Thursday, May 18, 2006

What would you do?

On my way back from San Diego, I stopped to fill up on gas. As we all know, gas prices are outrageous these days. As I pulled out of the Costco gas station and hit the road, I got to thinking about something I saw on the news last week. There was a glitch in gas pumps at a gas station in Indiana that allowed people to get gas for $0.002 per gallon.

Many people filled their tanks and took off. I think I remember hearing on the news that one person went and told all his friends so they could fill up as well. I’m not sure how long it took, but eventually the gas station owner realized that something was wrong with the pump and placed it out of service. I found one online article that says one woman finally went in and told the attendant (though I don’t recall this being mentioned on the news broadcast I saw). She even offered to pay the actual advertised price. Obviously, the gas station lost quite a lot of money.

I started thinking, “What would I have done if I discovered the glitch?” I’m a pretty honest person and I am a big believer in Karma. When someone gives me too much change, I always correct them and return the extra money rather than pocket the extra money and think “Lucky me!” I even called my bank once after they made a deposit twice -- even though it was only $14. They told me to keep it since it would cost them more than $14 just to get it back (my good Karma I like to think).

I generally try to put myself in the other person’s situation and ask myself what I would like someone to do in my shoes. With the incorrect change situation, I think of the cashier trying to reconcile the money in the drawer at the end of her shift and having to explain to her manager how she ended up short.

I even do it with non-monetary things like customer service. I tend to go over the top to be nice to customer service reps because I have been in their shoes. I know that it isn’t fun to be yelled at all day for something that isn’t always within your control. Now, there are times when this doesn’t work and yes, I do lose my temper. I do, however, tend to go in with the “you catch more flies with honey” attitude rather than the “squeaky wheel gets the oil” attitude.

With the gas station situation, I put myself in the owner’s shoes and think, “Does this mean I can’t pay for essentials? Do I have raise the gas prices even more to recoup the money I lost?” Yes, I know some accuse gas station owners of price gouging, but has anyone ever filled up for $0.002 a gallon?!

So my question to you is, would you have filled up and then gone on your way? Or would you have gone in and told someone working at the gas station that the pump wasn’t working correctly?

I’d like to think I would have informed the gas station attendant…

4 comments:

Kelley said...

This is a hard one. I, like you, would like to think I would have gone in and told the gas station attendant. But, in the heat of the moment I might have filled up trying to stick it to the powers that be from making the prices so high. I do know, if I had done that once I was at home and realized what I had done I would have felt so guilty. Especially once I started thinking about the owner and if it caused him to lose somthing that he might need because of the money lost. There you go making me think again! HaHa!

Michelle B said...

LOL Kelley! Sometimes I wonder if I think *too* much. That might be why I have such a hard time making decisions...

Erin the Innocent said...

Even if it was unintentional I probably would have informed the attendant. I would have been so shocked at the price that I would have said Really??? Are you sure? and they would have figured out there was something wrong lol

Michelle B said...

LOL, Erin! I could see myself doing that as well.