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Fuel Or Thought — Can’t Have Both

, , | Right | April 22, 2022

I work at a small, family-owned petrol station. We are also a grocery store and have a popular hot and cold deli. At our station, you pump your fuel and then enter the store to pay. A lot of people will obviously browse the grocery aisles and/or the deli when they come in.

After buying their food and groceries, it can be a good fifteen or more minutes since they pumped their fuel, and we know from experience that, quite often, by the time customers reach the till they have forgotten about the fuel. We ask each and every customer if they have fuel before we cash them out.

We have six pumps, and we can see the pumps through the large window by the tills. And we obviously can see on our tills which fuel on which pump has not yet been paid for. This, and multiple variations of the same interaction, happens at least once a day.

Cashier: “And have you bought any fuel today, please, sir/ma’am?”

Customer: “Oh, and could I get a pack of [item], please?”

Cashier: “Certainly, your total is [price]. So, any fuel?”

Customer: *Inserting card* “I need [amount] cashback, please.”

Cashier: “Certainly. I just need to know if you have fuel, please?”

They enter their PIN, remove their card, gather their purchases, and walk off.

Customer: “Thank you. Bye.”

I watch through the window as the customer heads to a car parked at pump four which has some unpaid fuel. I watch as the customer hesitates. I watch as the customer heads back to the till.

Customer: “Sorry, I had fuel.” *Laughs* “You should have asked me!”

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