness, I love Google Maps. Twenty bucks if you can triangulate my address from that info.
This is important because my van gets, on a good day, about 11 miles to the gallon in the city. A round trip to Rainbow and BP is 6.4 miles. A round trip to Cub and Holiday is 8.4 miles. At $2.65 a gallon and rising, (and with the maximum I can save being $2 a fill-up) I barely break even. I usually spend $85/trip on a grocery run, and I do two runs a month.
Is all the running around just to save a few extra cents worth it? Is learning where all the food is in a Rainbow store worth it? Is Rainbow food cheaper than Cub food? Are the cashiers there as cute? These are all the questions I don’t need to answer by not participating in the promotion.
So what about you? Do you take advantage of any sweet promotion deals where you live?