Have you ever been to a gas station? There’s probably a very high chance your answer is yes. Unless you grew up in a big city, or are a trust fund baby and have been chauffeured everywhere for all of time. I would like to assume that, regardless of how you live your life, you are all at least familiar with what a gas station is and what it does for consumers. If not, it’s in the name. A station for drivers to refuel both their tanks and themselves. Quality in service, cleanliness, and options range greatly depending on the company and location, but that’s not where the pump we’re stopping at today.
Stops to fill up on gas is a necessary evil if you’re going to be operating a vehicle. On long trips it’s about as rewarding and productive as pulling into a rest area. You don’t want to stop, but you know that if you don’t you’re going to have a major problem on your hands. There’s always that fun game of which stall will be clean enough to use, if the vending machine will be operational, or if you’re at risk of seeing a deadly snake (shoutout to Florida). I, for one, hope to never see a deadly snake at a public rest area. Maybe if you didn’t put a massive pond right next to the building it wouldn’t attract the deadly snakes. Also, for the record, I find it hard to believe that a standard chainmail fence is going to prevent the deadly snakes from escaping their … what is it? Cage attempt? Habitat? Doesn’t matter. This is why I only ever fly to Florida.
So that’s the rest area side of driving. No wonder people miss their own bathrooms when they’re gone. On the other side of the forced activities when driving coin, you have gas stations. In theory, this should be a painless experience. Pull in, fill up, park, get some snacks, maybe use the bathroom, and leave. It should take about as long as it took to read that sentence. Easy peasy. I think what wasn’t accounted for in the flow, though, was people. Are we just hard programmed to try and do things against the grain? Or do we just like to piss other people off?
Being blessed to work in a job where I literally have to try and predict all the ways people can use something and prevent unwanted actions, I am constantly amazed. If I give you a bowl of cereal and a spoon, why would you try to eat it with your hand? What was the thought process here? If I give you an input that says ‘Quantity’, why would you try to enter non numeric characters? What is your end goal with that? To not get any of what you want? We live in a world where the SMH feeling is the expectation and gas stations are not resilient.
Gas stations have 3 main components: the pump, the parking lot, and the convenience store. Each serving a specific purpose. When people use one for the purpose of another, it ruins everything. Let’s start with the pump. The pump is for pumping gasoline into your car. It is not a parking space. It is not a cell phone lot. It is not a waiting area. It expires when your pump stops filling your car. It still implicitly follows the rules of traffic flow. In other words if I have the pump on my left, but you’re the oddball with a passenger side tank, don’t pull in facing me. Then both of us are stuck until the other finishes if there’s a line. And there is almost always a line.
To be fair, I blame car companies for this. A passenger side tank makes zero sense. You have to walk all the way around the car. You’re always messing up station traffic flows. Why is this not a standard driver side placement? Anyways … if you have to go into the convenience store, that’s what the parking spaces are for. They aren’t employee only spots. They’re publicly available for you to not block others from getting gas. Don’t be that person. If you aren’t ready to fill up, or if you just finished filling up, get your little behind off the pump so someone else can refuel. If you can drive to a gas station, you can drive into a parking space.
Finally, we have the convenience store! Snacks, drinks, restrooms, a road trippers paradise. I’m not sure at what point in history it was decided that gas stations would carry ALL of the candy, gum, and individually wrapped snack options, but I’m here for it. It’s fun to browse the aisles and get a little pick me up. What’s not so fun is the restrooms. I’m not sure how they get to the point that they do, but I rarely go into an even somewhat clean gas station bathroom. It is a crisis. Especially the ones where you need a key and are on the side of the building. What happens in those? You have to have a key to get in. Why does it look like a family of raccoons have been chilling for years. Maybe because the pump parkers don’t know how to use a public restroom either.
Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!
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