Just recently, we watched the price of gasoline go up more than one dollar in less than 24 hours. The price of heating oil has gone up too, a big concern in this part of the country, since we get cold, windy winters. This week, I got a call from Firewood Guy, a neighbor I've known since high school. He and his Dad sell firewood as a side business.
Firewood Guy: Hey, Jo(e), I'm calling to see when you want your firewood.
Me: Firewood? I hadn't even thought about that yet.
Firewood Guy: Weather's nice now, but winter will be coming. You'll want to get it split and stacked while we've got still got some dry weather.
Me: Yeah, you're right. Good thing I got you to remind me every year.
Firewood Guy: How much you need? Two cords?
Me: Yeah, that's about right. I still have some left from last year.
Firewood Guy: I can load up the truck tomorrow and bring it over after supper.
Me: I should be home but if not, I can leave a check in the mailbox. How much you charging this year?
Firewood Guy: Same as last year. $45 a cord.
Me: What? You've charged the same price for years. I figured you would raise it this year, with the price of gas and heating oil and all that getting so high.
Firewood Guy: Yeah, some folks are going to have trouble heating their houses this winter. But that's no reason for us to charge you more for firewood.
Me: Yeah, but people will be buying more firewood this year. I figured the price would go up.
Firewood Guy: What? I don't think my Dad has raised the price. Let me ask him.
(I hear him talking to his father in the background.)
Firewood Guy: (returning to the phone) Dad says he's not raising his price. He said that if you lived far away maybe he'd charge a delivery fee to cover the price of gas, but you live just around the corner so that don't make no sense.
Me: Well, okay.
Firewood Guy: Hell, you think we are going to gouge our neighbors? The wood's been sitting in our lot for months now. So just write the check already.
Me: (laughing) Okay.
Firewood Guy: If you aren't home when I come, where you want me to dump it?
Me: In front of the basketball hoop.
Firewood Guy: But then your kids can't play ball until the wood is split and stacked.
Firewood Guy: (laughing) Well, that's one way to get the job done.