Perhaps this question is an easy one for the average reader of BeingFrugal.net. Perhaps not. Let me explain my current situation and pose a few questions.
Living out in the country my family has to use propane for the furnace, hot water heater, dryer, and stovetop. Every time I see the Amerigas propane truck pull in the driveway to fill our tank I cringe as I know a $400+ bill will soon be in the mail. I am currently paying $2.91 a gallon for propane. Not fun.
But being a frugal person by nature, I am always looking for ways to make my paycheck go as far as possible each month. So when a neighbor told me about a new propane company to the area, and what a great price they are offering, my ears perked up. $2.19 a gallon to be exact, which on a 200 gallon tank comes out to a savings of $144 every time they fill the tank. No small potatoes.
So after another friend recommended their service as well, I decided to make the switch. The savings was just to hard to pass up. But I wanted to give Amerigas a chance to match the $2.19 per gallon. I was hoping they would price-match because it is going to be a small pain to get the tanks switched out and started with the new company.
But when I called them and explained the situation, they told me something that is the reason behind this post. They said,
Oh, well, you really need to consider that they have to be paying their employees much less than what we pay ours. And you will be contributing to this problem if you switch.
My first thought was, no, you need to figure out how to lower costs and overhead so you can compete with them on price. That is how capitalism works, right? That is how Wal-Mart works, right? But instead, I said nothing and told the man that I would re-consider my options.
So that brings me to my question. Is there a moral obligation to pay more so employees are compensated fairly? Is the Amerigas employee playing the sympathy card and just making up the story about salary discrepancies? Should I just stay with Amerigas figuring that the cheaper propane company is enticing new customers only to raise the price in a couple months? Have you ever had a company say this about a competitor and what was the result? Looking forward to your comments.
A surefire way to compete on price is to use online coupons. I knew I could tie coupons into this post!