Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Total Humiliation at Albany Arco

I stopped in at the Arco, the one I always use, to get gas, after picking up a cat to be fixed tomorrow, behind Goodwill. I had $40 cash in my wallet. I ordered $20 in gas, cash.

But just as he began pumping, I looked in my purse. No wallet! I panicked, tearing out the contents searching, then yelled at the attendant, "Stop pumping! My wallet, I can't find it." I search the car, looking under the seats, everywhere, panic rising. He's put a little over $5 into the tank.

He tells me to go over and park in a parking place. Already, I feel like this is not going to be good. I tell him "I'll just go home and find my wallet, it must have fallen out of my purse, then I'll be right back." I really didn't see any problem in that. Why would that be a problem? I'm a regular cash customer there.

It was a problem to him. A huge problem. He was already seeing me as a criminal.

I begin to tear apart my car in a search for change. I come up with over $2.50 and keep looking. I tell him I'll walk home then, even though it is 2.5 miles one way, and come back with it, leaving my car. He says he can't let me leave and that he already has my license plate written down. He tells me to call someone to bring the money. My phone is again at home, charging, dead battery. I can't remember anyone local's number who might actually come to my aid.

I'm being stared at by long lines of customers in their cars, gawking at me and my plight, seeming to enjoy it.

I tear apart my car more, emptying everything out, in a desperate search for even pennies, tossing them out onto the pavement when I find them. I'm over $3 I've found now. He says I can leave, but only if I leave some major collateral, so I'll come back and pay the $2 I owe. I cannot believe it, am outraged already. I say, "You want major collateral for owing $2? I am not a thief." He says, "Or, we can just call the police." I say, "Go ahead, call the police."

He finally comes back and says I can leave. I do so, come home, find my wallet on a counter, rush back, give him $3, more than I owe. He offers no change. I say "You treated me like a fricking thief. He says "No I didn't." Sure, buddy, sure.

I go and gas up at 76. I can't stop sobbing at this point.

I understand some people drive off without paying. That's not me. I'm a regular customer. The amount I owed was tiny. My mistake, with my wallet falling out of my purse at home, unintentional. Arco you didn't need to treat me like that.

Heartless, ruthless, greedy, evil. Those are the only words I can come up with to describe that gas station, after what happened to me today at Arco.

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