Published on June 22, 2021

New gas pumps can be challenging

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

I had an occasion to be retrospective about aging and the effects it has on our personalities. I am now more aware of my reactions and how others perceive them - and how I perceive gas pumps.

I ditty-bopped (it’s something we older folk do) down to the Kroger gas station. I pulled up to the pump , the correct side on the first try, scanned my rewards card, inserted my credit card, pushed the button that confirmed it wasn’t a debit card and started pumping gas.

I then stood there lollygagging (something we older folk know how to do) and observed an even older gentleman than me approaching the attendant’s window. “I can’t make my credit card work at the gas pump,” he exclaimed to the young lady inside her armor-plated booth.

“Here’s my credit card. Can you turn the pump on and then charge me?”

She was forced to reply: “No, I can charge a certain amount on your card, and then you can pump that amount.”
He started getting agitated. “But I want to fill it up.”

I walked up to him. “How would it be if you brought your card and came with me and let me get it working for you?”

He hesitated. I told him I was just waiting for my car to finish filling up, but I felt I could make his card work.
He reluctantly said, “Well, O.K.”

The attendant said: “I want to come watch because this happens often, and I can’t get cards to work, either.”
So off we trek to his car, and he gives me his card. I explain as I walk him through the steps. “Did you scan the code on your card to verify that you were a Kroger customer?”

“I did that,” he replied.

I started on step two. “Put your card in correctly, as the picture shows, and it will ask you to enter a pin number. Then you push “this” button, bypassing the pin number so it charges as a credit card. Now you wait until it says to remove the card. It will then authorize the charge and tell you how much per gallon your rewards discount is from your grocery purchases, and you can accept and use the discount or not. Now it will say remove nozzle, select grade of gas and start pumping.”

He is happier but still impatient and a little agitated and begins punching gas cap cover to open it and yelling at his wife, “How do you open this stupid thing?”

I calmly (had to be the wine I had with lunch) asked, “How about I try?”

He was amenable to that suggestion. I tapped the cover with one finger, and it popped open. He had been punching it with his fist, and it would pop open, hit his knuckles and shut again.

He was so relieved and grateful that his ordeal was over.

The attendant said: “I do all those steps, and sometimes it just doesn’t work.”

I explained that it works only if “You must stand on one leg, put your tongue in your right cheek, and then it will work.”

She laughed. “That’s the part I was doing wrong.”

Everyone was happy, and everyone was having a better day.

I thought to myself: “Don’t let yourself get agitated and upset by something that in reality is nothing.”

This was a lesson for me. It seems that as your life becomes longer, your patience becomes shorter. This is not a good thing for you, your family, or your friends.

Take a deep breath, smell the roses, appreciate those around you, and your day, life and outlook will be better.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)