Monday, April 21, 2008


This is about a gas station experience. It has nothing to do with high gas prices. There's more than enough being written about that right now. It has to do with situational awareness.

So I pull in to the gas station/convenience store. This is a large place with probably 12 pumps. I get out of my car and I hear a female voice, very loudly, saying, "EXCUSE ME!". Not knowing the intended audience, I wonder if perhaps they're bringing back "Designing Women" and they're auditioning for the role of Suzanne Sugarbaker. Such is not the case.

I see a woman holding a gas nozzle at another one of the pumps. This woman is rather matronly ("plus-sized" is how her personal ad would describe her; "fat" is how her blind date would describe her to their mutual friend the next morning), and is dressed in her Sunday best, including hat. She is waving the gas nozzle around above her head and is shouting to every person that she sees going into the convenience store.


There are multiple iterations of this. It's not as if she's actually giving one person a chance to accomplish this favor for her before she shouts the same request to the next person going in the store.

Now, despite what I've written so far, there actually are times when I try to give people some benefit of the doubt. Maybe my situational awareness is not quite up to par on any given day. So why doesn't she walk the 15 feet into the convenience store herself? Maybe she has ambulatory issues. Maybe there's a small child in the car and she doesn't want to leave it alone. Why doesn't she push the little red "Assistance" button that's mounted above a speaker on the column a couple of feet from her? Maybe she just doesn't know it's there. Perhaps she doesn't pump her own gas enough to realize that this is an option.

What finally convinced me that this was a situational awareness event, however, was the fact that the nozzle that she was holding in her hand, waving around with ever-increasing abandon and frustration, was completely covered by a large, plastic, neon-orange sock that said OUT OF ORDER on it.

SAQ: Too low to measure.


lacochran said...

! Loved the ending. :)

Gilahi said...


Thanks. As mentioned, there's a limitless supply of material out there.

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