Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gas Pump Ineptitude

Oregon has a law prohibiting motorists from pumping their own gas at gas stations.  One of the multitude of original reasons was to help employ teenagers, although now most gas station attendants are adults.

Because of that law there is a stereotype that Oregonians are inept at pumping their own gas.  Saturday I fulfilled that stereotype in an humorously exemplary manner.

Last weekend my family visited relatives in Auburn, Washinton.  After the five hour drive from our home we thought it prudent to refill the tank.  I forgot how much I had been spoiled by Costco gas pumps and ran into trouble.  (The gas station at which I most often pump my own gas is at the Costco near my grandmother's home.)

First, I mistyped my zip code when using my credit card.  I am used a gas pump that makes a beep with each key press and has a decently readable display.  This pump was silent and nearly illegible from age and glare.  Pressing "Enter" after only typing four digits caused an error.  I am forced to go to the building and have an employee clear the pump so I can try again.

For my second attempt I slow down and double check my keypad use.  But when I remove the nozzle I discover the hose does not reach.  I am used to the super-long hoses at Costco gas stations, and parked with my car's gas cap facing away from the pump.  I turn the car around, but the gas pump has given up on waiting for me.  Again I go into the building and ask the employee to clear the pump.

On my third try the pump will not accept my credit card.  It apparently has a "two strikes, you're out" policy.  Again I go into the building.  I cannot use the credit card inside without specifying a dollar amount.  I pay with cash, and finally pump my gas.  Of course, getting my change means I have to enter the building a fourth time.

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