As vandwellers, nomads, rubber tramps, and vagabonds, we’re on the road a lot. Driving a vehicle eventually means stopping to fuel up. After my recent (short-lived) career as a clerk at a fuel center, I’d like to offer up some etiquette tips to follow while at a gas station, truck stop, or anywhere else folks go to put diesel, gasoline, or flex fuel in a rig, tow vehicle, generator, or gas can.
#1 Know what pump you’re on before you stand in front of the clerk.
Having to back up to find the number of the tank where you want to pump your fuel wastes everyone’s time.
#2 Know how much you want to spend before you interact with the clerk. Standing in front of the cash register counting your money or figuring out how much is in your fuel budget slows down everyone in line behind you.
#3 If you keep your bills in your bra, sock, or underpants, for goodness sake, take your money out of your intimate hiding place where the clerk can’t see you. Trust me, store clerks do not want to know where your money has been.
#4 Do not hand over money with bodily fluid on it. No blood, snot, saliva, breast milk, feces, urine, semen, or vaginal secretions, PLEASE.
#5 Do not get upset with the fuel clerk if your preferred method of payment is not accepted. The fuel clerk did not make the decision to reject your preferred method of payment. The fuel clerk was probably not asked to offer an opinion. The decision came from on high, and the fuel clerk can’t do a dang thing about it.
#6 Do not get upset with the fuel clerk if equipment isn’t working. The
problem may be user error. Politely ask the fuel clerk for assistance. Do not accuse or threaten. Remember the life lesson about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. The fuel clerk is the fly you want to catch and have on your side.
#7Do not drive like a bat-out-of-hell in the fuel center. Drive slowly, carefully, and courteously. People are walking around out there. You don’t want to hit anyone, and you don’t want to incite road rage.
#8 Wait your turn. Whether you’re waiting to get to the pump or to pay for your fuel, don’t try to get ahead of people who were there before you. No one likes a cheater.
#9 Don’t smoke anywhere in the fuel center. Drivers should already know this, but sometimes it seems they do not. Pumping fuel has become second nature to most of us, and we forget the stuff that powers our vehicles can be dangerous. Don’t let the spark from your cigarette or cigar be the one that sets the fuel center on fire.
#10 If you spill fuel, let a worker know. Spills happen. They’re a fact of fuel center life. Fuel center workers have the proper equipment for cleaning spills, but they can’t clean what they don’t know is there.
So there you have it, ten tips for keeping any fueling area safe and running smoothly. Of course, you probably already have a firm grasp on these ideas. Common knowledge, right? You’d be surprised (and probably appalled too.)
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