Wednesday, July 6, 2016


All further posts about my job have been posted at my "strange music, books and other stuff" blog, TAD's Back-Up Plan. See you over there....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book 'em

Thanks to the dozen or so of you Out There who've put up with my absence from this blog over the past few months. THE GAS NAZI!: TEN YEARS IN A CONVENIENCE STORE -- an e-book that recaps the wildest stories I've posted here and adds a TON of outrageous new stories never before published anywhere -- is now available at's Kindle Store for $2.99.
If you've read and enjoyed any of this blog over the past few years, I think you'll like the book.
Among The Nazi's "Greatest Hits" included in the book, you'll find the old man who exploded in the restroom, the guys whose every other word in their conversation was an F-bomb, all my favorite drunks, the store-owner who couldn't stop screaming, all the people who screamed when gas prices went through the roof ... and a whole lot more.
Just go to's Kindle Store and punch-in THE GAS NAZI! or my name -- which is Tracy Deaton -- and the good folks at Amazon should take you to my latest book and my other e-books as well.
I think you'll have a Good Time. I know it's worth at LEAST $2.99. You can even download the first 20 pages of the book for FREE to try it out.

I've written three 190-page e-books since the middle of last August, and I hope to be able to take a little break now. I might even blog here a little more often in the future -- but I'm not sure what I can add that isn't already in the book.
Enjoy. And let me know what you think....

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Trust me -- it's the holidays

Gas price -- $3.35 for a gallon of Regular.

The holidays at our little gas station hasn't been so bad. The Manager's Daughter (who closes the store on the two nights I'm off) and I got together and talked over the Overwork I've been bitching about here for the past few months. She says lots of stuff gets left for HER to do, too -- that sometimes when she comes in to work the place is trashed and nobody seems to think that's wrong.
So she's been trying harder when she knows I have to take over the store from her, and things are better, I'm not freakin' so much -- but I still have nights when it seems All Too Much and I grumble and snap at people. As usual.
The Manager's Daughter also has days when all she does is play slots or Candy Crush Saga on her cellphone -- so I'm thinking that half of her talk about all this work is just lip service. But what the hell....

Customers have generally been pretty cool this holiday season, though the usual Crazies are out. Awhile back I had some guy I'd never seen before ask if I could float him $5 for gas, and when I turned him down he seemed shocked:
"Dude, where is the love?!"
This past weekend, some young brunette stopped at the station, tried to set up her car for gas with two different credit/debit cards, got declined on both of them, then asked to use the phone. She called three friends -- nobody would come rescue her.
Then she asked if I'd "spot" her $5 for gas. All I said was "No." She got so angry she ran out of the store and left one of her cards on the counter, so I had to take it out to her.
I didn't say anything more, but I wondered -- why would anyone go out knowing they had no gas in their car and their charge cards were maxed-out? Unless they were running away from an argument, I mean?
I am so tired of being a sucker.
Dude, where is the love?
Awhile back, a stranger came in wanting to fill up and I told him I couldn't do that -- that I had to take his money up-front or could set him up with a charge card. He paused and grumbled while he dug out his cash. He threw $60 at me.
"That's OK," he said, "I don't trust YOU either."
"Yeah," I said, "but you know I'll be HERE all night."
There was no point explaining our policy or how many times I've been ripped-off in the past -- people don't want to hear it. But at least I didn't get in a fight with the guy....

The best one lately: A week or so back when we were changing shifts, a guy came in to put gas in his car. He had a pocket full of cash, but he was fumbling with it and his reactions seemed slow. As he stood fumbling with his cash, his eyes rolled back in his head and I thought he was going to pass out.
"Are you OK?" I asked.
"Whaddaya mean?"
"Your reactions are a little slow, and you're looking like you might fall asleep."
"I'm OK ... I've just been tattooing people for about 12 hours today."
"That'd probably do it. When's the last time you had anything to eat?"
"It's been awhile ... but I'm OK."
He wobbled outside, put his gas in his car. Then, after he was done, a couple minutes later he picked the nozzle back up again, as if he'd forgotten he'd pumped his gas.
I went outside. "Everything OK out here?" I asked.
"Yeah, it's OK," he said. "I just couldn't remember if I put Plus or Premium in my car ... but I'm OK."
Right. I went back inside. By this time the Manager's Daughter and I were talking about the guy. Then he came in.
"I think you're right," he said. "Maybe I need something to eat."
He grabbed a soda and some beef jerky, and as he again fumbled with his cash, he started wobbling. I thought his knees were going to buckle. He was going to collapse right at the cash register.
"Could you use a chair?" I asked.
"I'm OK," he said.
"You look like you're about to pass out right here," I said. "Could be a low-blood-sugar thing -- I've seen people pass out from that stuff right in front of me."
"I'll be OK. I'm just gonna go out and eat this in my car -- I gotta drive to Tacoma tonight...."
He went back to his car. Five minutes later he was asleep behind the wheel with the driver's-side door hanging wide open, his head tilted back. He was snoring.
The Manager's Daughter checked on him, got the license-plate number off of his car, and handed it to me.
"We can't have him driving like this," I said.
So I took a deep breath and called 911, and asked if an officer could come do a welfare check on the guy. They were there within 5 minutes, checked him out in the parking lot, did a field sobriety test. It took a long time.
Finally the guy came back in. This time his eyes were wide open and he was alert -- a big improvement.
"Hey, thanks for calling somebody to check on me," he said. "I appreciate it. And I'm feeling better."
"You're lookin' better," I told him.
Finally the cop came in. "I think he's coming down off of something," the cop said, "but I'll be damned if I know what. Nice guy, though -- very cordial, very talkative. But we startled him -- he didn't know where he was when we woke him up. He thought he was in Tacoma. He asked me 'Am I still at the gas station? What am I doin' HERE?'"
Finally the cops cleared him to leave and the parking lot cleared out. So that one worked out. But the last time I called the cops to do a welfare check on one of our customers, they ended up arresting the guy, and for awhile I was afraid that was going to happen again....

I'm not hoping for much in the New Year. I'd like to see people be NICER to each other. I'd like to see people not be so STUPID. Of course I'd also like to sell a few million of my books and win the Lottery -- but I'm not holding my breath expecting any of that to happen....
Happy New Ear! More soon....

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Gas price: $3.25 for a gallon of Regular.

OK, so to celebrate my 10 years of work at our little gas station, I went into work Wednesday after my two days off and dumped on my Manager about how I've been feeling overworked and taken advantage of lately....
Though the place has been in far worse shape when I've walked in for my Monday evenings, it was just bad enough on Wednesday night to get me going. So I laid-out the basics....
And she WENT OFF! She IMMEDIATELY started running around doing all the stuff that I usually whirl around like a madman doing for my first two hours after coming back from my weekend -- she filled-up the ice machine, stocked sodas, filled-up the cappuccino machine, bagged ice -- she spent an HOUR stocking the cooler!
By the end of it I was just wishing that she'd leave, because I knew I'd made her furious.
On her way out the door, she gently asked that I make her a list of all the things that don't get done while I'm gone, and she said she'd address them. Even though some of those things reflect badly on her daughter, who works afternoons and closes the store on the two nights I'm off.
So I started making her list -- I've filled up both sides of a 3x5 index card so far. But I'm sort of scared to give the list to her. Because I don't want to make her furious all over again.
Still, I wonder if she learned much from spinning around doing all the stuff that stresses me out when I first come back into work. She must have at least seen that the work was THERE to do, that everyone had left it for me....
My roommate thinks my Manager just got pissed because she actually had to do some work for a change.
As for me, I pretty much gave up on the idea of maybe getting a big surprise cake to celebrate my 10 years on the job, or a card from my co-workers thanking me for my support -- "We couldn't have done it without you," etc. Or any kind of surprise, really.
And I don't think that Employee Of The Month award is gonna be coming my way anytime soon, either....

So that night pretty-much sucked. But Thursday night was better. And Friday night was a breeze, somehow -- despite it taking me 70 MINUTES to drive the 10 miles to work, through THE WORST TRAFFIC I'VE EVER SEEN AROUND HERE. I ended up 25 minutes late. I could have WALKED to work faster.... Who knew the Veterans' Day three-day weekend was such a huge holiday, huh?
Still using mostly old Motown and '60/'70s Soul/R&B music to keep me moving and motivated at work. Working especially well lately have been The Temptations' "Get Ready" and "I Can't Get Next to You," Junior Walker and the All-Stars' ESSENTIAL COLLECTION, practically everything by Stevie Wonder, Booker T and the MG's VERY BEST OF -- oh, and Kansas's "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Questions of My Childhood," and Tommy James and the Shondells' "Sweet Cherry Wine," "Ball of Fire" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion." And I hated "Crystal Blue Persuasion" for YEARS....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm just the janitor here....

Current gas price: $3.35 for a gallon of Regular.

On Nov. 7, I'll mark 10 years of working as a cashier at our little gas station. I don't want to think about that too much. At least I have a job....

The past month I've mostly spent just cleaning up after everyone else. I come in to work, stock the cooler, clean the restroom, stock sodas and energy drinks and beer, vacuum and sweep, fill up the ice machine, clean the cappuccino machine, take people's money, try to stay awake, bag ice, mop the floor, and go home before it gets too late and I start collecting too much Overtime.
Most nights, I seem to be the only employee stocking the cooler, stocking sodas, cleaning the restroom, filling the ice machine, emptying garbage cans, bagging ice, stocking beer, cleaning the cappuccino machine.... Clearly I was put here to clean up after everyone else.
A talk over the weekend with our newest employee revealed that when she was trained she was told NOT to stock energy drinks or sodas or beer -- that I'd get mad at her if she did. Really?
WELL. I may have felt that way 10 years ago, when I wanted people to rely on me and not worry about whether I'd hold up my end. But now that I'm a tired, grumpy old man I'd welcome any employee who wants to do more than they're absolutely required to. I ain't as young as I used to be, do what you like, be my guest, knock yourself out.
But it's never gonna change, and there's no way to address it through my boss without her saying "We all work hard, we're all overworked, we all do our share...."
Time for a raise? Ain't had one in three years. And with business slowing down for the Winter, now seems like a REALLY bad time to ask....
Thank Ghod for old Soul/R&B tunes to get me through the evenings awake and in one piece. Songs by Junior Walker and the All-Stars, Booker T and the MG's, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Spinners, Marvin Gaye and my comedy brothers in Parliament have gotten me through the last month -- keeping me moving and motivated and happy and even laughing sometimes.
The rest of the experience has pretty much been shit.
Last week I got chewed-on for the first time in a couple of years by a guy who was trying to fill-up and the gas pump shut him off at $50. That'd be enough of an investment for me, but it wasn't enough for him. He came in and asked what our guidelines were. And I tried to explain it. But you know the type -- he knew all the answers up-front. And he kept cutting me off after a couple of words.
"I've got $4,000 worth of credit available," he said. "Why would your pumps shut me off at $50? I called my bank -- they said it had to be you guys because THEY didn't do it...."
Well, I didn't do it. It's automatic. Well, it's a security thing. Well, maybe you don't have as much available credit as you think. I used to get one of my charge cards declined whenever I tried to buy a snack at work and didn't have $75 in my account to cover it. Well, I don't know. I'm just the janitor here.
The guy said he wanted to talk to my Manager, and I told him her name and when she'd be back in to work next.
And of course he never came back. They hardly ever do. That's probably a good thing.
Shit, for $4,000 he could have bought half of what was in the store. He could have bought most of the gas we had available when he tried to fill up.
But I don't know. It's over my head. I don't know what's going on. I'm just the janitor here....

Sorry, this one's a bit of a downer. I need a change. I'm gonna go shave and cut my hair and take a shower and do the dishes and cook dinner. Anything to stop feeling this overworked and tired all the time, like I never leave the store. As soon as I leave, it feels like I'm right back there again. And it's only eight more months 'til vacation!
Hoping you are NOT the same....

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Crazy people

Hey, Summer ain't over yet. The Crazy People are still out.
The following incident didn't happen to me -- it happened Friday to our Morning Girl at the store. In response to which she should be writing HER OWN blog. But that's not gonna stop me from using it here....
It's just before 10 a.m. The Morning Girl is just about to turn the store over to our Afternoon Girl.
Suddenly a car screeches into the parking lot, and a woman in her 50s jumps out and starts taking pictures of the Morning Girl's car with her cellphone. The Morning Girl notices, wonders what's going on.
The woman in her 50s comes inside. "I want your name!" she demands.
"What's going on?" the Morning Girl asks.
"I want your NAME!" the 50s woman repeats, then comes behind the cashier's counter and starts digging through paperwork, taking pictures of everything, looking for something with the Morning Girl's name on it.
She takes a picture of the Afternoon Girl's shift report and deduces that the Afternoon Girl's name is the name of the Morning Girl.
"Oh, so your name is...." the woman says.
The Afternoon Girl -- who is pushing 200 pounds and isn't easily intimidated -- tells the deranged woman to get out from behind the counter, but the woman is on a mission. The Afternoon Girl then gets on the phone to the police.
The crazy woman gets in the Morning Girl's face. "Let me take your picture!" she demands.
The Morning Girl -- who is nearly six feet tall and shouldn't be easily intimidated either -- backs away and turns, heading for the back room. The 50s woman grabs her arm and tries to spin her around, trying to get a shot of her face.
The Afternoon Girl is on the phone, telling police there's a deranged person in the building.
The 50s woman gets a couple hair and maybe profile shots. Apparently she's satisfied.
"That's what you get for STALKING ME!" the woman shouts. "Now you're IN for it, 'cos THE LAW'S gonna be after you!"
"What the hell are you TALKING about?" the Morning Girl says. "I've never SEEN you before in my whole LIFE!"
The 50s woman leaves the store, climbs in her car, and screeches out of the parking lot. The Morning Girl gets a partial license-plate number.
When the cops finally arrive, they spend hours talking to the two store employees and trying to reconstruct what the hell happened. They take the partial license-plate number, which they think might be enough to help them track down the deranged woman....
...This is the best one in awhile, and at least it didn't happen to me. Compared to this, my Friday night was a breeze. All I had to compete with was people dropping drinks all night and spilling them all over the floor.
It should be interesting to learn if this woman was just deranged, or if her meds ran out, or if she was high on meth, or what. Could be any of those things. And we'll probably never know....
Until Fall officially kicks in, my best advice is keep your head down and your eyes open....

Gas price: $3.69 for a gallon of Regular.

Monday, August 19, 2013

On vacation

Gas price: $3.77 for a gallon of Regular.

This last week has been a bitch.
Following behind my Manager and her Daughter three days. Cleaning and stocking the store when it seems like no one else does.
Pricing and stocking a normal-sized beer order -- and getting laughed at when I asked our beer-distributor if he could bring the same-sized order for the Labor Day Weekend.
Running my ass off, as usual. Ain't got much ass left.
The Biker Chick returned to work one last shift -- and was only $36 short on her cash at the end of this one last go-'round.
On Sunday I followed The New Girl, who was worn to a frazzle by the time I got to work -- with the cash register messed-up and gas pumps locked up and alarms going off telling us we were almost out of gas.
But she survived it, and the store was in no worse a shape than I'd expected.
And she was only $5 short. And she was worried she might get fired -- ha! You have to mess up pretty badly to get fired from this place....
And I might have. On Saturday night I suggested that one of our Regulars could help me out if he wiped off his shoes before he came into the store.
And he freaked out!
I'd delicately suggested this before. The guy is a little older than me and works in a pizza parlor, and every night I've worked lately he's been in around 9 to pick up a six-pack on his way home.
And every time he's come in, he's left little white footprints all over our dark rugs on his way back to the beer section. And all the way back up front to the cash register.
This usually happens right after I've just finished vacuuming. Or when the store's really busy. And it makes me look like a lazy slob.
It bugged me.
So I lightly mentioned it a couple times before, and he didn't Get It. Or he laughed at me.
So on Saturday I was more direct. I said it would really help me if he could wipe his shoes on the mat outside the front door before he came in.
And he blew up.
"I've got construction guys coming in my place and wrecking it ALL THE TIME, and I've never said SHIT to THEM because they're CUSTOMERS!" he shouted. "Your Management is gonna hear about how you feel, and you won't be seeing my face again!"
And I was thinking: Maybe if you DID say something to your construction guys, you wouldn't have to come in and buy a six-pack to de-stress when you get home each night.
And: If you know how that feels, why would you do it to someone else? Because it's your turn to dump, because that's what makes the world go 'round?
And: Is it really that big a deal to you? It would take FIVE SECONDS to wipe your feet....
Hey, I've told painters and construction guys to wipe their feet, and they're still coming back....
This isn't just where I work -- it's my home for eight hours a day, and I care about how it looks, and it pisses me off when people trash it or don't clean up after themselves.
Besides, I'm tired of being fed shit by people and being told all I can do is swallow.
If she had been around, my Girlfriend would have joked with me -- as she sometimes does when I need a nudge -- that I was being a Pompous, Arrogant Asshole. And maybe I was.
After he left, the customer behind him told me not to worry about it: "That guy's a prick; I've seen him in other places...."
That helped, and I thanked him. And I didn't even start shaking, like I sometimes do in confrontations with customers.
Maybe it's a good thing I'm on vacation for the next nine days. Though folks generally haven't been terribly behaved or overly demanding during the past week, it was a long week anyway, with lots of people out and about and the busiest Friday and Saturday nights I've had in awhile. And I worked an extra month before taking vacation this year, while store management figured out its personnel issues....
So, was I out of line? You decide. And let me know below....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It just gets better....

Apparently we have a new Regular at the gas station.
She's a menace.
She first came in last Thursday night. Kind of short, long dark hair, probably mid-to-late-50's, a little wrinkly, fingernails all made-up. She grabbed a six-pack of beer and reached for the fresh beef jerky in the display case....
Then she paused. She was already starting to back people up.
"...Everybody in town," I said. "But if I whacked the hands of everybody who reached in there, nobody'd ever come back."
They were right in front of her, but she couldn't see them. I handed them to her.
Then when she tried to pay, she got her PIN number wrong for her debit card. She got it right the second time.
"Next time I'll have you SIGN for it," I said. "It'll be faster."
I already suspected she'd had a few, but I was almost certain when she came back a night later. She grabbed another six-pack and was able to get out of the store with no major delays.
But she came back 2 hours later to buy gas....
...And shoved her debit card up the RECEIPT slot and into the gas pump's machinery.
Only the second time I've seen THAT happen in almost 10 years.
I knew SOMETHING was wrong when she stood there in front of the pump for so long. She couldn't figure out where to slide her card at, I guess. Then I SAW her force her card up into the gas pump.
She headed toward the store but I beat her to it. I went out the door and said "You didn't...?"
"Ya got any tweezers?" she asked.
I had to ring-up a couple other customers, so it took me a few minutes to get outside to help her, and she probably wasn't too thrilled about that.
When I went out, it took me a minute to find the key that would open up the receipt box. Then I had to pull the whole printer mechanism out to see if we could MAYBE find her card.
Remember, this is me, The Blind Guy, trying to do this -- trying to do close-up work without his reading glasses.
I fumbled around with the printer for a minute, then tried looking down on it from above to see if I could get a better view. I figured her charge card was going to be gone forever, lost inside the innards of the machine.
But there was her card, an edge of it just sticking out of the top of the printer.
"You are LUCKY," I said.
She tried it again, using the actual card-slider this time, got her gas and went away, and she hasn't been back.
But maybe I have a new Regular to watch out for. Ghod forbid....

Our price for a gallon of Regular gas is still holding at $3.85. While I've seen prices as low as $3.75 (right across the street), I've also seen prices still as high as $3.99. Gouge while the getting's good....

Since The Biker Chick was let go, my shift now follows either my Manager or her Daughter every work-day. Which means I'm running my ass off. But only one more week to go before Vacation.
My Manager does at least stock the drinks cooler and does sometimes bag ice before she goes home. Her Daughter does as little as she can get away with.
So I do a lot of cleaning and stocking on my Monday night to get caught up with how the place was let-go during my 2 days off. And on my Tuesday I price and stock what is usually a pretty-good-sized beer order.
Most nights lately after closing I've been bagging ice and stocking the cooler before I count money and do paperwork. The only plus to all this is that I usually have no time left to mop the store.
I've mopped the whole store exactly once in the last month, and I'm finding other places to cut corners. Because I have no choice. Under our Owner's No Overtime Policy, I have to be out of the building by 1 a.m. So I get as far as I can, then I stop worrying about it and go home.
I've pretty much worn-out my good pair of Work Shoes, so I change shoes halfway through a shift. Most nights my feet ache by the end of a shift. Some nights I limp from the front door to the car, because my feet have HAD IT.
The Summer We All Wanted has at least kept most customers' moods pretty Up -- and I've basically been too tired to care. I AM tired. I've worked an extra month-plus before taking a vacation this year, because of our personnel shuffles. Now that we have enough folks trained to cover for me, I should be able to do my next week standing on my head.
And then a blessed 10 days off....
Long as we don't get too many more customers shoving their debit cards into the machinery....
In November, I'll mark 10 years at this job. Time to retire and write novels...?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nothin' but a breeze....

Hey, don't want to jinx it, but work has been nothing but a breeze lately.
I mean it's still WORK, don't get me wrong, but I haven't had much to complain about. There haven't been too many crazies out, the workload hasn't gotten any worse. Either customers have mellowed a bit or I have. I can't even remember the last time I got yelled at. (OK, now I AM asking for it....)
All this even as we're knocking on the door of $4 per gallon for gas. (Although we're still holding at $3.93 if you pay cash -- surprised it hasn't gone UP yet....)
Maybe the Summer we'd all hoped for finally arriving has helped people's moods....
Anyway, that's why not much posting here lately. Not like I'm having a great time at work, but if there's no yelling or screaming or craziness, there ain't much left to write about. Or at least it's a lot more boring if I DO....
Our Afternoon Girl, the Biker Chick, worked her last day at the store on Thursday -- and to celebrate she was $25 short on the cash she supposedly took in during her shift. Just like a lot of her other shifts. Nice person and I'll miss her, but she couldn't use an adding machine to save her life. Things just didn't add up when she was around.
We have hired a new woman to work afternoons, & hopefully I'll actually get a week off before I keel over from exhaustion. That week off's supposedly coming toward the end of August.
I'll keep you posted, but that's all for now....

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Just a quick update -- our price for a gallon of Regular gas has been $3.93 since Wednesday afternoon. If you use a debit or credit card & don't get a discount, you'll be paying $4.01 per gallon. This allows the nationwide chain-station across the street to undercut us by 15 cents per gallon.
More soon. Summer continues -- hot here, but not too many Crazies out. (Hope I haven't just jinxed myself by mentioning it....)