Sunday, January 11, 2009


Since I was down to about a quarter tank the other evening, I decided to head to the corner ARCO station in the neighborhood instead of heading straight home. I do sometimes avoid ARCO because they don't accept credit cards (they do take debit cards but they charge you a .45 cent fee for using one) and I sometimes prefer to use my American Express card to buy gas; it makes it easier to fill the tank all the way because you don't have to guess how much it will take. When you use cash you never can be quite sure. Of course, I could use my dad's method, which is to go inside and give the attendant a large bill and then go back for the change after pumping. Dad always goes inside, which is what you normally have to do at most stations; ARCO makes it easier with their cash machines, you just insert the cash at the terminal and then go to your pump (you still have to go inside to get your change). So, when I want to use cash I usually go to ARCO.

I pulled in at pump #5, got out my wallet and inserted a ten dollar bill. I noticed a recently made notice taped near all the pumps. It said to please use exact change as they were all out of fives and ones. Oh, well, that's okay, I knew it would take at least ten. When I attempted to pump some 87, nothing happened. I tried again, still nothing. Becoming increasingly frustrated I was about to go inside when a guy near me said "They're all out of 87, all they have left is 91". I didn't want to pay for premium, so I went inside to get my money back. A long line awaited me as a young, stupid looking girl (the only employee who seemed to be in the place) struggled with two cash registers trying to get change for the person at the front of the line. Finally a second, very obese older woman attendant showed up from somewhere in the back of the AM/PM. I soon made it to the front of the line and informed her of my pump 5 disappointment. "Yeah," she said in a very lacksidaisy way, "we only have 91" and gave me my ten.

Now, in a time of no apparent gasoline shortages, how did they run out of everything but premium and at the same time run out of change in the form of small bills? Who is the manager and what the hell are they doing? Just asking. All the other gas stations nearby seemed to have no problems at all, including the one I eventually went to as an alternative (with regular selling for the same price as the ARCO). If you have to be that incompetent to run a station, I'm going to apply (and recommend some of my current co-workers).

I wonder, is what I witnessed that night a sign, or was I in a time warp, seeing the future of the post-collapse USA? No gas, supermarket shelves empty, riots in the streets, revolution...It all fit, except for the obese woman. If there was no food, why was she so fat?

Fatter and Fatter

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