I went today to my favorite gas station. And by favorite, I mean “Conveniently located across the street from where I work.” The place is run by unkempt men of the Middle Eastern persuasion, who to our eyes as uneducated Southerners appear highly suspicious and are most likely on the TSA No FLy list.
I have seen some fascinating things happen there. The place is a drive thru gas station. You pump your gas and then the four aisles funnel all together into one common exit that is the drive through portion of the store. Everything is outside. There is a small nomadic appearing inside place, but it is not really separated from the outside world by a door. We peon customers are not allowed to go in there. You have to slow down in the mouth of the outdoor shop, where all the candies and drinks and cigarettes are racked on outside shelves, and persuade the nice scary men that you have, in fact, paid for your gas. If not, they try to charge you again. They REALLY want to you to buy drinks and cigarettes. Even if you don’t smoke.
The place has been busted several times for selling alcohol to minors. Nothing beats the convenience of a drive through booze joint, I always say. And who needs that pesky ID? I have also seen all kinds of drug deals go down in that place. One car (juiced up Honda Civic covered in Bondo with aftermarket dual exhausts) will pull up and wait. A few moments later another conveyance directly out of the “Too Slow Too Stupid” series of movies will appear. One of the persons in car two will hop out and hop into car one. Clouds ensue. Then the car two punk hops back in car two, the deal is done, and they leave. There are also a lot of people putting in pocket change worth of gas. I see numbers on the pumps like “0.53″ for dollar amount.
The owners of the gas station recently built a Popeye’s franchise, and they arranged the parking lot so that when you pull out of the exit of the gas station, you are in the drive through entrance for Popeye’s. How convenient is that? Hard to envision, I know, but perfectly true. They have all but put up tire puncturing strips to keep you from exiting any other way.
Most recently, today, they had a truck pulled up delivering more cigarettes and energy drinks. (Condoms too, no doubt, you can never have enough drive throughs that feature condoms). The truck was pulled up to the only exit from the gas station so, guess what? You had to put the car in reverse and drive backward around all the other patrons to exit. And if you were actually handing them a credit card at the exit, you then had to back out of there. Really, I’ve never seen a more interesting system.
They are also untrusting bastards (and who can blame them, really, given their clientele?) and cut their pumps off at fifty dollars whether you want more gas or not. I hate gas stations that do that. I drive a fine minivan, I’ll have you know, and this gas tank doesn’t mess around with any paltry fifty dollars to fill it up. We’re talking SERIOUS MONEY to get ‘er up to the top.
I also noticed today that the pumps have not been certified and inspected since 2011. I’ve never been to a gas station that had literally not seen the light of regulatory day in well over a year. I would like to call the inspectors on them, but I’m afraid the scary gas station denizens would lynch me. At any rate, there is never a dull moment over there, and I am just waiting to become the victim of a drive by (through?) shooting. I can’t stop going there though, because it is so damned interesting. And I haven’t seen the hookers yet.