The Quest for Air

Today as we were running around getting the last of our back to school supplies (I hope) I noticed that my tire light was on.  I didn’t actually look at the tire until after I had dropped Mimi off for martial arts.  All of my tires were really low, but especially the rear passenger tire.  So, KT and I headed off to the gas station across the street.  

I decided this would be a perfect learning opportunity to teach my child some basic car care.  (OK, so I should have taught her to be checking tires regularly, but we won’t get into that right now).  We took all the little caps off of each tire in preparation to fill them with air.  I then showed my daughter how to use the little gas pressure gauge that comes attached to the air hose (yes, I realize you aren’t supposed to use those ones, but that’s all I had!)  and how we would be putting the air in.  KT started “filling” the tire but was actually letting air out unknowingly.  But it was fine if the tire was a little lower, as we were about to fill that puppy up. 

So I walked over to drop the coins in the slot and there was no response from the machine. I wiggled it a bit before it occurred to me that maybe they had to do something from inside.   I asked the man inside at the cash register about the air machine and was told abruptly that it was not working.  When I didn’t immediately leave, he started explaining that he had called the company last week and he still hadn’t heard from them.  Then he repeated that it wasn’t working just as the sign said.  I responded that there was no sign out there.  Then he just shrugged and said that some bad person must have taken it away.   When I asked him if I could get a refund, he just shook his head rapidly and told me it wasn’t his problem.  Then he told me that there as a phone number on the machine I could go call. 

I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with such blatant rudeness. (And this was a grown man, not some defiant teenager)  So I asked him for contact information of the store manager.  That’s when he got really nasty.  He started raising his voice and angrily told me that I was being unreasonable.  After a moment of this, I leaned slightly over the chest high counter in an effort to get his attention. In the same calm voice that I use with my youngest child when she is out of control, I basically asked him what he was talking about, as all I had asked for was a card or a name and number. He just sputtered and angrily went off again. In disgust, I shoved myself away from the counter, accidentally knocking a box of mints to the floor.  Before I could even apologize, the clerk went nuts.  He started calling me a “stupid, stupid woman” and ran outside ahead of me to get my license plate number so that he could call the police! 

Flabbergasted, I simply climbed back into my lame car and hobbled half a block to the next gas station.  I started to pull in until I saw the bright yellow sign that told me their air was out of service (Maybe that was the stolen sign?).  We limped down the road just a bit more to the next station and found that they provided air free to their customers.  So, I chatted pleasantly with the young man in the store, put forty dollars in the tank and filled up my tires for free. 
Guess which gas station is my new favorite?

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