The Casual Observations of the Human Condition

Caution, politically smarmy.
FEBRUARY 7, 2012 3:52PM

After Dark Week 23

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Ah, a day off. Last week I did a stupid thing, I looked up hotel and air fair rates to Vegas. Then I talked to Amy and Steph to see if they would cover a couple of days for me. I also talked to the manager and got a Friday off and I chatted with V on the morning shift, she has been talking about quitting and moving to Wyoming and that would shuffle the schedule, and my days off. Once I was sure everything was covered I went ahead and today I booked a trip to Vegas! I will leave on Thursday and come back on Monday. Reservations are made, money is spent and hopefully everyone behaves until after my trip.

Other than that I didn't do much this weekend. I did take my mother to Wal Mart, it's been about a month and ironically enough went to a Chinese restaurant for Chinese New Year. It was a good way to spend the weekend. I don't want to go to work on Monday. 


When you walk into work and the first thing someone says is "Oh, you didn't hear what happened?"  you know it's going to be an interesting story. And it was.

It seems on Sunday a guy came in and wanted to cash a check. P has done this in the past and the manager has told her, do not cash checks! There was even a note over the time card. Well P went to do it for the guy.

Now this wasn't an ordinary check, it was a fleet check that truck drivers use. It had to be authorized and it wasn't until after P did this that she remembered she wasn't allowed to cash checks so she told the guy she couldn't give him any money. I guess he got angry and told her that the check had been authorized for this station only and he couldn't cash it anywhere else. He got rather loud and P took off, leaving A to deal with him, and she didn't have any idea what was going on. The next thing A knew the cops showed up and wanted to know what the disturbance was about. It seems P had called them on her way out the door, and she was still nowhere to be seen. Finally everything got cleared up, I don't know what the guy did about the check but as long as he had an authorization number he could cash the check anywhere including a bank, and the cops left. P returned, it turns out she was hiding behind a semi trailer out on the lot. But that wasn't the end of the story.

During the whole mess P had tried to call the owner on his cell phone. He had gotten so tired of her constant calls over stupid stuff that he had her number go straight to his voice mail. When she couldn't get through she left him a message, a profanity laced message about him not answering his phone. I almost wish I had seen the show. Nobody knows what's going to happen now.

Amy was bored so she decided to wash down the racks and it turns out it was a good thing we were doing stuff. Around midnight the owner walked in to get a cup of coffee. I commented that he was there rather late and he says he has to tell me something but I can't tell anyone, not even the manager. I began to get kind of nervous because I don't like keeping secrets. He wanted to talk outside so I told Amy and he and I headed out.

About three months ago the owner decided he wanted tank readings at the start and end of every shift. I was kind of worried because I figured they were monitoring fuels sales in order to decide if they wanted to stay open all night. I had just lost one job and I wasn't ready to lose another. But nothing was said and nothing seemed to change.

Around Thanksgiving they got a new security camera system. The box was in the back room for a few days and then it was gone. I figured they wanted it for the downtown station since they had a string of break ins but nothing was said and I didn't think anything more about it. Tonight questions were answered.

It seems someone had figured out how to bypass the computer on the diesel pumps and was stealing fuel. At first the owner thought it was a tank leak so they started having us run the reports but they soon found it seemed to occur around the same time, every Monday or Tuesday. They got the new camera system and watched the pumps, and discovered that two semi drivers were breaking into the pumps and stealing fuel. Even then the owners didn't tell anyone because they weren't sure if one of the employees were accomplices and were bypassing the system from inside. Now they knew, the guys were operating on their own, nobody was aware they were doing it and the owner was on stake out.

The owner described the trucks and asked me to keep an eye out, and to not tell anyone else. Great, I knew a secret he wasn't even sharing with the manager and was going to be on edge all night. What if they turned up? What if they had guns? I didn't tell Amy what was going on but I did tell her that if anything happened that night to head straight to the office and lock the door until the police came in the building. I hope they don't show up on my shift.

Compared to the going's on in the station the customers seemed pretty tame, even the guy who had to ask everyone who came through the door what they were doing and where they were going. Did I mention he was wearing PJ's. I kept thinking of Jerry Lewis.

The morning rolled around and nothing bad happened. I didn't tell the manager about the owner's midnight visit and hopefully she will find out by the end of the day. What a way to start a week.

Found money 18 cents.


When I got to work the owner dropped by, he decided to let everyone know what was going on. He had a couple of photos off the new security cameras of the trucks and the two drivers. He said they had come through on the 16th but I didn't remember them at all. It's possible that they were in the building at the time I was straightening the cooler but I tend to forget people as quickly as they walk out the door. I told the owner it wasn't unusual to have trucks linger on the lot for a long time but if someone was acting odd I would go check the outside trashes, he figured that was a good plan.

The owner also told us about getting the call from P, boy was he mad. He told us he had saved the call and that was enough, she was out of here. Great, just as I make plans they fire someone and now my trip is up in the air. Well I guess if I do end up on the afternoon shift I will scramble to see if I can get someone to cover my days since I won't have weekends off anymore. 

For the rest of the night Amy and I were on edge and when a truck that fit the description rolled up and parked we were ready for action. Amy was going to be standing by on the phone while I went outside to make sure they weren't running the pumps without being authorized. Then the guy walked into the building, he was a regular and I knew he wasn't one of the thieves. Boy if they don't catch these guys soon I'm going to be a nervous wreck.

Otherwise it was a slow night, customer wise. Some guy came in and wanted a bag of ice, since the freezer broke down we have to bag it from the ice maker. Amy volunteered to bag the ice and while she was doing that the guy went to the restroom. When she came out of the back room she had that "where did he go" look on her face. I said, "Oh, there was a bag in the ice cream freezer so he took that instead". She was about to get angry at me for making her bag up ice when the guy turned the corner. Then she was twice as mad at me for pulling a joke on her. Well I was laughing.

When the manager showed up I kind of waited to see if she was going to say something about P getting fired but she didn't tell me anything about it. Wednesday is P's first day of the week so I figured that maybe they were waiting until Friday or maybe they wanted to train someone during the day before moving them to the night shift, since Steph was new on the job herself. Either way if I got passed over for an afternoon job again, like they did the last time, I was going to be pissed. Oh well, wait and see.

Found money 10 cents, a 1941 nickle and a 1950 penny.


I had trouble falling asleep when I got home but I finally drifted off around 10 in the morning. At two the phone rang and it's a good thing I got up to answer it. It seems when P showed up her time card was gone and since it was payday they had put her "pink slip" in with her final check. The only thing the owner had forgotten to do was tell the manager, who was not happy since it seemed everyone else knew P was on her way out, and I had found out about the gas thieves first. Oh well, I'M ON DAYLIGHT HOURS!!!!!

So I jumped out of bed, got ready as quickly as possible and made it to work by 2:45.  The manager had hung around so she told me all about how P had come in, looked for her card and then opened her check. I expected there to be fireworks but instead she had just walked out. I almost wish I had known for certain because Amy wanted to come by and say "Oh did you get fired? I'm so sorry." in the same tone P had used when she almost got Amy fired. Oh well P is gone and things should improve in general.

The owner came by on his way home and he was pissed. It seems that the diesel thieves had struck again, on Tuesday. He had just told the afternoon crew to be on the lookout and even showed them the same security photos he had shown us. The thing was that the trucks looked different so the afternoon crew hadn't suspected them and they knew the guys, they are regulars and were chatting while their accomplice was filling up the trucks. The good news is we now know exactly who to look for but the bad news is they got another 500 gallons of fuel. We are really on high alert now.

P dropped by a few hours later. She had a barrel outside in which she was putting aluminum cans and she came to pick it up. The problem with her recycling program was she would spend an hour picking through the trash cans and would get trash all over the lot, which I then had to go pick up. With the barrel gone I get the feeling we have seen the last of P, and she didn't even come inside to say goodbye.

The afternoon was extra slow. The fact that I had only got 4 hours of sleep plus being able to see the shadows shift as time went by made the day just drag. Also I am back working with Diane and she was off on one of her super cleanings. I hope V is telling the truth about moving to Wyoming so I can move up to the morning shift quickly.

And now I also have to find someone to cover my shift when I go to Vegas. I booked a trip for Thursday through Monday, which had originally been covered but now I am off on Monday and Tuesday so I have to find someone to cover Thursday and the weekend, Friday is a free day since there are three people on shift and it doesn't matter if I'm not there. Diane said she would take the weekend shift so that just leaves Thursday so I will see if either V or the morning shift woman will work it for me, they are both always looking for extra cash. Things are looking up.

Since Brent, yes they had been considering a real guy named Brent for the graveyard shift and the manager hadn't made up the name, was going to start tonight I figured I would clean the lot and stock the cooler before I left. That way Steph, who was going to have to train him, would be able to hang out behind the counter and not worry about leaving him alone. When I came out of the cooler I was surprised to see the manager there, she had come by to get Brent to sign his paperwork, give him his pass code for the register and the safe and to stick around and show him the basics. When he showed up they didn't need me so I left, I was pretty tired so I was glad to get out early. Ah, for the first time in 6 months I will get to sleep all night.

Found money none, it seems tourists are more awake during the day and less likely to drop coins or drive off without their change. And thus ends my odyssey on the graveyard shift. 

Coming next, working the daylight hours. 


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Wow Things finally changed for you! Amazing story you have spun here. I would send it to Hollywood and see what they could do with it. If you rewrote it all with just a little nudge at making the truth a bit more imaginative you would have a great American novel.
Yess! I can't wait to read about your new shift! And also, I hope it all works out for your Vegas trip - and when it comes to catching the fuel thieves. I had no idea big trucks would just blatantly stay in a gas station parking lot and steal fuel!
Wow.. these truck guys do sound nutty so hope you do not get into trouble.
hope you get the Vegas trip on the way.
Really looking forward to a post describing your adventures in Vegas. I certainly enjoy your writing style. Keep it coming.
Be careful if you go confront the bad-guys! And have a great time in Vegas! :)