June 2013

Tuesday June 25, 2013:
“We need to get rid of all you sand niggers and take back this business.” — “Why don’t you just go back to your own country?” — “You don’t belong here.”

The last time I checked, my birth certificate reads “Saint Peter’s Hospital New Brunswick, NJ.” The last time I checked, I talk without an Indian accent. But, that doesn’t stop certain customers from spewing hot air to me.

Folks, that’s racism. Those words were not muttered by my close friends in private as a joke. They were verbal hate crimes coming out of the mouths of strangers. Welcome to the life of an American brown-skinned gas station operator. It happens on a regular basis. I just don’t rant about it each and every time it happens.

But, it’s okay. I can’t wait until the Food Network drops that celebrity cook. It’s going to stop me and everyone else from being the victim of further hate crimes.


Tuesday June 25, 2013:
You know, I always talk about the retail side of my work. Well, it’s obvious why. Dysfunctional customers are always amusing. But, the business side does provide me with a sense of pleasure believe it or not.

I love the part of the week where I have to reassess my inventory replenishment point. How much safety stock do I have left? How does my weekly sales match up against my net revenue? Where’s the oil market going today? Do I decrease my safety stock in hopes my gas cost price goes down? Or do I play it safe and reorder regardless of the market? Coming from a Supply Chain Management background, all this nerdy stuff does in fact excite my loins.

No disrespect to any of my previous managers, but this is one Logistics job I can really rally around….

Saturday June 23, 2013:
New Paint

“Beautifully Painted in Love and Respect.”

Here’s why I haven’t completely lost my mind being a gas station entrepreneur. Good folks still very much exist. And thankfully, I work with them.

Arriving at the station I was blinded by color. “What in the hell?!” Cosmetically sprucing the place up has always been on my To Do list. Just never got around to it yet. To be honest, I was hoping to be able to swap out the pumps after Year 1. Unfortunately, I’m just not that financially strong enough. It will be a while. So, mentally I knew this summer I was going to throw some paint around.

Well, my coworker and my employee were already a couple steps ahead of me. While I was falling down stairs and bitching about a sprained ankle, Dave and Singh went to work. The pumps, the guardrails, the garbage can, the platform, the booth. And although it’s not pictured, they painted the walkway around the building as well as the garage floor.

They got the ball rolling. It’s time to continue. We’re just a little less ghetto now. And I’m absolutely loving it. You guys rock!

Saturday June 23, 2013:

“Mental Illness, Case# 465. The Sink Breaker.”

Remember my post from last Wednesday 6/19 about one of our customers breaking the bathroom sink? Well, this story has a conclusion. Not a good one, but an ending nonetheless.

Many folks who frequent our establishment run out of gas. At one point, we had 4 gas cans to lend to such people who get themselves in a bit of a pickle. We have all but one left. Thieves. Nothing but thieves. These days we ask for $20 collateral which will be give back once the gas can is returned.

Enter Exhibit A. This gentleman came in asking for a can. He ran out of gas. Singh lends it out and he returns some time later. He starts exchanging words with Mr. Singh. Apparently, there’s a little hole in the spout and a bit of gas got on his car as he poured it into the tank. A little bit of a pain in the ass to clean off, but certainly not the end of the world. And certainly no permanent damage. This severely pissed him off. We did not know about the little hole. We just loan it out. Never have used it ourselves.

Despite the fact that we did him a favor and bailed him out of a tough situation, he continues to figuratively swing his arms at Singh. Then the irate gentleman had to use the bathroom. Rolling with the “customer is always right” mentality, Singh grabs the key off my office wall and opens it up for him. In a fit of rage (or revenge), he pounds the sink with his right fist. It would be 24 hours before we could prove that.

The next day, Singh sees the guy at 7-Eleven and walks over. He confronts him and the customer at first denies the whole thing while fumbling with his words. After telling him that we have it all on camera, he finally admits to breaking the sink. Singh tells the guy to never drive into this Delta again because he will not be served.

All this talk about how guns are bad. How about we face Mental Illness in the eye and do something about it? THIS is not normal human behavior. Someone in his world should have the BALLS to confront his erratic way of life. A friend. A family member. Someone.

Before it’s too late….

*When Singh first called me about this, I scanned the surveillance footage going back one hour and he was the only one who used the bathroom. That’s how we knew to confront him if we ever saw him again.*

Wednesday June 19, 2013:
So, Singh just called me. Apparently a degenerate low life piece of fucken shit customer went into out bathroom and BROKE our vanity. There’s a big crack going down the middle. In tremendous pain and this is what I have to deal with. Unfortunately, the bay was full and he didn’t see which customer did it.

Now, I ask ya. What possesses someone to purposely break a bathroom sink when all we did was provide you with a clean place to do your business?!

I am beyond frustrated with inhumane individuals who deserve nothing but a slow painful death. I can’t even remember the last time I was this angry. My blood pressure is boiling….

Wednesday June 19, 2013:
Rules For Running Your Own Business That Requires You To Stay On Your Feet For Much of Your Day, #4: “Don’t ever walk down the stairs, in the dark, without the lights on, to prevent the waking of a cute puppy.”

Let’s just say I missed a couple steps, spilled to the ground with about 190lbs all my on right ankle. In excruciating pain as it increasingly swells to a balloon, I’m literally hobbling from car to car. Not fun. Not fun at all.

In other news, remember that soap you took home from that hotel in 1984 after just using it once? While some might accuse you of being cheap, I’d say it could come in handy one day. Pre-falling down the stairs, mid-shower, I discovered that the house was completely out of bar soap. I quickly dried myself, looked underneath the sink, and voila!

Screw you Howard Johnson’s for hermetically sealing my sheets. I’ve won this hand!

Monday June 17, 2013:
Customer: “Damn it. I think I just shit myself a little.” He reaches for a paper towel and does a quick wipe. “Do you have a garbage?” as he hold out his hand. “Sorry man, but that’s not in my job description.” Customer retracts his hand and pulls away.

Bounty: “The Quicker Shitter Picker Upper.”

And you thought your Mondays stink. Shame on you….

Friday June 14, 2013:
Today I learned that it doesn’t matter if you are an honest man. It’s all about who you know. Corruption comes in all shapes and sizes. You need connections to bring back the fairness that you truly deserve. It’s a damn shame that this is real life. I honestly don’t know how some folks sleep at night. Can’t wait to end this work day and begin the weekend with my family and friends. Just a few more hours….

Wednesday June 12, 2013:
I am in support of legalizing marijuana in this great state of New Jersey. HOWEVER, just like with alcohol, its usage should fall under similar DUI regulation. I know plenty of people who drive high. I know plenty of people who have convinced themselves that it’s not a big deal.

Well, I have news for you. Spend a day at this gas station and see the amount of danger stoned morons project on themselves, other people, and my business.

Their absent-mindedness is a huge safety issue. Coming close to hitting other customers, coming close to hitting the pump, I’ve seen it all.

Drink responsibly. Smoke responsibly. And God Bless America….

Tuesday June 11, 2013:
Anyone willing to have a discussion on HIP HOP MUSIC?

As you know I spend much of my time observing human behavior. This community may not be your reality, but it certainly is mine. After running this station for a year now, a very clear cut conclusion can be made:

The hip hop fans around here like to make their presence known. “Hey everyone look at me look at me look at me!”

Now before we start throwing out the race card, let me point out that it’s not a Black thing. It’s a hip hop thing. The non-Black enthusiasts that frequent my station do the exact same thing. What do they do exactly? Well, let me tell ya.

When a fan of rap music pulls in, they don’t turn down their radio. In fact, they pump it up and roll down their windows. Sometimes, they even open their doors. Unfortunately, many folks have poor systems and it all just turns to loud ear piercing mud. No other genre does this. Rock or Jazz devotees, for example, will turn off their stereos when entering the premises.

And of course it’s not good wholesome Fresh Prince. Look. Everyone is certainly entitled to bug out to music. But, sometimes it’s very difficult to have a pleasant conversation with cute Grandma Martha on the other side of the pump. I don’t think she quite appreciates the cult favorite “Nigga Nigga Nigga is Gonna Tap That Ass And Then Make a Mean Grilled Cheese.”

So, is it the genre? Is it the people? Is this just one big coincidence?

Tales From The Pumps: Observing Life Through The Eyes of a Gas Station Owner. Welcome to my world….

Wednesday June 5, 2013:
“I’m sorry, but can I have just $5? Need just enough gas to get home and grab my money.”

Customer then proceeds to pay me with a $20 bill. Makes sense….

Wednesday June 5, 2013:
A guy just pulled in with HALF of a 7-Eleven Big Gulp filled with dip spit. ‘Murica….

Wednesday June 5, 2013:
A guy just came in here completely wreaking of alcohol asking for directions to this one particular shoe store. Yeah. That sounds about right. It’s prolly the only way I’d go shoe shopping too….

Tuesday June 4, 2013:
Quality Parking

Always keep a safe distance from the pump. And by “safe” I obviously mean park your car at the Citgo across the street….

Tuesday June 4, 2013:
Customer asks for $25 worth and hands me a 20 and some singles. As fuel was dispensing, I count. $26.

“Ma’am, you accidentally gave me $26. Here’s your dollar back.”

Not even a nod or a Thank You. It’s amazing how you can very quickly get knocked back down to classless reality after such a touching experience this morning.

I’ve said this once, and I’ll say it again — Humanity would totally rock if it wasn’t for people….

Tuesday June 4, 2013:
Older gentleman and his wife pull in wanting a fill up. He forgot to pop the gas cap so I politely ask him to do so. He then steps out of the car.

“Sorry young man. I’ve gotten forgetful lately.”

“Oh no worries Sir. It’s all good.”

“You will have to forgive me. I have Alzheimer’s and I just forget things.”

“Not a problem Sir. You’re standing on your own 2 feet. You woke up above ground. Today is going to be a good day.”

The fill came out to $24. He hands me to 20s. Just as I want making him change,

“Keep it.”

“Oh no. I can’t do that Sir.” I continue to sift through the wad of cash.

“I have Alzheimer’s. I’m not going to make it. What good is this when I’m below ground? Take it.”

Not feeling comfortable accepting a $16 tip for pumping gas, I tried to give the change to his wife. In a low somber voice, she replies “Keep it son. He’s not going to take it back.”

Folks, I’m going to be completely honest with you. If it weren’t for my sunglasses, he would have seen me tear up. That is by far the most emotional experience I’ve had here thus far.

Whoever thinks that running a gas station is just about checks, balances, and dispensing fuel really ought to step into my shoes. Holy shit….

Tuesday June 4, 2013:
Couples, why argue in the privacy of your own home when you can drive into a gas station, step out of your cars, and cause a scene? Stay classy y’all….

Monday June 3, 2013:
Customer: “Yo bro what’s your name?”

Rajeev: “Raj.”

Customer: “Raj, isn’t my girl here so cute and adorable?”

Rajeev: “Uhh yes she’s very nice.”

Guys, why are you such fucken cheezballs? Ugh. I hate that shit. It makes me want to punch you in the clavicle. At any point any at given time, will someone ‘ever’ answer that in a negative way? Will there ever be a moment where a guy will respond with “Well since you asked, I think she’s a bloody f’n mooing cow!”

This type of behavior is completely unnecessary. It’s almost as pathetic as excessive Facebook Displays of Affection….

Monday June 3, 2013:
A woman just pulled in here so that her son could jump out and throw up. I know shit happens and I’m not faulting them in any way. However, when you’re overly overly tired, breathing in exhaust fumes all day, and just finished some 7-Eleven chicken fingers with questionable hot sauce, that isn’t exactly the sight you want to see….

Monday June 3, 2013:
Do you tell a person to “Stay thin” as they walk into a McDonald’s and order a Big Mac? Then why the hell do my customers tell me to “Stay dry” as I’m pumping their gas in the pouring flippin’ rain?!

Whoever developed this linguistically asinine ridiculousness really ought to develop a very bad foot fungus….

Sunday June 2, 2013:
A guy strolled in asking if he could buy just a 1/2 gallon of propane. I asked him if he wanted 1% or 2%. He just stared at me as if I had 2 heads. But, I can’t really dog the man. I also like my steaks on the rarer side….

Sunday June 2, 2013:

A 10 year old kid just pulled up in a small quad asking for $3 of gas. My ‘lil buddy has now filled up more gas than half the women SUV drivers around here….

Sunday June 2, 2013:

A car with 2 GUYS drive up with their OWN oil and asked me to put it in for them. No gas. And since I always enjoy being interrupted as I eat a delicious turkey sandwich I obliged.

I’m still trying to figure out if it takes more ‘balls’ or ‘pathetic stupidity’ to pull off a stunt like this….

Sunday June 2, 2013:

“If it has tits or wheels, it will cause you problems.”

Printed on the back of this dude’s helmet. Meanwhile, his kid daughter is riding behind him staring at this thing.

Umm. Yeah….

Saturday June 1, 2013:

Free Blow Pops from the Ice-Cream Man. Perks of the job. Haven’t tried this flavor yet. Psyched….

Saturday June 1, 2013:
As I sit here on Day 3 of 7 double shifts, I reflect on scheduling. Why am I not doing this at least once a week? That way Singh gets a full day off and I can get full weekends off (instead of working 6 days a week).

If I work 16 hours on say Wednesdays, then I can take off on Saturdays. And Sundays I’m off anyways.

Been pondering this all day. It just makes perfect sense for the both of us. Better work/life balance….

Saturday June 1, 2013:
“Stay cool man. It’s going to be another hot one.”

I really hate when people say that. It’s physically impossible to do that. Sometimes I want to respond with “Well, if you didn’t make me run around for less than $5 of gas, I would be able to.” But, that’s probably not what the locals would call “exceptional customer service.”

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