Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Don't you have it?"

I have a more serious blog in the works, however I just couldn't resist sharing my most recent adventures in the gas industry. :)

This week I've been covering another employee's shifts while she takes a vacation. People never cease to amaze me. A few experiences that will hopefully make you smile, shake your head, and possibly even laugh in front of the computer.

- I've been learning Spanish, a phrase a shift and have been complimented on my diction. However, three times this week while speaking Spanish to customers, these same customers have turned around and told me in Spanish, "No hablos English. Hablos Espanol." I've wanted to scream at them - I AM speaking Spanish!

- The average customer at our gas station waits in line around 20 minutes, there are usually three to four cars in a line, and 8 out of 10 customers come in and start with the phrase, "You need traffic control out there." And yet, even during the busy times of the day, I get in and out within 10 minutes (this includes waiting in line, paying, pumping and getting out of the parking lot). I think this comes down to common sense.

- When I was Real Estate, I learned that the average person owns their house for about 5 years and their car 2-3 years. Yet, you couldn't tell it at a gas station. The simple question, "How much do you want to put on the pump?" seems to be a mind stumper. They have NO CLUE. C'mon people, it's not hard - if you're car usually takes $50 to fill up then make it an even $50 and come back in for the change.

- People actually ask, "If I don't pump it all, can I come back in for the change?" Does anyone actually believe we, cashiers, are going to say NO?!

- Why are credit card machines so hard for people? If you watch the screen, they give play by play instructions. Yet, whenever I am running two registers and allow a customer to run their debit/credit transaction on their own, they stand there staring at the screen - sometimes they are actually talking to the thing.

- Who on Earth actually thinks they can be three cars behind the pump, and go ahead and pay? Really now, let's use some common sense. "The car in front of me just pulled up to the pump and starting pumping, but I want to go ahead and put $30 on the pump." And when we tell them no, it's like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They go from capable adults, to screaming, tantrum throwing two year olds. Really, who are these people and why aren't they normal and why are there so many of them?

- There are FIVE signs around the store (two x-large ones on the double doors entering the store) that say, "WE DO NOT HAVE A PUBLIC RESTROOM". What part of that is misunderstood? No, if you buy a .35 cent pack of gum, you cannot use the bathroom. No, if you put a dollar in the slot machine you cannot use the restroom. No, if you buy gas you cannot use the restroom. There is no PUBLIC restroom.

- We ran out of gas a couple of days ago (we're the cheapest in the valley right now - sometimes by as much as .40 cents a gallon!) even though we get three loads a day everyday (a load is AT LEAST 3000 gallons). There was a customer in line who was behind the cut off (meaning, he couldn't buy gas). He stood there at the counter demanding gas. Are we going to pull it out of our behinds? If we are out of gas, we are out of gas.

- Last Saturday we raised our prices by .10/gallon. People have taken to calling our store to check out our prices before coming down. One customer called 10 minutes before we changed the price - only the owner knows when the price will change, arriving right after the price had changed. He then demanded that we give him the previous price. What planet are our customers FROM? Does this planet just simply LACK common sense?!

But the big question, WHO goes into a store without enough money to pay for something and then expects the cashiers to pay for it? We had one customer today who spent 10 minutes trying to convince one of my co-workers to pay for his smokes. Later, another customer came up .39 cents short for their beer and then matter of fact stated, "What, you don't have it? You don't have thirty-nine cents?" And customers do this all day long - it doesn't matter to me if you're a penny short or five dollars short, there's NOTHING in a c-store that a person needs - not even gas (which is of course entirely debatable) so no way am I shelling out money for people who don't really NEED these things. (Yes, there is a grocery store less than a block away from our c-store.)

Yesterday, during my shift just on MY register, I did over $10k. If I was short just a penny per dollar - I'd be short $100 on my shift (which of course comes out of my pocket). And on average, customers are more short than a penny/dollar of their transaction, at least at my store anyways.

Just pay at the pump people, and please use common sense.

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