A Reminder: Do Not Park Your Car At The Gas Pump, You Terrible, Debased Heathens

Illustration for article titled A Reminder: Do Not Park Your Car At The Gas Pump, You Terrible, Debased Heathens
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty)

With a half hour left to the start of the work day, I was confident. I’d driven back from Jalopnik’s track day at Monticello Motor Club after an early start so that I’d have plenty of time to fill up the gas tank and grab breakfast at the Wawa down the street from my apartment. There was just one problem: every single goddamn fucking pump was taken.

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I’m not talking about “it’s the early morning workday rush and literally everyone is out here just tryna pump some gas” taken. I mean that when I pull up, all the pumps are taken because some very terrible heathens decided to just leave their goddamn cars there while ordering their complicated breakfasts and fifteen personalized coffees for everyone in the office.

I am a very patient person until it is 7:25 a.m. on a day I woke up at 5 a.m. to drive two hours to start my work day with the start of a killer migraine—and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.

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I took a deep breath. I analyzed the situation. This did not have to be a problem. It did not have to be a big deal. There are about twenty pumps, but the laws of the universe proclaim that someone should probably be pulling away from a pump at any second, leaving me available to take that spot. Right? Right?????

Much to my delight, I spotted a woman who looked like she could possibly be wrapping up soon. So I pulled in behind her, hoping that the added incentive of a car literally sitting there, waiting for you to get out of the way, would encourage her to wrap up in a prompt and thoughtful manner.

Instead, she looked me dead in the eyes as she replaced her gas cap after filling up. Then she walked right into the goddamn Wawa.

Zen, Elizabeth. Be zen. Close your eyes. Deep breaths. Relax. This is not the end of the world.

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There were, at that point, three options:

  1. I could either sit and wait for the woman to return, thus ensuring that I would have a spot in case an even larger rush started pouring in—at risk that this woman was ordering a bespoke breakfast, something that can take up to twenty minutes at Wawa on a busy morning.
  2. I could try to scope out an entirely different spot, attempting to reverse and navigate a Cadillac XT6 in a very tight parking lot, all the while hoping that: a) that person filling up wouldn’t also go in for breakfast, and b) that someone else wouldn’t beat me to my pump of choice.
  3. I could just park the car, get my breakfast, and try again later, hoping that I was not actually running on the fumes I thought I was and that I’d be able to actually turn the car on to get by a gas pump later.
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After about thirty seconds of still-furious soul-searching, I opted for option two. A gentleman in a business suit at the pump next to me was filling up. He looked like the kind of man who had places to be. I decided to try my luck.

He was, apparently, not in the rush that I assumed he was, because this man also filled up the tank, walked right by me, and entered the godforsaken hellhole that is the local fucking Wawa. The local terrible stupid shitty motherfucking Wawa.

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(Please note: I do actually love Wawa. Their breakfast sandwiches are great and, as gas stations go, it is generally, in my eyes, ranked Number Two, second only to the Texan godsend that is Bucc-ee’s (where, by the way, it can occasionally be okay to leave your car at the gas pump, as there are like two thousand pumps). I mostly just hate the fact that going there is one day going to give me a fucking stress-induced ulcer.)

At that point, I was livid. Livid! The normally-repressed part of me that wants to be the asshole who rolls down their window and tells these humans to all fuck off with their lack of common courtesy in these situations was so dangerously close to breaking through that I had to physically cover my mouth with my own hand because everyone else has their own shit going on in their life and I do not need to be a dick too!!!!

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This is not the first time this has happened to me at this Wawa, either. It feels like every other time I go to get gas, I am forced to endure Baby Junior Sonofabitch over here who is ignorant of the proper gas station rules.

By the time I managed to secure a free gas pump, it was after eight o’clock. Work had already started. I pulled up, filled up, pulled out, and parked so that I could go inside and get myself a blessed egg sandwich. And it took me less than seven minutes! Yes, I counted!!!!!

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I cannot believe that in this day and age—this year of our lord 2019—that there are folks out there who still have not learned proper gas station etiquette. Unless you’re going inside to pay—something that none of the folks I was stuck behind at Wawa were doing—it is not cool to just leave your car parked in everyone’s way, especially if you’re making an elongated snack run! It is bad and frustrating! You are not the only human who is forced to live daily in this godforsaken disaster of a country, so maybe let’s all do some small part to make things better for everyone in some very minor way!!!!

But apparently it must be said.

Folks, do not park your car at the goddamn gas pump if you are not inside paying for that gas. Do not fucking do it.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

Blockheads

I blame poor gas station designs. Ever go to one with a broken pay-at-pump system, so you have to go in to pay. It generally works like this:

1) Pull up to the pump

2) Card reader doesn’t seem to be working...

3) Notice a 7 month old, taped on sticky note that says “Card reader broken, pay inside.”

4) Go inside to pay. (Optional: Forget to look what pump number you are at.)

5) Guess how much it’s going to cost, because apparently that’s how paying in advance works?

6) Go outside, on the way, notice there is no where to park your car after pumping

7) Pump gas

8) Decide to leave you car there, because there’s nowhere to move it to

9) Pay

10) Take a leak while your there, because you’ve become just like your father and have a bladder the size of a pea.

11) Oh come one, out of paper towels too?

12) Head back to the car, while wiping your hands on your pants.

13) Some angry blogger is waiting for your pump...