April 2012

Monday April 30, 2012:

I just got tipped a dollar ’cause this woman thought I had impeccable mustache and beard trimming skills. Attention hairy gas attendants….

Monday April 30, 2012:

I learned two things this morning. #1, working during the Monday 6am hour is so much more enjoyable and less stressful when things are actually operating the way they should be. And #2, and more importantly, not many folks wanted to share in my silly giddiness during said Monday 6am hour….

Saturday April 28, 2012:

So, I get to the station around 1pm today. I pull right up to one of the pumps, get out of my car, and proceed to start fueling up. Customer on the other side: “I don’t think you’re suppose to be doing that.” –> Rajeev, trying to keep his composure: “I’ll take my chances.” After filling up, I get back in my car and circle around to the back part of the lot. In the customer’s eyes, however, it looked like I took off without paying. After turning back to see his expression, I just lost it. I couldn’t hold in my laughter anymore. After parking, I went back up to him and introduced myself as the new business owner. I ♥ my job….

Friday April 27, 2012:

You know that joyous giddy feeling you get when you put on that perfect pair of high heels and it makes your butt look absolutely ravishing? Yeah. I just got that same feeling after realizing that I get to sleep in tomorrow. After 5 consecutive 4:30ams, I’m so ready to wake up after sunrise tomorrow….

Thursday April 26, 2012:

I may not be the largest gas station in the Toms River, NJ area, but I have certainly cornered the Grandma market. Just got tipped a dollar for helping Martha figure out how to set her GPS. They all love me….

Wednesday April 25, 2012:

They just keeping coming and coming today. Elderly woman: “You know, if I was 50 years younger, I’d let you lie by my bedside.” —> Oh.My.God. I think I just got hit on by the most adorable granny ever….

Wednesday April 25, 2012:

Ok here’s another doozy for y’all. Elderly gentleman drives in and asks for $15 worth of gas. Sure, no problem. After my attendant finishes pumping and replaces his gas cap, he storms out of his car and accuses my guy of cheating him. I see this from my office window so I walk out and introduce myself as the owner of the business and ask him how I can be of assistance. He opens his passenger door and whips out a calculator so big you can see the decimal point from flippin’ space! Irate Customer: “I will give you some leeway. Let’s say $3.72 x 4 gallons = $14.88. You and your pumps are trying to cheat me 22 cents!” –> Rajeev, in a calm and dignified manner: “Sir, sorry that you have been inconvenienced. Let’s be 100% precise in our calculations. $3.719 x 4.033 gallons = $14.998727. Based on that number, my pump automatically rounded up to the $15 fill amount you originally requested.” –> Dumbfounded, he responds, “But, you only pumped 4 gallons.” –> Rajeev: “No sir, my attendant gave you 4.033 gallons as per the reading on the pump. We must be completely accurate. I can assure you that my entire establishment has passed all regulations to legally operate. We are not out to cheat you sir.” –> Not completely trusting my figures, he does the same multiplication, but this time he’s the one punching it in the calculator. After realizing we were right, he silently hands my attendant $15, gets in his car and drives off. Mathematics – 1, Naughty Naughty Customer – 0.

Wednesday April 25, 2012:

Customer drives in with what appears to be a late ’80s/early ’90s Corvette. He had “attitude” written all over him. Probably around my age or a little older. Rajeev: “Sir, I where is your gas tank?” –> Snotty customer: “On top of the car in the back. You should know this.” –> Rajeev: “Sorry sir. It’s my first time filling a ‘Vette.” –> Customer: “You folk should get real jobs.” –> Rajeev, in a calm and dignified manner: “Well actually sir, I own this gas station business. But, I’m also not afraid to get my hands dirty or to get a little sweaty. And generally speaking, gas attendants are one of the hardest working group of people out there.” —> The expression on his face was priceless. He drove off sheepishly. Rajeev – 1, The Unnecessarily Arrogant Prick – 0.

Wednesday April 25, 2012:

Hump Day Early Morning Commuting Observations: #1, Man, if you’re passing me at around 90mph and it’s 5:25am, then I definitely don’t want your job….or your boss for that matter. #2, Just because you have one headlight out, it doesn’t give you the right to high beam my retinas. Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to find a job that allows you to travel after the sun comes up. Or, if you’re feeling a little naughty and adventurous, just go out and buy a new bulb. #3, Don’t speed even though it’s a little before sunrise and barely anyone on the road. Cops are still out there hiding and waiting (And no I did not get stopped. Again, these are just conclusions to my recent study)….

Tuesday April 24, 2012:

Reflecting on yesterday. Probably the toughest of days since becoming a gas station entrepreneur. Had some technical issues that we successfully got resolved by close of business. But, I just want to take this opportunity to commend all those in the service business. I come from the corporate product side of things. This is my first experience with feet-to-the-ground retail. Definitely a whoooole different ball game….

Tuesday April 24, 2012:

I’m thinking of purchasing one of those beer hats, and filling it with coffee (at least during the morning hours). It’s the only way I’ll be able to reduce the number of times I microwave the same cup of coffee. That can’t be healthy….

Thursday April 19, 2012:

Service tech arrived to install my surveillance cameras. I can’t wait to be back home later, sipping scotch on my back deck while spying on my own gas station through my iPhone….

Thursday April 19, 2012:

“I’d like 5 gallons please.” —> “Sir, did you mean $5?” –> “No. 5 gallons.” –> “Okay, no problem.” –> Came out to $18.64. He paid me in exact change. Wow….

Thursday April 19, 2012:

Happy-Go-Lucky-Grandpa on his way down to Atlantic City in a comical sort of way: “Why are you so happy to pump gas?” Rajeev: “Because I woke up above ground today.” –> That response earned me a $1 tip. I rule….

Thursday April 19, 2012:

Felt a little springy so I got out early and opened the station at 5:35am this morning. As I turned the key, I remembered what today was – The 5 year anniversary of my grandfather’s passing. Look at me Tata. Your grandson is an entrepreneur now. Cheers!

Wednesday April 18, 2012:

Some racists are so ignorant and clueless that they don’t even know when they are being racist to a member of the group they can’t stand. Take this morning’s 6:15am gas station experience for example. What you are about to read is 100% factual with no sense of exaggeration and/or sarcasm. This REALLY happened. Been filling this older gentleman’s tank every few days now. He’s originally from the South, driving a big ol Ford pickup, and is in the horse business (not quite sure what that entails exactly). Anyways, we’ve become chummy and our small talks about the weather have turned to more interesting discussions. Today we talked about the gas station industry and how tough it is to grow an empire off just one station. Expansion is key. “You know man, we must take this industry back from those fucken dot heads. Every time I pass by a Raceway, I see the same fucken dot heads running the place. They must own like 50 of ’em. Those bastards. Well, have a good one. See ya in a few days.” Ummm…WHAT?! And this whole time, I’m just waiting for the punch line. I’m just waiting for that snicker where he says “just kidding man.” But, it never came. It took every bit of willpower to keep my laughter on the inside. I just couldn’t believe this was actually happening. Sure I don’t have the accent, but I’m pretty sure I still look Indian. I ♥ love my job….

Sunday April 15, 2012:

I just got paid with a $2 bill and three $1 coins. Now there’s a first….

Sunday April 15, 2012:

Inventory, replenishment point, lead time, safety stock, TL, LTL coupled with strategies to build brand image and customer service. Wow. I just realized that I’ve truly come full circle with my Logistics/Supply Chain Management and Marketing background. But, this time on my own terms. Sweet!

Saturday April 14, 2012:

Back decking it with a glass of bourbon, sharp cheddar cheese and crackers, Rexx by my feet, and my laptop opened to my master spreadsheet. If you ‘have’ to bring home work, this is the way to do it kids….

Thursday April 12, 2012:

I’m quickly learning that running a gas station is like being stuck in a Mad Lib….in the most amazing sort of way….

Thursday April 12, 2012:

So, I met a guy who is about to open up a chicken n ribs place near my station. Must.Have.Self.Control….

Thursday April 12, 2012:

Off to meet the final group of morning commuters. At 1:17pm today, I will have been in business for officially 1 week. Man does it feel like 6 months….

Monday April 9, 2012:

Dear Tata,

Ramapriyan Corp has been underway for 4 days now. It’s been a crazy hectic time, filled with excitement and huge learning curves. But, I know that you would be proud of me, and I really wish you were here to share in this adventure. We’re only at the baby stage right now. But, in time we will build Ramapriyan Corp to an honest and secure empire. I have the passion and drive to make that happen. And I have you to thank for it. I miss you….

Love you always,

Raj

Saturday April 7, 2012:

Funny thing happening. In college, I dropped Accounting as a major after just the first 101 class. Absolutely hated it. And now here I am sitting at my gas station, reviewing all the old books, and creating my own spreadsheets….

Saturday April 7, 2012:

3rd Day Business Owner Reflections: I just realized that I’ll be watching the sun rise from the outside, every morning for the rest of my life. I have witnessed the stellar awesomeness of using cruise control while driving to and from my station. Lastly, I have concluded that if the power goes out at the gas station across the way, you’re going to get slammed. Welcome to the weekend ladies and gentlemen….

Friday April 6, 2012:

Gas Station Faux Pas #2: “Sorry sir, but I can’t find your gas tank.” –> “Try behind the license plate.” Wow. Wasn’t aware that we were still doing that….

Thursday April 5, 2012:

Thank you all for your posts, text messages, and emails. Sorry I wasn’t able to hit anyone back up. It’s been an exciting yet overwhelming day. Long road ahead of me, but I’m very much looking forward to taking this gas station to the next level. The most gratifying moment of the day? Shutting down the pumps, turning off the lights, locking up, and looking all around me. “Wow. This is my business.” I whispered to myself. What a rush. Have a good night everyone. Cheers….

Thursday April 5, 2012:

Shaved the head, 5k on the treadmill, showered, about to take down some Cheerios. Then off to a couple of last minute administrative meetings. Final stop? My gas station at around 12 noon to officially take over ownership and begin pumping. Of course today I got to sleep in ’til 6am. Tomorrow starts the real routine. 4am wake-up –> 4:00am-4:15am umm things –> 4:15am-4:45am treadmill –> 4:45am-5:05 shower –> 5:10am out the door. Let’s see how long that will last before I hire people to take the whole damn thing over!

Wednesday April 4, 2012:

Oh hello Ocean County. Looks like you and I are going to grow old together starting tomorrow. Introducing myself to everyone that drives in. I feel like a Walmart greeter….

Tuesday April 3, 2012:

As I sit here in the Narayanan Basement with my bottle of suds, I just realized that I’m a full-time working man again in less than 2 days. More than full-time actually. But, anyways, I can’t help but reflect. Hard to imagine that it’s almost been 4 years since Corporate America gave up on me. Since that time though, a ton has happened. Most importantly, I finally stopped taking my health for granted. During this tenure, I lost 60+ lbs (the natural way) and I am more energetic than I ever felt in my entire life. Putting it all out there, I focused on music and my love for writing. Created a wide network of industry professionals through my passion for social media. Released music that I’m the most proud of in the process. Blessed with the opportunity to hold off for a little while, I’m now about to step into the world of entrepreneurship that will hopefully write the rest of my future. I’ve always resisted this notion, but now I’m a believer. Everything does in fact happen for a reason. Cheers my friends. Onwards and upwards we go….

Tuesday April 3, 2012:

The “Oh Shit I Need This Before Thursday!” Checklist: As an upcoming gas station business owner, I’ve been running around like a mad man for the last one week filling out all sorts of legal documents, licenses, and registrations. Meetings. Conference calls. Emails. The whole nine. High level stuff. But, then…..the most mundane but highly necessary item came to mind. #1 on the “Oh Shit I Need This Before Thursday!” Checklist? Paper for the credit card machine….

Tuesday April 3, 2012:

Just upped my cell phone plan, exactly 3 minutes before I would have gone over my monthly allowance. Rajeev Laxman Narayanan – 1, Verizon Wireless – 0. Now that I’m using this device for business purposes, I’m smelling a tax write-off….

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