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Gas Station / Gas pump etiquette


By; Santosh Bhatt / Sanji

By; Santosh Bhatt  /  Sam Hindu


Is there really a thing as gas pump etiquette or is it more like common sense? I work in a gas/convenience store. Everyday I see people who have no clue as to what they are doing. A comedy writer could get wonderful material by spending time watching people at the pumps or being behind the counter for a short time.

First off try pulling up to the furthest pump. Pulling up to the first pump blocks the way for the next person and believe me if you heard the names these people call you there would be reason to call the law as you would get as hot as they are.

Pay at the pump means using the credit/debit card reader with that plastic card you carry, not trying to put the money in the gas pump through the credit card receipt slot. We really did have a lady try to do this.

Turn off your stereo. I’ve had music (if you can call it that) so loud the bass was rattling the bottles on our shelves. It also helps if we need to communicate with you about something.

Put out your cigarette. You wouldn’t believe the excuses I have heard for why it is ok to have a lit cigarette while pumping gas. My 2 all time favorites are:

1. “I could throw a lit cigarette into a bucket of gas and it wouldn’t ignite.” Well I don’t know about you but this person needs to get a life if that’s all they have to do. Do people really do this?
2. “My father had a gas station when I was growing up and I know which way the fumes go.” Ok then, this makes perfect sense to me, not. I’ve worked in a gas station setting off and on for 15 years and I have absolutely no idea which way fumes go.

I’ve seen people toss their cigarettes near the semi delivering the gas to the station. This does not endear you to either the driver or the attendant. Blocking the drive when these guys are trying to maneuver these trucks onto a small lot also causes the drivers to become irate. I’m waiting to see the driver run the gas truck over the next car that just has to slip in there before the gas truck.

The windshield washer bucket is not the trashcan. That little towel belongs in the big barrel between the pumps and the squeegee belongs in the bucket not on top of the pumps.

Check before pumping that you have your wallet. Then check to make sure you have money, credit card, debit card or some other form of cash for payment. Every single day there is one person who either forgot their wallet or thought they had more on them before they pumped gas.

The answer before you ask is no. No, I don’t have money you can borrow to pay for your gas.
No, I can’t let you pay for your gas tomorrow. I have to account for each sale. If you can’t pay for your gas and drive off, I have to turn you in to the police. If you drive off and I don’t know who you are or busy waiting on others when you split then my job is gone. It used to be they would take the money from your check. Now the consequence is job lose.

I will, however, let you use my cell phone to call a family member or friend to either bring you your wallet or the money to pay for your gas. My question for this driver is, “Why are you driving without your wallet?”

When you spill gas on the lot, please know you are responsible for that gas. Talking to your friend and not paying attention does not constitute a reason for overflowing the tank. The person doing this always blames the pump. While there have been times when this has happened, most of the time it is people not paying attention. I had a lady wanting me to judge how much she ran over and give her credit on her credit card. Needless to say my boss got a call on that one.

When using change to pay for your gas please have it rolled. I have no problem accepting rolled change for a gas purchase. I do have a problem with the person paying with a baggie full of change. If I don’t have people waiting in line then I really don’t mind but it very rarely happens that way. I will be happy to give you rollers for your change since I have been in that same situation I understand using change.

Be polite when a problem arises. People who encounter problems have called me bad names. I will be more willing to help the nice people but I tend to let mean people wait a bit longer. I have had regular customers intervene on my behalf when dealing with an irate customer.

Be polite when when asking for directions and I shall put u on right path but dont expect that I know each and every small street in my neighbourhood.

Second when i do give directions please dont ask me Are you sure? If you dont trust my direction go and buy your own GPS devise.

And dont ask me directions for small street in town 25 miles away from my Gas Station.. Get it.

And when I say I dont know just dont try to act smart and use ratial slurt and send me back to my country. That really shows how you were raised by your parents.

A big issue for me is the impatient person who stands to the side and expects me to accept their money in front of the customers who have been waiting. I have one line. I tend to ignore these people while waiting on those in line. I have even told those on the side that the line is behind the third person. That customer’s response, ” But I am over here.” So he had to wait.

The people who throw their money on the counter are even worse. True the gas is paid for but if for some reason I don’t know the pump you’re on and ring out a sale for the similar price on another person’s transaction your pump will not be cleared. Thus I will still have an active pump and no car to pay for it. The camera may have your car as last one on the pump. Don’t assume the clerkwill know it was you who threw the money on the counter. Chances are if we are busy the concentration I need will be focused on those in front of me.

Do not leave your children in the car or let them play around the pump while you are pumping gas. We have seen a child shift the car and hit a pump. Luckily the clerk was paying attention and shut down the pumps. I have also had a little girl get gas splashed in her eyes because Dad didn’t see her beside him when he pull the nozzle out of the tank. Make sure the children don’t leave your side as people race into the lot all the time.

Finally make sure to hang up the nozzle. As most registers can’t pull up a sale until the nozzle is returned to the pump correctly leaving the nozzle in the tank to go inside to pay when it is shutoff is a waste of time. The other reason is so you don’t drive off with the nozzle still in your tank. This has happened and thus the manufacturers have invented breakaway nozzles and hoses.

Anyone who works in this field has seen all these behaviors and more. We meet a huge array of people. All of us have bad days on both sides of the counter. For the most part though the people we meet usually use good gas pump etiquette. It’s just the few without common sense that seem to make our day. Want a laugh? Observe some of the behaviors next time you visit your local gas station.

Sanji Bhatt
Sanji Gas

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