Thursday, October 21, 2010

In Which I Take a Drive

Had to go into town yesterday to run a few errands, and after a few miles I notice that my darling teenage ‘doesn’t have a job but likes to drive’ daughter had left the car on empty. Not almost empty but EMPTY. I happen to be driving thru Farmersville (yes, that’s a real town) when I discover the problem so at least I’m close to civilization. Driving past the Shell station I opt to buy from the ‘10cents a gallon cheaper’ mini-mart. Tho I’m only getting $10 worth, I want that 30 cents. I’m just that cheap.

I pull in, turn off the car, get out, unscrew the gas cap and set it on the trunk.....where it promptly rolls off onto the ground and under the car...sigh. I stick the nozzle into the tank (I’ll get the cap later) and start the process of paying with my debit card. Sliding in and ‘quickly’ removing my card, the screen lights up with an ‘Enter your zip code’ command…and that’s it. The prompt appears on an otherwise blank screen. Hmmm. While trying to figure out the situation...beep, ‘Transaction canceled.’ Apparently I have exceeded my time limit for entering said code. It’s obviously some kind of intelligence test...and I will not fail. Once again, in and out with the card. Once again ‘Enter your zip code.’ Once again a blank screen. But at least this time I consider the 4 buttons on either side of the screen...also blank. Maybe this is like a phone where there are standard numbers assigned to each button and I could just guess which one of the eight buttons would represent the number NINE. Beep.....transaction canceled. Ugh.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” I will need to enter the store. Minor inconvenience. Not a big deal...so far.

Handing my card to the clerk I smile and cheerfully say, “Your pump doesn’t work,”...no response. She asks if the card is debit or credit to which I respond, “Either, whatever is cheaper.” She rings up $10 worth of gas and hands me my receipt with a total of $10.49. “There’s a fee?” Yes, there’s a fee. Double ugh. I walk out the door mumbling something to the effect that I would NOT be frequenting their establishment in the near future. Ok, I believe my exact words were, “I’m not coming back to this joint.”

I approach my car ruminating on the 49cents I just spent in order to save 30 and I notice a hand written sign on the pump:

Credit and cash same price, We no longer charge a fee for credit card use.

Hmmm...heavy sigh. Back into the store. “Your sign says there is no extra charge for credit cards,” I say, not so cheerfully. “Yes, but yours was debit.” Wait for it...wait for it...WHAT?

When I repeat my statement about “whatever was cheaper,” …she sort of frowns and says, “Well, I can give you 50 cents.” Really? You CAN. I don’t even respond; I just put my hand out.

I’m still not sure if this is a calculated effort on the part of the market to make a few bucks from their distracted customers or if this gal was just a...ahem...moron, but I will definitely NOT be going back...geez.

At least I got my 50 cents back and felt good about standing up for myself. I felt good until I got to the grocery store and found that in all the commotion I had forgotten to retrieve my gas cap from under the car. Yup, that worked out well.