If you ever lived a dysfunctional life or were involved in a dysfunctional relationship, at some point you wonder where it all went wrong. Such is life in New Jersey.

If you ever wondered how we became known as the armpit of America, why there are so many smartass jokes slamming New Jersey and why people have been known to say “I’m sorry” when finding out you live here, look no further than the epic stupidity over the Costco gas station situation.

Before 2004, the big box store Costco had gas stations outside two of their New Jersey locations and you had always been required to have a membership to fill your tank — just like you had to have a membership to buy anything else inside the store.

Then in May 2004 it all came to a grinding halt when the state Department of Consumer Affairs notified Costco that they were in violation of state law regarding the sale of fuel. Costco was told by law they could not require a membership for people to buy gasoline.

So Costco complied. Costco changed its policy. All were welcome to purchase gasoline.

The only problem? Apparently it was never true. We can assume Costco, having only two gas stations at that time, didn’t bother questioning this.

Years later, with so many more Costco gas stations in New Jersey and now that fuel prices have reached an all-time high in America even when adjusted to 2022 pricing, people began looking for cheaper gas any way they could. With Costco always having offered gas for less money, that meant much longer lines.

Someone must have looked into the matter. Because it was suddenly announced after 18 years the company was going back to requiring a membership.  How could it be? Government officials went scrambling looking for the old law under which they denied Costco from their business practice.

They. couldn’t. find. one.

If no law exists now and if everyone in state government tasked with locating the old one came up dry, it must mean it never existed in the first place.

I imagine it going down like this. In 2004 some state worker lackey at happy hour tells another buzzed up lackey how his girlfriend couldn’t buy gas at a Costco and buzzed guy claims that’s illegal. Lackey number 1 goes to his supervisor at Consumer Affairs the next day and convinces him this law exists and supervisor, too lazy to make sure, tells his department head who contacts Costco and the rest is history. If not that exact scenario then something equally preposterous.

So here we sit, once again a dysfunctional laughing stock, where New Jersey government’s right hand doesn’t know what its left hand is doing while its foot is firmly in its mouth.

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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