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  • Anecdotes: The Gas Station Guy

    Posted by Jonathan on April 28th, 2019 (All posts by )

    During bike rides I sometimes stop for refreshment at a particular gas station/convenience store. It is a busy station at a busy intersection – very convenient. The station is usually attended by one of two late-middle-aged taciturn Indian guys. I assume they are related to each other. One of them barely acknowledges me. The second one was like that too until maybe a year ago but now greets me warmly. The second guy is the topic of this post.

    At some point I noticed that the second guy sometimes makes errors, generally favoring himself, in ringing up the snacks I buy. Several times he’s shortchanged me by small amounts. Of course he corrects the errors when I point them out. One weekend I realized that I had paid ~$6 for two items that were priced at around $2 each. It was too late to do anything, but the same thing happened again a week or two later and I called him on it. Ah, another mistake – he corrected the charge.

    This morning I experienced the most refined version of his game yet. I hadn’t eaten breakfast so I took a piece of cake, a bottle of Gatorade and a small bag of mixed nuts to the register. The total should have been around $6 but it rang up at more than $8. I paid with a credit card and asked for a receipt – he doesn’t give a receipt unless you ask – and mentioned that the total seemed high. He said that the price included two bottles of Gatorade in a two-for-$4 deal and that I should take my second bottle. Why did he wait to tell me this until I requested a receipt? I walked back to the Gatorade rack and the price was listed as $2.67 each, as I remembered. I said that I wanted just one bottle of Gatorade as I had no way to carry a second bottle. Very quickly he refunded, in cash and without further prompting, my $2 overpayment. Slick. I wonder how much he takes in over time through overcharges that customers don’t notice. It’s a busy store.

    The upshot is that I stopped at the gas station again later, on my way back, and bought another Gatorade. The gas station guy greeted me warmly and said that if I had paid for two Gatorades earlier I could be picking up the second one now and saving $1.34. I thanked him for his consideration.


    8 Responses to “Anecdotes: The Gas Station Guy”

    1. Gerard vanderleun Says:

      Alas, the Indians are famous for being small time retail cheats.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      He’s crooked with occasional pangs of honesty?

    3. Jonathan Says:

      I like to think of him as warmly dishonest.

    4. Christopher B Says:

      I’d have found another stop.

    5. Dan from Madison Says:

      I would stop there if it was on the way just to play the game. You might be able to do the reverse con – say “hey I think you charged me $3 too much” when you know in reality he only charged you $2 too much. If he is that polite he might over refund you and then ‘it’s on like donkey kong’.

      Imagine what his sales and use taxes look like – I say, and chuckle to myself, as if he would ever get audited.

    6. Mike K Says:

      Has anybody told Joe Biden about this ? He speaks Indian.

    7. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

      Similar things happen in London – and not from Indians.

    8. Mike K Says:

      Similar things happen in London – and not from Indians.

      I was cheated on a subway ticket in Madrid about ten years ago. I realized it and talked to the agent when I got back to that station and she refunded the overcharge. I like Spain.