Kerosene Wars

by admin on March 20, 2013

I live in an old house out in the country, with a somewhat antiquated heating system that I supplement with a kerosene space heater. (I think what we call kerosene here in the U.S. is known in the other parts of the world as paraffin.) I like this arrangement, as power outages are fairly common around here, and my kerosene supply means I’ll have heat whether or not I have electricity.

For the past six or seven winters, I’ve been getting my kerosene at a particular service station on the other side of town. I fuel up every two weeks or so, and have a nice, friendly relationship with the man who runs the place, a kindly, soft-spoken Pakistani gentleman.

Last week, I pulled up to the kerosene pump, which is off to the side of the station lot. There was a car parked there, but no one in it, or pumping fuel, or anywhere in sight. I got my two jerrycans out of the trunk and began filling the first. At this point, a young woman came charging out of the office, shouting. She was hauling a small boy along by the hand. I didn’t pay much attention until, a few seconds later, it became apparent that I was the object of her tirade. She stopped in front of me, shouting, “I pre-paid! What the hell do you think you’re doing? Get away from there!”

“Oh!” I said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize someone was using this pump.” I had already pumped about eight dollars worth of fuel. She kept shouting, saying that I was stealing her gas. I said, “Look, why don’t I finish with this can, then you can go ahead and get what you need.” My manner was calm and polite. I explained, when I could get a word in, that I’d been getting kerosene here for years and never been asked to pre-pay. I apologized again, and suggested we sort it out in the office, but that I didn’t want to leave an open container of flammable liquid sitting out in the open. The young woman continued to shout at me, though, and said that not only was I stealing her stuff, I was copping an attitude, and I was an A-word, and a B-word, and a C-You-Next-Tuesday word. And the other A-word that’s a little longer and more offensive than the first A-word.

I stopped pumping and just stared at her. “Excuse me?” I said. The girl wanted to know what I thought I was doing, didn’t I see her car parked right there? I think it was at this point that I realized that nothing I could say would satisfy her, that anything I did say would only escalate the situation. So I went back to pumping the gas. She pulled out her phone and asked me how I would like it if she called the police. I stopped pumping again and looked at her. “Miss,” I said, “You’re calling me a thief and cursing at me. I have nothing to say to you. Call the police if you want. I’ll be done here in a few minutes, then I’ll go inside to pay. You do what you think best.” The little boy had begun crying. I turned away from her and resumed pumping. She kept on shouting, and now was yelling at her child, too. I turned back to her, held up my hand, and said, “Miss, we’re done. Do whatever you want.”

She went storming back to the office, the wailing boy in tow. I finished pumping my kerosene, loaded the cans back into the trunk, and went to the office, as well. She was regaling the other customers and the teenage cashier (the Pakistani gentleman was not there, unfortunately) about my outrageous behavior. I continued to ignore her, paid for my kerosene and left. The whole affair had taken less than five minutes.

It was a distressing incident. I felt very embarrassed, and I wished the regular owner had been there. I lead a quiet, relatively conflict-free life, and I’m not accustomed to having curses hurled at me at top volume. I don’t as a rule invite quarrel and disputation, and if something does arise, I’m far more likely to quit the field of battle than to engage. I realize my responsibility for what went down, but it was basically just a misunderstanding, a situation that could have been easily resolved without all the amperage and high drama. I’m not sure how else I could have handled it. It’s not likely I’ll ever see this young harridan again, anyway, so that’s fine. But the whole business left a really bad taste in my mouth. 0313-13

I reread your story a few times and it appears that you initially committed yourself to only fill one gas can upon hearing that someone else had prepaid for the gas but when the conversation did not go well, you continued to keep pumping until both cans were full and you put them back in your truck.    I’m rather flabbergasted you continued to pump kerosene into 2 gas cans even after knowing the other woman had already prepaid for the kerosene you were now pumping without any indication to her of stopping.

And just because you have never prepaid for kerosene does not mean that every other client of the service station also purchases their kerosene in the exact same way.    I, for example, always prepay when buying gas to go into gas cans for the simple reason that the pumps are strong and if I prepay, the operator sets the pump to only give me XX amount of gas so that I do not overfill the can by accident.     The other woman clearly did prepay for her own kerosene and if the station operates like the ones where I live do, you were pumping your gas on her dime.

What to say when she came barreling out of the station office?  Immediately stop pumping kerosene and say,   “Oh, I am so sorry!  I’ve been buying kerosene here for years and just assumed the pump was available as usual.”  Promptly put the cap on your not full can while saying, “Let me go fix this right away with the station operator so that you can get the kerosene you paid for.”   Go directly to station office and you take the initiative to resolve the problem.  “I seem to have made a mistake and started pumping my kerosene like I usually do and did not realize this woman had prepaid and was ahead of me.  Can you please fix this?  I pumped $8 worth of kerosene.”     Then wait your turn after her to get your kerosene since she was there first and she had prepaid before you.     This situation got totally out of control because 1) you had somewhat of an entitled attitude to getting your usual allotment of kerosene as you normally did; 2) your comments to her were like throwing kerosene on a fire…pun intended. You kept explaining your actions and saying nothing that actually assuaged the other woman’s belief that you usurped her position for gas and was taking something that belonged to her; 3) she controlled the entire situation when you had the means to stop the drama or at least nullify it with dignity.   Was sticking to your guns and getting every drop of your bi weekly kerosene pumped into your two jerry cans before you addressed her grievances worth the drama?

 

{ 105 comments… read them below or add one }

NostalgicGal March 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

I used to run a large kerosene heater for my insulated garage/workspace and about once a month took 6 5 gallon cans to the one place in town that sold AFFORDABLE kerosene from a pump. It was pump then pay, and it was an old style analog type pump that had the numbers that rolled along on a metal drum wheel and the appropriate one would line up with the little window… and.

If there was another vehicle in the only access spot to that pump, you would have to pull up and wait until they finished. And if there was noone at the vehicle, going into the office first would be the thing to do, a) it was usually colder than a (bodypart on a particular type of person or decorative non-entity) out there with snow, and wind; b) find out if there was someone doing business with/for/or about that pump. If they were done, would they kindly c) move it, please?

It sounds like here the pump is electronic/digital and one could do a prepay so it could be set to dispense X amount… and it also sounds like it was possible in this case for someone to approach it from more than one side.

In which case the OP messed up a couple of times over. If the pump has a vehicle near it, the OP should have found out first (taking cans out is okay but) before touching the nozzle, if the pump was occupied/in use; by going in the office.

Instead they proceeded to start a fill. When the woman came ripping out, stopping pumping IMMEDIATELY is the correct response. Yes. Cap off, apologize, look at what the amount was that was pumped, and be apologizing as they headed immediately for the office to pay up and sort out. If the OP then still needed more, they needed to wait their turn until the other person was done. Then the OP could have continued their filling and paid for the remainder.

Reply

Pauline March 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I’m with SFL–although what Admin proposes would have been right, let’s cut the OP a little slack, since cursing and infuriated people can really throw one off one’s game. It’s amazing how that kind of thing can prevent you from thinking straight. Even when someone is not aggressive but simply high-strung–it’s happened to me. I was doing volunteer work with someone and she mentioned she’d been to a certain Bible college, so I mentioned I’d been to a similar one. Big mistake; it made her think I was the kind of fundamentalist Christian she’d become violently allergic to since her first exposure. She became extremely nervous and defensive and began justifying her (not offensive at all) way of life to me, and though I offered nothing but positive responses she never calmed down. Somehow I seemed to be stuck in her script–there was never enough “air” in the conversation for me to step back and think “I need to just tell her straight-up how some of my views have changed since then.” I’m sad to think I may have been the cause of her never returning to volunteer. But that’s what can happen–the other person panics so you kind of freeze and go on autopilot.

It seems, also, that the OP was operating on the assumption that it’s normal to assume goodwill on the part of strangers, and that the young woman was operating on the opposite assumption. OP, I do think you were treated rudely. But it may help you to reflect that her life may be very different from yours; this may be a person who has been stolen from, cheated or scammed repeatedly, and who could barely afford the kerosene.

Reply

AS March 20, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I am totally with the admin on this, including having to go back and re-read the story several times before coming up with the exact same conclusions as the admin.

Sometimes people don’t purchase things the same way that you do. And if they are traveling alone, or with a small child, chances are that there will be no one else in the car when she is pre-paying (unless you expect her to leave her child all alone in the car!). And you have to somehow reserve the pump while you pre-pay so that the person at the counter can open up the pump.

I don’t see any good reason why you would not just stop after filling up for about $8 and just close the container, apologise that it was a misunderstanding and say that you’ll pay her the $8 and wait for your turn. You just seem to have a high handed attitude just because you frequent the gas station. If I were in her place, and someone starts filling up their kerosene cans with the pump I pre-paid for, and shows no signs that she is going to stop anytime soon, I’d think the person is a thief too. Agreed that she should not have called swear words at you. But she could not get you to stop! Who knows – she might also be tight on money, and the thought of having to go without heating for the winter because someone is stealing it from her is too much to bear.

Reply

Michelle C Young March 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Wow. At the point where she said you had pre-paid, I think you could have headed off a lot of issues if you had stopped pumping, put the cap on, and handed her $8, then stood back to wait your turn.

And why keep pumping, because you didn’t want to leave an open can? I understand not wanting to leave an open can, as there’s a danger of spillage, but why couldn’t you put the cap on, and then take it off again later? Granted, I’ve never pumped kerosene, so if there is some difficulty with this, please enlighten me.

Yes, she should not have screamed and swore at you. However, an apology, and actually stopping what you were doing until the situation could be resolved could have helped a lot. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize. I’ll stop now, and we can talk to the attendant to get this sorted out.” Also, know that when people hit the screaming and swearing stage of freak-out, they have already indicated that they have snapped, and you just don’t know HOW it might escalate. Worst-case scenario – angry woman just can’t take any more, and whips out a lighter. At a gas station. Hey, that sort of thing *does* happen. The best thing to do is to calm the situation as quickly as possible.

Having a polite spine is great, but if there’s a possibility for real physical danger, sometimes it’s best to back off. When people are raging that much, in public, then there is a real possibility that they may be dangerous. How many road-rage stories have we heard of people turning violent? Do Not Engage.

Reply

Michelle C Young March 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Bint said: You treated her like a silly little girl you could walk over and that made her worse. And would you have done this had she not been a mother, but a very angry, large man? Because somehow I doubt it.

Yeah, I doubt it, too. Large angry men make one think of the worst-case scenarios, and people are less likely to cop an attitude with them. The OP should not have continued pumping, and should not have ignored the car, in the first place. How long would it have taken to check with the attendant if someone was there? Or maybe it would have been a good time for a bathroom break, just to fill up a few minutes, while you wait to see if the car will leave.

What, exactly, did you think the car was doing there? People leave unattended cars at pumps all the time, as they go inside to pay. Not everyone has a credit card, after all. Cash requires going inside to pay, whether it’s pre-paying or paying after pumping.

Reply

Cat March 20, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I have never seen a service station that had kerosene on the same pump that dispenses gasoline so I would have been completely muddled by the whole arrangement. If her car was there, I would have thought she was getting gasoline. I take it that she was also buying kerosene.
I can understand the young woman being upset but, instead of rushing out to scream, I would have gone in, explained to the service attendant that someone was pumping kerosene on my dime, and had him/her handle it.
Screaming at someone, once you are past age three, is no way to resolve conflicts for a mature adult. If the other individual does have mental problems, what is to prevent him/her from spraying you with your paid-for kerosene and setting you on fire with it? These days you do not know what you are walking into.
Neither of you did well in this situation. I understand the woman’s wrath as I understand your dislike of the curse words being hurled at you.

Reply

S4R4H March 20, 2013 at 2:45 pm

In terms of the pre-payer’s reaction, I think it’s important to note that the OP stated once s/he started filling up, “a young woman came charging out of the office, shouting” and that the OP “didn’t pay much attention.” If I saw someone pumping my pre-paid fuel, I would be on guard. If I shouted for their attention and thought they were purposefully ignoring me, I would become more defensive of my property.

In addition, the OP also stated that there had been “no one..anywhere in sight.” Who did the OP think the young woman was shouting at?

Reply

Michelle C Young March 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Bint said: The idea this is mental illness, or that she’d do the same if handed money, is a) ridiculous and b) offensive to people who are mentally ill, as we’ve had pointed out several times on this board.

If I saw someone nicking my paraffin who then wouldn’t stop when told, I’d be screaming blue murder as well, not least for this OP’s jaw-dropping and oh-so-patronizing self-righteousness.

Bint – I agree that we should certainly NOT diagnose mental illness on this thread, or, in fact, at all, and I *thank you* for pointing that out. However, I have enough “crazy” (read: violent beyond the normal) in my own extended family to realize the danger that this stranger *could* be another such a one. And while the woman was certainly provoked (I’d be angry, too), the fact that it was already at the screaming and swearing stage makes me say: play it safe, and disengage AT ONCE. The odds are in your favor that the person is sane, but I have seen long-shots happen far too often to play those odds. My Dad says, “Plan for the worst, and hope for the best.”

And especially if you were in the wrong, as the OP was, to take the woman’s place in the queue, she should have disengaged immediately, and done all she could to calm the woman, including eating some humble pie and admitting she made a mistake. That’s the right thing to do, anyway. In the case of a screaming, swearing person, it’s also the safe thing to do.

But yes, please let’s not say that the woman was crazy, spoiling for a fight, and would have behaved that way, even without the provocation. How can you possibly know that? Even my relative who pulled a gun on his own minor child didn’t go LOOKING for fights. He just reacted badly to provocation.

Play it safe, but don’t go looking for the worst in the world, please.

Reply

Tanz March 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I don’t think this is the kind of thing we can judge without knowing the set-up of the petrol station in question.

Firstly, I would assume that the kerosene pump is off to the side, like the vac and air pumps are. Where I live most service stations are pretty busy so there would most likely be cars parked by/in front of these things… and they probably aren’t using them. So looking about and seeing no-one at the car in question it’s perfectly logical to assume they have just parked there.

And as for the pre-pay thing… I don’t think this woman pre-paid at all. If she *had* it would have been because she had to, so there would be signs about making it clean pre-paying was station policy – plus the readout on the pump screen would have made it obvious too.

And thirdly, she had her small child out of the car. At a petrol station. So I don’t think she was there to get fuel… and if she was, she was already engaged in something else (perhaps a toilet stop for the child). Either way, the pump was free.

I have to admit if I drove up to an of to the side pump like this and there was an empty car there I’d start pumping my own fuel too. And if someone came up to me screaming about having ‘pre-paid’ when it was fairly clear she hadn’t I wouldn’t have let her intimidate me either.

Reply

nk March 20, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I agree with the admin. It’s understandable that you didn’t realize that the owner of the empty car had prepaid for kerosene, but as soon as you understood the situation, you should have stopped pumping and waited your proper turn. As the admin pointed out, the woman had already paid for the gas you were pumping. While her language certainly could have been politer, I understand her indignation–she’d come out of the gas station to find you taking something she’d already bought, and even after informing you of the situation, you continued to take it.

Reply

Michelle C Young March 20, 2013 at 3:26 pm

SFL said: I wonder if the LW would have acted more in line with what most posters thought she should have done if the woman whose gas everyone seems to think she was stealing had not started slinging foul language right out of the gate. I imagine I would less inclined to think the situation through if someone was calling me “an A-word, and a B-word, and a C-You-Next-Tuesday word.”

SFL, I agree with you on that, as well. The woman was within her rights to be angry at the provocation. However, she jumped the gun from “Excuse me, but I was here first, and that fuel was pre-paid. Please stop and see the attendant to set the situation right,” and went straight to screaming and swearing. That is why I associated her with the dangerous people I have known. They, too, jumped right to a high-level altercation, rather than attempting first to calmly fix a situation that might have been a simple misunderstanding. This immediate escalation alarms me, greatly, which is why I head for safety at that point.

Ideally, the woman would have come out, and politely pointed out that the kerosene was pre-paid, and then OP would have stopped pumping, immediately, put the cap on, and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were using it. I’ve pumped about $8 worth. Let me just go pay the attendant, and he can add it to your amount and make things even for you.”

We do not, unfortunately, live in an ideal world.

I remember seeing a pump-and-ditch, back in the days before pay at the pump was practically everywhere. My friend was the attendant, and she was really steamed, because her boss took it out of her pay. I’m not sure that was legal, but it was the job she had, so she stayed. And although she was really hurting and angry, she did not swear nor scream. And after that, I never complained about pre-paying again, although I had in the past complained that if you pre-pay, and you don’t get enough, you have to go in and pay twice, and if you over-pay, you have to go back for change. Gee, what a hardship, compared to being robbed! I really like pre-pay now.

Reply

Natasha March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I’m sorry, but from the letter, it seems like the mother DID go and try to get the cashier to help

” I turned back to her, held up my hand, and said, “Miss, we’re done. Do whatever you want.”

She went storming back to the office, the wailing boy in tow. I finished pumping my kerosene, loaded the cans back into the trunk, and went to the office, as well. She was regaling the other customers and the teenage cashier (the Pakistani gentleman was not there, unfortunately) about my outrageous behavior.”

Yes, she cursed at the LW, and yes, she was rude. But she went back inside and told the clerk what was going on.

Reply

Michelle C Young March 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Tanz, why do you seem so certain that she did not pre-pay? I don’t understand.

I’ve pre-paid when I only had JUST that much money, and couldn’t possibly afford to go over that amount, even in the days before pre-pay became standard policy. Like the time my siblings and I went on a car trip, and we all got our change from our piggy banks (my sister had her license, but the rest of us were just kids), and paid ALL in change. The attendant was not pleased, and asked us “How long have you been saving up for this trip?” We had to pre-pay because if we went over our amount, we would be absolutely stuck.

So, even without it being a requirement, with a sign posted, people do pre-pay. I don’t understand how you came to your conclusion.

Reply

whatever March 20, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I’m confused. Did the other woman actually pre-pay or not? The OP said she paid for her kerosene as she would normally. Presumably that means that the pump didn’t turn up or anything when the limit was hit and that the gas station attendant didn’t have to do special stuff to let her pay for her purchase, as which is what would have happened if the OP was stealing the kerosene the other woman paid for. If the woman didn’t actually pre-pay for that kerosene, I have more sympathy for the OP. If the woman did pre-pay for that kerosene, and the OP made the woman’s payment more complicated, I have very little sympathy for the OP.

Reply

Marozia March 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Kerosene is also readily available at supermarkets & hardware stores (well, it is in Perth). Next time, why don’t you just go there and get it. Why go to a service station?

Reply

ItsyBitsy March 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Tanz, wow! That some interesting assumptions you’ve made there.

I totally agree with admin. Yes, the woman should not have used such foul language, especially in front of a child. There is no excuse for that. She did, however, still have reason to be angry. What’s more, we have no idea what was going on in her life at that moment and the OP’s action may have been yet one more stressor.
As for all the ‘perhaps this, perhaps that’, who cares? The woman’s perception of the situation was that the OP was stealing from her. Nothing the OP then did was enough to disabuse her and, indeed, the OP seem to have taken some pride in that.
She should have called the police.

Reply

denise March 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Consider this. Getting kerosene is something my husband usually does for me. So it’s not a task I’m very comfortable with. I also have some small issues with anxiety. If I had had to perform this unfamiliar task and I had my child with me I would have been very frazzled by someone stealing the kerosene that I just paid for. Not only were you stealing but also she was forced to confront you and try to protect her child in a situation that could end very bad. You could have been there with the intent to steal. after the initial moment and your explanation you should have understood that her adrenaline was pumping after facing someone that was behaving like a thief.

Reply

hakayama March 20, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Dear LW: It is a pity that so many responders failed to imagine casual parking near the kero pump, and completely ignored the fact that the young harpy came out screaming. Probably if she had her shotgun on hand, she’d be blasting at you with both barrels.
Also it’s a darn shame that so many were quick to judge your inadvertent “trespass” as STEALING.
Yup! They’d really hang you before you had a chance to explain anything…
;-) At the same time, I am sorry to have even mentioned Toyo and Monitor, overlooking power outages as the root cause of your “Great Adventure”.

Reply

Angel March 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm

OP, I was with you until you say you kept on pumping your gas. All the while trying to explain to the irate woman why you had the right to usurp her place at the pump, when clearly she was there first. While the woman could have certainly handled things better, I don’t feel sorry for you. You could have stopped pumping and gone inside right away to straighten things out but chose not to. Forgive me but you behaved like a jackass.

Reply

Tracy March 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Wow, Tanz, that’s a LOT of interesting assumptions.

Reply

Jess March 20, 2013 at 9:39 pm

My first reaction to reading this story: “WHY THE F*** DIDN’T YOU STOP PUMPING?!” Seriously–if there’s A) a car in front of the kerosene, and B) someone comes out and tells you that they pre-paid, then why did you keep pumping??? OP, you were rude. Yes, the lady was vulgar and rude as well, but I would have been ticked off too if I had just pre-paid and I saw someone taking my kerosene. You should have immediately stopped, apologized, and gone into the station to talk to the cashier or manager. On the flip side, the lady should have been a little calmer and more polite (especially in front of her child).
OP, the thing that really ticked me off was your attitude. “I’ve never pre-paid here before…” Well, good for you! Just because YOU haven’t pre-paid before doesn’t mean that others can’t pre-pay! I pre-pay every chance I get; it’s easier for me that way. And the way you handled the whole situation was disgusting. You’re so passive-aggressive that it’s sick! What you did was incredibly rude. You deserve a place in E-Hell for being so underhandedly superior.

Reply

Lexie March 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

In this situation, I would have apologised to the woman and explained I didn’t know she was prepaying, placed my half-full sealed can in the car and offered to go and explain the situation inside. When the financial side of things was sorted, I would have let the woman finished filling her cans up before resuming my own.

Had she still sworn so prolifically at me, I would have turned around and told her that it was a genuine mistake, that there is absolutely no need to use such language, that I want the situation resolved as much as she does.

She behaved badly, but OP, it seems to me that you provoked her with your attitude. You behaved like your regular usage of the pump made your claim to it superior to hers and you took your sweet time finishing filling the cans before trying to fix the mess. I know I’d be cat-spitting angry if I was under the assumption that someone was trying to pinch something reasonably pricey that I’d prepaid for.

And I am genuinely curious what the race of the usual cashier/owner has to do with anything that happened in this story?

Reply

NostalgicGal March 21, 2013 at 12:23 am

For prepays where I need an unknown amount… I have a prepay credit card that looks like a real one (you have to put money on it before you can use it) and I keep a few dollars on it. Some places will take your driver’s license, some will take a credit card, and ‘open the pump’ for you, as they have a way to either get paid or prosecute you if you take off without paying. If the card with a few dollars gets the number ‘taken’ I am not out much and I can get it voided and purchase a new one… When I go back in afterwards, the place will give me the card or DL back if I tell them I prefer to pay cash, then do so.

On a place that is prepay only, all the ones I’ve seen, are digital pumps with internal control, and they have signs saying PREPAY *and* they will show an amount of last purchase until they are cleared by the inside control, flashing all 8’s then zeroing out. IF you can pump before paying, the pump always shows the previous purchase on it, then does the 8’s then clears to zeros and starts to run when you start to dispense product.

If it was a digital pump and was showing zeros then it had been cleared and set, and the OP was wrong in that case to dispense product. If it flicked through the 8’s then to zeros while the OP was there, they could have assumed that when they lifted the nozzle it cleared (typical for pay after pump, lifting nozzle and the lever or pushing the button will make pump clear); they could have been mistaken. If the pump was showing previous purchase at the time OP started, then the person inside at the inside control should have seen the OP there with the nozzle and stopped things or told the woman inside that that customer is dispensing (and would wait to reset the dispensing for her… to the amount she paid)…

There is some grey area but it mostly rests with the OP being in the wrong about proceeding. The woman was wrong for continuing the expletives though she may or may not have had some justification in doing so. Not in front of little ears though!

Oh, old analog pumps have no internal control, they zero when you go to start pumping, and can’t usually be preset for anything except flow rate, which can’t be changed from the inside.

The place I used to buy kerosene from, it was dispensed from an old analog pump, and they had to come out and check your purchase amount then go in and charge you. Between cans you couldn’t hang up the nozzle or it would zero out your total. The analog also had a small number wheel set gauge that showed all the gallons pumped cumulatively, and they could compare that to the last written down cumulative number for how much was pumped. You had to sign a book on that date with your name, address, how many gallons bought and the clerk added the cumulative number to the notation… over a certain amount the authorities would ask questions such as ‘are you reselling’????? My 6 5 gallon cans per roughly 30 days was about at the point where they would ask questions….

Reply

Nic March 21, 2013 at 1:38 am

In my experience kerosene pumps are usually the old school non computerized type. If that is what the OP’s station has then even if the lady had prepaid there is no way that the cashier can preset an amount on those old pumps. They just take the money before they patron pumps and watched to make sure they won’t go over. This type of pump would also explain why the OP never had prepaid. This would also eplain why the OP was able to go in after she pumped and pay for her kerosene. This doesn’t really excuse the reaction of either party but it might make the OP slightly less rude.

Reply

Amy March 21, 2013 at 1:45 am

Okay. I have to bring this up because everyone is all over the OP.

If someone came out of a service station and started screaming at me, my reaction would ALSO be to simply ignore her. This woman did not come out and say ‘excuse me, you’re pumping my pre paid gas.’ It was a confrontation – and a vile one at that. And the worst thing to do when someone is so irate is to engage them. It’s obvious that the woman wasn’t going to listen to a word she was saying. Best to finish up what you’re doing and carry on. I would agree with ehell on their assessment of the situation if the woman the OP had encountered wasn’t bat shit crazy…. this does not seem like a normal person and therefore a normal response is not going to cut it.

Also, how was she to know that the fuel was pre-paid? I dunno what sort of gas stations you all have where you live, but I’d assume the karosene is off with the other assorted pumps (air, propane, vac), usually surrounded by parking stalls that in no way indicate that someone else is there to use the pumps!

So, I probably would have done the same thing. I bet most of us would have. Let’s not judge this woman so harshly.

Reply

Pen^3 March 21, 2013 at 3:00 am

When reading this, as soon as the gas station woman started screaming at the writer, I assumed that she was going to be in the wrong. I stand corrected. Although swearing and screaming at people is absolutely inexcusable, the writer’s own response is not much better. I still can’t work out why she kept taking the kerosene when the woman had (poorly) pointed out that it wasn’t hers to take, and that she was basically stealing the product another person had paid for. I can just imagine this being written from the other perspective:

“… it had been such a long, hard day, and I was exhausted. I rely on kerosene to have lighting at home, and as luck would have it, we were about to run out (yet another thing to go wrong), and I ended up having to go to a different station than I normally do.
I was just finishing paying for the kerosene (the lady behind the counter explained that it was pay-in-advance) when outside I saw a strange woman helping herself to my kerosene! I was furious! I finished up the transaction as quickly as I could, and went out to save what I could of my purchase. I really lost it, and admit that, after such a bad day, I went quite over the top. But at least I made it clear to this woman that she was stealing my kerosene, and she had to stop.
The woman said that I could have my kerosene after she finished taking what she wanted from it. Excuse me? No, sorry, you don’t get to help yourself to MY stuff and make me wait while you do it. Apart from being stealing, it’s completely ridiculous. I tried to heatedly explain this to her, but she kind of turned off and stopped responding completely, no matter what I said or did. At first I thought she was hard of hearing, and tried shouting as loudly as I could, but to no avail. She seemed a little lost to be honest. And she just kept pouring out my kerosene into her containers as though it was fine.
My son was getting worried by this point, so we went back into the station to explain the situation. It was clear that this lady wasn’t completely home, or just didn’t care that she was committing a crime and stealing my kerosene in broad daylight. The station attendant could easily see the woman helping herself to someone else’s product, and helped reset everything so that I wouldn’t have to pay for what was being stolen. I cannot tell you how frustrating it was, on top of everything else, that some daft woman was stealing away throughout all of this, and would not be stopped. When she finally meandered into the station to pay, right as I was explaining things to the attendant, she didn’t say a word.
How can some people just do things like this? I cannot comprehend how people can go and commit a blatant theft and ignore the person asking them to stop.”

Reply

Elizabeth March 21, 2013 at 3:46 am

Kerosene pumps in my area don’t work like regular gasoline pumps. Pre paying does not ” set the pump to only give me XX amount of gas so that I do not overfill the can by accident” so it would not actually be stealing gas from the woman. It sounds like the same situation to me in this post. I wouldn’t of handled it the same was as OP but I also would not of been friendly to someone who was cursing me out either…

Reply

sv March 21, 2013 at 8:03 am

@Tanz- When you have young children and need to exit the vehicle ( for example, if you are going to prepay for something) you take your child with you. Even at a gas station.

OP – Beginning to pump the kerosene was an honest mistake that anyone could make. Hats off for remaining calm while the woman was screaming at you. That being said, you were in the wrong here. You should have immediately stopped, capped your can, and walked with her to the office. Explaining how you are right and then continuing to fill a second can is completely uncool. The fact that she was a screaming banshee is actually not relevant, although it was undoubtedly upsetting. Just because she was very unpleasant does not make your actions okay. Look at it this way…..if she had been quiet and simply stood there you would still have been stealing her kerosene, inadvertantly or not, but you would no longer be able to feel wronged. I get why you chose to fill your cans but the whole screaming episode could have been avoided ( or at least shortened) with an immediate, ” I am so sorry! Let me go pay for this and then you can pump your kerosene. My apologies, I didn’t mean to jump ahead of you! “

Reply

Sarah March 21, 2013 at 8:22 am

@hakayama
“This situation is not about manners. It is about character flaws and mental illness. ”
What is that comment if not a diagnosis, albeit sufficiently veiled that you can attempt to self-righteously accuse others like Bint of misreading it when they call you on it?
By writing that, you implied that it was not normal, healthy anger that propelled this young woman to shout at OP, but imagined some condition that means she always reacts this way without having any idea of who she is or what she is like.
Furthermore, your snide commentary and assumptions about this young womans character are completely out of line. You don’t know this woman. You don’t know if she is “the type” you imagine her to be. You have no idea if “a fistful of large denomination notes” would rectify the problem or if this young woman was merely a person with a more relaxed attitude to cursewords than yourself reacting to the fact that someone was, in her view, trying to steal from her.

“It is a pity that so many responders failed to imagine casual parking near the kero pump, and completely ignored the fact that the young harpy came out screaming. ”

It is a pity that you so conveniently overlooked what the OP herself admits, that the woman began calling to her from the door to the office, some distance away, hurried over when OP ignored her despite no one else being around and only began to swear when despite her, admittedly heated, attempt to prevent the OP from committing theft, she was oh-so-politely rebuffed with the equivalent of “I have heard you say that you were in the queue first. I appreciate that in your view, however the pump actually works, I am taking your gas. I propose that you wait until I am finished and then I will reimburse you. Of course you don’t know me so you’ll be trusting me for all this”
In addition, she did not continue to curse at her, when her name-calling got OP’s attention she reiterated her points and threatened to resort to legal action, only to receive a further brush-off at which point she turned and went into the office to speak to the clerk.

There is no justification for the OPs behaviour.
However angry the woman got, she did not resort to physical violence or threaten OP with anything other than police intervention. Swearwords aren’t big and they aren’t clever, but they aren’t as offensive as actions that cause damage to another.
By taking her place in the queue and refusing to stop filling her cans with what the other lady had paid for, OP was robbing the woman in terms of both time and money. It doesn’t matter whether she intended to pay for it or not. If a child pays for their juice at a lemonade stall, is it ok for another one to take it from them, drink it and then justify themselves by saying “but I’ll buy you another one!”? That child would be in for a serious talking to no matter how the first child reacted. The only question is whether the first child would also be in trouble depending on their reaction.
She is much more at fault for her behaviour than the young woman is for her (uncouth and ehell-worthy) reaction.

Reply

Sarah March 21, 2013 at 8:55 am

Also as I re-read this I noticed this:
“Last week, I pulled up to the kerosene pump, which is off to the side of the station lot. There was a car parked there, but no one in it, or pumping fuel, or anywhere in sight.”

If the pump is set away from the parking spaces, there is no reason to assume that a car parked there is not there specifically to get kerosene.

Reply

The Elf March 21, 2013 at 9:45 am

For the record, even though I freely admit my first reaction in the pre-pay woman’s situation would be to drop the F-bomb, that doesn’t mean that I think it’s the right way to respond. I’m just recognizing that it would happen! It’s definitely an area in need of self-improvement.

Reply

Monkey mommy March 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

OP, if you’re a regular reader, how did you not see yourself going straight to E-hell?? You were in the wrong. 100%. You ignored obvious signs that someone else might be using the pump, and when informed of the situation, you did whatever you wanted and continued to STEAL her gas, spot, and time. As a mom to a toddler, I like to get errands done fast, because small children are limited on how many errands they tolerate peacefully. If you held me up while I was dealing with a small child at a gas station, you might get the same from me.

Btw- am I the only one not guessing the longer, more offensive A word??

Reply

PrettySticks March 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I just cannot imagine “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize anyone would be prepaying, since they’ve never asked me to do it. [Stops pumping, puts cap on can.] I’ll sort out my payment in the office.” as many people have suggested would have done anything to mollify this woman. The very first thing the OP did was apologize to no avail. And while I concede it was kind of rude to fill both cans, at this point the mother is not standing there waiting. She’s inside complaining. (And, I should point out, if the mother had a leg to stand on, the store personnel had ample time to deal with it then, either by telling the OP to stop, or remotely turning off the pump, or what have you. The fact that they did not do this in the whole time the OP was pumping her kerosene is very telling. Gas stations are not known for being lax about stealing.)

And I definitely don’t think the OP was stealing. Line-jumping (unintentionally) sure, of course. That was wrong, but she didn’t steal anything. I have no experience pumping kerosene, which is clearly a different thing, but in dealing with gas, I have seen two kinds of pumps (1) If you’re paying with cash, you go inside and pay first, and the attendant has to purposely turn that pump on and set the max amount or (2) you pump your gas, then go inside to pay, and the till isn’t directly connected to the pump (old school, if you will). Now we know for a fact that this kerosene pump is not the first kind because the OP had used it in the past and it was not necessary to register the amount with the attendant first. If it were, it would have been literally impossible for the OP to have ever used it before without pre-paying. So we’re looking at the second kind, where the money is paid, and gas is pumped, but there’s no technological connection between the two, and the OP wasn’t “stealing” anything. It’s like if I went into a convenience store, hand the clerk exact change and say I’m going to grab a newspaper on my way out the door. Before I get to the door, someone grabs the newspaper on the top of the stack and heads to the counter to pay. Did they steal my paper? No, my money’s just as good for the next one on the stack. (Naurally, if it were the last paper, that would be an issue, but I don’t think anyone’s claiming the OP was taking the last kerosene in the pump.) I guess there could be a third kind of pump? I’ve never seen it. I mean, not counting pay-at-the-pump, but that’s a whole different deal, since this story clearly involved paying a clerk. But it seems either the pump is connected to till or it’s not, and in this case it’s not.

I can actually imagine the following scenario: Mother (to clerk): “I need to pre-pay for kerosene.” Clerk: “That’s actually not necessary. You can just start pumping and we’ll ring you up when you’re through.” Mother: “What’s the problem? I just want to pre-pay ten dollars for kerosene! Why won’t you let me pre-pay?” Clerk (internal eyeroll): “Sure. OK. Ten dollars for kerosene.” (I’ve never worked at a gas station, but I’ve worked plenty of retail and I know those folks well.)

Also, for the record, I think that’s why the OP included the details about being a regular – people seem keen to assume it’s to demonstrate why she was “better” than the mother, but I think it was to clarify that she wasn’t guessing as to the pre-payment being unnecessary, she KNEW it was unnecessary.

Reply

NostalgicGal March 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm

@ Marozia, when I lived in that big city and regularly bought kerosene; it was sold in several places… some home centers, some stores, etc… most places it went for approximately $4/gallon, and was pretinned in gallon containers. To give my heater a fill was over two gallons. A few places had pump it dspensing and the attendant had to come unlock the pump as it was padlocked, and they charged about $2.50 a gallon, bring your own container. The place I purchased from was a place you had to know where it was, and cost me about $1. worth of gas to go to (at that time about $1.30/gal) but for 30 gallons, I paid about $1.10 a gallon. And that was the place with the old analog pump to the side and it could be approached on two sides. Henceforth, I would not buy it at another location in town, $33 for my monthly need versus $120 or so…. and to go to most of the other places that sold it at a higher rate was more in gas to get there than the place I bought from. Hence I assume the OP does similar, goes to the place where it is sold bulk price and bring your own containers (blue, here. Gas is red, diesel is yellow, and kerosene is blue and you must by law use the correct color container)

Reply

Treeang March 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I agree the screaming woman handled it badly, but the OP needed to stop and rectify the situation as soon as she was aware of it…not finish up and then fix the situation.

What if, heaven forbid, the station was waiting for their delivery of kerosene and was running low? And the OP took the remaining amount even though the other lady was there first and had prepaid? Filling up not only one can but a second was completely out of line. The OP made a mistake in assuming that the pump was free…not a crime. However, when made aware of the mistake, a person’s first duty is to try to fix the mistake…not continue on and try to justify that you always do it that way!

Reply

gen xer March 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Holy mackerel the knives are out for the OP here……and at most all I think she made was an honest mistake.
I used to work at a gas station in my school days and the kerosene tank was off to the side. But as others have pointed out someone parking in front of it did not necessarily mean they were using the pump. Frankly they could have been anywhere – in the washroom, buying a bag of chips, who the heck knows?
I would think we would all be better off to give someone the benefit of the doubt rather than immediately go at them guns ablazing. If I were the one whose kerosene was being ( I can’t say stolen – good lord people – get a grip ) taken all I would have done is politely explained that there must have been a little mixup and can’t we go inside and straighten it out?
Coming out screaming and swearing like a total fool? My back would have been up as soon as the stunned look on my face wore off and I would be in no way inclined to do anything to mollify that horrible little toad.
Remember the OP offered to go in and straighten things out to no avail. Should she have stopped pumping? Maybe she could have….but after that treatment all bets would have been off. Honestly that screaming idiot lost any credibility with her behaviour.

Reply

waitress wonderwoman March 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm

@Lexie- I also was wondering what the store owner’s race had to do with anything too. I’m really surprised no one else mentioned it.
@Monkey Mommy- I have worked in some pretty tough dive bars and assumed I knew every curse word there is too know, and I’m also racking my brain about what the longer A-word is!!!!;-)
As for the actual post, wow, some of you are being kinda harsh on the OP. When someone is yelling and screaming and cursing you out, it’s hard to say how you would react or what you might do in that situation. Perhaps the OP was too shocked at that moment to think clearly about what was going on and do the etiquette appropriate thing. Just a thought.

Reply

TimeLady March 21, 2013 at 9:16 pm

If these pumps are anything like the air/water pumps we have in the UK (and by the power of Google they certainly look similar!) I too can understand why the OP made the mistake of assuming there was no-one using it; tucked off to one side of the forecourt, I’ve seen countless people parking by them in order to do whatever bit of shopping required, without using either air or water. I do, however, think that s/he should have ceased pumping, as – regardless of the prepaid situation – it would have been easier to try and hold a conversation (though this is all assuming the angry young woman would have been cooperative, which seems rather unlikely from OP’s letter).

That said, the thing that I’m finding a lot of commenters appear to have missed, whilst berating the OP as a thief, is s/he states s/he “paid for my kerosene and left.”. Now, one commenter has pointed out that we haven’t been told whether the total prepaid by the angry young woman was subtracted from the total kerosene the OP pumped, but I would like to give him/her the benefit of the doubt and believe that s/he paid for exactly what kerosene was pumped.

I don’t believe that the OP is pearly-white in all of this, but I certainly have more sympathy for him/her than for the young woman whose language was all sorts of inappropriate in front of her child. I understand anger and – perhaps – panic regarding gas, but the OP did state s/he offered to rectify the situation, and the offer was refused. Perhaps the OP could have handled it better, but I am in full agreement with another poster’s comment: “Yes, you were wronged, but your outrageous and over-the-top reaction to it has completely overwhelmed the original offense.”.

Reply

TheDakotas March 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm

@denise said, “Not only were you stealing but also she was forced to confront you and try to protect her child in a situation that could end very bad.”

I have to disagree with you there: If the OP is to be believed, the woman was F-ing and blinding left right and centre. That is not, in my experience, the behaviour of a mother trying to protect her child. The OP’s post, though it was not centered on the child, suggests that the child became MORE distressed AFTER his mother starting kicking off like a two-year-old with the language of a sailor. Indeed, the OP states the woman began directing some of her screams AT the child. So no, I do not think it is right for you to have the mother atop a pedestal for her mother’s protectivity (or aforementioned lack thereof) and vilify the OP.

OP, it really would have been best if you had stopped pumping and stepped away from the situation, but I suspect that 20/20 retrospectovision is making you see similarly. I do hope you do not encounter this woman, or any of her ilk, again. I must admit to being somewhat confused, though, OP: What was the relevance of pointing out the usual gentleman was not in attendance?

Reply

momofeveryone March 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm

holy crap.

chill!!!!

op, in your case, id have done the same. you go to the same gas/fill up station for forever and you have never had this issue before. i doubt that girl will ever show up there again. if i were you though, i would go up there and fill in the owner about what happend. he’s probably very curious to know your side of the story.

Reply

Abby March 22, 2013 at 7:53 am

@Pretty Sticks
“I just cannot imagine “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize anyone would be prepaying, since they’ve never asked me to do it. [Stops pumping, puts cap on can.] I’ll sort out my payment in the office.” as many people have suggested would have done anything to mollify this woman. ”

Perhaps not, but that’s not relevant. She should have immediately stopped pumping and went into the office because that was the right thing to do, not because she was trying to placate an angry stranger. You make it sound like we are justified in not doing the right thing if someone else treats us badly first.

As for stealing vs. not stealing- my assumption is she was pumping gas the woman already paid for. I have no doubt that the OP went into the office, explained the error, and paid for ALL the kerosene she used, and the woman was not out any money or kerosene. But this woman doesn’t KNOW OP was going to do that. For all this woman knew, OP would just take off running with the kerosene, and the woman wanted OP to stop what she was doing and fix the error NOW. I think that is reasonable. Yes, I agree the woman who was swearing and screaming was in the wrong for doing so. But OP could have stopped it at any time by TURNING THE PUMP OFF AND GOING INTO THE OFFICE. She was digging her heels in to show the woman she wouldn’t be intimidated by the swearing and she was in the wrong in the first place. No sympathy for the OP here.

Reply

Rap March 22, 2013 at 9:30 am

I think people are “harshing on the OP” partly because the OP really doesn’t seem to see the “young harridan’s” side of what went down. From the yelling woman’s perspective, she went in to prepay for some kerosene and came out to find someone already pumping the kerosene she had just paid for. The OP, upon finding out out that they were pumping already paid for gas, basically said “well, let me finish this up, wait on me” to the woman – who doesn’t know the OP and has no assurances that this person pumping their kerosene will do anything other than drive off with their kerosene. Then the OP becomes dismissive with “we’re done, miss”, and arrogantly, in my opinion, proceeds to spite the woman by casually filling up two cans of kerosene. And has the attitude of “well, gosh and golly, what did *I* do?”

Here’s my question to the OP. Did the teenage clerk say anything to you? Did you stop and consider that if the woman HAD called the police, at the end of the day, you would have been the person in the wrong? Do you realize at the very least that you line jumped and created an inconvience for the person who prepaid, who probably had to have her transaction voided and redone since you pumped her gas and wouldn’t stop?

Reply

another Laura March 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

@monkey mommy and waitress wonderwoman: I presumed the longer A-word to be the shorter A-word with “hole” tacked on. I will admit ignorance in the C-word. None of the vulgarity I’ve heard includes words beginning with C other than the relatively mild one that rhymes with rap. I’m not saying I want to know it, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Reply

Bint March 22, 2013 at 11:28 am

I assumed the OP was a man. It’s something about the way the other woman was treated.

Reply

Politrix March 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Just a few thoughts on a Friday afternoon:
1. Like everybody else here, I think that after the OP should have stopped immediately, covered her (not-yet-full) jerry can and gone into the office to rectify the situation… this would at least have gotten her away from the screaming banshee, and even succeeded in making said banshee look like the hysterical fool she was being, if not actually calming her down. (Also a good way to set a proper example to the young child.)
2. However, I can understand OP not having the presence of mind to do the above, if she were caught off guard by the screaming banshee and possibly frightened for her physical safety. Like some posters have suggested, it sounds like she just shut down out of sheer terror, and went into autopilot. In the words of Chris Rock: “I’m not saying it’s RIGHT….. but I understand.”
3. I can’t speak for the OP, but maybe she mentioned the owner was Pakistani to illustrate that they were on friendly enough terms that she knew his country of origin, and perhaps he had even shared some of his own life story with her over the years. Is that so hard to imagine?

Reply

waitress wonderwoman March 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm

@another Laura- That’s the assumption I’ve come to as well. And you are absolutely right!!!!You DON’T want to know what the C-word is. ;-) It’s about the nastiest, most vulgar thing you can call someone. But I think it does give one some insight into the type of crazy (not “mentally ill”, mind you, just plain ‘ole homegrown “crazy”) person the OP was dealing with.

Reply

BagLady March 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

A PP’s suggested wording: “Oh, heck, sorry. I didn’t know you were prepaying. I always pay after I fill my cans. Let me see how much I take and I will pay for it inside and make sure you get what you paid for. I apologize for line busting. I didn’t know there was a line.”

Sounds as if that’s what the OP was *trying* to say but the other woman wasn’t willing to hear it.

Since there was nobody actually pumping, it would be reasonable for the OP to assume that the car’s owner was either (a) finished getting her kerosene and was inside paying, or (b) not getting kerosene at all. Cars don’t run on kerosene. If I saw a car parked next to a gas or diesel pump, I’d assume that its owner was fueling up at that pump. At a kerosene pump, not necessarily.

I think it’s way too harsh to accuse OP of stealing. She was getting kerosene that she had every intention of paying for. The prepay woman was still going to get what *she* paid for, regardless of who got to the pump first. If I were in OP’s position, and someone was screaming at me, calling me a thief and worse, in front of her *child*, and refuse to hear my apologies/explanations, I’d just want to finish pumping, pay up and get the hell away from her. Maybe the station attendants were able to get through to her what the OP couldn’t — that this really wasn’t a big deal and she was going to get what she paid for.

Something similar happened to me recently but without the screamer. Most of the gas stations where I live require cash customers to prepay, but there’s one chain that allows you to pay after pumping. That’s where I usually go. Some people do prepay there because they come from places where prepay is universal, so it’s automatic.

I pull out and start pumping, intending to pay afterward. Halfway through pumping I look at the display and notice someone prepaid $10 on my pump! I finished pumping (a little annoyed because I’d planned to get more than $10 worth, but these pumps stop when the prepaid amount is reached).

I went in and told the manager what happened, and she said, “Oh, yeah, (prepay customer) went to a different pump.” So prepay lady paid for my gas with her $10, but I paid for hers with my $10 … the store got its money, we both got our gas, no harm, no foul. But this, boys and girls, is why you should always park at the pump before going in to prepay! (And make note of the pump number so the clerk puts your money on the correct one.)

Reply

Mer March 23, 2013 at 6:00 am

hakayama: Let us say you see someone walking away with your purse/bag from a distance. How will you react? Especially if the thief does not stop walking away when you shout to stop taking your purse or starts to explain that s/he is just taking this few meters ahead. This is not different situation at all. OP was at that point stealing other person’s gas.

Reply

Katie March 23, 2013 at 7:16 am

I’m coming out on the OP’s side here. I don’t see why the following could’t have happened:

Young Woman: Oh, I’ve actually pre-paid at that pump.
OP: Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realise. When I finish I will sort out payment at the cash desk for my fuel.
Young Woman: No worries. When you’ve finished we’ll go in and sort it out.
OP: Great, thanks. Sorry for the mix-up.

I honestly don’t see why that would have been so hard. The OP did *nothing* to suggest that he or she had any intention of not paying or sorting it out. It certainly wasn’t like the OP was attempting to drive off with the ‘stolen’ fuel. And the conversation above is probably what *would* have happened if the young woman hadn’t have come out screaming blue murder.

Reply

Rap March 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

I don’t think the OP was stealing but I don’t think there’s any way that the abusive woman could know that the OP *wasn’t* stealing, which is the point people are trying to make. From the woman’s perspective – she bought some kerosene only to walk out and find someone stealing it. And the OP didn’t make much effort to rectify her perception by continuing to fill the tank and dismissing her. I mean really, in all seriousness, if she *had* called the cops, everyone understands that the cops would have insisted the OP stop pumping and fork over some money, right? It wasn’t intentional on the OP’s part, and wasn’t the OP’s intent, but the OP (to me) seems to be a little overly dismissive of *why* the woman thought the kerosene was being stolen when it seems pretty clear why the woman would think that.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: