On the Hook at the Gas Pump
ARI SHAPIRO, host:
On this Memorial Day weekend, some parts of the country are paying more than $4 a gallon for gas, and that cost is trickling down in all sorts of ways. We've called 72-year-old Marty Badegian. He owns the Red Worm Ranch Bait Shop in Round Lake, Illinois. Hi, Mr. Badegian.
Mr. MARTY BADEGIAN (Owner, Red Worm Ranch Bait Shop): Hi, how you doing?
SHAPIRO: Good, thank you. Will you describe your situation there for me?
Mr. BADEGIAN: Well, you mean as far as the gas problem goes?
SHAPIRO: That's right.
Mr. BADEGIAN: You know, we're seeing quite a bit of difference here. The traffic on the lakes are not as much as they were last year.
SHAPIRO: Because of the gas prices?
Mr. BADEGIAN: Yeah, I would have to believe that. Not many boats out there, and also here at the bait shop, I sell the Illinois resident license and the Wisconsin out-of-state license. And there's not a whole lot of Wisconsin license being sold.
SHAPIRO: How many do you usually sell to out-of-staters?
Mr. BADEGIAN: I would say we're down about half of what we were. I don't know the exact quantity right now. But I would say we're about halfway.
SHAPIRO: And I understand you are having to deal with fuel surcharges yourself there.
Mr. BADEGIAN: Oh yeah. Our prices have gone up twice now since January of a year, mainly because our bait is being delivered from our distributor, and he gets it from Arkansas and he gets them from Canada. The minnows come from Arkansas, the worms come from Canada, and he has to pay extra for his shipping. And then he charges us more for shipping it down to our place. So, you know, it's kind of a chain reaction.
SHAPIRO: I actually grew up in the Midwest in North Dakota, and we used to go in our backyard and find great big fat night crawlers for fishing there. Ever thought of trying to source your bait locally?
Mr. BADEGIAN: No, I really haven't. The amount that we buy, it's just not practical to go out and try and get it yourself. We just get them from him. We've been getting them from him for, well, close to 50 years. And so we've just been doing that.
SHAPIRO: And so tell me how the price increase on the gas trickles down from him to you to your customers?
Mr. BADEGIAN: Well, the price went up - well, yeah, like I said, we had to change our prices twice already. Not much but, you know, every little bit - 10, 15 cents here - and the minnows have increased about a quarter a dozen. And night crawlers have gone up 10, 15 cents each time a dozen. So, everything just keeps on going up.
SHAPIRO: What are you hearing from your customers, the fishermen, who come to your shop?
Mr. BADEGIAN: You know, not that much. As far as my prices go, they just haven't been saying anything. I guess they kind of just expect it in that they're paying everything else so high. But the amount of people coming in, though, has decreased quite a bit.
SHAPIRO: Well, how's the fishing out there this Memorial Day weekend?
Mr. BADEGIAN: Oh, the fishing is great. We're getting good reports back. The croppy here, they're killing the croppy out on all the lakes out here. Some of the bass and the allawlies(ph) have been hitting and a few northern pike been hitting. But mostly the croppy been hitting.
SHAPIRO: That's Marty Badegian, owner of the Red Worm Ranch Bait Shop in Round Lake, Illinois. Well, I hope you catch a big one there this weekend.
Mr. BADEGIAN: Okay. I hope so, too.