Sometimes you just gotta love economics.

Before the price of gas rose in Venezuela, people would give large tips to the guys pumping your gas. I’ve always thought this was on account of a certain level of embarassment for paying so little at the pump.

Now? Well, things have changed. As economics would predict, people are paying more at the pump, so they are giving less in tips.

Take it away, Efecto Cocuyo:

We gas station workers live off our tips. Our weekly wages are BsF 2,450 plus BsF 6,500 in food tickets; now, people pay just the right amount.” He recalls that on April 30th he will have been on the job for thirty years. However, after the rise in the price of gas he is considering retirement, because he says “it isn’t worth it, if tips have gone way down and crime is out of control, I might as well retire and not be exposed every day.”

From the pockets of these hard-working Venezuelans, to the pockets of the government – or what chavistas would call, a “redistributive policy.”

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  1. “Large” tips relative to the price of the gas. Say a tank of gas was 4 to 5 Bsf… if you paid with a tenner, you would just tip the rest… or even with a twenty BsF bill. Now a tank is Bsf. 300, still laughable, but there aren’t larger bill than 100’s. So there no excess that you’re willing to just tip. I don’t think it’s about willingness. If there was a 320 Bsf bill, i def would be leaving the rest as tip, which was exactly the same amount as the tip i would have given a month ago.

  2. This is a totally unnecessary job. People can fill their own gas.And it’s why some countries are better off, they free up the lady in the elevator or thousands of engineers in the oil sector when they are not needed anymore to other tasks.

    In Venezuela they prefer to hold on to their jobs, sometimes even when they’re only “calentando la silla”.

    • For once I will put in a word for Venezuela. In the sense that yes people should be able to pump their own gasoline so it is asking to an elevator-operator job. However, having travelled around the world a bit, I do not that there are variations on this theme. Say in a museum. You buy the ticket, then you give the ticket to someone who tears the stub off (looks like a gas pumping job to me). Restaurants in the USA, one guy is there just to bring the water, the other one takes the order (and the division of labour here is quite strong, God forbid you try to ask the water person for the bill -I only do the water-). Just a lite note.

  3. I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday while getting my tank filled for the first time with the new price and I over-tipped the employee out of guilt.

  4. Nope.

    Paid Bs.242 for a full tank yesterday with three Bs.100 bills and wasn’t going to wait around for a handful of small coins.

    “Dame cincuenta.” and left the guy with an 8 Bs. tip — probably more than I’ve ever tipped a un gasolinero.
    Call me a shitty tipper, but the now uselessness of low-denomination bills and coins will just make us round up and give them more money than before.

    If they’re gonna whine about having a simple job that pays shit, they better get in line behind the rest of the country.

  5. I would not call this an unnecessary job. Jobs like this exist in markets where labor is cheap. In a place like, say, India, you do with manual labor what you would do with machines in a highly developed economy because the machines are expensive and the labor is cheap. For a job like this in Venezuela there are no machines to take the attendant’s place (the driver does it instead, of course) but it fills a need for work. I suppose technically you could call it a market inefficiency, but the scale of that inefficiency is so miniscule next to the epic inefficiency of the gasoline subsidy that it is hardly worth thinking about. It is genuinely unfortunate that attendant’s livelihoods are being affected in this way, but I don’t think this is an argument against lowering the subsidy.

    As for the act itself, well, I was visiting Portland, OR last month and got a full-serve fillup for the first time in my adult life. It felt sort of odd. (Oregon and New Jersey are the two states in the USA that do not allow you to fill your own gas.)

    • Everything in Portland is retro. I don’t even think they use zippers in Portland.

      Full serve is still the norm in Mexico. I think there may be a cultural bias in Latin America against touching gas pumps (analogous to our cultural bias in the north against touching people).

  6. With the dismal state of most gasoline pumps, which were remodeled in the early 90’s, it is not a good idea to have the customer handle the pump and self serve. Most pumps have tricks that only the regular operator knows …

    I don’t think the tips will change if people are aware that most of the income the pump operator receive is comes from the tips…

  7. Heh, funny how so many people jump and claim that it would be possible to have the stations devoid of any employees because said jobs aren’t necessary.

    Again, the short-sight of those who don’t even bother to ask if the same employees do another job besides being just operators of a machinery that couldn’t work without an operator.

  8. I have filled the tank twice, one time it ws 270 and the other time 260, both times i gave the guy 300 and told him to keep the change.

  9. They could make a lot more in tips if they would wash your windshield and brighten your day with a smile. Sullen just doesn’t earn tips. I once paid for my Bs. 4 tank of gas with a Bs. 100 note because the attendant did do all of that. No magic here. Anyone who is a service provider will do better if they provide the service efficiently and with a smile.

  10. No a la Misión “Borrón y Cuenta Nueva”: Castigo a los corruptos y repatriación de capitales ¡YA!
    Comparte en redes sociales:
    Por Nicmer Evans
    Miércoles, 20/01/2016 09:02 PM

    El estudio presentado por Marea Socialista en diciembre del 2015 llamado “Autopsia de un colapso: ¿Qué pasó con los dólares petroleros de Venezuela?” ( indica claramente que entre la fuga de capitales que se generó en Venezuela entre 1999 y 2013 y el descuadre de la caja de PDVSA desde 1999 hasta el 2014 se suma 475 mil millones de dólares aproximadamente, lo que hoy equivale a nueve años de importaciones del 2012, año que representa el de mayor cantidad de dólares gastados para tal fin (54.767 millones de dólares), y que nos lo han robado a todos los venezolanos.

    Sin embargo, durante todos estos años, tanto cambios de ministros de corrientes distintas e incluso encontradas, como alternabilidad de gobiernos regionales y municipales entre gobierno y oposición han sido cómplices y han encubierto lo que gestiones anteriores han sumado a las cifras previamente calculadas.

    Hacia el 6D de 2015 hubo un pacto parcial de actores del gobierno y la oposición denominado por algunos como el “Pacto del Polvo Cósmico y la Arena de Playa” en honor al actual presidente de la Asamblea Nacional, que utilizó esta categoría para señalar que lo que se viviría el 6D era un “duelo” y que terceros no serían permitidos participar. Ahora, después de ese duelo, donde la oposición ganó, se reconfiguran las fuerzas, y un sector del gobierno de Maduro empieza a manejar un nuevo pacto, que más allá de que se logre generar un mecanismo de diálogo o gobierno de conciliación, garantice que quienes así como en la IV no consiguieron ninguna sanción ante el desfalco también propinado a la riqueza del país, ahora los de la V, si el gobierno llega a salir de manera anticipada, gocen de la impunidad del pacto del “Borrón y Cuenta Nueva”.

    Los venezolanos de a pie estamos hartos de que las élites políticas tanto del pasado como del presente al final terminen protegiéndose, y la impunidad siga campante en nuestro país. Los que votamos por Chávez entre otras cosas lo hicimos porque él ofreció superar la crisis de las crisis que es la ética, y la verdad es que en eso nos decepcionó, pero lo peor aún no lo hemos visto.

    Después del 6D un sector de la población rompió el cerco y se atrevió, siendo chavista, a votar por la oposición, en mi caso yo voté nulo como castigo al sistema electoral, pero otros se expresaron castigando al gobierno de manera directa, todos seguramente bajo la esperanza de que no sólo se abriera el diálogo o el debate sobre la crisis del país, sino con la esperanza de que la lucha contra la corrupción se iniciará de una vez.

    Sin embargo, tanto en los dos últimos discursos de Maduro, como los de Ramos Allup, e incluso en la instalación de la comisión que analiza el decreto de emergencia, ni siquiera José Guerra y menos aún Héctor Rodríguez dieron con el tino de definir claramente las causas de la crisis económica: el robo de 475 mil millones de Bs, sin sumar lo que se robó en la IV república, que no tiene doliente ni responsables.

    Exigir una Auditoría Pública, una comisión de la verdad, o como queramos llamar a quienes tengan los testículo y ovarios necesarios para investigar y penar a quienes nos han robado y nos siguen robando en nuestra cara, que no tienen tinte partidista, como no lo tiene el capital, menos si su origen es mafioso, es un clamor nacional, porque si esto no se supera no habrá en el país nadie con la suficiente moral para pedirle sacrificio a nadie en estos momentos tan críticos que necesita de la unión de todos los venezolanos para superarla, ya que puede convertirse en una crisis humanitaria.

    No a la misión “Borrón y cuenta nueva”, ¡Incautación de bienes y repatriación de capitales ya a los corruptos!

    Twitter: @NicmerEvans
    Email: [email protected]

  11. I’m pretty certain that there’s another similar pattern going on: people doing less charity.

    Be it by a petty reason of revenge on the ones who had supposedly elected the Chavistas, be it because of the harsh economic conditions.

    This kind of regime forged according to the image and likeness of psycopaths, in the end, make we look like more like them, and less like us. To stay in the heart of this madness for years and still keep your integrity and honesty intact is the ultimate test. That’s why I admire people like Emiliana.

    “¡Que difícil es
    cuando todo baja
    no bajar también!”

    Antonio Machado


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