Gas Problems

Jason Wolverton
5 min readFeb 4, 2017


Here’s a quick story that I swear could only happen to me.

I turned into 7-Eleven yesterday and pulled up to the pump. My truck and my checking account were both on ‘E,’ so I planned to put only enough gas in to get me home and then I’d fill up the next day after papa got paid.

I slide my debit card into the pump reader and it tells me my card can’t be read.

So I try it again. Card can’t be read.

And again. Card can’t be read.

“What the hell?” I yell out as I wonder to myself whether people can still hop onto moving boxcars as a mode of travel. That immediately transitions into me wondering how slow the train would have to be going for me to hop onto it. And how low to the ground it would have to be. Basically it would have to be one of those little kid tractor trains you see at a pumpkin farm for me to hop onto it.

But I digress.

“Dammit,” I think. “I have to go in.”

Isn’t it funny how mad we get at that these days? Not too long ago we had to head to the woods to kill our dinner and in 2017 we’re pissed we have to walk 25 feet into the 7-Eleven because Pay at the Pump is down.

Of course, as I’m heading in I do that thing where I turn around and look at the pumps while I walk because I need all 25 of feet to decipher exactly what pump number I’m at. I have two college degrees, have managed million dollar businesses, and have thousands of people read my blog, but I can’t figure out my pump number when I’m at the gas station.

I order up $10 in gas and swipe my card. It goes through on the first try.

“Weird,” I say. “It wouldn’t accept my card at the pump.”

“That is weird,” the guy replied, “But you’re all set now.”

I walk back to the pump through the biting wind. Keep in mind, whenever there’s a problem with the pump and you have to go in, it’s always 40 below zero. Pumps works just fine when it’s 75 and sunny, but when it’s cold enough to freeze the taint off a penguin, you have to walk in.

Back at the pump I’m ready to fill up. I press unleaded and reach for the nozzle.

And I notice this.

No shoes, no shirt, no pump, no service

Um….? I mean, I know I should have seen this before, but who pulls up to the pump and first checks to make sure the actual pump is there?

For a moment I stare in disbelief. Where is it? Did someone steal it? Drive off with it stuck in their car? Does the guy who just put $10 of my hard-earned money into this pump realize it’s not actually capable of pumping gas?

So I walk back into 7-Eleven. The temperature is now 60 below zero.

“The pump doesn’t have a nozzle,” I say to the man who is about to prove his worth as a rocket scientist.

“Yeah, it’s broke.”

“Did you know that?”


“Then can you explain why you didn’t say anything to me when I came in?”

“I forgot.”

“Why don’t you put a cone out or something so people don’t pull up there.”

“They can’t pull up, your truck is there.”

“I mean after I leave so people don’t pull up. Like can you put a cone down?”

“We don’t have any cones.”

Yep, clearly this man has exhausted absolutely all options and is now powerless to do anything. I ask him what happens next and he says he’s just going to put the $10 on the pump on the other side.

I walk back out to my truck. It’s now 90 below. On the other side of my pump, I grab the nozzle that’s actually there and stretch it to my gas tank. And stretch.

And stretch.

Literally the end of the nozzle is an inch from going into my gas tank and refuses to budge anymore. I half wonder whether I should just try to shoot the gas into the hole like at the carnival when you blow up the balloons with the water pistols.

I hop into my truck to move it. I’m barely behind the wheel 30 seconds when a car pulls up to the pump I’m attempting to get to that is now pre-loaded with my $10.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” I say to the little old lady who had taken my spot, “But I was here first.”

She stares at me, blinking slowly. I don’t blame her. This is quite the situation.

I wish I could tell you we spent 15 minutes arguing and it resulted in the cops being called — that would have made for a hilarious blog. Instead, she laughed it off, I pumped my gas, and everyone went on their merry way.

But there is one more funny part to this tale.

Since I only put $10 in yesterday, I needed to stop by 7-Eleven again this morning to fill up. I pull up to a different pump and look over: still no nozzle. Still no cone.

Oh, and I still never figured out what the hell pump number it was.

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