Monday, May 31, 2010

Welcome to Hell!

Based on my 6-1/2 years of experiences working in a gas station/convenience store, there's a few things I wanna know:
* Why are so many people in such a freakin hurry?
* Why are so many people so freakin rude? (And why do they think it's NORMAL?)
* Why do people think they can negotiate and barter over prices at a convenience store -- something they'd never dare to do at Wal-Mart or Fred Meyer or Albertson's or Safeway?
* Why does everybody yell so much?
* Why do so many people have a hair-trigger temper? (I KNOW why I do -- this JOB did it to me. But what about everybody else?)
* Why do people think if they learn your name you'll give them a break on prices? (Because we're buddies, right?)
* When did it become normal to call total strangers "Bud" or "Buddy" or "Bro"? (As in "You're gonna give me this beer for half-price, right, Bud?" or "You don't care if I'm not of legal age to buy alcohol -- right, Bro?")
* Why is it when you welcome people into your store with an at-least half-hearted "How's it goin'?" they look right through you or don't respond or look the other way?
* What are people afraid of?
* Why are people so WEIRD?
* Why don't people use language to COMMUNICATE CLEARLY?
* Why do people think non-stop yelling will solve their problem?
* Why do people ask questions and then interrupt the answers?
* Why do people interrupt at all? Don't they know how freakin rude that is?
* Why don't people flush the toilet? Do they really expect a total stranger to follow after them and do it for them? Or do they just not give a shit?
...Speaking of shit, that reminds me of some GREAT stories I've GOT to tell ya....
Let's cut off this list of questions for now, since it ain't really very funny, & I'll get back to them later. I'm sure more questions will pop up as we go along.
Oh, and there'll be a pop quiz on this material at a later date....

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Because we're still getting to know each other, I've devised a helpful little question-and-answer session, printed below. This should answer some of the no-doubt MANY questions you have about working in a convenience store/gas-station. It will also let you know something about what my average workday is LIKE....
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! How come gas is so friggin expensive?
A: You talkin to me? I just work here.
Q: Yeah, but gas costs too much, right?
A: Sure. And I pay the same high prices you do, so whatta you want from me? It's not like it was my idea. It's not like it's all going to pay for my raise....
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Is there something wrong with your gas pumps? My debit card doesn't seem to work out there.
A: The pumps are fine. Maybe it's your card.
Q: It works everywhere else!
A: Uh huh....
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! How about that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico?
A: You talkin to me? Does this look like a BP station?
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! How do I get back onto Highway 16?
A: Just go over the hill. When you get to the bottom, start across the overpass and get in the left-hand-turn lane, it'll shoot you back onto the freeway & you're golden from there.
Q: What was that again?
A: Go out this end of the parking lot, over the hill, & when you get to the bottom that'll be the freeway right in front of you. Just watch for the signs.
Q: One more time....?
A: Over the hill, watch for the signs. You can't miss it.
Q: That's kind of rude.
A: Well, I may be rude but I know one thing for sure.
Q: What's that?
A: I ain't lost.
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Your 18-packs of beer are too expensive! 18-packs are $2 less at the store down the street!
A: Maybe you should go there, then.
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Can I use your bathroom?
A: No.
Q: Can I buy cigarettes with no ID?
A: Sweetie, you're 12. Get outta here.
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Why are cigarettes so friggin expensive?
A: Because you're in Washington and the State wants your money. All of it.
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Do you get any benefits with this job?
A: Yeah, I get the benefit of getting paid every two weeks and being able to hang-out with you fine people five or six nights a week.
Q: Is that all?
A: Plus all the free coffee and sodas I can keep down.
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! You got any special deals on cigarettes?
A: You're in the wrong state.
Q: Hey, Bro! Can I use your bathroom? I think I'm gonna throw up--
A: No.
Q: Hey, do you know where I can get some pot?
A: Jeezus, didn't I just tell you to get the hell outta here?
Q: Bro,where'syourenergydrinksatbro?
A: Right in front of you....
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Do you guys take food stamps?
A: No.
Q: No?
A: Is there an echo in here?
Q: Why don't you? Everybody's got 'em now.
A: Yeah, I know. With the economy in the toilet, everybody's on food stamps. And everybody I see with a food stamp card is driving a nicer car than mine and has $50's and $100's bulging outta their wallet. What's their secret? And where do I go to get mine? And ... Hey, where did he go...?
Q: Hey, Gas Nazi! Your wife must be a real saint to put up with all your bullshit.
A: I don't have a wife.
Q: ...I'm not surprised....

Welcome aboard!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. On your way out of town to celebrate the official kickoff of summer, you may have stopped at a convenience store/gas station to fill-up your vehicle, buy drinks, pick-up some ice, grab a few beers. And you may have dealt with someone like me.
I'm The Gas Nazi. I'm the guy behind the counter who rings-up your purchases, makes sure you're lined-up for the right kind of gas and the right amount, helps you out when things don't work right, and puts up with you when your credit card gets declined because you've already maxed it out, or when your gas doesn't get pumped as quickly as you think it should.
I'm the guy who gives you directions about how to get back on the freeway. I'm the guy who accepts the $12.82 in nickels, dimes and pennies you brought-in to pay for gas at 5 minutes before closing. I'm the guy who takes it when you scream and throw your maxed-out credit card across the counter at me.
And I do all this for just slightly above minimum-wage, if I'm lucky.
There are thousands of us in little convenience stores all across the country, taking the abuse of the American public every single day, 24/7/365. The workdays aren't always bad. Sometimes they're pretty good. Often they're memorable. Me and my co-workers do business with some real nice people. We also do business with some real assholes. Whatever goes wrong, it's usually not our fault, we're just the folks who get screamed at.
Most of us aren't dummies who couldn't find a job anywhere else. I was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years before I retired to do this. One guy I used to work with had a master's degree and was talking about going for a doctorate. If he could ever make enough money from counting-out change and mopping the floor.
This blog is not going to be a whine-fest. It's going to be my effort to work-out some of my job-related issues through the context of comedy. I've got some pretty wild stories I want to share with you.
Maybe, if I'm lucky, this will also give me a chance to brush-up on my human-relations skills. Because frankly, mine SUCK!