I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I've made a lot of them in 9 years of working at the gas station. I make customers angry every night -- often without even realizing I'm doing it. Sometimes I do it and just don't care.
But I think my mistakes are minor, compared to what I've had to put up with at times.
I've been called useless, been told I suck ass. I've been screamed at by people who should know I can't fix what's making them angry. I've been called rude -- many times. Usually by people who could write a book on the subject.
I've been messed with by tweakers, had things thrown at me by drunks, been hit up for change, asked countless times for "a break" or a loan or free gas. I've given people more than $100 in "free" gas in 9 years, & been paid back exactly twice. I'm still waiting for the last woman who promised to come back and re-pay me. I'm tired of being a sucker.
I've been distracted by others while people stole cigarettes from behind the front counter. I've had people ask to borrow the phone, then steal beer when I've gotten distracted. I've been screamed at because our cigar prices were "too goddamned high -- you can't rip off the people like that!"
I've cleaned up after other people's shit explosions in the bathroom. I've been asked -- or my co-workers have been asked -- a dozen times if I'm gay. Because I'm "too goddamned happy."
I've had people in a hurry ask me a question and then talk over my answer -- many times. I really hate getting interrupted.
I've been screamed at by people who think our gas pumps "don't work" when their overdrawn credit/debit cards get declined. Anybody who uses a card at my store knows more about their bank account than I do -- but I'm the guy who gets screamed at.
Ain't people wonderful?
There was the falling-down-drunk guy who threw burger parts when I wouldn't sell him any more beer. There was the tweaker who spent 2 hours looking at every sparkly thing that caught her eye in the store. There was the drunk who came in at closing, took 15 minutes (in the dark) trying to find the beer he wanted, then couldn't pay for it and asked me "Do you think I'm a stupid man?" I had to lead him out of the store by his beer -- which I paid for.
I'm still waiting for the little old man who exploded in the bathroom to come back.
I don't see too many tweakers anymore, but I still remember the guy who thought he was Clint Eastwood -- every word he said was uttered through clenched teeth: "HOW'S IT GOING, DUDE??"
I remember the guy who came in asking to use the phone at 11:30, and spent the next 45 minutes -- past closing -- babbling and raving into the phone. I don't think he was even TALKING to anybody. At about 12:15, when he finally took a breath, I reminded him that we'd closed 15 minutes earlier and that's why all the store's lights were turned off....
I remember the woman who came in to by scratch tickets, clutching her money in her hand, and after she picked out what she wanted but before I had a chance to ring her up, she put her money in her purse, then immediately accused me of stealing it. I had to tell her FOUR TIMES that she'd put the money in her purse -- then she finally opened the bag, saw the money on top and said "Oh." No "Thank you," no "Sorry." Just "Oh." Thank God she's never been back.
Thank God all my customers aren't like that. Most of them are pretty good folks. And the drunks and druggies have mellowed lately. Or maybe I have.
But the stories I could tell you.... And probably will....
In the interests of accuracy, I should note that -- in the "Normal Night at Work" post below -- my Manager also spent much of her week re-pricing all the beer in the store's cooler, a job she could easily have left to the rest of us. She spent at least 6 hours getting the work done. Just because she hasn't finished the project yet doesn't mean I shouldn't give credit where it's due. She's not a bad person. And I'm sure I have no idea of all the crap SHE has to put up with....