The Norman Transcript

Local news

June 13, 2008

$2 gas becomes "controlled chaos"

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By Andrew Knittle — If you thought Americans weren't fed up with high gas prices, the noontime scene Friday at the Homeland on Robinson Street and 24th Avenue NW should put that misconception to bed - for good.

Hundreds of motorists, alerted by media reports and gossip, turned up en masse to the tiny gas station tucked in the corner of the grocery store just off Interstate 35.

Some the cars were filled to bursting with children, who sat patiently in the 90-degree heat and muggy humidity. One lady, who didn't want to be interviewed, sat in her late model Jeep Cherokee with all the windows rolled down and the engine killed. She said she and her infant son, who sat in the back seat sweating but content, had been waiting since 10:30 that morning.

Several TV news crews scoured the area, interviewing sweating citizens as they waited in Hummers, Corollas, Accords, Yukons and just about any other make and model you can imagine.

In the partly cloudy sky, a helicopter circled, trying to get the best shot as the scene below grew more circus-like by the minute.

The drivers came to get eight gallons of $2 gas, which was part of a promotion stunt staged by Metro Brokers of Oklahoma, a local real estate company owned by Gwen Holmes.

And while $2 gas may not seem like such a big deal, Melissa Jennings, the front end manager at the Homeland, said the situation was just a stone's throw from an all-out melee.

"It's been controlled chaos all morning here," she said. "We've been trying to coordinate as much as possible with the real estate people, but there's a lot of people out here."

While they waited, some people got out of their cars and talked with other motorists. One elderly man walked around in the shade of the store's high walls to stretch his legs, his old pickup abandoned with both doors open.

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