May 21, 2006

A lways M orons / P unk M anagers

I had to go to Phoenix, AZ this weekend for an event. I drove up with two others guys Saturday morning and drove home Sunday afternoon. On the way home we stopped at an AM/PM gas station along the I-10 freeway to buy gas, The station had a device on the pump that allows you to put cash in to prepay for the gas. My friend inserted $30 bucks and I started the pump. At $20 it stopped. We tried everything we knew how to do the get it to give us the other $10 worth of gas. We cussed, pounded and randomly pushed buttons. I flipped the lever on the pump up and down to no avail. Finally, one of the other guys went into the store portion of the facility to complain. He didn't come out so I went in. He was arguing with the two clerks. I understand that these convenience store gas stations are targets for scam artists an thieves of all sorts and that they have to be very cautious to prevent fraud and theft, but my friend and I are nearly senior citizens for Pete's sake. Use a little sense here. The two clerks agreed that the machine had eaten our $10. There was a credit showing up in the computer for our pump for $10. The problem they said, was that their manager, Attila the Dumb, had expressly forbidden them from correcting these type of errors. They could neither give us our ten-spot, nor could they turn on the pump to give us the gas. I pointed out to the female clerk that she turned on the pumps for several people who came in to prepay while we were arguing. The young woman said that there was outside money, meaning cash inserted into the gizmo on the pump and inside money, cash handed to her. She could not fix outside money. The young guy just kept repeating that he could lose his job if he overrode the computer to fixed problem. They had been instructed, they said, to tell people caught in this bind to come back Monday through Friday when Attila was in. My friend told them to call the manager or call the police because we weren't leaving. Finally, they did call the manager. Attila told the female clerk to tell us to come back. My friend took the phone and explained that we could not come back because we were passing through. The manager said there was nothing she could do except to take our names and check it out tomorrow. Stalemate. Out of the blue the male clerk asked if we had used a debit card. He then said that our transaction, according to the computer, was $20 dollars cash and $10 on a debit card. I repeated that we had used cash. "Aha", he said, "so then it is someone else's $10, from earlier." I suggested that if the $10 credit was from earlier, his pumps must routinely cheat the customers and that we should call the police. "Besides", I said, "even if we did use a debit card for the last $10 bucks we are still out our money." He replied, and I am not making this up, "But you said you used cash, so it is not your money." Apparently he thinks we somehow knew that someone earlier had lost $10 to the machine and had gotten off the freeway to fraudulently claim it. And further down the rabbit hole we fell. While this went on the female clerk huddled in the office area taking furtively to the manager on the phone. I imagined that Attila was telling her to stall us until the Swat Team arrived. At one point she glanced toward us and I could read her lips saying, "They aren't leaving." After a long time she hung up, came out of the office area, punched some buttons on the register and said, "The pump is on." We got our gas and left. I don't blame the clerks for this situation, but I do blame the AM/PM company and their punk manager. I offer the following; 1. Most "managers" of these chain type establishments are bullies and low-brow tyrants, who lord over minimum wage workers, give them no flexibility for customer service and threaten to fire them at the drop of a hat. 2. The next time I use Am/PM will be never and I encourage you to do the same. Tag:

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