April 2013

Monday April 29, 2013:
“I just need enough to get home.” That’s a typical follow-up statement I receive once the customer asks for a fill that is $4 or lower.

This happens quite a bit. And each and every time, that brown Devil on my sexy shoulder wants to say, “So, I guess you’ve joined the craze of using cars as lawn ornaments?”

But, of course I have refrained….thus far….

Monday April 29, 2013:

I gotta admit folks. I did let out a chuckle when I saw this. Of course I would never put it on my car, but I smiled nonetheless….

Friday April 26, 2013:
UPDATE on the guy who drove off while the hose and nozzle still in his car:

The update is that there is no update. As you know, this incident occurred on Wednesday morning. Let me disclose a little more information that I left out on my post 2 days ago.

There was a reason why the driver was almost in tears begging me not to call the cops and file a report. Let’s just say that he is a Hispanic lacking certain “essential” documents to successfully sustain his presence in our fine country. The “information” he gave me was extremely suspect. Texas ID card (not driver’s license), a Lakewood local address, and a social security card that definitely raises eyebrows. When he wrote down his cell number, he put the hyphens in all the wrong places. Clearly, he’s a newbie here.

It was an insanely busy morning and I put my faith in him. After all, he did answer my phone call later that afternoon when I got the price of the repair. $136.97. He said he will come by after work and pay me in cash. I felt good about this situation. He will man up.

Over the last 48 hours, I’ve left 3 messages on his cell and a couple of text messages. No answer. He’s long gone. It was the first and obviously last time he would enter the ol mighty Delta.

The Worker’s Compensation Auditor that was there that morning turned out to be a retired cop. He told me this:

“It wasn’t my place to say anything, but I would not have let him go. I know you were trying to do the right thing, but the documents he had looked very shady. In cases like this, when one party admits fault, the police officer who writes the report serves as a witness. If the party faults on payment, you now have documentation and you can successfully go after him.” I think I paraphrased that, but that’s basically what he said.

Just a few months ago, Immigration did some spot checks in and around Toms River. I did not want to be “that guy” who got this dude deported. I lead with my heart, not my head. You would think that an illegal alien would do everything in his power to stay under the radar.

Before I left the station earlier, I looked at our “Wall and Box of Shame.” I was reminded of the times either Singh or I had to literally run after cheaters if we saw them filling at Citgo or buying coffee at the 7-Eleven.

I’m just an overly opinionated guy who’s trying to run an honest business. What the fuck happened to society?

It’s an expensive lesson learned. Business is business. Trust no one. Cover your ass.

So let it be written, so let it be done….

Friday April 26, 2013:
Customer: “I have a Wawa gift card, can I use it here?”

Rajeev: “No Miss you will have to go to Wawa.”

Oooooh the herd is out today folks….

Friday April 26, 2013:
Per her request, I put in $10 worth.

Customer: “If I put in 10 more, will the needle go up?”

Rajeev: “I’m not 100% sure, but what the hell. Take a chance. Let’s go for it!”

Yeah. Ooooookkkkkaaaaaaayyyyyy….

Thursday April 25, 2013:

Well, looky what the cat dragged in. Mr. Davey here is working on a ’66 Bonneville. Just don’t make ’em like they used to….

Thursday April 25, 2013:
Customer asks for $20 cash and hands me a credit card.

Rajeev: “You mean credit.”

Customer: “No, I want the cash price.”

Rajeev: “I want to go back to sleep, but it looks like both of us are out of luck.”

Did I miss the memo where it states that gas station prices are negotiable?!

*Look. I get it. There’s stations out there that charge the same for cash and credit. I’m just not one of them. And up until I took over this place, never did it occur to me that I can try and bargain my way to a cheaper fill.*

Wednesday April 24, 2013:
Holy shit what a morning. When I arrive here at 5:40am, it was 37 degrees. Freezing my ass off. Forgot to wear layers. Didn’t think I had to. After all, it’s April 24th. Anyways, we had one of the busiest mornings I have ever experienced here. Also had my first annual Worker’s Compensation audit. Try providing pertinent documents and signing various papers while running in and out of the office.

To make the morning more colorful, an absent minded customer drove off with the nozzle and hose still in his car! I freaked out. The thud was so loud that I had thought he uprooted the whole flippin pump! When I turned around, it was the breakaway hose that snapped off. Kudos for whoever invented that safety feature. I yelled for Dave to shut off the pump to prevent any further leaking.

So, now I’m serving 3 other customers on the bay, filling up a propane tank, dealing with the insurance auditor, and now have a customer begging (and I mean begging) me not to file a police report. He admitted that it was his fault and promised to pay. I copied down all his information. I get the repair company on the line and begged them to make a same day stop (’cause I’m now one side of the pump down). They obliged. Arriving sometime this afternoon.

I called back the customer with the price and he promises to stop in with the cash. Yes, I should have said F it and called the cops, but I’m an asshole with a sensitive side.

And now I’m sweating ’cause I’m wearing a hat and winter coat and temps have risen 30 degrees since I first set out this morning.

Good morning my friends! Is it scotch time yet?

Tuesday April 23, 2013:
white truck

“Here We Go Again” By, a Morally Sane Narayanan.

Back on January 30th, I blogged about the 3 Types of Cheaters that enter my station.

Here, we have another candidate for Category #2: The ‘I Wasn’t Planning To Have a Free Lunch, But What The Hell?!’ Guy.

This gentleman has been a regular for at least 6 months now. He routinely drives in 2 to 3 times a week and fills up anywhere from $20 to $30 at a time. Friendly. Cordial. Pleasure to deal with.

Last Wednesday (4/17), he filled up $20 worth. I ran in to swipe his card and he had no money in his account. First time this has happened. He was very apologetic and promised to return with the cash. I had no issues with letting him go. After all, he was a regular. I mentally noted his license plate number and sent him on his way.

He hasn’t returned since. Now, can we psychologically dissect this situation for a moment please?

Instead of coming back with a measly $20, he has chosen to permanently change his driving routine to avoid this road. REALLY?! Who the fuck taught you that this is acceptable?! How do these people sleep at night?

Cops are getting a call from me tomorrow and this degenerate is going down….

I’m not a heartless person. If I was, I would have called the cops on the spot and prevented him from leaving the station. Instead, I let him go on good faith. BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT #1.

He drives a 4 door V-8 Toyota Tundra pickup. For the past 6 months or so, he filled up $20 to $30 at a time multiple times a week. Never once did he ever fill the whole thing. Therefore, logic dictates that in the past 7 days, he has HAD to go to ANOTHER station and get gas. He did not fall on hard times. He’s slighting me.

An hour ago, I saw him pull into Quik Foods. You know where that is. I stood on the right side of the pump with my arms crossed. Staring at his truck. YOU KNOW he was looking my direction. Instead of running after him, I watched to see if he would do the right thing and hop across the street. BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT #2.

He did no such thing. He turned the other way and sped off. I have so much on my plate today and I don’t have time to go to PD. Tomorrow, on the other hand, is a whole different story.

Fuck this scumbag….

Monday April 22, 2013:

Earlier, a woman pulls up to the wrong side and asks for $20 worth. I mosey on over and tell her that she needs to turn around. I proceed to step back and then move to a safer location. She pulls forward. Here I am thinking that she’s going to move up, then reverse back to the other side of the pump. You know, like most normal people. Some time passes. I can hear her getting all flustered.

Then folks, she takes off. Thaaat’s right. Leaves the station without getting gas!

I had no words. I just shook my head and went back into the office….

Saturday April 20, 2013:

In from Chicago, my father-in-law pays me a visit and checks out the chaos for himself….

Saturday April 20, 2013:
While getting his car filled, a customer says to me and I quote, “Hire me to fix this place up. It looks like shit.” He then proceeds to hand me his business card.

Effective sales pitches are such a lost art these days….

Friday April 19, 2013:

I don’t know guys. I think I may be getting a bit ripped off here. So, out of convenience, I decided to use Brooks Auto Repair to get an oil change and have some new wipers installed. After all, it’s literally 60 inches from my office. I even supplied my own oil, and wiper blades for that matter.

Here’s the bill I got….

** This is a joke by the way **

Friday April 19, 2013:

I know it’s tough to make out, but that is in fact a ginormous Confederate Flag attached to the bed of that pickup. Sometimes, I really do wonder if I’m still in New Jersey. ‘Murica….

Thursday April 18, 2013:

So, as I’m filling this young lady’s SUV with 50 bucks worth of Jersey’s finest, this thing stops in front of me, waiting to turn left into the 7-Eleven. Of course they have been out forever now, but I still turn into a deer in highlights.

“Rajeev vs. the Smart Car.” I think I can take him. ‘Cause they look just that silly….

Tuesday April 16, 2013:
Final push to try and banish the Wawa from entering the neighborhood. Whatever happens, happens. But, exercising our 1st Amendment right is important. So, let’s do this!

Tuesday April 16, 2013:
So, I’ve noticed that a lot of American cars that come in here have a gas cap release in the trunk as well as next to the driver’s seat. It’s a damn good thing too ’cause the main button has died and many folks have had to get up, walk to their trunk, and hit that ‘lil diddy.

Did these American manufacturers know that they built pieces of shit, or is that just a coincidence?

Tuesday April 16, 2013:
A passerby comes through the station on foot a ‘lil while ago.

“Oooh the big boss man is working the pm shift today huh? It must be because of the Wawa meeting.”

“Yes Sir! I will be there.”

“You know, I used to like coming here. But, a few days after the hurricane, you refused to fill my tank. And what do I see? You filling your own car!”

“Well, I thought it would be very disrespectful to the community if I filled your car and not anyone else’s. At the time, I had no idea when i was getting my next delivery. As you know, there was a shortage. But, I needed to save enough for me to commute down here everyday. I remained open selling propane and kerosene.”

“Yeah whatever. I’ll be fighting FOR the Wawa.”

As long as he doesn’t hold grudges or anything….

Sunday April 14, 2013:

Okay f’n seriously?! There’s a guy right now hanging out waiting to get gas. I guess he missed the part where the LED Open sign is off, the lights in the office are off, the canopy lights are off, the 2 outdoor price signs are off, and the pumps themselves are off.

Humanity. Where the hell did we go wrong folks?

Friday April 12, 2013:

When the hell did my station become radioactive?! I always miss the good stuff….

Friday April 12, 2013:
You haven’t witnessed TRUE “Family Bonding” until you have seen a mother, father, son, and daughter all eating Fritos at 7 o’clock in the morning….

Thursday April 11, 2013:

“Humanity Hasn’t Withered Away Just Yet!” By, A Thankful Narayanan.

Earlier this morning, a woman comes in and asks for $15 worth. I was filling propane at the time so I was running back and forth. 50 minutes later, she returns.

Customer: “When I was here before, didn’t I ask for $15?”

Rajeev: “To be perfectly honest Ma’am, I don’t remember. Is there something wrong?”

Customer: “Yeah. I gave you 20 and you gave me back a 10.”

She hands me $5 and goes on her merry way.

You know folks, in this business it’s easy to slip up every so often. We’re only human.

I’m just grateful that honest people still exist in this world….

Thursday April 11, 2013:
photo (3)

A lady just came in here, filled up $20 worth, and gave me 2 apples as a tip. Would it be bad to Pay It Forward by launching these things at customers that piss me off?

Thursday April 11, 2013:
Customer: “I want to fill it up, but I don’t know if I have enough money. Go inside and swipe it first.”

Rajeev: “I can’t do that Sir.”

Customer: “Why the Hell not?”

Rajeev: “Cause I need a dollar amount. You can just call the 800 number on the back of your card to see how much you have left in your account.”

Customer, completely puzzled: “Just swipe it for 60 and see what happens.”

As it turns out, the customer did in fact have $60 in his account. However, this is yet another example of why we need a “Basic Life Skills” course in high school. And it should literally be called just that….

Wednesday April 10, 2013:

So, you know how I always periodically log into my cameras when I’m not at the shop? Well, during one of these occasions, I notice that my good friend and diesel client Dale from D & D Disposal is in my office doing some work. So, I text him “I see you.” First he looks around and then realizes that I’m eyeing him through the spy cam. I immediately see Mr. Olander scurry around my desk looking for something. Intrigued, I keep watching as if this was some kind of amazing suspense movie.

Ladies & Gentlemen, umm this was his response….

Tuesday April 9, 2013:

Earlier this morning, we had a ‘lil downtime. So, Dave took it upon himself to educate me. Being brown and generally suspicious, he taught me what to do just in case Immigration came calling….

Tuesday April 9, 2013:
How do you know if you have smoked too much weed?

When you try to put your car in Drive by using the wiper lever and instead of noticing the wipers going back and forth, you put the wiper lever in “Park” and try again….

Tuesday April 9, 2013:

So, I’ve crossed my one year mark, right? Is it still appropriate to keep the “Under New Management” sign up, or do I have to take it down?

Monday April 8, 2013:

“I am Singh!”

Monday April 8, 2013:
photo (2)

Of course we’ve all read this play on words by now. But, I find it funny that it’s being passed around on a $5 bill….

Monday April 8, 2013:
Top 10 Ways You Know That Your Car is a Piece of Shit, #4:

You drive by a gas station and the sheer loudness of your vehicle sets the alarm off on one of the cars in the lot….

Saturday April 6, 2013:
photo (1)

So Singh has had the hookup for the past couple of weeks. The wife of one of the 7-Eleven employees has come from India for a visit. Everyday, she’s been cooking him all kinds of goodies. From curries to deserts. Just a ‘lil while ago, she popped in to give us some pakoras.

Singh told me that she made these especially for me since I just crossed my one year anniversary in this place. He insisted I have some. I was doing some accounting work and quite preoccupied. Not even looking up, I just grabbed a few from the pile closest to me and popped them in my mouth.

Holy shit!! These were the extremely hot pepper ones! Singh starts laughing hysterically. In fact, he’s still losing his mind and this happened 10 minutes ago! The bastard set me up! My whole body is still trembling. I think I should dock him pay for this prank.

The sad thing is that I had ‘just’ finished downing some fruit yogurt. Sure could have used it now!

Singh 1, Rajeev 0.

Rajeev’s Stomach Lining? -2,000.

Saturday April 6, 2013:
boss hog

It was so nice of Boss Hogg to stop in and say Hi….

Friday April 5, 2013:
On April 5, 2012 at 12:30pm, I walked in here an unemployed man, and came out an entrepreneur. As a good friend pointed out last night, it feels longer than a year and shorter all at the same time. What was gut-wrenching, heart attack inducing problems back then seems nothing but a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes now. From broken down pumps to cheating customers. From fender benders to roof leaks. From below 0 wind chills to 3 digit heat indexes. From customizing Excel spreadsheets to blatant forms of racism. From Hurricane Sandy to gas shortages. I don’t think there’s a curve ball that wasn’t thrown at me during this first year.

I had no master plan. I mean how could I? I had never done this before. Hell, it wasn’t until junior year in college that I actually started pumping gas on a regular basis. Gotta love New Jersey and its “radical” views on fueling. I didn’t even have an employee. Mr. Singh didn’t enter my life until the end of the first day, and didn’t come work for me full-time until the third. Luck was on my side for sure. What were the odds that the previous owner knew a reliable guy who just so happened to have been let go from his previous attendant job? For the first ten days, Singh and I worked both shifts together, until I had developed a certain level of competency. Even so, it wasn’t until after the super storm that I truly felt comfortable in handling anything and everything that this business has to offer.

Thank you to my wife, my parents, my mentors, and my close friends and family for playing such a significant role in getting me here and shaping the person I am today. And I owe a huge gratitude to all of you for letting me vent and rant about all the chaos that occurs here on an almost daily basis.

We have a long road ahead of us, but I can honestly say that this is the best job I have ever held. I am very grateful that I ran into my parent’s close friends at a wedding earlier on. If it wasn’t for their suggestion to enter this industry, I wouldn’t even be here today.

I think I’m going to break my “No Beer at Home” rule just for today and pick up a delicious IPA on the way home. It’ll be the perfect thirst quencher after a nice single malt.

On that note, it’s time to buy some new work sneakers. These have holes in them and both my feet are insanely cold and soaking wet. You would think that after a year I would have learned not to wear them on rainy days. Oh well.

Cheers my friends!

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