Many of you know how much I love coupons. I don’t let them run my life, but I often have one handy! Yesterday I saw a “cheap” diesel price ($2.69) at a Speedway I rarely frequent. I also have monthly dollar-off coupons from my Entertainment Book to be used at Speedway. I should point out I haven’t used any in the book so far this year because they’re such a pain and so is Speedway.
Anyway, I had enough time to deal with going inside to prepay so I could use the coupon. As soon as I get out of the car, a guy at a pickup truck at Pump 3 says, “How _you_ doing today?” I ignored him, but then he asked if he could pump my gas for me. I cheerily said, “Nope!” I did attempt a thank you. (For the record, the last time I went to a Speedway I was cat-called, so maybe being there makes you look easy?)
I went inside and they took my license and credit card to allow a fill-up. I get back to Pump 2 and just cannot get it going. It’s flashing odd numbers and timing out, and after hanging up the hose several times and trying again, noting that the diesel selection button and price are not properly seated in the pump in the first place, I declare it not working. Then a guy from AAA motor service steps in to “help” and announces that I’m using the diesel nozzle. I politely let him know that I intended to use that one and the pump is actually not working. This begins a conversation about what kind of car it is, etc…
I go get the cashier and she comes out, banging on the pump repeatedly while having me try the whole process over again. She says the pumps are old and have problems, so she ends up sending me to Pump 1 after smacking Pump 2 didn’t help.
As I’m pumping successfully at Pump 1, another guy in another pickup truck at Pump 3 comes over and starts a conversation about how he’s never seen a diesel in that kind of car, etc… I finish talking to him about mileage and he leaves, but then a bum walks up and asks for fifty cents to get a White Castle (next door). After telling him I didn’t have any cash, for some reason I go on to say those things are bad for you and you shouldn’t eat them, which was probably ridiculous. He pointed out he could get a burger for fifty cents there and I allowed as how that was a good deal. Then I decided I’d give him some change since I figured he needed the money more than I did and he went on to tell me about his various ailments that kept him from working.
Meanwhile I notice some guys in ANOTHER pickup at Pump 2, and I let them know that the diesel isn’t working, so they decide to wait for me to finish. I go inside and the cashier demands a Speedy Rewards card, which I don’t have, so she asks the person behind me in line (no) and the person behind her (yes), and she scans the stranger’s card. I thought maybe I needed the card to use the coupon but she said it was for the five cent discount on the gas. Then I get a polite lecture on the virtues of the Speedy Rewards card and how I could have earned 111 points. I got talking to the lady who provided the card and she was happy to have my points. I thought I was happy to have a discount but later determined it doesn’t apply to diesel, which is probably why I never got a card in the first place.
I get back outside and the other diesel guys are already pumping buckets of diesel (literally) next to my car. One of them asks if my XM unit is a navigation system or satellite radio, so I tell him, and then I hear all about his new something-or-other system in his car. I didn’t really pay attention.
I drove away thinking I had just spoken to more people at one fuel stop than I often see at my desk at work in a day. My net profit: 25¢ after my $1 coupon and giving the bum 75¢. For a frugal introvert, it wasn’t worth it. I had to interact with an awful lot of strangers for a quarter. And this is why I always use pay-at-the-pump, folks.
But I got 45mpg!