Monday, April 23, 2012


Hey, first time we've been under $4 for a gallon of Regular gas since the end of February. I thought gas was going to be $5 per gallon by Summer? There's still time....
Besides, we're sort of involved in a small-scale Gas War right now. We have a newly-opened Chevron station directly across the street from us -- first time that station's been open in 4 years. And we have a Fred Meyer gas station kitty-corner across the street from us. On Monday afternoon, when our Regular price was posted at $3.99, Fred Meyer's was at $3.98 and the Chevron's was at $3.97. I was working at our station 4 years ago, the last time we had competition directly across the street, and I'm not worried. But it should make for an interesting Summer....

It's already been an interesting Spring. Though every day hasn't been an award-winner, the weather here has been MUCH better over the past couple weeks, with most days sunny and temperatures in the low-to-mid-60s. On Sunday it finally got above 70.
There were A LOT of people out over the weekend to enjoy the FINALLY warmer weather -- this past Friday night was my busiest work night since last Thanksgiving. Everybody wants it to be Spring, and I don't blame them. Western Washington could use about 18 months of uninterrupted sun and mild temperatures after the past couple Winters we've had.
But the nicer weather is also an invitation for the assholes to come out. That's the reality.
All weekend I had people screaming at work -- people arguing in the parking lot during their supposed Friday night partying, people yelling at me when I couldn't give them what they wanted and the store was jammed, people yelling at my co-worker on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, customers yelling at each other and cutting each other off in the parking lot on Sunday night.
It wasn't just at my store, either. When I was outside emptying garbage cans on Sunday night, I heard -- and THEN saw -- horns blaring and backed-up traffic at the stoplight just down the hill from our gas pumps. A blonde climbed out of the passenger's side of her SUV -- which was second in the line of traffic waiting at the turn signal -- and POUNDED on the passenger's-side window of the minivan in front of her: "What in the hell's WRONG with you, you stupid fucking bitch?!" the blonde screamed. "The fucking light's GREEN!"
Drivers waiting to turn left went around the stalled minivan ON THE LEFT, driving INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC, to make their turn. A few seconds later a tow-truck showed up with its lights going, so obviously the minivan had broken down -- but the driver got no breaks from the traffic.
One of our Regulars got cut-off in our parking lot after paying for his gas and WALKING BACK TO HIS TRUCK -- the driver missed him by about a foot. The Regular told me afterward that they'd had a previous altercation across the street at Fred Meyer's -- and the idiot had followed our Regular across the street to have A Few More Words....
And all this yelling happened on an absolutely GORGEOUS Sunday evening....
All this beautiful Spring weather -- people just can't take it.
And what's all this about being so grumpy on the weekend? Doesn't anybody know how to have a good time anymore?
All night Friday there were drunks yelling and arguing in the parking lot. Several times I heard guys yelling about how fed up they were about "all this fuckin' shit!" Is this how we're spending our weekends now -- getting drunk and angry when we're supposed to be having a good time?
I had more than 225 paying customers this past Friday night, and only 2 of them yelled at me, so I guess that's a pretty good success rate. Everything else went pretty smoothly, like most Friday nights do. But those 2....
One guy got pissed when his credit card got declined at the gas pump and I wouldn't let him fill-up. He sent his girlfriend in first to work it out. I offered to set her up for a dollar amount, but she didn't want to do that -- she said she'd try it again. I gave her clear directions on how to make the system work, and I was very nice to her -- I'm ALWAYS nice to nice women. The second time they got declined, HE came in.
"I don't want to talk!" he shouted, "I just want to pay for $20 of gas, and I don't want you to say A WORD!"
I closed my mouth and my eyes and held up my hands. I thought I'd better risk it:
"Do you want to go debit or credit on this?" I asked.
Once I got him set up I figured I was going to get off easy, but when he was halfway out the door, he came back for more:
"You ought to stop ordering people around!" he said. "We had an EMERGENCY! We were in a HURRY! And all you did was slow us down! You should stop bossing people around and listen to what THEY want sometimes...."
Yeah, that's always worked before. Just let you fill-up with gas you can't pay for. Yeah, I should try that.
The other yeller came in when the store was jammed. Somehow she managed to lock-up a gas pump. It said it was ready to go, but she couldn't get it to pump any gas. I couldn't help her -- there were half a dozen people in the store and all the gas pumps were working -- except hers -- and I was locked into staying inside until the store cleared out. She left in a huff, and when she drove by the front door she yelled out "Thanks for nothing!" Another satisfied customer.
When the smoke cleared, I went out to the pump, flipped a switch, and the blockage went away.
When I went into work Sunday afternoon, a customer was yelling at one of my co-workers, lecturing her about how no other gas station in the area has the problems that ours does. (He may be right, but ... DEAL WITH IT.) He wanted to fill-up on a pump we couldn't set him up on, and my co-worker was trying to explain this, but he was too busy lecturing to hear her. He was running her over. He was already angry before he ever came into the store.
So I jumped in, and told him if he moved to another pump we could set him up and let him fill up. He didn't want to move, it was too much trouble, and he started lecturing again. He just wanted to have an argument with somebody.
So I told him to take his credit card and go somewhere else.
And he did.
And I felt good about it.
Because I'm tired of all of us at the store getting abused 24/7 about things we can't control and can't fix. (A new set of gas pumps with new electronics and new credit-card-readers costs about $250,000 -- so if you've got a spare $250K....)
The only downside was, I wasn't punched-in on the time-clock, so I didn't get paid for having the argument!
I don't get it. What could be easier than buying gas at a gas station? You pay for your gas, you pump your gas, you go on your merry way. Why do people have to make it so hard?
What is with people? Why do they think that when the weather gets nice, civility goes right out the window?

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