While driving across the island a few years back, I had a terrible experience with a cashier in a service station. I had been driving my winter beater on the Trans Canada Highway, heading to St. John’s. I had made a deal to part trade the old Chevy truck and some cash for a newer truck for next winter, but part of the deal was that I deliver the truck myself. The old Chevy was quite the gas guzzler, and the gas gauge was never that dependable. The gauge was only accurate when the tank was near empty.
Anyway, I was driving, not paying particular attention to my surroundings, mostly, I was beating my hands on the dash like I was playing drums to some of the old country tunes that played on the AM radio. The radio was about the only thing that worked on the old truck. When I took notice, the gas gauge needle was pointing to the E, which gave me only a few miles and I would be out of gas.
I noticed a little gas station just up the road, and as the old truck chugged along, I was fortunate to make it just five feet short of the gas pump. Talk about good luck!
I asked one of the service station guys to give me a hand to push the truck to the pump, but he looked at me like I was asking for world peace, and went on his way. I literally had to push the old truck myself.
When I finally made it to the gas pump, I noticed that the station was not that of the more popular gas companies, but some ‘Mom and Dad’ business where they must have bought their gasoline from some other gas station along the way. The prices were outrageous. I filled the old tank as far as it would allow me without spilling any of the precious liquid, checked the amount, and weak from pushing the truck, and startled at the cost, I staggered into the gas station to pay $150 for the tank of gasoline.
When I got to the checkout, I was greeted by an East Indian lady with a strong East Indian accent. “You find what you look for?” she asked. “Yes, all I need is the gas” I said. “You want points card?” She said, “Only ten dollar with $200 purchase in store”.
“I just want to pay for my gas, I don’t want a points card, and I certainly don’t want to buy $50 worth of anything in the store, I just want to pay and leave, thank you!” I replied.
“Points card gives you much savings” She said, in her strong accent. I wondered what an East Indian woman was doing in this part of the island in the first place, and began to get frustrated when she kept trying to sell me a points card.
“Points card get you ten dollar off dinner at Mamma Joe’s Seafood and Bar” she said. “I have a sea food allergy, and I really just want to get on the road, I am running late as it is” I replied, growing more impatient as time went on.
“Everyone gets point card. With $150 dollar purchase, you just pay twenty five dollar” she said, more forceful this time.
“I don’t want the damn points card. I want to pay for my purchase of gasoline and go home. I don’t want seafood from Mamma Joes, I don’t want anything in your dumb store. I just want to pay for my gas and get going, do you understand English?” I yelled.
“Calm down sir, give me your money and you can go” she said, sounding defeated.
When I went to offer her my credit card, she refused. “We only take credit cards from customers who own points cards” She said.
“Are you kidding me? You won’t take my money?” I questioned.
“Only cash from people without point card”
I went to the truck and got the $150 and threw the money on the counter.
“You sure you no wan point card?” she asked.
I just ignored her and walked out.
When I got to the truck, pissed and angry, I got in the truck, and attempted to start the vehicle and leave, but I forgot the radio on, and it must have killed the battery. As insane as this may sound, I went in to the service station and was greeted by the same East Indian woman.
“Do you have anyone that can give me a boost?” I asked.
“We do, sir, but we must charge you. Do you have a points card?”
“A points card, are you insane, of course I don’t have a points card. I want a boost, not a points card!” I yelled. This was like some episode of the damn Twilight Zone.
“How much is a boost?” I asked.
“You cannot get boost without points card.” She said.
“Alright Alright HOW MUCH IS THAT DAMN POINTS CARD?” I yelled.
“Points card is $50 without gas purchase. with points card and no gas purchase, boost is another $25 dollar” She said. “but with gas purchase of $100 dollar or more, boost is free”
“I just bought $150 worth of gas, you said the points card was $25 with gas purchase” I muttered.
“But sir, you bought gas, did not want point card, now you want point card, you pay $50 plus $25 for boost. Understand” She said.
I hauled out my wallet, and in a now desperate situation, I handed her my credit card. At this point I would have paid anything just to get back on the road and away from this cashier from HELL.
‘We not take credit cards from people without point card,” She said.
I began to see red. I ran to the truck to get my last $75, gave her the money. She buzzed some East Indian kid, he comes out with a battery charger, boosts my truck, it starts and before I get a chance to leave, he peeks his head into the cab.
“Wah, no tip, you cheap Newf” he says.
I leave before I kill him.