A Royal Commission into Petrol Prices (and Malingerers)
The Joys of Pearl
Hi Pearl – As per usual, an excellent insight into society (Has Australia Reached Peak Commission and Inquiry?, The Beast, October 2019). Can we add to your request for Royal Commissions a Royal Commission into petrol prices? Really, what is going on? For those of us who travel across Anzac Parade it is really noticeable. Reading your contribution to The Beast is an absolute joy.
Dear Melissa – I love receiving letters from my fans. Fan mail makes my life easier, giving my weary brain a rest from dissecting the depressing tribulations of the greedy modern world. But, it also allows me to keep in touch with the community and to bring to the fore real middle-class issues. Taking on readers’ concerns (such as the arboreal hater vandalising tree canopies in Fern Street – I do hope The Beast’s publicity resulted in the person being caught) is a privilege and a welcome break from the petty bourgeois whinging in which privation equates to eating sourdough from Baker’s Delight rather than Iggy’s.
I am thrilled you raised the issue of petrol prices as it provides a segue into what Pearl considers to be a pressing Eastern Suburbs issue – petrol malingerers. As well as investigating the blatant anti-competitive behaviour of the fuel industry, I can envisage a Royal Commission being extended to the bad behaviour of the affluent who are attached to their environmentally unsound fuel-guzzling SUVs and will do anything for cheap petrol, except cross Anzac Parade.
Petrol cycles (where petrol is cheaper on a certain day) bring out the worst behaviour in the price-sensitive affluent. Yummy mummies, stockbrokers and grandes dames (of The Bays) for whom the concept of travelling across Anzac Parade is literally foreign, will self-absorbingly create traffic and pedestrian mayhem every Tuesday by mindlessly queuing at Eastern Suburbs servos just to save a measly $10, which has probably been blown in keeping the engine running for climate controlled comfort. I know one Rose Bay lady who strategically plans her grocery shopping around scoring cheaper petrol via Coles dockets for her two Lexus SUVs, so obsessed is she in saving what amounts to two soy lattes per week. And, she isn’t immune to scavenging dockets from the ground or insisting her grocery shop be divided into two lots at the checkout to gain an extra docket.
Pearl looks at the inane people idling their Clovelly chariots, queuing mindlessly for a tankful of discounted fuel, and wonders if they have anything better to do than inhale their own SUV fumes. The “I’m so busy” Eastern Suburbs mantra of “Time is money” is totally forgotten as one is hypnotised by Cheap Tuesday. As I take my life in my hands crossing at the Caltex on Albemarle Avenue, Rose Bay (and dodging gophers blocking the footpath on Old South Head Road) I wonder if I’m in a movie – the petrol shortage version of the B-grade film, Steel Dawn. On that basis I truly believe, Melissa, that we do indeed have the grounds for a Royal Commission into Petrol Cycles (and Malingerers).