Tuesday, December 11, 2007
When keeping it full goes wrong
This morning I was filling my car up with gas -- yes, in Arizona you have to pump your own -- and I was, as usual, watching the money counter, and making bets with myself on where it was going to land. Keep in mind that, as any professional gas-pumper will advise, I was not actually holding the pump. Instead, I had it set in its little pump crevice. “Let the pump do all the work!” is my motto. So I was watching the digital money screen with my arms folded, looking pretty cool, if I might add. Now, I had expected it to land at around the $25 mark, so when it passed that with no signs of slowing down, I said to myself, “Huh, that’s strange.” Then $27…$29…$30…
As it’s going through the 30s, I started to hear a funny noise, like it was raining outside, but only next to my car. When I looked down, gas was splurging everywhere. Apparently, the pump had failed to click and deactivate. At this point, gas is spewing all over the car and on my shoes, the money counter is still going, and I’m trying to get the pump out of the freakin’ pump hole (it’s called a pump hole, right?). Eventually, I get the pump out, and now I’m trying to corral it like it’s some kind of wild, spewing beast. (I don’t look AS cool at this point.) My total now reads “$31.01,” and it’s asking me, as if to taunt me, “RECEIPT YES?” Yes, you asshole machine. I would like a receipt.
The receipt printer isn’t working. “PLEASE SEE CASHIER.” Fine! I was going to do that anyway.
What follows is a dramatization that includes both my actual words and thoughts as they related to my conversation with the cashier at the local gas station:
“Ummm, yeah. I was just at Pump #2, and I think something’s wrong because it never stopped, and gas went everywhere.”
“Oh fo real?”
“Uh, yeah. For real.”
“You know dem things is s’posed to stop when they full…”
“Yes, I am aware of how the gas-pumping process works. What I am trying to say is that it didn’t stop, and gas went all over the car, my shoes…everywhere.”
“Fo real? Was it a lot of gas?”
“Yes. It was a lot of gas.”
“Aiiight…(now looking at the register)…what would you say, like, a half gallon? A gallon?”
“Ummm, I’m not really sure. It was difficult to get an accurate measurement on the gas flow, as it was spewing it 80 different directions at the time. Maybe if I ring out the bottom of pants into a measuring cup, I can make a guesstimate.”
“I’ma say a half gallon.”
At this point I’m thinking to myself, “Okay, she’s obviously working on getting me some type of credit on my gas purchase. And that’s nice, because I’m not asking for a credit, I just want to inform her that I think the pump is faulty.”
“Was your total $31.01?”
“Aiiight, here ya’ go.”
She hands me the receipt, her voice trailing off as she says something that kind of sounds like “Have a nice day,” and then she leaves from the behind the counter. I look down at the receipt and, of course, it reads $31.01. So, not only did she not give me a credit, she also gave me no indication of there being a solution to this problem, nor voice any concern whatsoever for my unfortunate incident. Frustrated, confused, and about to be late for work, I went back to my car.
As I’m pulling out of the gas station, I notice the cashier walking out towards Pump #2, holding one of those Big Gulp-style cups. I realized that the cup is probably filled with water, and she’s going off to rinse the ground of the surplus gasoline. I imagine that her question about “a half gallon or gallon” must directly relate to size of the Big Gulp cup of water they use to clean it up. (Half gallon = 32 oz; Gallon = 44 oz.) Awesome. Don’t worry about my entire body or automobile, lady -- just make sure that the concrete ground gets the attention it deserves.
Now I am at work, and people are walking by my desk and saying, “Hmmm…what is that smell?” And I say, “Oh that? That’s just me. I showered in gasoline this morning!”
And the moral of this story is two-fold: 1) The service in Arizona is just as awesome as it is in New Jersey, and 2) you should always hold the pump, because the pump cannot be trusted.
What I should have worn to work this morning