I always try to listen to the local radio stations as I’m traveling around the country in search of boomtowns. It was about an hour and a half drive from Green Bay to Antigo, WI and I got a chance to listen to numerous stations. All of the local announcers were talking about Raj Bhandari in nearby Merrill, WI (population 10,146) who had developed a $50 shopping card for the local youth hockey program. In exchange, customers got 3 cents off every gallon of gas they bought. Bhandari also offered his senior citizen customers a 2 cent discount. Everyone should be happy, right?
The Wisconsin auditor sent Bhandari a letter demanding that he stop selling fuel at a discount. Wisconsin has a minimum mark-up law which requires gasoline retailers to sell their fuel for at least 9.2% above their wholesale price, and Bhandari’s discounts pushed his prices below that margin.
Really! Do we need the government telling us what price to sell our products for? Don’t they have enough things to worry about, rather than customers getting a discount on their gas while helping the local hockey program?