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Recheck that information before you act

I was out of town on Saturday, but I happened to look at Facebook.

Someone in Iola had posted a message about how expensive gasoline had suddenly gotten.

It was up to $3.33 a gallon.

That caught my attention. It was $2.63 when I left.

The new price was over 26 percent more than what I had last seen.

I didn’t have much time to think about it, as I had other things to do.

However, when I returned to town on Sunday, the idea of expensive gasoline recurred.

I was passing the usual roadside stations on my way home, and their prices were about where they had been when I had passed them going the other way.

Why, I wondered, would gasoline be so expensive in Iola?

It is not like gasoline prices hadn’t popped in the past.

They had. I remembered.

Who can forget Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and what it did to New Orleans, and then gasoline prices?

This year, we had hurricanes hitting Houston, the capital of the American oil industry; Florida; and Puerto Rico.

I was primed mentally. Jumping gasoline prices were plausible.

My experience and recent events told me so.

Except it was not true.

Gasoline prices had not jumped in Iola.

They were exactly as they were when I had left.

Why was there a posting of $3.33?

As I discovered traveling down Main Street, I saw the sign.

Gasoline $3.33, sure enough – except then I noticed the top line of the sign was burned out.

There was nothing posted for regular unleaded.

The $3.33 was for premium unleaded.

That was the answer.

A burned-out gasoline sign caused an online posting of a breathless account of how gasoline was soaring in Iola.

Fortunately, the posting did me no harm.

It probably did me some good.

In this age where everybody wants to be first, a little checking of supposed news or information is more than ever in order.

This is a lesson we can all apply to virtually every aspect of life.

Now it is time for me to check the price of gold on the Kitco website.

What if I had seen a posting on Facebook that gold had suddenly jumped by 26 percent?

That would put it at a nice round $1,600 an ounce.

Would that get my attention? You bet it would.

Yours, too, I imagine.

But I trust Kitco to get it right.

Facebook, for information I need to act on, not so much.

By the way, Kitco says gold is $1,271.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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