Paying (or not!) at the Pump

About 20 after midnight last Saturday, I needed gas. A lot of gas stations were dark, obviously closed. I passed two like that.

I found one with lights on, and pulled up to a pump. Its display was blank—not dark—blank. I looked at the next pump—blank too. Are they closed? Are the lights on for security? I wondered as I drove off.

Next station. The display said, One moment please. This message looked like the usual "I'm checking up on your credit card, you dog" message. Hoping it was stuck from a prior transaction, I beat the Cancel key, to no effect. I slid the card in and it talked about maintenance. Gee, thanks for that clear message there.

Third station. I hopped out, glaring at the display. It looked normal. I put my card in, backward, I realized as I did so. (Mini-rant: why in hell can't they standardize the insertion orientation?) The pump told me it was the wrong way: I re-inserted. It thought for a time, and only then, it said, Pay at the pump is not available, please pay inside.

I swore, marched in and left my credit card at the counter. As I pumped the gas, I said to a friend in the car, they're rebooting the damn computer for the accounting department. Sure enough, as I finished, the display read "Loading    |". The dervish didn't even whirl, the | just sat there. (For those you wondering what I'm talking about, a whirling dervish is the old-school text version of an hourglass windows wait cursor).

How hard is this to get right? Just display the actual status when I walk up, or leave the damn lights off. Don't waste my time.

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Monday, July 22, 2002 (Link)


Posted by Roslee Friday, August 2, 2002 at 11:42 PM

I like to use my atm card to pay for gas. A while back, these pay-at-the-pump's would accept my debit. Lately, they are just a tease and then I end up having to go inside anyway. When I complain to the attendants, they seem surprised, saying that they haven't been aware of the pump not accepting payments. But then, I don't deal with banks, I do my business with a credit union....perhaps that's the catch. They are just big teases!