The Casual Observations of the Human Condition

Caution, politically smarmy.
FEBRUARY 25, 2012 1:13PM

The Afternoon shift Week 25

Rate: 3 Flag



For the past couple of weeks everyone has been on high paranoia watch. Every truck was suspect of being the fuel thieves and anyone who took too long on the lot got a second look. After waiting and watching things finally happened, and luckily for me it was my day off.

When I got to work I heard all about the big bust. Diane and Ann were working when the fuel thieves rolled in, and the owner was hiding just out of site. Sure enough the guys pulled up and prepaid, in cash, and began pumping. Next the boss showed up and went straight to the back room where the monitor is, and then the cops showed up. They caught the guys with the pump opened and running without the meter working. They were arrested and their trucks were impounded. A copy of the video was made and everyone had to fill out a statement. I guess the thieves are being held with a $50,000.00 cash only bond. Hopefully we can all relax again.

Except....the accountant called and wanted to know about a sale on January 29th. Diane called up the history and ran off a receipt and gave the accountant the name and time. A short while later the owner showed up and got another copy of the video, it turns out there were more than just the two thieves.

If you read my last post you will know that on Sunday I had gotten suspicious of some truckers and had Ann call the owner to let him know something was up, but he said they didn't fit the description and we didn't do anything. Well, it turns out I was right and they were stealing fuel. When I went outside, to check the trash (wink wink), they had shut off the pumps but they had gotten a hundred gallons over what they had paid for.  

The owner said they had to have the pumps on before they could bypass the system so that is why they were prepaying. But one of the thieves used a credit card and the boss had rigged a camera right next to the pump. When the owner talked to the DA they said there was enough evidence to prosecute without having to catch the guys red handed so with the receipt and the video, plus the tank reading I had run on Sunday they were going to put out a national warrant for the guys, if they get stopped anywhere they will be arrested on site. I somehow doubt they will be back, for a while at least.

Meanwhile I thought working with Diane could get annoying, she tends to clean and straighten and never gets near a register during the whole shift, well I found it could get worse. Her nephew and niece dropped by tonight and hung around. First off Diane's sister is a thief and a drug addict, and has been to jail on several occasions, so when she is in the building I have to close my register, just to be safe. Second her kids are brats since they don't have a solid family life. I swear the nephew is going to wind up in jail before he's 18 and the niece is turned loose to do as she pleases, and here is where the trouble started.

The niece, who is 2, was screwing around with the computer, pushed some button and crashed the system. The pumps went down and so did the register Diane was working on. Diane messed around until she found out the kid had turned off the power supply, she got lucky that everything came back up and we didn't have any customers at the time. I wasn't going to call the manager. You'd think that would be lesson learned but nooo.

Next the Niece started punching buttons on the safe and they yelled at the kid, but didn't get her out from behind the counter. Then the kid was going to play with the time clock which would have caused big trouble. Then she started punching buttons on the fleet card swipe box, more yelling but no action. Finally they let her play with the calculator, which locked up and it took Diane a while to get it working again. The whole time the nephew was wandering around, I can't say for sure but I thought I saw him pocket something. If this becomes a regular occurrence I may have to have a word with the manager, and I really don't want to do that. Finally, when Diane said she didn't have any money, the sister left and took her two Future Criminals of America with her, things calmed down.

The most interesting customer of the night was a car salesman. He was one his way home after going to a custody hearing, which we got to hear all about. Some guy had a nice Ford truck and the car salesman was trying to talk him into selling it. I was laughing because they were both at least 200 miles from home, how exactly were they going to make a real deal. But it was fun to watch.

The shift ended and I got a phone call, Amy was running late and asked me to stay for a couple of hours. So I hung out and chatted with Steph. I guess the new guy was working out so I don't have to worry about that. Amy called again and she was going to be later than she thought so at midnight I clocked out and clocked back in again, I considered opening my register but Amy swore she was going to come in. At 1 AM she called again but Steph could barely figure out what she said, she was sick and taking cold pills so I figured I was working a double.

Since I was stuck at work I decided to straighten the cooler, it was a bit of a mess. The vendors had shown up earlier in the day and stuff was just tossed wherever it landed, I would have straightened it during the day but first Diane is always off messing with something and I have to watch the register and secondly I leave stuff like that for the night shift since they have the time. I spent about an hour in there and got everything back in shape.

Steph started cleaning so I hung out and ran her register, I never did open the second one back up. A truck started pulling out and for some reason locked up on his breaks. It shook his trailer so hard that it rattled the windows. I had to go outside just to be sure he didn't run over anything or cause any damage. Everything looked clear but darn that was loud.

Around two in the morning the Mississippi Department of Corrections showed up, they were doing a prisoner transfer. Normally when these vans show up they have five or six prisoners and a couple of guards. This time they had one prisoner and two vans, with five guards. They two guys that came in said he was a serious killer, a gorilla killer is what they called him and the wanted to know if Steph wanted to go out and take a look. She said no. They used the restroom and then went outside, the the other two guards came in. The one guy was wide but the other guy was at least6'5" tall and lanky, and spooky. I noticed the really big gun strapped to his hip and the Marines ring on his hand, this guy was ex special forces, you could just tell. He had one job on this trip, if the prisoner tried to escape, shoot him dead, not wounded or try to catch him, put a couple of bullets into him and make sure he was dead, you could just tell. This prisoners next stop was a super max jail where he would never  walk out alive. I was glad when they left.

Finally the sun came up, the morning shift showed up and wanted to know why I was still there. I told them the story of Amy and then I went home to get some sleep. In 8 hours I have to come back and do it all over again, oh boy.

Found money 15 cents, a 1955 niclke and a 1963 penny that looked like it just came out of the mint, it was shiny and there was no wear on it at all. I had to wonder where it had been for the past 48 years.


I feel like I was just here. I got about 6 hours of sleep and crawled out of bed, cleaned up and ate and then went to work. I hate pulling doubles at the first of the week. And it's trying to snow, it's going to be a long day.

 I walked into work, counted in the drawer and a bus load of high school kids rolled in, I was off and running. By the time I got them all cleared out I realized I never clocked in, I had worked for a half hour for free. Oh well I figured I would goof off to make up the time later. 

I had to laugh because two customers came in and I knew I recognized them, they had been on their way to Denver last night and were now on a return trip. Then another guy came in, who I had seen the night before. He had gone to pick up a car and was on his way home too. It's not unusual to see the same customer twice when you work a double but two sets of different customers? That's a rare event.

Two truck drivers came in and they were clearly from Africa, based upon facial features and their accent. Plus when they talked to each other in their native tounge it left no doubt in my mind. They used a fleet card so along with their truck information I also had to get their drivers licence number. After they were done Diane and V, who was hanging around for some reason, wanted to know where they were from, I said I didn't know. They asked, "well where was their drivers license from" and I answered "Montana." I had to laugh because the guys obviously were U.S. citizens now and hadn't driven here from their home nation. I'm still laughing about that one. 

Before Diane disappeared on her clean-a-thon I went in and worked on the cooler. Even though I had straightened it the night before more product had come in and again it was just piled everywhere. I figured if Amy was sick she wasn't going to be able to tackle it and Steph will stock the racks but she won't straighten the storage shelves. Plus I needed to stay awake today, working all night last night was making me drag today. With that done I returned to the counter and Diane disappeared with her mop and bucket.

Some guy came in and he was being a little loud, but not totally obnoxious so I let it pass. About a half hour later I was straightening around the counter and there was his wallet, he had set it on the counter just out of my site and left it there. From the way he and his girlfriend were talking they were heading somewhere, I hope it wasn't a long trip because it was stuffed with his credit cards and ID. I had to wonder if he was a local so I asked Diane if she knew him and ironically she did and even had his number, but she had left her cell phone at home. She called her nephew who gave her the number, she called the guy and it turned out he had just gone to Wal-Mart and was glad we found the wallet. When he came in to pick it up Diane gave him a bit of a hard time and made him describe it before she handed it to him, even though we had gotten his name from his ID.

The next customer came in and wanted a pack of cigarettes. Since I was working the second register I had to walk down to the end of the counter to get them and then came back. Even though the guy had gone through the full name, Marlboro 100's Gold pack he forgot one thing, he wanted soft pack and I had grabbed the hard pack. So I had to go back and get the other cigarettes, he must have been able to tell that I wasn't happy about this because he paid and left as quickly as possible. I wasn't really mad I just had to wonder why he went through the whole name of what he wanted and didn't say "soft pack"? Oh well...

Ten O'clock rolled around and I was ready to go home, then the phone rang. Tonight it wasn't Amy but Steph who wanted to know if I would stick around for a couple of hours. It seems she had covered for Amy at their other job and wanted to get a little extra  sleep. I told her I would stay, I figured that since I was taking time off next week I needed to make up some of the hours this week plus I would already be into overtime so why not pick up a few extra bucks. Amy showed up and told me she had planned to come in the night before but after the last phone call she had laid down for just a minute and woke up at 8 in the morning. I told her I don't mind working for her in an emergency.

 Some guy showed up and claimed the pump had ripped him off, the company offers a three cent discount on cash payments. I pointed out that since he had prepayed the pump automatically ran at the lower rate but he kept going on about 6 times 9, where he got the numbers is beyond me. I then ran off a receipt and showed him exactly how much he had paid and where the pump had discounted his sale but he pretty much called me a thief. This was a bad thing to do when I was sleep deprived so as he stormed out the door I said "have a nice night Asshole!" Sometimes you just gotta curse. I watched him as he angrily threw some trash in the can outside and then got in his car and drove off. I doubt he will be back.

Steph showed up at midnight and I went home, I really need the sleep now. Oh well, I am taking time off next week so I will make up for the extra work now.

Found money 11 cents.


After a good nine hours of sleep I feel a lot more rested and probably won't be cursing at anyone today, although I don't make any promises.

When I got to work I looked at my time card and I hadn't clocked out the night before, although I swore I had. I told the manager so she just checked when Steph came in and wrote that time on my card. I think that time clock doesn't like me because this isn't the first time I swore I clocked out but hadn't. It was trying to snow but it wasn't putting forward much effort, although I guess it was a raging blizzard up in Denver. Oh well, I don't care what it does this week as long as next Thursday is clear.

Ann took the day off because something was going on with her kids so it's just Diane and me, yea. This means that on the busiest day of the week Diane would be off on one of her super cleans and I would be stuck behind the register. Oh well.

Grrrr, want to make a gas station worker mad? Just kick off the ice from under your car right at the pump. It doesn't go anywhere and is in the way of other customers so we have to go out in the cold an scrape it off. Or it gets squished down by other drivers and then we have to sweep up the cinders and the mud that builds up after the ice melts. If you must kick off the ice please pull off to the side out of the way and do it, but don't do it at the pumps!

So the guy who had come in for a pack of smokes and after I walked down to the end of the counter and back he then said he wanted a soft pack, remember? Well he came in again tonight and after he went through the full name of the cigarettes he remembered to add "soft" even though I won't forget him in the future. I just smiled because it was funny.

Ann was out running around, so she and the kids dropped by for a soda. She was telling us that the DA had dropped by her office, she works for the parole department, and had her look at the videos of the gas thieves. She identified the one guy who had used the card and had to fill out another complaint. Did I mention I was glad they caught the guys while I was off?

A funny thing did happen, there is a UPS driver that stops in every week day. He washes his windows and tosses his trash and then leaves, we don't mind because we do plenty of business with the company. Well on days when Ann is working he comes in and hangs out for about an hour but on days when she isn't there he just leaves after his windows are clean. Well she was in the building so he came in. He went straight to the restroom and while he was in there Ann left, her and the kids were heading somewhere. When he came out he looked around and the disappointment on his face was priceless. He didn't stick around but left right away. Diane and I laughed. 

It got cold, when I checked the thermometer outside it said 28 f. I checked because a couple came in and they were both wearing shorts. It may have been warm where they left from but they should have checked the weather before they got dressed. I was chuckling because they were shivering and complaining. Hopefully it was lesson learned for them.

When you use a debit card you run it through the swipe and then you have to push the yes button to say you agree to pay the charges. Most places don't do this so I spend the majority of the night telling people to push the green button first. You wouldn't believe how many people then ask "The Green Button?" "Yes, the green button, just like I said, the only green button on the swipe machine, just like the display screen on the machine says, Push The Green Button!" It's not rocket science people.

I did have a laugh at one customer. He was bobbing his head up and down like he was listening to music. The thing was he wasn't wearing any ear buds. Whatever he was listening to was strictly in his mind. At least he was enjoying it.

The next customer was a truck driver from India. He wanted so popcorn and we had just cleaned out the machine so I gave him the bag of extra. He wanted to know how much he owed and I told him no charge, since it was going to just get tossed anyhow. I never saw anyone so happy at getting old popcorn in my life.

Both Amy and Steph showed up, and on time so I clocked out and went home. I was still dragging a little from working a double earlier that week and needed the rest. Just a few more days and then my mini vacation.

Found money, 70 cents.


Another cold and windy day.

The night started off with a driver trying to use a fleet check. I hate these things because you have to get authorization by punching all the information in on the card machine. I had to punch in the express code, then the drivers name using the alpha/numerical keys, then the check number, the amount of the check and his information. After I got the whole thing done it told me the express code was wrong. I tried it again and got the same message so I checked with the driver. He had transposed two numbers so I had to punch the whole thing in again and then it wanted his trailer number so I had to punch the whole thing in for the fourth time. I hate that machine. It finally went through and I was done with it.

Two stoners rolled in and bought $40 worth of junk food. Just say no kids.

Since there is bad weather all around us and there are no holidays right now it has been slow. Just when I thought I would be able to clock out and enjoy my two days off the phone rang, Steph had caught Amy's cold and was sick, so I said I would work for her. Great, my second double of the week.


Amy had taken the night off because she was still sick and Steph had caught her cold so she was taking the night off too so it was just Brent and me. I had never worked with him so I wasn't sure what to expect. I just hope he has learned everything because I hate trying to teach people how to do stuff, even though everybody says I'm really good at it.

The night was really slow, Brent insisted on doing all the work but I still went in and stocked the cooler. Since I had cleaned and straightened it during the week it only took around 20 minutes. Then I broke down the cappuccino machine and washed and cleaned it. Brent stocked and cleaned the restrooms so I didn't mind that. And we chatted about working the graveyard and his other job.

Brent works at a pizza place and Sunday was The Big Game, Superbowl. I asked if they pre set up a bunch of pizzas that they would just throw on some toppings and toss them in the oven so they could send them out right away. He said he wanted to do that but the manager wouldn't let him, everything had to wait until the customer ordered them. I guess some people don't like to prepare in advance.

A truck driver came in and complained that he had been harassed by the DOT. They told him one of his tires was two pounds under inflated. They told him the cars he was hauling hung off the back "6 too much and he needed a wide load placard. They threatened to fine him heavily if he didn't fix these things. I asked him if the officer was a short guy and he said yes. I told him everybody hated that guy and wished they would transfer him somewhere else because he had the "short man" syndrome, he was trying to make up for his height by being a pain in everyone elses ass. The driver aired up his tire and was on his way.

The next truck driver came in with his wife. She went to the restroom and he quietly asked for a can of chewing tobacco. During the entire purchase he kept looking over his shoulder to make sure he wasn't caught. I figured he promised to give the stuff up but was still sneaking a pinch when he could. He paid and then quickly headed outside, probably to hide the can in his secret stash. Oh well, what she doesn't know isn't any of my business.  

Finally the night ended, my second double of the week and I went home I would once again be trying to catch a couple of hours of sleep before I had to come back in the afternoon. But I had plans for the day so we will see how things work out.

Found money 56 cents and a 1957 penny 

2/5  Super Bowl Sunday!

Yea, I get to work on the biggest unofficial holiday in the US, but I have a plan. Originally I was going to bring in a better radio since the one at the station is pretty beat up and has to be in just the right position with nobody parked in the wrong position on the lot in order to pick up the right station. Ann told me she can still pick up a few station on her old analog TV and I just happen to have a portable one. I tested the TV at home before I left and sure enough, the one station I can get is the one the Super Bowl is being broadcast on. So I will get to watch the game while getting paid to work!

I get to work and what's the first thing I see? Two guys smoking, right next to the propane tanks. Boy are they a couple of smart ones. Thank goodness none of the tanks were leaking so I still had a place to go to work.

I had a couple of hours before the game started so I figured I would rush to get all the side work done and then I wouldn't feel like a total slacker. Sure enough, a couple and their kids come in and they are hanging around, and hanging around, and hanging around. I wanted to scream at them "Hurry up! Just get something and get out!" but I didn't. They finally left and I got started, right until the next group of people came in,the tag teamers had arrived.  Oh well, there's always half time. 

An old beat up car with a plastic bag for a side window and a couple of spare tires jammed into the back seat pulled onto the lot. I watched them try to use their card at the pump several times and I wasn't surprised that it got rejected. I figured they would come in and try to just leave the card and fill up but I was going to insist on a prepay, not to stereotype but they looked like they didn't have the money. I was pretty happy when they just drove off, I hate dealing with situations like that.

Then it was kick off time and everything just died off. We had maybe three customers during the first half. One guy came in and asked what the score was and watched part of the game while his girlfriend went to the restroom. I figured she was just a girlfriend because no married guy would say "Sure I want to go visit your mother this weekend, it's just a game and I can catch the replays later." He looked disappointed as they headed back out to the car, poor guy.  Also that was the excuse I was using for watching the game, customer relations, I had to be able to update people instantly.

Halftime rolled around and I was ready to do some work, and then another group of people rolled in. They hovered around the drinks area just as I was going to fill up the ice hoppers on the soda machines. They wandered around the aisles and finally paid for their stuff, just as another group came in. Sure enough just around kick off for the second half everyone left. Did they time this out?

Thankfully nobody came in during the last few minutes of the game. I would have had to tell them, "I'll be with you in a minute, I have to see how this play turns out." Luckily we were pretty slow so I got to see the entire game. As soon as it was over I rushed to get everything done. I finished out the night by trying to count the cigarettes and sure enough, this is when people showed up. I managed to get the count done and wait on customers and then the night shift came in. It had been a long week and I was looking forward to the next couple of days off so I clocked out and left as quickly as possible, and remembered to take my TV. Tomorrow I will start getting ready for my trip.

A slow day so no money found. 




Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Your writing talent shows through as you make each moment of the afternoon shift come alive.
rated with love
What you wrote about the convict and his escorts was fascinating and chilling.

I'm glad you got to watch the Superbowl.