Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Morning at Casey's

  When you drive over a hundred miles a day to go to and from work, you find yourself buying a lot of gas. If I don’t have a chess tournament I fill up my car on Wednesday night in Des Moines and Saturday morning in Marshalltown, but the Thanksgiving weekend upset my timing a bit and I ended up needing gas this morning so on my way out of town I stopped at the Casey’s convenience store to fill up my tank. It was 6:45 when I got to the store. I swiped my credit card at the pump and filled up my tank in 3 minutes.

I filled up my tank with 8.8 gallons of my 10 gallon tank. You can see the "FREE" sign, but on closer inspection... need to buy 10 gallons of gas to get a free soda in 15 degree weather.

  While I was waiting, I saw a card on the gas pump letting me know that Casey’s is giving away either a Vault or Mello Yello soda with a gas fill-up. I didn’t really want a soda in the 15 degree cold and even if I did, a Mountain Dew knock-off wouldn’t be my first choice, but the price was right. But then I noticed the ‘fine print’: 10 gallon minimum. My gas tank only holds 10 gallons so I was out of luck. The only way I could ever get the free soda was if I ran out of gas, pushed my car to the Casey’s and then filled my tank with gas.

  The gas pump at Casey’s didn’t give me my receipt, so I had to go in to the store to have them print it up. Since I had to go in and wasn’t getting a free soda, I decided to get a coffee using my refill cup (75 cents instead of a dollar and a quarter) while I got my receipt. There was only one person in line. He was a fat guy with a pair of overalls covering his dirty Iowa Hawkeye sweater and was getting a can of chewing tobacco. My coffee cup had a half cup of frozen coffee in it so I had to go into the men’s room to put some hot water in the cup and scrape the icy coffee out of my cup with my pocket knife. It only took a minute and I had my coffee poured and was ready to pay, but the fat guy was still at the counter talking to the clerk (who was missing more than a few teeth). He was asking about whether there was a fire yesterday by Gilman since he saw ‘2 fire trucks going down the road’ (I guess there is only 1 road in Gilman, Iowa). The clerk didn’t know but decided to go the extra mile in the name of customer service and asked the person working in the kitchen making the donuts and sausage biscuits if there was a fire in Gilman yesterday. The kitchen worker didn’t know and I was relieved that no one had a cell phone handy to call any of their friends to find out about the alleged fire (It may have been in the paper, but they were probably too shy to ask me to read it to them).

  Eventually the conversation wound down and the fat guy paid for his chewing tobacco. He reached into his overall pocket for the change and pulled out a handful of change, corn, and soybeans. He laid it all on the counter, separated the change from the corn and soybeans, paid the clerk, scooped up the corn and soybeans, put them back into his pocket, and left. I asked for my receipt, paid my 75 cents for the coffee, and was back outside 30 seconds later.

  When I got back outside, my car was blocked from going forward by another farmer in a giant truck getting gas in the pump in front of mine. The farmer could easily put 10 gallons of gas in his truck in order to get a free soda. The truck was parked at an angle so I couldn’t get around him, but had to back out and go around all the pumps to be on my way. At that point it was 7:00, 15 minutes after I pulled in.

And how did your day start?

Not only did this big truck block me from driving away, he probably got the free soda with his giant gas tank. I'll just look on the bright side, maybe he'll choke on it...

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