Everyone wants to know what's happening with the 76 Balls that are removed from their poles. Are they stored in a big warehouse? Turned into birdhouses or novelty boats?
Well, based on clues we're getting from petroliana enthusiasts and sign historians, the answer is much more chilling. The balls are almost certainly being shattered, because there is no further use seen for them. One source even suggests that ConocoPhillips is requiring station owners to document the 76 Ball's destruction with photographs.
Why won't anyone at ConocoPhillips discuss this matter with the mainstream press reporters who are calling them? Are they afraid that when we find out what's really happening to our beloved 76 Ball, they won't be able to contain our rage?
They should be.
If you've been wondering, like we have, what's become of the 76 Balls that are being pulled down from their poles, here's where one of them is: being auctioned on eBay! The seller says it was removed from a Bakersfield race track two years ago. And of course if you win, you have to pick it up.
The Save the 76 Ball made some new friends in the media yesterday. Check out the podcast of petition writers Nathan and Kim in the last ten minutes of the BBC's Up All Night Blog show, the Daily Telegraph article, and the piece in the deliciously-named Convenience Store/Petroleum Daily News.
We're closing in on 900 signatures on the petition. Will it hit 1000 by the weekend?
Here's a big blue and orange THANKS to Chris Vallance of the BBC, whose delightful story titled "Can we have our balls back, please?" sent 30,000 visitors to this website yesterday, and hundreds of international signers to the petition.
The consensus of the comments received yesterday: The 76 Ball is a classic beloved by all who see it, and folks don't want it to be removed. They are willing to vote at the pump if ConocoPhillips doesn't step back from this rebranding effort and stick with the best gas station signage they'll ever have.
Other reporters have become interested in this story. Yesterday I spoke with jounalists from the Daily Telegraph and the Los Angeles Business Journal. And the BBC story inspired a short blurb on the UPI newswire.
And for those of you who'd like to wear your support of the 76 Ball on your chest or bookbag, our staff artist Phil Goldwhite has created three spiffy, and affordable, designs now available in our CafePress shop. May I recommend a nice "Don't Let Them Take Our Balls" fridge magnet or a setting ball mousepad?
Everyone who visits this site has the power to help Save the 76 Ball. Sign the petition and call or email ConocoPhillips. Tell your friends. Print out the convenient "keep the ball!" cards to hand to your local 76 gas station. Together we can stop false progress and protect our beloved sphere.