Tag Archives: cashier

Remember This? Gas Stations With Full Service at the Pump



As I look at this vintage photo, is it my laughter I hear, or just coughs from the gas fumes I smell on my hands from this morning’s self-serve fill up? What, five servicemen attending a car’s every whim, and for free? Are those ceiling fans to keep customers cool in summer? Was this gas station ever on Earth?

Flash forward to the new and improved present day.

I drive in to the gas station and park at pump station #2. Walking inside the station, I notice the cashier’s sweatpants don’t exactly coordinate with his faded gas station tee-shirt, although I can still see his strategically placed forearm tattoos and sparkling earrings.

Equally bright are the Lottery tickets passed from the cashier’s hands to customers in front of me. It’s good to know even though I’m about to self-serve my gas, there’s not only Lottery tickets available here, but a full array of fresh foods the cashier can serve me when he has time – churros, pizza slices, hot dogs, chili – all kept warm by a light bulb inside a glass box.

Finally to the front of the line, I jokingly ask the cashier if the station has my car’s fan belt in stock and whether there’s any special on hub caps currently. He laughs. Is that because he’s never heard of a fan belt?

Once outside, I select my grade of gasoline from three choices (for me, that’s “Regular,” “Regular” and “Regular”), and place my hand around the nozzle’s dirty trigger. Nothing comes out. Hitting the intercom button on the pump, I tell the cashier my problem, but only hear static. I walk inside, wait in line, and watch hot dogs rotate. The cashier eventually resets the pump, but  with great difficulty, mumbling something about “my manager’s not here right now.”

Dashing outside, I see an elderly woman trying to wash her windshield with the station’s cracked squeegee. In fact, my lane’s squeegee is sitting in a bucket of dirty water and the wash towels are out. However, the automated, canned recording coming from somewhere within the pump is in prime working order, the loud voice talking about points, rewards, and “checking them out on Facebook.”

Back to the photo with five happy gas station attendants and cooling fans. No wonder I don’t remember service like this from my childhood – the license plate reads 1938. Was service ever so complete? Things must have been so different then. What I remember were the gas stations that looked like the one below, complete with streamers, come-ons,  free deals and advertising everywhere.

Funny, I saw much of the same on this morning’s fill up – generally just a lot of noise and hullabaloo about nothing, really.

Some things never change.





Photos, inspiration provided by Debra Marrs (www.yourwritelife.com). Thanks, Debra.



Filed under Blog, Remember This?

The Greater Story

012The story you are about to read has changed.

I’m waiting in line at Walmart. I’m only here because Walmart sells a certain phone card I can’t find anywhere else in town. I’m seething. I can’t wait to get home and write about what I’m going through. That it took the cashier ten minutes to scan the phone card for a price – and failed! That I had to return to the back of the store to get another card. That when I returned to pay, the line was three deep in full Walmart shopping carts. That the place is so depressing. That everything here is plastic. That every product I see crammed in carts is either made of plastic or is packaged in plastic. That even though Walmart sells produce, no one wants fresh when they can buy it encased in styrofoam and shrinkwrap. That because so many here are overweight or obese, they waddle instead of walk. That I’m paying for these people’s medical costs through higher health care premiums that everyone has to share because people don’t take care of themselves, get overweight and fall apart by fifty-five. That, that, that ….

I’m hating the world. Stop. Am I taking care of myself? Turn the page.

Prone to high blood sugar count due to the late onset Type 1 diabetes I acquired five years ago, I feel weak and shaky. I sense I gave myself too much insulin earlier. Diabetes is no fun. During hours of low blood sugar count, my body works hard to keep up the fight, but often loses. The brain goes, too, and that’s the way I feel right now – edgy, irritable, negative – not to mention hungry. So hungry, I’m dying for one of those Hungry Man dinners the lady in front of me has. She’ll never know I took one. After all, she’s buying a 24-pack to receive her case discount price.

Finally at the cashier stand, I hand the same cashier my new phone card. I’m going to explode if he still can’t figure it out. I’m going to write something explosive like, “I hate Walmart! ‘Walmart. Always.’ What a crappy slogan. More like ‘Always the Wrong Place to Shop’.”

Wait. It’s the diabetes talking. Stop!

“Morons! Peons. Followers. Fools. Cretins!”

The cashier takes the card and slides it through his register’s scanner. With the flick of his wrist, his eyes brighten. “Ah – there we go. It’s fine. No problem. This card is fine. That’ll be $43.20.”

With the swift swipe of that card, my anger has lifted. A calm comes over me. No more battles. No more hostility.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, sir,” the cashier says.

Humbled, tail between legs, I breath in and out slowly, then catch myself saying, “It’s okay, sir, it wasn’t your fault the first card didn’t scan,” whereupon I peaceably leave the store.

I know I’ve just lived a greater life story of humility than I could ever have written a scathing piece about Walmart, human frailty and hate.



Filed under Blog, The Daily Thought

Paper or Plastic, Dude?

Quote of the day: Doubts are more cruel than the worst of truths. — Moliere

005I was at the grocery check out when the cashier asked me, “Paper or plastic, dude?” Not really paying attention, I thought he was asking if I wanted to pay with bills or a credit card.

“What?” I asked.

“Paper or plastic bag?”

“Oh – well, I dunno. It’s just hard. I mean, plastic bags, they hang around the environment for a hundred years. And paper bags? They cut big trees down to make them. I dunno – you decide.”

“Like … what?”

Flustered, it was obvious he’d never weighed the ecological consequence of choosing paper or plastic.

“Uh, you know, I can just carry my groceries to the car. I can carry them.  I didn’t need a bag in the first place.”

“No problem, man. And I think we sell cloth bags on aisle six … yeah, I think six.”

“Great. Great. I’ll get one next time. It’s good to see you care about the environment here.”

Then, while walking out of the store, groceries dropping everywhere from carrying too full a load, I wondered if migrant workers picked cotton to make those reusable cloth bags on aisle six.

Oh, for heaven’s sake, dude.

I don’t want to be like my cashier friend, but sometimes I don’t want to be me either.

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Filed under The Daily Thought