Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sure Feels Like I Am Being Gouged

Since we are a tourist town, and since we are at the junction of two major interstate highways we have a great deal going for us.  Some already in existence, and more to come.  Some good things, and some things that are not so good.

Case in point:  This past week Mary filled her gas tank in Leominster for $2.45 / gallon.  I filled my tank here in Sturbridge, at the Mobil across from the Picadilly, for $2.79 / gallon.

Thirty four cents difference.  Not three to four cents difference, but thirty four cents.  The other towns in our area are low, too, but not as low as Leominster.  They were at least twenty five cents lower.

Well, the first thing you are thinking is, "Well, duh, Wally, you are filling up at the most expensive place in town."

I know.  No excuse.  When I drive by Cumberland Farms, which traditionally has one of the lowest prices in town, it is usually filled with cars, and so the next place is the Mobil.  Poor excuse, but when the difference is ten cents a gallon I can live with it.   The difference is getting much greater, and now the Pilot gas station on old Route 15 is the least expensive in town, not Cumberland Farms.  One would expect the Pilot to be more expensive since it grabs the tourists right off I-84.

Until now I could justify a "convenience fee" for myself, but no longer, the price difference here in town is too great.

I have to wonder how the Mobil can justify their price.  Doesn't matter really, they will charge what they can for as long as they choose to.  When a products price varies so greatly in a small locale one has to wonder a bit.  I, on the other hand, have to change my ways.

They say it takes thirty days to start, and embed a new habit into your regimen.  I'll let you know how I do around October 1st.  Last evening I took the family out for ice cream at Friendly's, and then for gas at Pilot.

I know, I know, I am just too damn fun.


  1. Second-hand RoseMonday, August 30, 2010

    Your learning,Old Boy. You're learning! Just the fact you buy it in Sturbridge, doesn't make it a higher quality product.

  2. Here's a little tip you can use next time you go to Friendly's. Ask to keep your receipt. When you get home fire up the computer and follow the directions on the register receipt. You will get a printout coupon for $5 off your next purchase of $25, or $3 off your next purchase of $15 at Freindly's. That will leave a bit more in your pocket for gas at Pilot. (Just be careful if you use the Haynes Street intersection to get there.)

  3. Who do they think we are?Monday, August 30, 2010

    We've noticed higher prices here in town also. Even WalMart has lower prices in some of its other stores than it does in Sturbridge. At times we've gone to their stores in other towns just on principal. We probably spent more on gas than we saved on the lower price, but refused to pay more just for living in Sturbridge. This town has a reputation for being more affluent than neighboring towns, and though that is true, many individuals and families in this town are no better off financially than individuals and families in other towns. We are lumped together and an average is taken, which causes so called "affordable" renting costs, etc. to be higher. Gouging to get every last cent out of us isn't right.

  4. Shopping locally is still the way to go, but national chains that price items higher here in town know they can get away with it. Not many of us will spend the money on gas to save a buck or two.

  5. Many sides to the storyMonday, August 30, 2010

    National chains do often take advantage, but others do also. Some who live in Sturbridge can afford to shop locally, and some have to get what they can for a lower price elsewhere if they can get there - and then there are the folks who live here and complain that this town doesn't even have places up-scale enough to get their business. Gouging is wrong, and those of us who can avoid it should do that no matter who the merchant is. Local shops are important, but we need much more than little local shops who employ very small numbers of people and yet demand that the town spend big bucks to attract customers for them.

  6. I agree. Local or not, if someone is selling the same goods for far more than the guy down the street, then its time to go down the street, or out of town if need be.

  7. A penny for our thoughtsTuesday, August 31, 2010

    Thank you, Wally. "Hearing" folks "Thinking Out Loud in Sturbridge" is a real eye-opener. The thoughts "voiced" on any given day can, to the readers and posters, be educational, frightening, frustrating, comforting, surprising, fun, entertaining, serious, important, whimsical, and sometimes unbelievable, but never boring, and just what we need in this town.

  8. Dear Penny,

    Thank you for your kind words. I think that everyone that contributes to this place does so with a particular passion for a subject. It is great. Sort of gets the blood moving, and gives one a feeling of contributing toward an end result, or cause. That feeling can make the day just that much better


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