Just wanted to give a quick thanks to everyone at Etiquette Hell for giving me the knowledge of a polite spine… and the courage to use it.
I work at a gas station, and one of the last things I do before closing shop for the night is turn off the lights and pumps themselves for the fueling island. The breaker for these is located in a back room, which you cannot see the pumps themselves from.
Recently while closing up shop and going about my normal duties, I had a confrontation with a man who decided that he didn’t have to abide by store hours to get gas. At some point between when I left the front counter and when I turned off the gas pumps, he pulled into our parking lot and attempted to start pumping gas… and became notably outraged that the pump had been shut off. While I was getting ready to leave, I heard knocking on our front door and went to investigate.
This man demanded that I stop inconveniencing him and turn the fuel pumps back on. I told him that wouldn’t be possible, as once the system is shut off for the night, it takes several minutes to get started again. He tried to claim that I should have checked if anyone was fueling before shutting the pumps off, to which I said that was not possible.
Then he set me up for the perfect polite spine opportunity.
“But I’m on fumes!”
I smiled as sweetly as I could manage and shook my head. “Sorry, sir, but lack of planning on your part is not an emergency on mine. I cannot restart the system once it has been shut down for the night.”
Had he stuck around I would have given him directions to a different gas station not too far away, but that statement made him storm back to his car and leave. Funny, being “on fumes” didn’t stop him from gunning his engine and screeching his tires out of our parking lot.
Since I work closing and not opening, I don’t know how long the system actually takes to start up after being shut down. What I do know is that he obviously had to use a credit card at the pump to get it on in the first place, and our pumps have a safety feature that prevents a credit card from being used outside more than once per day. So, even if I had turned the system back on for him, he wouldn’t have been able to use his credit card to pump gas. And the other thing I know is exactly what I said–his poor planning isn’t my emergency. 1122-15