A lot of propane will be used this Fourth of July, but it’s also a day when many independent distributors may be closed for business. So where do customers go for their gas needs? This was one of the issues raised in a recent On The Edge article called “Putting The Honor System To The Test.” A propane dealer expressed his frustration at losing customers to Big Box stores on the weekends and on holidays. Especially when holidays are some of the biggest grilling times, you can see why this would be an issue for some distributors.
The propane dealer’s response was to find a way to serve his customers by leaving out partial tanks. I raised the issue with several GAWDA members, and most agreed that there was a better solution than leaving tanks by the back door.
Multiple GAWDA members have found a solution in setting up their own consignment cages for propane at convenience stores, even at some of the Big Box type stores themselves. This not only keeps customers honest, it keeps the tanks under lock and key for safety. So if you’re looking for propane this 4th of July, you may still be able to buy it from your favorite GAWDA member.
Welding & Gases Today will have the full story next week, including GAWDA members’ opinions of and alternatives to the honor system.
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, this is also a great time to look at an amazing story involving helium. When the Genesee Country Village & Museum set out to recreate a Civil War military balloon, it never imagined that a helium shortage would deflate its plans. With the global helium shortage, the museum had trouble securing a supply of the gas and put out a call for help. Macy’s responded by donating 50,000 cubic feet of helium to get the Intrepid off the ground.
The fourth of July will be the inaugural launch of this helium-filled piece of history at the Rochester, NY, museum. Visitors will be able to ride up 300 feet in the air in the tethered balloon to recreate the experience of Union soldiers observing enemy troops (with helium in place of the more volatile hydrogen used by the soldiers). It just goes to show that gas played an important role in the military even in the 19th century.
Here’s wishing everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July!