The manager of a Shell station in Rancho Cordova, California, who accidentally listed a gallon of regular, unleaded gas at 69 cents rather than the actual eye-watering $6.99 price last week lost his job and $16,000 for his now-former employer in the process.
John Szczecina was running the show when he input the prices for fuel. He told ABC 7 that the mistake was entirely on him.
“I put all three prices on there, except the diesel. The last one kind of didn’t go. So, I just took responsibility for it and said yeah it’s my fault,” Szczecina, told ABC 7.
It was several hours before anyone realized the mistake. By then, word had spread on social media that gas was incredibly cheap at one Shell station in Rancho Cordova. Sacramento resident Darryl Surita told Newsweek:
“I posted [this] on my Instagram and replied to anyone who messaged me. I called my mom and told her, and called my brother and told him too. I thought it was too good to be true until I checked the gas meter in the car and it was full, but I only spent 14 dollars. I filled my car up, left, came back with a second car, filled it up, then left again and came back with my cousin and filled up 150 gallons of a 500-gallon tank. The whole gas station was filled with cars and people with extra gas cans.”
Szczecina isn’t alone in making this snafu. A station in Tennessee sold fuel for five hours at 45 cents a gallon back in May. While getting gas prices at 1960s prices is exciting for customers, it is a stupid mistake that has cost a man his job and maybe even more. Despite taking immediate responsibility for the loss, Szczecina was canned and is worried about being sued for the lost revenue. His family has set up a GoFundMe to repay the station owners the $16,000.
It’s incredibly sad that so much responsibility can be put on someone who, let’s face it, didn’t make much money as the manager of a Shell station. Szczecina is really getting screwed by capitalism coming and going. If you managed to snag some cheap gas—which right now is averaging $5.01 across the country but $6.43 a gallon in California—maybe consider tossing him a few bucks.