Jul 5, 2015

Breaking Your 100$ at a Gas Station

I had to come out of retirement for this one.

It happens like this.  I wake up early for my 12 hour double shift at the Conoco. 

I get to the shop around 8:30am (half an hour early, extending my day by a bit more, but hey, it's worth it to get a jump on the relentless consumers).  I walk up to the door while running through a list of things I have to do (do the morning count, count cigarettes, login and make sure all the work orders are closed, and about 10 other things, check the gas levels etc, etc..)  but I'm side tracked by the two scowling customers who are waiting for me.

The guy demands a tire repair and I tell him it's Sunday, and no shop work is done on Sunday (been this way for years).  He storms off in a cloud of curse words and the other woman sees his indignation and immediately mimics it, as people do.  The truth of the matter is that I could bend the rules a bit, and fix his tire for him.  This pays 1.50$ to me and takes about 20 minutes sometimes.  Had he not treated me like a peasant, his tire would probably be fixed very quickly, but alas, fuck him and his wounded beamer.  

I haven't even put money in the drawer.  I haven't even unlocked the door actually, or turned of the alarm.  She thrusts a 100$ at me and says "Ten on pump six."

I work in Denver, a few blocks away from where someone was shot dead just three nights ago.  I personally know a guy who works up at the 7-11 on Colfax, just a few blocks away, who was stabbed repeatedly for his drawer.  He'll show you the scars if you ask.  

This is kinda the reason gas stations, which have one of the highest robbery rates of any business in the U.S, aren't very keen on keeping tons of cash in the drawer.  

I Googled this issue and found forum after forum where the consumer is contesting the legality of not taking their $100 bill.  

These are the same people who argue to the death about letting business owners run their business how they want, and who howl for less regulation of business.  But on this point, they seem to think it's their call (for whatever reason that might be).  

I've never used a hundred dollar bill in a gas station myself.  I've always broken hundreds at super markets, which have almost zero risk of robbery when compared to gas stations, or when I go to the bank I ask for varied denominations of cash.  But most the time, almost always actually, I just use my debit card because it's the most efficient way to buy things.  

One of these indignant forums was the "AR-15 lovers of America" (or some such absurdity).  They all felt defiled by gas station cashiers who would not take their "goddamn legal tender."  Obviously, their solution is for the attendants, who make barely enough to eat and live, to buy a powerful firearm that would get them immediately fired, and to fend off criminals with it, while keeping a few hundred dollars in the till, as to entice said thieves and murderers for the convenience of a small percentage of the world who can't be bothered to go to a bank.

Should I even mention counterfeiting?  That I've personally found at least eight fraudulent hundreds over the years handed off?  And yet I get the same damn "dad joke" everytime I do my job and check the bill.  A cynical "I just printed that today" and a smug, shit-eating smirk.

Save your jokes buddy.  I gotta hand you ten fives now, and since it's Sunday, our manager is off, the banks are closed, and I just have to HOPE the next few customers have the common decency not to assrape my drawer a minute after I open the damn thing.  And these aren't poor people who only have a hundred to their name.  These are people with at least four or more debit/credit cards that I can see.  Laziness is not the reason we don't keep a lot of money in the drawer, but it's definitely the reason you wont find an atm.

The greatest irony of this, is many people don't carry a lot of cash for the same reason a Gas Station does:  they don't want to get robbed.  Guess what?  Neither do we, and we have a 100 times more likely chance of getting a gun pointed at us than you do.

Now, these big gas companies could give two shits about a robbery, or even a death of some cog.  What they do care about is lawsuits, and people who get shot because they weren't taught to make safe drops are a prime source of them.

Before you unleash that special brand of American hatred of the minimum wager, understand that I have a second job as well (and it pays double the minimum wage so spare me the "you dun lik it boy get anudder job" reaganite speach).  I work about 85 hours most weeks, yet still somehow find time to stop off at a supermarket or bank.  I get paid in a crisp hundred dollar bill most the time from the other job.  I use that to pay rent or I go to a bank and drop it in my account so I can just use my card (because this is not 1915).  Half the time I ask, the person eventually uses a card or actually breaks out a smaller bill.

However frustrated you are, believe me, the cashier is wayyyyy more frustrated than you.  They have bosses who breath down their neck and demand answers if more than 50$ bucks is in the drawer.  

(Other obnoxious things you do:  Bring your card in when there are card readers on every damn pump.  Tell me "you're a regular" and expect free shit.  Asking to borrow tools when the station is liable for any damage you do to your car, because chances are if you don't keep a socket set in your trunk you probably aren't much of a mechanic to begin with (also men generally don't lend out tools.  Especially mechanics.  Tools are expensive and people have a habbit of "forgetting" to return them).

And you millions of people who still cant pump gas...here's a tip, lift the damn cradle, or lower it.  Try a few things before you throw an adult temper tantrum and claim "YOUR PUMP DON'T WORK!"  Guess what, it's not my pump, and actually, it works FINE.  You just can't operate it and don't want to admit to that.  It would be like me going into a space shuttle, pressing a random button and then telling the scientists "You space ship don't work!"  And yes, the reason it sends you inside after you inexplicably enter the wrong zip code in is a security measure against identity theft.  So please take it down to at least defcon 4 when that happens.

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