The Georgia Justice League

Alex sat in the hot car waiting patiently for me to fill up. The lever clicked and the pump asked if I wanted a receipt or not. I pushed yes and got nothing.

I walked angrily into the Exxon station, muttering to myself. This was the 4th time I had paid with a credit card at the pump at this place and had to go inside to get a receipt. Wasn’t the whole pay-at-the-pump movement created to make this process more convenient? Hell, these places have the word convenient in their descriptor.

The first time it happened, I figured they’d just run out of paper, and I suggested as much. The second time I thought maybe their machine was broken, so I nicely brought that up. But this was too much: One of those daily injustices that needed to be fought.

I noticed a ‘Lottery Winner Here’ sign as I opened the door and I found myself questioning the validity of the claim. I looked around the store and it seemed darker and dirtier than I remembered. I approached the counter, unenticed by the pork rinds and Slim-Jims and other grab-and-go stuff this receipt scam was probably trying to draw people inside to buy: “Just get ‘em in the door” right?

I recognized the guy behind the counter as the same guy that shrugged off my earlier suggestions to replace the paper or fix the machine. He was on the phone, speaking in what I now thought was a menacing middle-eastern accent. He didn’t hang up the phone but just looked at me like “yes?”

“Receipt, pump 4” I said. He started to print one out like this was nothing new. I spoke loudly to make my point and divert attention from his phone conversation: “I don’t know if you’re trying to save a few pennies on receipt paper, but you’re going to lose at least one customer if I have to walk in here again to get one!” I said. The man whispered something to the person on the phone with him and hung up. I continued with my diatribe: “I’ll go across the street if I have to,” I said, “I’ll bet they have plenty of receipt paper there.” The guy behind the counter handed me my receipt and nodded like he understood.

I went out to the car and climbed into the driver’s seat, proud of making my point and maybe making things right for future customers. “What took you so long?” asked Alex. “Just fixing things, one injustice at a time,” I joked. “Receipt paper didn’t come out again?” She inquired. “Fourth time,” I said. “So what’s that?” Alex said as she pointed to a little white piece of paper hanging from the front of the pump. I looked and saw it there, blowing in the wind like the figurative Justice League cape that had just been ignominiously stripped off my back.

I pulled up to the front of the store and got out again. “Pork rinds or Slim-Jims?” I asked my wife. “Huh?” “Never mind,” I called back with a smile.

I returned with a bag full of grab-and-go, and a half-dozen lottery tickets. “This might be your lucky day, they’ve already had a multi million-dollar winner here” I said to Alex as I got back in the car and quietly retired my imaginary cape for the day.

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6 thoughts on “The Georgia Justice League

  1. I love your sense of humor…well at least the guy behind the counter didn’t see the receipt and who knows y’all might just win the lottery, after all the place already boasts of a winner.

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  2. The guy is inadvertently doing you a favor, although he doesn’t intend to. In the past, I worked on point of sale systems, pay at the pump systems, and the gas dispensers in which they were located. Convenience stores run the gamut from well maintained to very shabby. Gasoline is a fungible product and, apart from additives, is the same from station to station. What varies, and the thing I look for when choosing a gas station, is how well the station is maintained. Gas dispensers have filters and these should be changed on a regular basis. If the management can’t keep the printers loaded with paper I have my doubts as to whether they are maintaining their dispensers and changing the filters regularly; which is something they usually hire out.

    One other thing I look for is the ports where the underground tanks are filled. If these have sunk below the level of the pavement there is a real possibility that the water and dirt are getting into the storage tanks. Related to this, I avoid buying gas while the tanks are being filled. If there are any contaminants in the fuel they are more likely to be stirred up while the storage tanks are being refilled.

    Happy motoring. 🙂

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