Gas Stations: Behind the Counter



Illustration of cashier checking out a customer.

Working at a gas station is not all sunshine and rainbows, I assure you. For a little blink of insight, we have guns under the counter for our protection if needed.

Let’s just say, get ready for a crazy ride from an experienced cashier. . . 


I clock in early as usual. I was not supposed to be here for another fourteen minutes, but my anxiety will not let me be late. EVER. 

“Oh, hey Linda. Yes, I am working tonight. Your total is nine fifty-nine. Have a good day.” Normal conversations with our regulars. 


First shift gets ready to leave. “Y’all have a good night!” says one of my coworkers, the sweetest in my opinion. She tries her best to make any person who encounters her smile. I would say I look up to her hospitality.

Me and my coworkers reply, “We’ll try.” Which seems to not always be the case.

It really was not this night.


Oh, here comes Aaron

Aaron is a, let’s say, “interesting fellow”. He tends to talk to himself as he goes straight to the beer section. This “interesting fellow” always takes 15 straws with him along with his 6 single beers because they’re “cheaper that way” he says.

He inserts his card. I wish he would just shut u- “YOU FORGOT TO REMIND ME TO GET A PACK OF WRAPS!” says Aaron. 

I ask him to remove his card and he says, “Oh, y’all gone charge me twice.” I have to assure him that that is not the case here and if he presses cancel, we can add his precious wraps. 

And mind you, this happens every day.


A storm is brewing outside. This can cause our registers and gas pumps to run at a slower place. 

An older white “gentleman” walks in.

“Can you tell me what the hell is wrong with your pumps? This is ridiculous.”

I try to reassure him that his card is reading on my side and that the storm is causing the pumps to run a little slower than usual.

“Well cancel it, I will take my business somewhere else.”

I put my “customer service” face on and apologize (for something I cannot control mind you) and tell him to have a good day.

He scuffs and asks for a receipt to assure that his card was not charged.


We tend to clean our lobby floors around this time. The tables are cleaned off and the floors are swept and mopped. We also have a place in the back for customers to get minnows and buy fishing gear in this lobby.

While I am mopping the floors, I see a few young men walk my way and step over my wet floor signs. I look at them with a side eye (you know the eye that your momma gives you when you talk in church) and they, what seems like to me, look me dead in my eyes and continue to walk on my wet floor.

I want to ask them who raised them and ask if they would walk on their mom’s wet floor, but I must keep my “customer service” voice and ask if they need help. 

They say that they are just looking. 

They track my floor up with their muddy rain boots then proceed to walk back to the front door to leave without buying anything. . . 

Oh, this makes me angry.


The floor of the lobby gets mopped again and dries.


I go to the register to check more people out.

Oh, here comes the guy that’s married and always flirts with me.

“Hey Daniel. How are you?”

“Better now.” He smirks.

I laugh and brush it off because I must keep the “customer service” attitude and ask what I can get him.

“A date with you sweetheart.” He winks.

“Ah-ha you’re funny, but I have a boyfriend, Daniel.”

“Oh, I know. Can I get four pizza sticks and a pack of cigs. You know the kind I like.”

I grab the stuff he needs, and he inserts his card.

His receipt prints and I ask him, “Do you need a receipt?”

“Only if it has your number on it.”

I ball the receipt up and throw it away so maybe he will get the message.

(He continues to act this way every time he comes in.)

I put my “customer service” face on and apologize (for something I cannot control mind you) and tell him to have a good day.


We clean the bathrooms at 7:00 sharp every night. (It gives us a break from the working customers who get off at 5 and the party people who start coming in at 8.)

The floors are mopped, and we have a sign that states, “Bathrooms are temporarily closed” with a fan in front of the doorway to dry them quicker.

We see a woman walk that way and we tell her, “The bathrooms are closed right now. The floors are drying, but it shouldn’t take long.”

“I’m ‘bout to piss on myself if I don’t go in right now.”

She proceeds to walk over the sign and fan.


Here Come the Crazy: 8:15

The customer we all dread calls to order a pizza.

A thin meal lover with banana peppers, as usual.

We all mentally prepare for this customer to come in, but really you never can be.


He hasn’t come to get his pizza order yet.


Still no sign of him.


Here he comes through the door.

“Where my pizza at? And it better be fresh.”

I try to explain to him that he called and placed his order over an hour ago, but he will not listen and tells me to go get it.

I put on my gloves and bring him the pizza.

“Let me see it before I buy it.”

Mind you, it is not his before he pays for it, so I go to open it, with my gloves on, for him since it is still on my side of the counter.

He SLAPS my hand and proceeds to say “Don’t touch my pizza. TF wrong with you?”

I sit his pizza down and break character.

“You do NOT put your hands on me. LEAVE.”

He acts like he has done nothing wrong, but my coworkers tell him to leave.

We all mentally prepare for this customer to come in, but really you never can be.


The overnight workers come in the door, and I am fuming. They ask me what’s wrong, so I explain the situation to them.


He walks in.

“Aye let me get a jazz black.”

The overnight shift lady looks at him and tells him that he is no longer allowed in this store and to leave.

He doesn’t even remember what happened.

I tell my boss about this the next day, and he tells me he sees my concern.

The Next Day

I walk in and the other workers are talking. They say, “Hey, dude came in to apologize to you and to our boss.”

Uh huh.

After. . .

The guy shows up later to tell me that I am not God, therefore he did not need to apologize to me or anyone.

Now, every day after that, he seems to not remember slapping me or anything that happened.

He says, “Why would I hit you darling, you’re so sweet. I’d never do that to a female.”

In conclusion. . .  

Again, working as a cashier is not all sunshine and rainbows.