About a week before Flying J took me on as their newest employee (a title that keeps changing as more and more employees are fired/resigning and more people are hired) they switched over to a 24/7 prepay system. Simply put, you have to pay before we turn on the pumps. No exceptions, no nothing.
However this has gotten some customers to declare, “I’m never coming to this place again!” or “I’m not going to be surprised in three months when this place goes down!”
Since I am in front of a till and have the ability to control all the pumps, this has brought most of the criticism in my direction as well as that of my co-workers. While Flying J policy insists that we turn the other cheek (I would prefer to show them the cheeks of my ass), I have decided that I am not going to take verbal abuse any longer, especially if the customer reacts to the policy like they've just been told that in order for me to turn on the pumps they must first service me orally.
I almost implemented this policy last weekend when a customer (late 50’s at least) came in while my supervisor (Let’s call her C) was out for a smoke. The customer (Let’s call him A-Hole) came in and when informing him of the policy and explaining that there was nothing I could do about it, instructed me to get C.
For some reason, customers like A-Hole seem to assume that when we say, “There’s nothing I can do about it” or “It’s out of our control” that we are lying, naturally. And in all fairness they’re half right. I could turn on the pumps, let them pump their gas and then have them come in and pay it. But then I’d be out of a job because management is really strict about stuff like that. So alas, no rebellion on our part for customer satisfaction can be tolerated and unless a customer is able to get me a new job straight away with better pay, less hours and less work altogether, then their pleas are no good to me.
C was brought in (She later told me, “As soon as I saw him, I knew there was going to be trouble.”) and A-Hole explained himself.
A-Hole: You know me, I’ve been coming here ever since this place opened!
C: I know but that’s the policy.
A-Hole: Well that’s bullshit! (Looks at me) Just turn on the pump, I’ll leave my debit card here, and you can charge me when I’m done.
SchweitzerMan: I can’t.
A-Hole: Well, what the fuck!? (To C) I want you to turn those pumps on! You’re lying about not being able to turn them on!
SchweitzerMan: No I’m not! (I would have gotten into it verbally with this prick but C held up a hand to keep me cool and I’m glad she did)
Eventually C was able to convince A-Hole that there was no going around it and that he had to pay first. He slammed his debit card down on the counter in front of me.
SchweitzerMan: How much do you want to put in?
A-Hole: I want to fill it up!
SchweitzerMan: Well, I need a dollar amount since you’re paying with a debit card.
I should probably mention that for prepay, if you’re doing it with credit card, you get charged for whatever you pump, but with a debit card, you have to set a dollar amount and should you pump less than that, you come back in the store and we give you the difference. However, A-Hole was acting like his namesake.
SchweitzerMan: Ain’t I a stinker? (OK, that last line didn’t really happen, but I was thinking it).
A-Hole: I don’t know how much I’m going to put in! What the hell am I supposed to do about that!?
SchweitzerMan: Sir, it’s better to give a high amount, that way if you don’t put the full amount in, we give you the difference back in cash.
A-Hole: Oh no! This is a company card, that’s going to fuck up my accounting! How am I going to explain that to my company?
SchweitzerMan: (Starting to get annoyed with him) Sir, I can print you out a receipt showing that this is money we give back to you.
C: This is how we do it every time here.
A-Hole: Well this will be the last time it ever happens here!
Eventually A-Hole decided he would put in $700 into his truck and left.
SchweitzerMan: (To C) Well, problem solved. He said this is the last time we’d have to deal with this problem.
I knew that he would be back because his truck probably wouldn’t take that much gas. All of the other cashiers were watching with baited breath, hoping to see what would happen and if any slurs would be flung.
A-Hole slammed his receipt on the counter in some attempt to intimidate me but he was about as intimidating as Siegfried and Roy so I actually spent the rest of my time biting the inside of my mouth in an attempt not to laugh.
A-Hole: Now what if I wanted to put a thousand dollars into my truck and I only pumped one hundred dollars worth?
SchweitzerMan: I suppose I would have to give you back nine hundred dollars.
A-Hole: Well then I think I know what I’m going to do next time. We’ll see how clever you think you are.
I knew he was trying to get some reaction out of me but I kept biting my cheek and decided to
just have a blasé attitude about him from here on out. I suppose I could have informed him that his plan would not work, as the limit for debit here is about $700, but I decided to let him get excited enough to spray his shorts about getting one up on Flying J staff and wished him a good day.
Sorry, but there’s no need to be an asshole. I don’t determine company policy otherwise I think I would be making a lot more money than I do at the moment and like I said, I would get paid for sleeping on the job.
I've also decided to make it a policy to instruct customers not to refer to me as Jesus Christ. Every so often I'll have a customer like A-Hole and upon explaining the policy they seem to deem me their lord and saviour and cry, "Jesus Christ!"
While it is flattering, I am afraid that it might offend any non-Christians in the workplace. That and I can't walk on water.