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?!"
I did NOT say I'VE NEVER SEEN YOU BEFORE, ASSHOLE -- or even WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I'VE GOT MONEY? -- I WORK HERE. But I was thinking it.
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.
"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....