Working as a clerk
at a convenience store
on the Graveyard Shift
(10 PM to 6 AM), I get to see a lot of different people. I see pleasant people, unresponsive people, incoherent people, and hostile people. But most of all, I see a lot of people at their worst. Sometimes it's not really their fault - their mind is on what they're going to do when they get where they're going, or their current social crisis
, or the load of stress
they have to deal with at work, or any of a thousand other things. There's nothing wrong with that, in and of itself. But letting your problems affect how you deal with others is
something you can control, if you take the effort.
I do my best to ignore the rudeness and lack of consideration, but when you get the same thing every night, it gets kind of hard to ignore after a while.
Here are some of the things I deal with constantly (On a nightly basis, each and every one):
- People who can't be bothered to read and/or assume they already know how to do it. There are instructions on how to operate the gas pumps on the front of each and every pump, but people somehow assume that the problem is with the pump, not themselves, when they can't get it to work. This is the functional equivalent of a PEBKAC error.
- People who assume that we lock the doors. This crosses over on the "can't be bothered to read" one, as there is a sign in the window above the night slot, right at eye level, that says to come inside to pay, yet they'll stand by the slot and bang on the window. Also in this category are people who ask for the restroom keys, when the restroom is kept unlocked.
- People who want to buy cigarettes or alcohol, and get pissy about being asked for their ID. It's not that you can't buy the restricted items without ID... I just can't sell to you. Some people are unable to grasp the distinction. It's a restriction on me, not you. I'm the one who would get nailed with a penalty.
- People who leave the parking lot at mach 2. Our driveway isn't a drag strip starting line, and I don't want to see any accidents in the street in front of our store. Endanger yourself somewhere that you won't take anyone else with you, please.
- People who think we're a full-function supermarket, parts store, and liquor store all rolled into one. No, we don't have tampons (By sheer coincidence, someone came in and asked for tampons as I was writing this!) Or Bran Crunchies. Or an alternator for a 1986 Dodge. Or Glenlivet. What you see on our shelves is all we have... and brother, it ain't much.
- People who assume that since I work in a gas station, that must make me a mechanic. Sorry, I can't check your oil, or fill your tires, or tell you what's wrong with your car. I can't tell you what oil you should put in your car. I know what goes in my car, but not necessarily what's right for your car. I'm not even allowed to go outside the store once the sun sets.
- And the topper: People who assume that since I work in a gas station, that I must be an ignorant idiot. This happens to be one of my instant piss-off buttons. Odds are, I know the laws and regulations that govern my job far better than you do. I make a point of knowing them. I work this job because applying for it is a one-hour matter; I don't have to wait for a call-back next week, or next month. Plus, on the Graveyard shift, I have ample time to read, or write, or study, or even play video games if it suits me (Or node!). The job is usually extremely low-stress, which is more important to me than the salary.
And here are some other things I see occasionally:
- People who drive in drunk. By god, this is one of the dumbest things I see. Legally, I'm not even allowed to sell gasoline to someone who's drunk, but arguing with a drunk about it is a nightmare. Arguing with a drunk about anything is a nightmare.
- People who drive off with the gas nozzle still inside their car. What the hell is your mind on? I mean, seriously! And more important, what goes through your head when you get where you're going, and find our gas nozzle (They're made to break away, for just such an occurrence) sticking out of your tank? I want to know!
- People who dash in at the last minute, looking to buy beer. Sorry, too bad. I don't care if your watch says it's 1:55, the coolers are locked. If you'd used a little forethought, you wouldn't be in this situation. (It's even funnier at the station I work at currently: We don't carry any alcohol at all, and the nearest place that is still open after midnight that does is over a mile away.)
- People who think I have an obligation to break their $100 bill. Sorry, this is a small store, and we keep cash levels very low at night. I don't have it, and no amount of shouting, screaming, pleading, or whining is going to change that fact. Adding, "But I'm going to fill up," doesn't change matters.
- Rice boys who think our station makes a great meeting place before they go drag racing on the freeway. I don't care that you've spent $5000 souping up your dinky RX-7 or Civic. You're blocking up the island, and legitimate customers can't get to the pumps. Plus, you're scaring away some people who are afraid you're some kind of street gang. Also, doesn't the fact that three of your friends are dead from this same sort of stupidity (Taking out a few innocent bystanders in the process, as well) enter your thinking at all?
If you see yourself in any of these examples, please take a look at yourself before you do it again. A little forethought
and consideration is all it takes.