EDITORIAL: Squamish gas protests causing workers undue stress

For those of us still driving fossil-fuel dependent vehicles, there’s no denying that something stinks in Squamish when it comes to what we pay at the pump.

That should make drivers mad.

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But, there seems to be painful unintended consequences of the recent gas station protests.

In the weeks since the first protest in the Garibaldi Estates, The Chief has heard from distressed local gas station workers. They aren’t permitted to speak to the media on the record, so we are passing along their points for them here.

The bottom line is they tell us the anger these protests are stirring up is causing stress on the workers inside.

Some are suffering from verbal abuse as drivers come in and rant or accuse the people behind the counter of ripping them off.

The Chief has spoken to an organizer behind the demonstrations and the protesters themselves seem to understand that the sales staff are not to blame and the demonstrators are not targeting them. 

But others seem to be inspired by the protests and are taking matters and their complaints, to the clerks on duty.

To be clear, the sales associates behind the counter don’t have any say in the gas price and they don’t get a discount on gas prices.

“Please understand, the person behind the counter is only human,” a worker told us.

These are tax-paying, bill-paying Squamish residents just trying to make a living and raise their families like the rest of us.

“No point in complaining to the salesperson in the station about how the price is less in Vancouver. We can not change it and have no idea when the price will change. Complain to the customer service of the station you use. Each receipt has a phone number at the bottom,” one worker told The Chief.

This makes sense, right?

Most employees at any company don’t have a say in the prices of the products they sell.

Screaming at the gas station attendant is a bit like going to the department store and yelling at the clerk that  Nikes are over-priced. Good luck with that.

Squamish locals must voice their frustration over the price of gas in town. Good on you to those who are getting out and being heard.

At the same time, how about we show a little compassion and understanding for those on the front line, who don’t deserve to be bullied in the course of putting in an honest day’s work.

In fact, wouldn’t it be amazing if instead of causing stress for the workers, we eased their day with some baking, coffees or just a simple hello and thank you?

Squamish residents are great at protesting what we see as wrong, but let’s not forget that we can also be stellar at supporting each other, even when we are on different sides of the fence — or pump.

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