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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12 Responses to The Quest for Air

  1. Susan's Husband says:

    Hmmm. This is the first I’ve heard of this. I think Susan is hoarding good stories for her blog 🙂

  2. Susan – This story scares me. People like that are too close to the edge.

  3. oddmix says:

    Shaun, She probably didn’t tell you so you wouldn’t go frighten the life out of the jackass at the first station.

    Out of curiosity, was the clerk from a different culture? Or was he a home grown moron?

    For future reference, there is usually a name and number for the person who owns or runs the gas station on the front window.

  4. Jay says:

    I remmeber when air was free at most stations. In fact, the idea of paying to air up my tires really pisses me off every time I have to do it.

    I think you showed great restraint with that gas station moron. I would have let him have it.

  5. I reward good service as often as possible, but once I received bad service I just never go back. There are plenty of people who want my money. Excellent restraint on your part.

  6. Susan says:

    Shaun…i between the new clothes fashion show and you and the cat falling asleep in the chair (I forgot to add that in the bylaws!) I didn’t have a chance!

    Saz…I probably should have been scared, I was so busy wondering what was wrong with him that it never occurred to me.

    OM…He was from elsewhere. Somewhere where women really don’t matter and shouldn’t question the men.

    Jay and Crazy…I’m not sure what else I could have done, he was so irrational…

  7. Annie says:

    You know, if we could trust that people would act rationally, we could stick around to argue our points with clerks. But we can’t trust that. In fact, this person began quite quickly to demonstrate irrationality. I think you were wise to move on down the raod – but I’also hope you’ll go back to the first station, find the name of the manager and share your story with him/her. You might prevent a catastrophe from happening at the hands of that employoee . . .

    It was a great blog post!

  8. Becca says:

    I have to say you took the high high high high high high high high high high high high high high road on this one.

    But, should you decide to, I volunteer to stand around the perimeter of the gas station with signs letting customers know that non-psychotic quality kind service is available down the street.

  9. lynanne says:

    Oh how I hope I NEVER end up at that gas station. How insane!

    I would go back another time and see if there is a different clerk that you could request the managers name from. Not that it would help…maybe its best to just vent your frustrations on your blog. 🙂

    Shaun: wives always save their best material for their blog. It’s on page 1204 of the 2006.7 revision of your marital contract. 🙂 My husband joked he thought he’d have to find out the results of my last pregnancy test on my blog. (the funny part was instead of calling, he sat at work all day just waiting to see what it would be)

  10. Chelle P. says:

    I’m sure the new station will be happy to have your business! 🙂

  11. Claire says:

    OK to start with…you have a tyre light in your cars! Geez you guys get it all!! I have to walk around my car once a week checking the tread and air pressure to make sure it’s all legal! Wanna swap?!

    As for that bloke, I’m not sure how you restrained yourself from throwing the mints at him!

  12. wwooww, you have a lot of visits. Thanx for your comment. I will come continously.

    Greetings from Perú

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