Pump first? Really?
Recently I was driving home to Bismarck from Fargo. I often return to the city I grew up in just to see mom. This particular trip I put off filling my tank until 60 miles into the return trek which had me pulling into the Valley City Tesoro station. This is where I was reminded of how special North Dakota is, and that is not an opinion shared by just us Dakotans.
As I approach the station I can see this place is busy and I’ll be waiting in queue. Parking behind a motorhome I watch the driver of the motorhome strike up a conversation with a fellow across the pump island. This fellow is driving a new Honda Hybrid sporting Louisiana plates. About 3-4 minutes elapses and the motorhome, with ND plates, pulls away after the driver returns from paying his bill. I pull up.
After I go through the routine – you know, remove gas cap, insert nozzle, select blend, start the pump and grab the window squeegee sponge thing-a-ma-bob, the fellow standing next to the Honda says, “You don’t have to pay first?”
“Excuse me?” is my reply and he repeats his question. I say no. Go ahead and fill your tank. As he begins the routine he asks me , “What if people drive off?”
Jokingly I tell him that happened once and after the funeral, the judge gave the station attendant a $15 fine for discharging a firearm within city limits. We both laughed. He just could not believe you pay after filling up. (I did wonder how he drove to Valley City and just experienced this – maybe because it was a Hybrid?)
During our conversation I learn he and his wife are heading to Dickinson to spend the holiday with their son. The son is working in the food service business and in the state as a result of the oil impacts in the Williston Basin. The new knowledge of paying after you fill is still a point of fascination for the dad. I conclude our nice chat and head off to pay my bill.
Inside the station I grab a diet Coke and settle my $50+ bill with a check. Yes, I am one of those guys. I am asked for an ID, not like I am voting or something important, they accept my check and I head out the door.
As I exit the station a van with Florida plates is at another pump island. The two guys standing next to the van, as they fill it with 10% ethanol based petro, are beside themselves. Like the fellow from Louisiana they can’t get over the fact you fill before you pay!
Gotta love North Dakota…
Trust, now that’s a beautiful thing.