April 2014

Wednesday April 30, 2014:
An Indian couple pull in for gas. No joke, this is probably the 3rd time in 2 years I’ve actually seen Indians come through here. But, let me not digress.

He starts speaking to me in Hindi.

“Sorry Sir, but I don’t understand Hindi.”

Rather perturbed, he starts giving me a lecture (Desi Uncles. They love to do that sort of thing).

“You kids. That’s the problem. You’re too American. Don’t even care where you came from.”

“Well actually Sir, I was born in America, so my native tongue is English. But, even so, my parents are from the South. So, we speak Tamil and Kannada at home. Hindi doesn’t even enter the mix.”

Brown people. We’re so racist we hate other brown people….

Monday April 28, 2014:
01

Well? It’s definitely Monday morning.

A guy walks in here all annoyed and pissed off.

“Yo bro, you have a phone I can use? My cell is dead. I just got into a fight with my girlfriend. She kicked me out of the car. I left my wallet in there. I need to call a friend to pick me up.”

“Sorry man, I can’t help ya.”

He then starts asking me where this road is and that road is.

“I’m not from around here. You may want to ask Dave. He might be able to help.”

Taking pity on the young lad, Dave allows him to use the phone in his office. He got hold of a friend who will be here in a half hour.

The kid returns to my office, sits down, and then releases a little more information.

“Well, she didn’t really kick me out. I told her to stop. I rather walk than let her go through my phone. I told her she needs to stop asking otherwise she will find stuff she doesn’t want to see. Yeah I’ve been talking to my ex-girlfriend who I went out with for 5 years. Man, I’m tired of this.”

The moral of the story kids?

If you’re going to cheat on your woman and then deny it by “taking a stance,” don’t exit her vehicle with your wallet still in there. Dumbass….

Monday April 28, 2014:
Customer comes in for a $20 fill on her card.

“Sorry Miss, but we don’t accept this.”

“Are you kidding me?! What the hell kind of place is this?! You’re lucky I even come here with all the potholes. This place looks like shit!”

“Umm you gave me your driver’s license.”

She then looked at me and we laughed it off over tea and crumpets.

Nah, I’m just joshing. She didn’t laugh….

Friday April 25, 2014:
So, apparently a guy in a work van came in and asked for ’96 cents’ worth of gas.

Now, if that wasn’t yummy enough, he also asked for a ‘receipt.’

If this gentleman actually went back to his boss and expensed this, I want to shake his hand and offer him a free dollar of fuel next time around….

Thursday April 24, 2014:
“Man, I keep running out of gas. I got a gas can now just in case it happens again. Put $5 in the truck and $10 in the can.”

Riiight. So, put more in the can than in the truck?

Boy, it’s a good thing we learned the Pythagorean theorem in school, huh? Really comes in handy….

Thursday April 24, 2014:
Phone

Some random guy just walked in here.

“I need to use your phone. I have to call my ride.”

“Sorry, we don’t have a phone here.”

“What? How do you not have a phone? How do people call the station then?”

“They don’t.”

“Where the fuck are we, India?!”

“No, India is quite warmer than here. I’m actually kinda jealous.”

Fun times….

Thursday April 24, 2014:
“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

“No, I am of a different religion than you.”

She mutters “This is what’s wrong with this country” as she leaves the station.

Huh. So, I’m guessing she follows the ‘Murican Constitution instead of the United States one?

Wednesday April 23, 2014:
You Didn't Put In The Gas

“Certain Folks Just Don’t Deserve To Have A Good Life.”

Is that a harsh thing to say? Yes. Do I mean it? Yes. If you lie, cheat, or steal, then you will never have my respect.

This incident happened on Singh’s clock. Yesterday at around 4:30pm, a regular customer of ours comes in for a $10 fill. Easy-peasy japaneasy.

Around 9:40pm, over 5 hours LATER she returns and verbally assaults Mr. Singh.

“I asked you for $10 of gas. You only gave me 5! My needle should be higher. See? You owe me gas!” [I’m paraphrasing since I was not there]. They go back and forth for several minutes. It got heated.

Riiiight. So, you put in less than 3 gallons of gas, DRIVE all over the place over a 5 hour duration, and then come back to say we never gave you the right amount of gas?!

Are you that fucken stupid, or do you really think we’re that fucken stupid? Either way? You’re an asshole trying to pull a fast one on the wrong gas attendant.

She’s always smoking Newports and always high as a kite when she comes in here. I can smell that weed a mile back. Claims to have fallen on hard times. I’m a compassionate guy, so every now and again I’ll “lend” her gas. A few days later she comes back and pays me. Meanwhile, she still owes me money, yet I see her filling up at Citgo at times. Still, I have a heart. So, I let it slide. Eventually, I get paid.

But, what the Hell? You had a good thing going lady. Why the fuck would you pull this bullshit on us?

I wake up everyday thinking of ways I can help others. So, when we endure nonsense like this? Holy shit do I get infuriated. Being taken advantage of is never a good feeling.

Humanity. Gotta love it….

Thursday April 17, 2014:
coffee

“Am I wrong for not indulging?”

Folks, there are moments I have here that really mess with my head. My conscience. Did I do the right thing? Am I allowed to be annoyed with the situation?

Some guy pulls into the station and flags me over.

“Yo dude can I borrow $3? I need coffee. And I have to drive all the way to Morganville. That’s like a 2 hour ride.”

I suppose it wouldn’t have helped if i told him that I commute from Morganville everyday and it takes 40 minutes and not 2 hours.

And I suppose it wouldn’t have helped if I told him that coffee around here doesn’t cost $3, unless you go hunting for that Tarbucks crap.

“Sorry man, but I can’t do that.”

He asked a 2nd time, and I again politely refused. So, he drove away.

He was smoking a cigarette as he pulled in here. He had a fresh pack on the passenger seat. He’s not a customer of mine, unless you count the times he comes here just to use the windshield squeegee.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when folks expect charity while blackening their lungs with expensive cancer sticks.

And from a business perceptive, I’ve gotten screwed over by my kindness before. Person A tells Person B that Rajeev is a sucker. Go to the Delta and get your own line of credit! So, that was going through my brain as I spoke to this gentleman.

Those of you who know me well know that I do help others on a consistent basis. But, there has to be some limits.

Or shouldn’t there be? Would it have killed me to give this guy 3 bucks and go on with my day? Was I right for taking the stance that I did?

This job is a lot more than just pumping gas. The Tales From The Pumps continue….

Wednesday April 16, 2014:
“Sometimes, the situation is so f’d up that you just have to laugh it off.”

Aaaand 10 minutes ago was one of those times.

A customer pulls up. His tank is on the right side. He has a passenger with him. So, I go to his window.

In a laughing manner, the driver goes “Nah nah bro. You have to come on my side. You have to work if you want to stay in our country!”

So, I in fact waltz to the driver’s window. And in a calm collected manner I reply.

“Why thank you. Thank you sir. Thank you for setting me straight. Have a good day buddy.”

Puzzled that I responded without an accent, he hands me the $4 of gas that he wants and doesn’t say a word.

The moral of the story kids?

Sometimes, sarcasm executed with the utmost class is the best kind of revenge….

Tuesday April 15, 2014:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the fine state of NEW JERSEY:

What GAS PRICES are you seeing today?

Our cost price jacked up over the last 24 hours. My buddy across the street brought his retail price up dramatically. Like 8 cents.

I’m not sure if I can follow suit with a clear conscience without alienating my regulars. I also tend not to react to a 24 hour sharp spike or decline. I like to observe the trend before making a business decision. That? And I’m just too fucken tired and lazy to get up on a ladder and change the signs right now.

And as I have mentioned before, I also have to deal with consumer perception and answer questions like, “Why are you currently 11 cents below Citgo? What’s wrong with your gas?”

*UPDATE: The trend is up, and slowly you will see stations around the Garden State press up. But, 8 cents in one day? No way. Especially when you haven’t bought a new load of gas yet. I like to sleep at night. I don’t know how some business owners do it….

Tuesday April 15, 2014:
10153914_10152357242582838_3613238495132365506_n

If you’re going to finish up a 40 while walking through a gas station in a suburban town, at least make sure it’s a Colt 45.

Damn it. People need to recognize….

Monday April 14, 2014:
Do you think stupid people realize that society caters to them, or are they just that clueless?

Do you think they look at something and go “I’m the reason this exists?”

A customers drives in and parks literally in the middle of the 2 pumps. Her positioning was smashingly impeccable! ….If I had a gas nozzle coming out of the flippin’ booth.

“Sorry Miss, but you’re going to need to move up.”

Completely annoyed that she has to turn her car back on, she blurts out “It should be law that all stations have those long hoses like Costco.”

I really wanted to say “Sorry Miss, but the world shouldn’t have to coddle dumbasses,” but the little lawyer angel sitting on my shoulder advised me to keep my mouth shut.

I hate that ‘lil bastard….

Saturday April 12, 2014:
To anyone studying Logistics and Supply Chain Management:

Here’s Reason #7 as to why it’s uber important to carry Safety Stock: Utter Stupidity.

My delivery of fuel was delayed by 12 hours. When asked why, I was told that the driver and I quote “accidentally forgot about you.”

Right. So, he accidentally forgot that he had to make another delivery of 8,000 GALLONS?!

Fun times….

Friday April 11, 2014:
“Perception. Distrust. Reality: The Mentality of Your Target Market.”

Anyone who has worked in retail knows that the customer may not always be right, but it’s important to adapt to how they think.

I am always 3 cents less than the Citgo across the street. I arrived at this number by pure trial and error. I conducted a study during my first 6 months here. It’s optimal for my bottom line, and it allows me to engage in a respectable competition with my buddy across the street. He’s a brand name and his station is all fixed up nicely. Mine? Not so much.

But, there’s another element involved. And it’s probably ‘the’ most important element. “The Customer’s Perception.”

Citgo upped their price by 2 cents early this morning. I kept mine the same. We’re now 5 cents apart. I will ultimately change those signs, but I wanted to conduct this study again. And I got the same results.

Around here, if my price is any more than 3 cents lower than Citgo, residents start questioning the ‘quality’ of my gas.

“Why is his fuel so low? Did he put water in the tanks? Did he get a bad delivery and now trying to get rid of it?”

These are the questions and comments Singh and I have heard.

My volume is noticeably lower this morning. Citgo had a line waiting, while my bays were empty.

Crazy right? Of course I’ll be upping my price momentarily, but it never ceases to amaze me.

Clearly, the customer is not right with their perception, but it is my reality and so I will need to adjust accordingly.

Having the best prices is not always the key to success.

That’s what I’ve learned in the 2 years of running this operation….

Wednesday April 9, 2014:
“I saw that the mechanic was working on a nice Nova the other day.”

“Yeah. That car is awesome. It’s got some power to it. It’s a ’70.”

“I had a ’72 GTO once. I got into an argument with my first wife back in the day. When I came home, she said that we need to talk and I should sit down. Then she explained to me how she torched the whole car! Like literally set it on fire. I went to take a look. And sure enough it was burnt. I couldn’t prove it was her, so it was what it was.

Never get married man. That’s my advice to ya.”

It’s amazing just how many customers tell me never to get married. I’ll have to remember that before I go into my next one….

Thursday April 3, 2014:
“It’s My Job To Make You Gassy, Not Tell You My Life Story.”

A customer came in and we engaged in a little small talk. After mentioning that her daughter is sick, she asks “So, do you have any kids?”

“I just had my first. Boy. 2 months old.”

She looks at me weird, almost like she disapproves of my Life.

“Wow. You’re not that young. Why did you wait so long?”

“Well, I was abducted by aliens and they finally brought be back so….”

And even before she could take that sarcasm as an insult, I started laughing. She let out a chuckle as well, and went on her way.

But, let’s be serious for a moment. As a society, we are waaaaay too comfortable with asking really personal questions to complete strangers.

The topic of “children” is probably one of THE most sensitive topics. In fact, I would rather talk politics and religion than pry into someone’s personal life.

Maybe they simply don’t want kids. Maybe they can’t afford kids. Maybe they can’t medically have kids. Whatever the case may be, it’s none of your business.

Just because person A followed a particular timeline, that doesn’t mean that person B has to.

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

Wednesday April 2, 2014:

“How NOT To Leave A Gas Station!”

Well folks? I almost had to file a claim with my insurance company for the very first time. And perhaps get a little funky with a fire extinguisher or two.

It’s a good thing I can scream very loudly. See? I knew my short-temperedness would come in handy one day. My heart’s still racing….

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