As I get older around my birthday, I feel like I should have some knowledge to show for it– and of course, to share. The problem is as you get older, you feel stupider and less creative. Another one of life’s cruelties: when you want it you can’t have it and when you have it [...]
Goffs Road Essex, California
There is a shortcut to Laughlin and Lake Mohave off the Interstate 40 called Goffs Road, a road that meanders like a roller coaster, both left and right and up and down, to a near ghost town called Goffs. Complete with scary abandoned church and gas station that once sold ice and has the machine to prove it. This was a long time ago, when Goffs Rd was apart of Route 66, and if you wanted to get from somewhere in the east to Los Angeles, you needed to pass by this store.
It slashes across in between the 40 and state route 95 creating a straight line shortcut towards highway 163, which will take you to Laughlin. A train run beside the entirety of Goffs Rd and if you’re looking for a souvenir, pennies can be placed at any of the flash flood canal ways which allow you ample area to pull over and have a few beers. It is a tradition I celebrate nearly every time I pass through. Though you should bring a few beers, and I will get to that in a minute.
There is a service station North of Interstate 40 at Goffs Road right as you get off, and it is well-lit and kitschy, and sometimes has comically lonely or medicated workers. It also has some windmills that seem to produce electricity for the station, as well as a 40 foot tall lit sign that reads GAS. It is called Hi Sahara Station and Convenience Store.
There are a few other signs, one says that HOT FOOD SERVED HERE and another smaller sign that details the reasons why you should not complain about the high prices at this store, most notably, that they’ve invested a fortune into the property as well as being in the middle of nowhere.
If this sign doesn’t warm your heart, i’m not sure what will.
You may remember a few minutes ago I mentioned a time when it was necessary to take Goffs Rd (Route 66), of course times have changed.
This store should be a nice stop after the nothingness of the western route of the 40 freeway, and it still can be, provided that you’ve packed some beers and filled up with enough GAS to make it to your destination. Use the bathroom. Buy a piece of candy. Leave it at that.
You’re probably starting to see the point of this article and so much of life could be so great except for a few small details or nuisances. Such is the service station at Goffs Road. A 12 ounce bottle of beer is $3; a six-pack of domestic beer is $12.50. A 16 ounce coffee is $3.25. A gallon of regular gas is $5.65 (reference: it’s around $4 anywhere else).
People who run businesses like this probably think, foolishly, that every customer that falls into their web is there by accident and only comes one time. This is untrue. I’ve been here a dozen times and rarely buy anything because the prices are so unfairly high.
Lets study the sign, especially the words “Middle Of Nowhere“. Essex (the town Goffs Rd lives in) is not in the midlde of nowhere. It is a mere 35 miles from the city center of Needles, California which sits on the border of California and Arizona and has a population of 5,000. Add to this that the 40 freeway is a preferred route for truckers since it is not policed the way I-10 or I-80 is and is relatively flat and free of any mountain passes.
The problem I have with the gas station at Goffs Road is if they weren’t so goddamned bitter and wrong about business, they’d be able to better serve customers and themselves.
Let’s take the example of me:
- Visits to the service station at Goffs Rd: 12
- Items bought: coffee, a few beers, duct tape (after hitting a rabbit on Goffs Rd), trail mix– mostly just the bare essentials due to the prices.
- Amount Spent Per Stop: < $10
- Total Amount Spent at Goffs: $120/-
- Potential Stops to the service station at Goffs Rd, not stopped because I planned ahead: 25+
- Amount I normally spend at a stop: $15
- Total Amount Potentially Spent: $375+
Now I may not be the usual customer, but Goffs could attract many more customers by simply having fair prices on gas and impulse buys and advertising these on a highway billboard. Imagine fair gas prices and then a few items like:
Ice Cream Cone: 99 Cents
Coffee: 99 Cents
Hot Dog: 99 Cents
This pretty much covers all travelers, and there is huge markup on all of these items that even if people only bought these items, they would still make money. They have a large and interesting space that travelers would like and remember; they could make lots of money and have fun doing it. Instead they’re gouging the unlucky customers who have to stop there, and alienating them and the customers who want to stop there and ruining what could be a cool and authentic place in a world of diminishing cool and authentic places.
And please, remove that stupid sign. Nothing makes me want to spend money less than a sign complaining about your shitty investment or how you’re forced to be there. Do you think this would work for any other business? A restaurant? A hotel?
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