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Frank Mahony: What has happened to getting gas?

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Frank Mahony

Frank Mahony

What has happened to getting gas?

12/11/2009   Comment on This

I’m almost ready to start looking for any remaining full service gas stations. Are there any still?

Gas stations have become such a pain in the ass. Remember the good old days? You pulled in and heard “ding ding” “ding ding.” Then, a guy with blue overalls and grease all over his hands walked over and asked, “Premium or regular?” Finally you handed him cash (less than a dollar a gallon) and then - “ding ding” - you were on your way.

Fast forward to now...

I have to figure out which way to pull in – because every other car I drive has the gas door on the opposite side. I have to look in the rear view mirrors to find it and figure out which way to pull in. Of course, whatever way I need to pull in, there are two cars facing the wrong way blocking me from getting to the pump.

At the pump, there is no longer a friendly grease monkey. Instead, I have to deal with the automated gas pump. When these first came out, they were quick and easy, but along the way bankers and marketing people have turned these into an abomination that is an argumentative pain in the ass. It’s like they programmed a snotty concierge from a French hotel in there. It’s polite in a smarmy kind of way. It would be better if was just plane rude.

Machine: PLEASE INSERT CARD
Me: I put the card in

Machine: PLEASE REMOVE CARD (SLOWLY)
Me: I remove card

Machine: READ ERROR – PLEASE TRY AGAIN
Me: Come on!!! I did what you asked. I can’t remove it any slower – was that too slow or what?

Machine: PLEASE INSERT CARD
Me: I put the card in again

Machine: PLEASE REMOVE CARD (SLOWLY)
Me: I remove card slowly – but not too slowly - This is like some Olympic event where I’ll be scored for removing the card at exactly the correct speed. I try to use a little wrist action at the end for style points.

Machine: PLEASE SELECT DEBIT/CREDIT
Me: Hey, Alex Trebek – I’m trying to get gas – can’t you figure this out?
Me: Fine – Alex I'll take “Credit for $400” - because I have no idea what my Debit card PIN is

Machine: PLEASE ENTER ZIP CODE
Me: What... are we dating now? Are you coming to meet my parents next? I just want gas and its freaking cold.

Machine: PLEASE ENTER ZIP CODE
Me: Typing numbers on a shity keypad that half the time doesn’t register so you have to press over and over, harder and harder, until it works. I’m seriously thinking about getting the tire iron from my trunk about now, to teach this machine a lesson.

Machine: APPROVING – PLEASE WAIT
Me: Sure, what the hell else am I going to do – leave now?

Machine: WOULD YOU LIKE A CAR WASH?
Me: Its four fucking degrees outside. Am I on Candid Camera or something? Of course - NO.
Me: Also, I am aware that if I said YES – I need to prepare for another series of questions.

Machine: PLEASE SELECT GRADE
Me: I’ll take an A+ - and you’re really starting to piss me off. Are we anywhere near me getting gas so I can get out of here?

(Finally I pump the gas, which somehow ends up all over my hands and the side of the car as they try to distract me with Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien – what is this supposed to accomplish? If I wanted to watch television, I would go to a sports bar)

Machine: WOULD YOU LIKE A RECEIPT
Me: You know, this has been SO FUN, I actually would like a memento of our time together. Maybe I can display it in my office next to the pictures of my wife and kids - were practically like family now. On second thought – NO.

Machine: PLEASE INSERT CARD
Me: So that’s it? After all you put me through, no thank you? No we appreciate your business?

You know what? I "am" getting the tire iron to teach this ungrateful pump a lesson. Can one of you scratch together some bail money to spring me after I get arrested for destruction of property?

 

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