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The Things I Do For a Dollar

Posted by lifestyle On November - 6 - 2007

Ten Reasons to Work at a Small Independent Suburban Gas Station

By Rachel Kahn

10. You are guaranteed to be no more than 50 feet away from a police or fire station. That is because most suburbanite parents are convinced that gas stations are sites of criminal activity, and you should be thankful they do, because this keeps YOU safe from getting held up by the kids of those paranoid parents.

9. If you have the good fortune to work alone, you will never get behind in your reading again. I personally completed eight novels over the course of a month and a half, because who the hell buys gas at six in the morning on a Sunday?

8. Once they finally install that Dunkin’ Donuts/Coffee Time/Tim Hortons next door, you’ll never sleep through an opening shift again. If you’re really persistent, the girls will even walk your order across the parking lot, so you can get hot coffee even when you’re not on break. Oh, the convenience!

7. Sometimes the power goes out and you have to eat all the ice cream treats in the freezer. Especially if the power goes out for over four hours. At that point it’s your DUTY to eat those ice cream treats.

6. Not one of your customers will complain about the price of gas, because your boss’s pricing strategy is “$0.002 below the Esso up the street” and you have company binoculars to keep that price consistent.

5. Quicker than you can imagine, you’ll build serious relationships with all the local tow-truck drivers. They’re the first to figure out that you’re $0.002 cheaper than the Esso, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll hit on you constantly. Of course, if you get tired of hearing about the “horsepower” of their “engines,” you can always call on Bubba. He runs the garage and repair shop behind the gas station, and he’s totally got your back.

4. You can develop an insider’s knowledge of lottery and cigarette addicts’ habits. This will serve you well in conversation with the tow-truck drivers, as well as at any other point in your life where you need a level of camaraderie with people who consider themselves pretty “bad-ass.” You will also develop the ability to locate a pack of (insert any cigarette brand here) with your eyes closed. That might not serve you so well unless you take up smoking, though, which is a bad habit to have while working at a gas station.

3. You get to play a mental game of bingo with hilarious car/driver pairings. Some of my favourites were the California Drug Lord, a man in his mid-60s, wearing sunglasses, expensive shoes and a Hawaiian shirt, and driving a pristine black 1980s Buick; the Reformed Biker, an overweight, bearded, balding man who has given up Harleys for hand-restored Austin Minis, and wears a t-shirt proclaiming his love thereof beneath his leather jacket; and finally, the Raging Granny, a woman far too old to drive, who frequents your gas station because it’s the only place in her neighbourhood where she can get diesel fuel for her 1973 olive green Mercedes, which she refers to as Ethel. You also get to take bets from Bubba and the coffee girls on how often Ethel “brushes” the stop sign on the way into the station.

2. The constant risk of getting blown up is a subtle, almost Tantric adrenaline rush. After the intense training lectures about things-that-might-make-you-explode, you become aggressively paranoid. Finally some woman pulls out a cellphone — while pumping gas — on the hottest day of the summer — and you just flip out on the poor dear. After she leaves in tears, you feel vaguely proud.

1. When the entire Eastern Seaboard loses power on the hottest day of the summer, you’re the first to see signs of panic. Thankfully, you do get to eat a lot of ice cream.

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