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A close friend of mine has led a charmed life. He was an investment banker during the golden years, he left that industry about 10 years ago to start his own company and then took it public about five years ago. Last year he sold his remaining shares for $67 million and got out of the business.
Today, he lives in a beautiful home, on a wonderful property. He drives a phenomenal sports car and has well behaved children that are both polite and hard working.
He lives on 5 acres of land in a town called Chappaqua in NY. This town is known for it’s quaint shops and wealthy inhabitants. One thing that struck me as odd though was not that he had the big house, nice car, great location or happy family. There were conflicting signals that he occasionally gave off about money.
When you walk into his home, and go into his kitchen it’s beautiful. Country French with tumbled marble tile, a built in drawer ice box in the island (to keep beverages cold) and a food warmer under the oven. Interesting though, this is where it gets weird: in his refrigerated drawer he had three beverages, bottled water, beer and cola. Not, Poland Springs, Heineken and Coca-Cola mind you, but Deer Park, Budweiser and RC Cola.
After a five minute chat and an RC, we went for a ride in his new German convertible. A Porsche 911 with the flared out tire-wells and a turbocharged engine. Fun, I thought. We cruised for almost and hour and then he needed gas. We pulled over for a moment and sat while he pulled out his iphone with a “gas buddy” application, and located a station about a mile away. As we pulled up I noticed that it wasn’t BP, Shell or Exxon. It was Continental Gas. Across the street however was one of the other, more well known, options. Our station was run down, with pumps that must have been 30 years old. Across the street, pumps from this decade.
“Why don’t we just go across the street” I said, “it’s better gas.” “Better gas??? Do you think brand of gas really matters?” He replied? I started to say “of course,” but caught myself because I did not really know if that was true.
The fact is no one can really say that one brand of gas is better than the other, any more than anyone can say that one brand of water is better than the other, anymore that one brand of cola is better than the other. Most of the time it comes down to personal preference, but that is about it.
So the next time you find yourself paying 10 cents more per gallon because of the emblem on the side of the gas station, ask yourself “Does brand of gas really matter?” Now I use gas buddy all the time and locate stations based on price and proximity, not name. If it’s good for my deca-millionaire friend, it’s good enough for me.
Until Next Time,