Sunday, June 12, 2011

THIRTY YEARS OF JOBBERS Preface - How this book began

Dedicated to the ones that didn't make it.

Notes: I began writing this book back in 1995. I never published it because there was such a limited market it didn’t seem worth the effort. However, over the years, many people have enjoyed reading it, and in an effort to keep a bye-gone era in our memories, I wanted to share it with you, the experiences and things I have learned in my years of working in the roots of our industry. If you’re a fan of nostalgia, you might enjoy reading it too. 

My fascination with oil jobbers began in Colorado in early 1979, when I sat with a young man squirming in his chair trying to explain to me what he did for a living, and me squirming in mine trying to figure out what the devil he was talking about. 

Thus began my thirty-two year association with literally hundreds upon hundreds of businessmen and women who have called themselves ‘oil jobbers’. This book is not a computer book and it's not an accounting book. My connection with this industry has included much more than that. I have worked as their computer programmer, their accountant, their friend, their confidant, their business partner - I've done everything for an oil jobber that one person can do except drive their tankers, and if Skeeter had have had his way back in 1984, I would have done that too. 

My association with oil jobbers quickly evolved into convenience stores, and encompassed a rainbow of duties and job responsibilities and I wanted this book to reflect on that era. Some of the stories and anecdotes you will read here may be amusing, some may make you sad, some might even make you angry; but my desire is to entertain you and to make you think about the road that brought us here and where we may be headed.

You most likely won't find yourself in these pages (at least I'll never own up to it), and the names of the "scoundrels" have been changed, even though they might not deserve it. But you might see some of yourselves in the stories and situations here. For that, I am profoundly apologetic.

One thing I've learned in working with several hundred oil jobbers is that all oil jobbers consider themselves unique; however, they are similar to each other in more ways than even they imagine. Obviously some of the reasons for these similarities are because of the business they are in, the problems they share, and the comradery they enjoy at the many conferences and seminars they participated in over the years. That's obvious! But their similarities extend far beyond that.

In writing this book, I've had the opportunities to talk with several of my customers and friends regarding some of the things I've discovered about jobbers and convenience store operators and more than once, I've gotten a surprised response when they realized I wasn't talking about them in particular.

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