of the earliest stories I was assigned when I first joined the staff of Supply
way back in 1977 was to interview a bunch of New York
City plumbing wholesalers who were trying to make “trip charges” stick amid
resistance from trade customers.
they’re called “fuel surcharges,” but otherwise not much has changed.
Skyrocketing fuel prices earlier in the year led to a rash of fuel surcharges
among businesses ranging from pizza delivery to package delivery services to
our industry's PHCP distributors. The latter still find it tricky to manage, as
market leaders in imposing fuel surcharges typically lose business to
competitors who pretend not to be charging extra.
almost always an illusion, of course, because the customer will ultimately pay
one way or another - via surcharges or higher prices with the surcharge built
in. One's visible, the other disguised.
I prefer to see itemized surcharges. This preference has less to do with
the pocketbook than intellectual honesty, coupled with practical results. I
think the public at-large would be more conservation-minded - and
energy production-minded - if we were constantly bombarded with reminders of
rising energy prices.
are you distributors handling high fuel prices? Are you eating them,
implementing surcharges, or building them into your prices?
now that fuel prices have dropped by about a third from their peak, are any of
you rescinding surcharges?
your thinking with us.