Saturday, September 15, 2007

People Don't Know How To Pump Gas

The idea of a gas station is nothing new. Most people alive today have been living with them from the earliest moments of their lives as most of us have grow up with automobiles. Despite the great advances that have been made in the past fifty years in petroleum purchasing technology, such as the integration of credit card readers and the baffling concept of prepaying, you'd think that the average, modern, sophisticated human being in present society would be able to grasp the seemingly unfathomable concept of simple gas pump operations. Yet every day, the average gas station attendant gets bombarded with a barrage of stupidity from the overwhelming masses when it comes to the actual practical application of the gas pump. Some common, non-encompassing examples follow.

Most gas pumps are equipped with some sort of button that you have to press once the money has been accounted for, before you can pump your gas. Sometimes it is a large button marked "START" in a prominent area of the keypad. Sometimes it is a flashing, raised pushbutton in the center of the pumping station. Sometimes it is a pushbutton next to the nozzle hook that has the type of gas printed on it, often flashing. Still, you have to press something to actuate the pump once you are sure you have the nozzle where you need it, such as in your gas tank. A stupid question to ask, then, would be: "So I have to press 'start' before I do anything?" I have actually heard this question asked. Let's examine the logic of that sentence, shall we? Do I have to press "start," before I do anything. No. You do everything, and then you start doing it, you fucking dipshit. What the fuck do you think the word "start" means?

I love the people who come in to prepay and say something to the effect of "I want twenty dollars on pump one. I haven't pumped it yet." No fucking duh you haven't pumped it yet. The clerk knows you haven't pumped it yet because the clerk hasn't approved you inside the store to pump the gas yet. There's a button on the cash register that the clerk has to press before you can do anything, and it's accompanied by a loud, annoying, and persistent beeping, so there's no way the clerk doesn't know you're at the pump, and until he or she deigns that you are worthy of gas, there is no possible way you could have pumped it yet. Stop acting like you know more about common gas station operations than the people who work there, and they'll stop looking at you like you're some sort of invalid. Could you imagine the anarchistic chaos we'd be living in if people could just pump gas whenever they wanted to without the attendants approval? Kids would just depress the trigger and lay the nozzle on the ground as a prank. People would walk up and drink the gas like it's a watering hose. Arsonists would douse the stores in gas and flick their cigarettes at it.

People steal. People steal gas. It's a fact of modern society, and it's been increasing at an alarming rate ever since gas prices rose from a little over a dollar to half past three dollars in less than four years' time. Most gas stations make you prepay now to circumvent gas theft. Prepaying during the hours of darkness has been going on for decades now because it's difficult for the clerk to see the color, make, and model of the car and a description of the driver. You'd be hard pressed to find a gas station that didn't make you prepay outside of a town of about 47 people where the shopkeep knows everyone and can just go down to Old Man Wilkinson's house to get the money after close. A lot of the smarter gas station owners have moved to a prepay at all times policy. This is not an insult to you, so you can get off your indignant high horse right now. Don't come in and declare that you are not a thief and you shouldn't be treated like one. Okay, you know you're not a thief, but no one who doesn't live inside your own head knows that about you. The gas station attendant certainly doesn't know you from Adam, so he's going to trust you about as much as he does Adam, only considerably less. Just accept the fact that times are changing, that generally the typical gas station doesn't attact the most credible members of society to hang out at them, and prepay for your fucking gas. If you want to do something about it, don't yell at the poor clerk who is making less money than he deserves to put up with your pompous bullshit and is only enforcing corporate policy. If you to do something about it, go find a criminal and beat the living shit out of him until he reforms.

If you are one of the privileged few regular customers that the gas station attendant knows he or she can trust to approve without prepaying, you have to somehow let the gas station attendant know who you are. Ever since the advent of the prepay at all times policy, the attendant is not going to approve you unless he or she gets facial recognition. Seeing your car isn't good enough since, believe it or not, there are lots and lots of white Ford Tauruses or red Dodge Rams driving around out there. When you put the nozzle in your gas tank, then, it would make more sense to turn around and face the store, where the gas station attendant is, than to keep staring at the gas pump. The gas pump isn't going to approve you. It's an inanimate object. Not only does it not have the capability to recognize you, it also doesn't have the capability to give a shit. The gas station attendant isn't going to approve you if the only thing they can see is the back of your head, which looks a fuck of a lot like the back of anyone else's head, especially, since the weather is getting colder, if you have a hood over your head. Turn around, let them see your face. Don't stare at the pump. Don't hide behind your behemoth conversion van for ten minutes and get mad that you weren't approved to pump, because it's your own damn fault for being precisely that stupid. The clerk has more important things going on inside the store. He or she is going to look outside once to try to figure out who is out there, and after that, you're on your own, and good luck with all that. Also, if you are stationed at a far pump, or if someone's giant-ass van is blocking the view, you might as well come inside because if the typical gas station clerk had x-ray vision, the typical gas station clerk would be doing more important things with it than being a gas station clerk.

For the love of all things pure and holy on God's green earth, know what gas pump you are at when you go in the store. They all have numbers at them, and if you take two seconds out of your self-concern, you could figure out if you are at station number one, two, three, four, five, or six. It's called situational awareness. If there are upwards of six cars out there, don't walk in the store and tell the clerk that you want $20 of gas in the car out there. If you are dumb enough to say that, then don't argue when the clerk doesn't know which of six cars is yours. The clerk, again, doesn't know you from Adam, and if the clerk had the ability to read your mind he'd probably be using his supernatural power to do something more to the effect of finding your address so he could go to your house and murder you in your sleep for being such a fucking incompetent. If you could do something to describe your car to the clerk, like tell him that it's the red one, that might help, if there are no other red cars out there at the time. Don't tell him it's the Monte Carlo, because when the person can only see a slight fraction of the tail end of your car, there's no possible way to tell that it's a Monte Carlo, or to really care. What is in it for you? Well, if you convince the clerk that you're at the wrong pump number, and the clerk puts your money on the pump number you tell him, someone else might then be able to pump your gas, and you're left without gas or $20, and it's completely and entirely all your fault. The clerk will try to meet you half way on figuring out which pump you are at, but you have to at least get up to the halfway point.

Also, if there are only, say, four total pumps at the gas station don't tell the clerk to put $20 on pump seven. This has literally happened before. It's called situational awareness. Be aware of your surroundings and your environment. It could save you a lot of headache; it could save you from looking stupid; it could save you $20 in gas; and it might even someday save your life. It's as staggering as it is scary to realize the vast number of people who go out into society on a daily basis who are so wrapped up in themselves that they have no idea what is going on around them or even the basic notions of how to socially integrate and function.

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