People in Michigan are prone to complain about two things—the weather and gas prices, but for good reason. Our weather can be ridiculous, and as of last week we had the third highest gas prices in the country. So when it’s 95 degrees or we have 100 inches of snow and gas is $4.10/gallon, it’s best to stick to safe topics like religion or politics.
I really don’t remember a time when we could pull up to a pump and have a smiling face come out to fill ‘er up. Today I pull up to one of the pumps—careful not to pull up too far, as to prevent someone from using the one in front of me—and if someone did approach my car, smiling or not, I would lock the doors and then either prepare my awesome ninja skills or start the car and drive away.
Because it’s all pre-pay now, I usually opt for the pay at the pump option. At this point, the cashier’s voice comes over the intercom like some sort of omniscient gasoline god and greets me and I’m left wondering what I should do. Do I say “hi” back, not knowing if they can hear me but well aware that I just shouted, “I’m fine! Thanks for asking!” out to a semi-vacant parking lot?
Forget the meaning of life. These are the questions that need to be asked.
But there are times my card can’t be read for whatever reason and I have to go in the store and manually pay for the gas like it’s 2010. The cashier that greeted me so warmly before will ask me what pump I’m at and then immediately express complete annoyance at the fact that I’m not prepared and have no idea, opting instead to point to my car at the pump.
Knowing I need him more than he needs me, I smile warmly and silently regret my decision not to carry on a whole conversation at the pump via intercom just moments before.
The attendant then (deeply sighs and) activates the pump, at which point I begin the walk of shame back to my Blazer and proceed with the process at hand, making a mental note of what pump I’m at and carrying on a compensatory conversation with the attendant via an intercom that I’m 99 percent certain is no longer on.
Better safe than sorry, and talking to yourself at the pump will deter any weirdos from approaching your car.
But sometimes actually going into the store and pre-paying for gas is quite helpful, as it will stop the pump at an exact amount and I can attempt to clean my windshield during the pumping process. If forced to pump on my own, I’m pretty sure I spend an extra $10 just trying to get the pump to end on an even amount.
Plus, one day last week the cashier jokingly carded me when I was forced to go inside to buy gas. He was about 112 years old with five teeth, but we’re going steady now—until he brings up the weather.
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