Gas Station Etiquette?

This concept is completely new to me. Last I checked, gas stations were a “first come, first serve” sorta dynamic. People go in, get their gas, bitch and moan about the price, then leave. I was keenly unaware that there exists a form of code of conduct for it. Let’s review.

Believe it or not, I was out and about for a good reason; a good deed even. A friend of mine, wrought with stomach flu, had requested that I pick up some Tylenol for them. As most would know, if it’s a friend or family member, I will usually assist if it’s in my power to do so.

I went out to my car, but realized the damn thing was on “E”. I forgot to fill the tank the night before. The Safeway gas station was on the way to Walgreen’s. Once I started driving, however, I slipped into autopilot mode and spaced the gas station entirely. So, I bee-lined to the Walgreen’s instead.

I picked up the Tylenol PM, a couple of Cadbury eggs and continued off to said friend’s place. She answered the door – definitely under the weather – wondered how much it was, but I told her not to worry about it. Even had to emphasize that I was sure about it. After all, this was supposed to be a good deed, right?

Upon leaving her complex, I noticed I’d also skipped a Chevron station on the way as well. I must’ve been really out of it to miss two gas stations. I shrugged, though, and figured I’d backtrack to the Safeway one since I had the requisite “Club Card”. (Ooooo, special.)

When I got there, the place was packed; as was expected for rush hour. A two-tier fuel truck also made it difficult for people to exit. The line was at least two to three cars long. I hate when this happens. You see, I have one of those nifty cars that has a gas tank…on the passenger side. Not the driver’s. This makes maneuvering in crowded gas stations exceptionally difficult.

Luck was on my side, though, for on the inner left side of the station there was an opening. Just shy of the fuel truck, no less. I bypassed the car line and stuck my nose in. That’s where things got hairy. One car decided to leave, passing through the station dock and out, thus allowing a very irate woman to come through.

“You do know there was a line, didn’t you!?” she yelled

I ignored her.

“Hey, I’m talking to you!” she repeated.

I rolled up my window.

Couldn’t quite make out the rest of her rant, but I’m pretty sure “dickhead” was among the expletives.

The pubescent attendant looked like he was coming ’round to my driver’s side window. I motioned him over to the passenger’s side since said woman was still in mid-rant. Before I could tell him to fill my tank…

“No, man, she was first,” he said.

He then left to service another car. The disgruntled woman looked begrudgingly satisfied with this conclusion, and sped off to another terminal. I waited a good five or so minutes for the attendant to return. A part of me was tempted to file a grievance with his supervisor. Self-reliance got the better of me, and I figured the best idea would be to leave. Unfortunately, an SUV was blocking my egress.

Snot-nosed gas boy returned to my car – with ‘tude, of course – and finally took my card. Once the tank was full, and he took his sweet time to get back to me, I proceeded to back out. I had to be careful because an ass-load of fuel truck still blocked the left side. The SUV woman took this as sign to move up while I was trying to maneuver. Edging out of a gas station with two tons of fuel behind you, an SUV in front of you, pump to the right of you, and a snack shack to the left of you means needing to pull forward!

I motioned to her with my hands in the air, “What’re you doing?!”

She continued to pull forward, narrowly missing my front bumper.

I motioned again!

She got out of her car, a look of vehemence on her face. At that point, I did what any red-blooded coward would do in the face of PMS. I did as best a back-up as I could, then hauled arse outta there. It seemed everyone was out for my head.

I’ll admit that pulling into the one free pump when no one could access it in line was a wee bit discourteous, but – truth be told – I was unaware that this was out of the norm. Last I checked, gas stations – like downtown parking – were Social Darwinism personified. Rule o’ thumb being, he/she who gets the spot…rules. End of exercise.

Apparently, I missed a memorandum or something.

So, I throw it out to you folks…was I a dick?

Honest answers appreciated.

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 Musings

8 Comments to Gas Station Etiquette?

  1. I don’t think you did anything wrong. People never understand that cars are solid and cannot travel through people or other vehicles. A cop yelled at me when I was trying to turn right into a festival and didn’t because there was a family with four toddlers dawdling along…ugh.

    On a related note, I. HATE. Gas stations! I never, ever feel like I pulled up to the right place. When possible I wait until 10 pm to fill up my car. Mostly it’s gas stations on the corners that give me grief. If there’s one designated way in and one designated way out, there’s no problem. Maybe I’m just a complete idiot, which is always a possibility.

  2. Ashley on March 20th, 2009
  3. You’re definitely not a complete idiot. You can spell. Applause abound for that!

    I hate gas stations as well. I wish all cars came with a catheter or something.

  4. Geoff on March 20th, 2009
  5. Our primate, limbic brains under stress tend to be a bit mad and reactive… sort of like those of the baboons you see tearing at each other on the Discovery Channel. No, seriously, I read this in TIME magazine.

    So, while not nice, you pulled a Darwinian move when faced with a desperate situation (really now, you were about to run out of gas). Disgruntled woman needs to take of her primate brain by taking a midol.

    People at gas stations seem to be stressed out, anyway. And/or, not the brightest. Once, I paid for my gas and the attendant said I was good to go. Ooookay then, I turned on my car and started to drive away. BUT – the attendant forgot to remove the hose from my tank. So, this woman started screaming at ME: “OHMIGAWD, hey! HEY!”

    Needless to say, it was irritating.

  6. Sarah on August 23rd, 2010
  7. People go crazy at the gas station I think maybe sometimes the feel like they own the world. I know with our pest control company every time I’m at the pump. It’s a new problem everywhere I go. People need to just relax!

  8. Pest Control In Atlanta Georgia on April 26th, 2011
  9. I find gas stations to be a royal pain in the ass, mainly because my tank is on the passenger side. I can either pull all the way through and piss off the people waiting in line on the other side, or I can not pull all the way through and block some access to the other pump. At this point, I only get gas at 11 PM-Midnight.

  10. Derek Junkins on July 31st, 2012
  11. Yes you’re a huge dick. You saw a line and decided to cut people to get your gas. You are not more important than them. The attendant also did the right thing. I work at a gas station pumping gas and my boss would have agreed with me 100%. And to ignore the lady that was yelling at you was such a weak move. You were to scared to hear what she had to say. You are in the wron here sir

  12. Josh on December 11th, 2012
  13. This happened a long time ago, and I have since learned I was very much in the “wron”.

  14. Geoffrey F. Norman on December 12th, 2012
  15. Thanks for sharing this article,its been a very interesting read. I have been interested in thinking about gas station Puyallup WA and the etiquette that people my not realize. I really was thinking about it and I bet there are rules that people have no clue about.

  16. jess on January 28th, 2013

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