Button Pushing at the Pump

"Push button to speak to attendant."

As I pumped my gas, the button next to the sign seemed particularly large and red and tempting. At over $3 a gallon for gas, it seems the mind will do anything it can to distract itself from the reality of the situation, and somehow it got to mulling over that button.

The same kind of wandering also happens during yet another smeary election ad, or one more Sham-Wow! commercial.

"Push button to speak to attendant."

And I started wondering if anyone had ever pushed that button just to chat...

Attendant: Hello? Can I help you?

Me: Hi!-- who is this?

Attendant: This is Carol. Do you need assistance with something?

Me: Hi, Carol! I'm Jenn-- really nice to meet you. Are you from this area originally, Carol?

Attendant: Um, just down the street. I--

Me: Really? Just down the street? Wow, that's nice. Gotta be wonderful having such a short commute. Particularly in winter. Now, did you grow up around here, too?

Attendant: Er, yes... in Irwin... Is there something I can help you with, ma'am?

Me: Did you catch the Steelers game by any chance last night, Carol?

Attendant: Well, yeah, I did-- er---

Me: What was your take on the defensive situation? I think they made too many mistakes for it to be called a real win. I'd be interested in your analysis.

Attendant: Ma'am, are you having trouble with the gas pump, or getting your credit card to go through or something?

Me: No, it's working really well, actually. You folks run a smooth operation here. It's always impressive... Do you enjoy your job, Carol?"

Attendant: Er, ma'am, I don't see how this relates to--

Me: I was just wondering whether they treat you well here? As an employee, I mean?

Attendant: Well, I can't complain, really. I mean the hours aren't great, and the smell of the hot dogs get to me after a while, but we get all the Krispy Kremes we want, and we get credits for a free car wash once a month.

Me: A free car wash once a month-- you don't say!

Attendant: Ma'am, is there anything I can actually help you with?

Me: Well, you know, I have been trying to think of the name of that sitcom that was out in the 80s, where Carol Kane was behind the scenes writing a soap opera. I think Geena Davis was in it, too. Do you remember that?

Attendant: Er, no, ma'am. I meant, could I help you with anything related to the gas pump?

Me: Nope! In fact, my tank's been a filled up for five minutes now. Really nice talking to you, though, Carol. Don't let those hot dogs get to you too much! I hate to have to cut our chat short, but I want to hit the Wendy's drive-thru before I head home. They get lonely, too, you know.



Anonymous said...

Now Carol must be wishing you come push the button everyday !

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- *snicker* Sure, the local cops will be staking out the pumps for the next time I'd pop by to chat.

Da Old Man said...

I'm sure Carol was appreciative. So few of us take the time reach out any more.

Jenn Thorson said...

Da Old Man- Well, sure, I mean, it's not like the people in that long line in front of her cared what kind of day she was having... how she felt about the Steelers game or anything. :)

Babs (Beetle) said...

Wow! $3 a gallon?
In the UK it is much more expensive then.

1 US gallon = 3.785 Litres. We pay roughly £1.09 per Litre. Times that by 3.785 is £4.125 USD 7.246.

Are those calculations right?

I bet you secretly made that girls day!

Jenn Thorson said...

Babs- For us it's about $3.50, so yes, we're paying quite a bit less than you are in the UK, or the folks are in Canada.

The lamenting came because it got jacked up to that price very quickly in an extremely short period of time. It's a bit of a shell shock for us all. Especially in areas with not much mass transit, and distances too far to effectively bike.

Tiggy said...

I like your inane rambling style of conversation! Poor girl. Mind you, they'd love you down the local seniors' home.

Now, did I tell you about my sister-in-law's hysterectomy...

Jenn Thorson said...

Tiggy- Heh-- hope your sister-in-law is doing well. :)

Jay said...

Oh, that would be so funny! Go on, I dare you - next time you pump gas, you HAVE to do it, and come back here to report the conversation!

After all, it's gonna be a free blog, no? ;)

Jenn Thorson said...

Jay- Here in Pittsburgh? Too risky-- I'd either get some angry worker who'd been looking for an excuse to taser somebody, or a fellow with a mullet who'd think I was hitting on him. :)

The Hypocritical One said...

That's funny....I love dialogue posts...

Jenn Thorson said...

Hypocritical One- I think online they're pretty easy to read, since the text is broken up so much. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Jenn: At our gas station, not only do they have the button, though, they have cameras, so they'd know who you were too.

But I'm glad they've had them. One time I paid for someone else's gas too and they were able to double-check where the mistake was made.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinished- AH! Well, there's a very, very good reason for not pushing the button unless you have to. I had to use the button actually myself once-- because of a card reading problem, though, not just to chat. :)

Anna Lefler said...

This is great! LOL!

:^) Anna

Marilyn said...

I bet she likes it when you push her button.

Seriously though, the last time I got gas I had trouble with the credit card reader and the attendant came out and stood four inches away from me the whole time I pumped gas. I have space issues and besides, I think that would bother anybody. I am not ever pushing the button there, even if I need help.

Janna said...

How funny.
I'm going to be tempted to try that now, every time I see one of those buttons.
Since I live in a small rural area, though, I'd quickly get a reputation as "that crazy lady".
For all I know, I'm already just one public nose-picking away from that reputation as it is.

Jenn Thorson said...

Anna- Thanks for stopping by!

Marilyn- A close talker, eh? Well, hopefully that fellow was a fluke and wouldn't be there if a next time arose. But yes, that would sort of creep me out, too.

Janna- I don't want you to ruin your rep in the region there. :) But hey, maybe at least you'll see the button and smile next time. That'd be all worth it.

Greg said...

That's funny, as I was trying to get an internet connection in the office yesterday, I found myself on the phone with a Comcast representative in Pittsburgh who'd been up late watching the game and tried to engage me about that while we waited for my computer to reboot.

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- Heh, that IS a good one, though I suppose the probabilities of folks here talking about the game around the water cooler yesterday were pretty high. :)