The Logical Philosopher

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I thought I paid for that...

He was new. Or at least new to me. It made no difference, I still chatted, although came out of the store bereft of my usual slurpee but clutching a receipt for a car wash in its place. I jumped in my car, started the motor and slowly pulled away, with the plan of circling around the lot and then heading over to the wash entrance.

I had not gone a car length when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the New Guy, sprinting towards my car and waving his arms like I was on fire. I’m a helpful guy, I thought. I should stop and see what he needs my assistance with. I rolled down my window to see if I could help, but was on the receiving end of an unexpected accusation.

“Hey! You didn’t pay for your gas.”

I stopped and slowly put the car back into park. “What?” I asked, confused as to what was going on. I had just been accused of theft by the New Guy who had just rung my purchase through.

He paused and took a deep breath. I guess the 10 yard sprint to my car was more of a battle than he expected. “Your fill-up. You didn’t pay.”

I looked at him with some bewilderment. “But I was just inside, I gave you my credit card. You handed it back and I signed it. Isn’t that the point of the transaction? For me to go in to see you, and you to take my money? Didn’t I pay for something?”

“I only charged you for the car wash.”

I looked down at my gas receipt and sure enough, I had been charged for just a car wash. Not only that, he had overcharged me for the car wash! I opted for the strategy of confusion by changing the subject from this whole "you stole some gas" thing. “Hey, you overcharged me for the wash. How come I paid $2.00 extra?”

He simply replied “Because you didn’t buy gas."

At this point all I could envision was Napolean Dynamite closing his eyes, tipping his head back and saying “unnnnnh. Idiot!”

After filling up at the same gas station for the past 5 years, I had become such a regular customer I was even comped a few slurpees now and again. But this New Guy was, well, new, so I figured I would see what I could get away with so I could tell the regulars next week. But my wife was with me so there was no way I could get away with anything.

This is what I wanted to say:

“What, did you think I just parked in front of the gas nozzle so I could go inside and buy a car wash?” As he would be opening his mouth to reply, I would cut him off and continue on. “So let me get this straight. I drive in, fill up and then head into the gas station to pay. I say ‘I would like a car wash with that’ and then you just assume I will request a second transaction to purchasing the gas? I went in and paid. You didn’t charge me for it. I’m not sensing this is my problem… except that you owe me two dollars for the overcharged car wash.”

Instead, this is what I actually said, keeping my inside voice inside of me this time:

"How about this - I'll swing back in after I go through the wash."

He nodded. "Great, much appreciated." then he headed back into the store.

But I couldn't resist and did let one thing slip out. As he walked back into the gas station I yelled after him. "And I want my two dollars!" Johnny the paperboy would have been proud. I'm sure in a way my wife was too...