Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Gas Nazi's 10 Commandments

Here are some basic, brutal truths that have been repeatedly hammered into me over 9-1/2 years as a gas station cashier. We'll keep them brief.
* Don't be a sucker. Anyone who wants to "borrow" enough money for gas to get home is never going to come back to repay you. ... OK, maybe 1 in 20 people will actually come back to repay you. MAYBE. Besides, nearly everyone has more money than you do. DON'T be a sucker.
* Customers will yell at you. Because they had a bad day. Because their job sucks. Because their marriage sucks. Because their life sucks. Because they don't feel good. Because they're angry or depressed. For no reason at all. Even if you're doing your Absolute Best. Get used to it.
* Anyone who's trying WAY TOO HARD to be friendly is Up To Something.
* Anybody trying to pay for their purchase with a Food Stamp card probably has a huge wad of cash in their wallet. And more money in their bank account than you.
* Anytime you "help" a drunk pay for their beer, you'll be "helping" pay for their beer forever....
* Damn few of your co-workers are going to do their share of the work. Most people only do as much as they need to in order to get paid -- and no more. Get used to it.
* There's no point arguing with customers about prices. If something's mis-priced, always go with the cheapest price. They'll be happier, and you'll avoid a punch in the mouth.
* People will mess with you all the time, every day. They'll push you, they'll test you. They'll question your honesty, your work ethic, your sexual orientation. It's what they do. Get used to it.
* No amount of money will be enough to put up with the BS that happens every day in this job. But it could be worse -- in Idaho and Wyoming, people get paid only $5.92 an hour to put up with this crap.
* The guy with $25 in pennies, nickels and dimes in his pocket will ALWAYS come in exactly 3 minutes before you're supposed to close. He'll want to count out all the change by himself, to make sure it's right. And he won't want to buy any gas.
* There's no way to win. If you're happy at work, people will tell you you're TOO damn happy. If something makes you angry, people will tell you you're too grumpy -- and they'll never forget.
* Are your employers paying you on time? Just Get On With It.
Any additions?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Favorite Drunks

I've been dealing with drunks at my job for 9+ years now. Sometimes they've really pissed me off -- like they have no shame, and no sense of boundaries. Lately I've been thinking they've mellowed a bit. Or maybe I have. Anyway, here are some of my "favorites" from over the years....
* Burger thrower -- One night while my son was at the store working on my beat-up old truck, a guy stumbled in and grabbed an 18-pack foot-locker-sized box of bottled beer. He was stumbling and he could just barely talk. I told him I couldn't sell him any more beer.
"Dude, I can't do this. You're stumbling, & you're probably borderline-public-intox."
"Oh, I KNOW I'm public intox," he mumbled.
"Well, I can't do it," I said.
My son was sitting on the counter behind me, taking a break from working on the truck.
"Well, what's HE here for?" the drunk slurred.
"That's my son, he's working here," I said.
The drunk made a move to go after my son for some reason -- & that's when the drunk's girlfriend dashed into the store, threw an arm around his neck, & DRAGGED him back to their truck.
But he wasn't done yet. Apparently they'd just been to Wendy's, & the drunk started throwing burger parts at the front of the store -- burger and cheese and fries all over the parking lot. Then the girlfriend hit the gas and their truck screeched out of the parking lot. A couple pieces of tomato stuck to the front wall of the store -- over the front door -- for a week or so.
* "Stupid man" --  An older guy, a Regular for awhile, used to come in late at night and beg for change so he could buy beer. One night he came in at 11:59 and took 15 MINUTES to pick out his beer. Even shutting the lights off & telling him we were closed didn't speed him up. Finally he made his decision, slammed the beer on the counter and told me he had no money. "So how you gonna pay for it?" I asked, already at the end of my patience.
He looked me in the eye and said "Do you think I'm a stupid man?"
"I don't have time for this," I said, picked up his beer, held it up above his head, and led him out of the store, him following behind, then I sat the beer can down on a counter outside, and locked the door behind him. And then I paid for his beer.
Thank God, he hasn't been back.
* Sign guy -- One of our most annoying Regulars used to come in a couple times a week and beg customers for change so he could buy beer. All of us who worked at the store threw him out at least once. I tossed him out half a dozen times myself. He had a sort of sense of humor about it, though: One day he came in carrying a portfolio and asked for my opinion.
"I made a couple of signs," he said. "Tell me what you think."
He held up one sign that said NEED MONEY. ANYTHING WILL HELP.
The other sign said NEED MONEY FOR BEER.
I laughed and recommended the second sign. "You'll get WAY more cash that way, I guarantee."
He thanked me and went on his way. I assume the sign worked, because he didn't beg customers for change for awhile.
But he finally got thrown-out permanently one night when I saw him hit-up a kid coming home from Prom for spare change -- and he scared the heck out of the kid. I screamed at him and threatened to call the police. I haven't seen him since.
* Bike guy -- One glasses-wearing guy riding a bicycle came in late one night and almost came UNGLUED when his credit-card company wouldn't OK his 12-pack beer purchase. He was on our phone with them for 20 minutes, yelling and gibbering, and it looked like they weren't gonna budge. They put him on hold and I got distracted by something and went to take care of it -- and when I turned around he was gone, and so was the beer. When I looked out the front door it was obvious he'd crashed his bike somewhere in the parking lot, because half of the cans in his 12-pack were still rolling across the pavement. I retrieved the beer cans, turned them into a 6-pack, and didn't bother calling the cops because I knew they'd never show up.
* Thanksgiving -- One of our former Regulars, usually a pretty happy guy, showed up on Thanksgiving evening, staggering through the front door. He grabbed an 18-pack and wanted $20 in gas too. He was wobbling back and forth in front of the cash register.
I refused to sell him the beer, & told him I wasn't gonna sell him any gas either. "Why not?" he asked. "Because you're staggerin', man. You can barely stand up right now. And you sure as hell shouldn't be driving...."
He shrugged. "You're right," he said. "I'm pretty fucked up. I guess I could have my cousin come to get me...."
He went back outside and moved his truck over to the side of the store away from the gas pumps. I got distracted by other business so I don't know if he left on his own or if his cousin came to pick him up -- but the next time he came in, he shook my hand and said thanks for watchin' out. The only time THAT's ever happened....
* "Bad Day" guy -- I thought the drunks had mellowed, but there have been a couple memorable ones over the last couple weeks. One short dumpy older guy yakked his way through the store saying he had to have a beer 'cos he'd had a bad day. And as soon as he paid for it, he asked if I had $1.50 so he could buy another. "I've had a really bad day and I'm in a really bad mood, man."
Since he was about 5'2" and 120 pounds, I wasn't too worried about angering him. So I told him I was broke -- which I was.
So then he hit up EVERYBODY IN THE STORE and everybody in the parking lot for $1.50. And eventually he got it. When he came back to the cash register he was all apologetic.
"I've just had a really BAD day, man."
"And now you're giving me and everybody else one," I said. "Get the hell out, don't come back. You don't need to be hitting up my customers for money."
"Dude, I just had a REALLY BAD DAY!"
* The Geezers -- This didn't happen to me. Last week the woman who closes the store during my weekends said she was hit-up by a couple guys in their 60s, guys who walked in hammered and should have known better. She threw them out after they propositioned her and suggested a three-way. Also the first time THAT's ever happened....
...And YOUR favorite stories about drunks in action are...?