Coming soon to a gas station near you…

Written by  on November 25, 2012

Pumps with stupid video advertisements that play when you pump gas.
One morning this week, I stopped in a gas station to fill my gas tank up.
Typically, your normal gas station pump has your little info screen that shows stuff like enter your pin, etc, or asking you if you want a receipt, basic things. Some have color screens but they aren’t that sophisticated.
So I come up to this pump:
gas pump
Yeah, looks like a normal gas pump, with a slightly larger screen, and those annoying messages saying “If you have a credit card or a debit card from OUR company, we will give you a *cash* discount on gas” and then the two prices on the pump saying if you are paying in cash or credit. Personally, I find that alone annoying. The lowest AKA *cash* price is displayed on the sign out front with a small small sign that says “cash” right next to it where no ordinary person would notice if they were driving down the street… That is until they pull up to the pump and start pumping gas, only to notice that the cost of gas jumped 10-15 cents when they started pumping gas since they used a credit card or a debit card marked as credit. I find that more as extortion, although they’re not violating any laws by doing that, and I kinda understand why they charge more. Credit card companies charge a 1-2% fee per transaction, but if you don’t want to piss off customers, at least put the highest price on the sign and surprise the guys who pay cash or use debit cards with the discount thing.
Oh and a lot of those, they have stickers like “debit cards are treated like cash” which is bunkus, as they designed the pump to fail automatically on the debit card option with a “please see cashier” message, or just still charge you for credit. That’s a large lie.
I wrote some SC state legislatures and some congressmen about that (and got FU replies back basically), as some gas stations I’ve seen in South Carolina charge as much as 0.25$ more per gallon for credit/debit card users than they do with cash, and they don’t even have any notice except for like a small 1 inch sticker saying its 25 cents more per gallon. That’s not even recouping a loss, that’s making a profit off of people who don’t carry excessive amounts of money in cash, like owners of gas guzzling tanks called SUVs that have to pay 50-80 dollars for a tank of gas.
Anyways, returning to the topic, that pump. So when I first started pumping gas, I didn’t notice the sticker saying I was being charged 15 cents more per gallon using my debit card as a credit card, so I quickly smashed cancel and put the handle back on the pump to abort that transaction and start back over with debit. When I did that, the screen displayed a picture ad about buying monster energy drinks. I looked at that and thought “Um, Okay, so they changed from signs to pictures on the screen, that’s not that bad.
Starting the pump again, the pump started to play a movie. Some movie ad for a movie that I’ll never see anyways (Not paying 12$ to 21$ for a movie ticket). That was a 1 minute ad that had fairly loud volume, this being at around 5 in the morning was a bit of a wakeup for me. Next, they played some ad for that one kid who sounds like a chick that little girls obsess about him singing about, I can’t remember his name off the top of my head. Regardless, the music was super annoying and I grabbed the ear plugs off my safety helmet from work and put them on for the rest of my gas pumping. As I’m putting the handle back on the pump, they played some video ad about some American idol clone show that I never watch either then another monster ad.
On purpose, I decided I’d drink a can of pop later instead of a monster just to be a dick.
Also, on a side note, when I returned to this gas station to take a picture of the pumps, I got some gas and got greeted by a super annoying pop star’s album ad. A nearby trucker who was checking his tires for some reason started screaming “[CS]damn! What is that god-awful noise?! It sounds like a girl taking a dump while eating peppers!” (I found that comment quite comical..)

Why that is annoying:
You can’t avoid the ad. You’re basically staring at the pump to see how much gas you’re putting in your car. For a car like mine, a cobalt, I put on average 7-10 gallons of gas into it every 3 days due to my summer job. For those morons who decided to buy a SUV for their one kid and the trips 3 miles one way a day, they put on average 15-20 gallons in, so they’re stuck staring at that crap longer than I was. I’m more inclined to think that they’d even buy the items that were advertised.

Why am I posting this?
If anyone has paid attention lately, advertisements are getting more and more forceful on the consumer. Heck, even tracking cookies (basically unheard of 6 years ago) are annoying. On my work computer, I was researching stuff for a project we were working on, and my ads on Pandora all the sudden changed to try and provide me safety equipment. Unfortunately, I’m stuck using IE 7 at work with default cookie settings, so it was either no Pandora or clear my cookies on each use. I decided to do both.
Off topic:Any company that decides it’s only going to make money off of getting into people’s personal lives needs to fail. Also this “lets make a lot of money in the short term and to hell with 10-20 years down the line” attitude is sickening. But that might be another post, perhaps, if I ever finish my draft post on the metric system.

I Hate SUVs

Written by  on February 26, 2012

I hate SUV’s…

Er, well mainly the people who own them mainly. Lots of people I’ve met own then because it allows them “to control the road better”.¬† Good majority of the drivers are female, and they are more aggressive when they drive them. Every morning when I travel through town, I encounter single females on their cellphones running redlights. If someone honks their horn at these women, they flip the drivers off or cuss them out as they’re driving. Sounds kinda hypercritical, they are the ones actually breaking the law. Mothers seem to own them to carry their kids around, although the size of the car seems pretty¬† unnecessary, as most of the time, you see only one kid in the back seat, however that kid seems to be off the wall, jumping around in the back of it without a seatbelt.

I understand the need for a vehicle with a lot of seats if you have a lot of children (however now a days people who have a lot of children are of very low income families and all their stuff is subsidized by the government), however for most North Americans, buying a SUV is completely pointless.

As of this writing, gas prices in South Carolina were around 3.47$ a (US) gallon (about 0.91$/L). On TV this morning, they were interviewing some chick who owned a SUV and was like “It cost me 300$ a week in gas just to drive my kids to school! The government needs to do something!” First of all, if you’re paying 300 dollars to drive your kids to school, either you’re a crappy driver, or your suv you’re standing next to pumping gas into gets 8 whopping MPG (or 30L/100km).

The United States has some of the cheapest gas in the world, next to the Middle East. For example, Germany currently pays about 2.20$/L for gas, which is about 8.33$ per (US) gallon. We really shouldn’t be complaining about the cost of gas. We’ve taken cheap gas for the past century for granted. Europe and Asia all mainly have small cars because of the excessive cost of gas there. We’re heading on that way.

I don’t think we will completely go the way that Europe and Asia has for a long time, because in comparison, there is more open land that separates cities and towns from each other, and public transit would be sluggishly slow until some kind of high speed rail is implemented. (That’s another post another time though.) Cars will be here for a very long time, however people will have to be more reasonable on what they own. Personally, I doubt that would happen as we all have this mentality that we are superior than the rest of the world and we can abuse everything that we please.

People in the next decade will have to be more reasonable when it comes to the cost of gas. Some suggestions to follow would be:

  • Quit complaining about gas prices. If you purchased a 38k$ hummer, that’s your own damn fault that it costs you 300$ a week in gas.
  • If your kid is hyperactive and you get an SUV so the kid can move around, you’re just a shitty parent. Control your kid better. (I can rant about this quite a bit)
  • Remove your arrogance that you “rule the road”. It’s morons like you who cause accidents for everyone else.

I’ve noticed too that every time a new more fuel efficiant car is put out on the market, its immediately ostrizied by the media, for example, the Chevy Volt over its batteries. Well the car is the first of its kind on the market here in a very long time, there’s bound to be problems. They get worked out, and for example GM is doing the repairs for free. People who complain about the cost of the Volt don’t seem to have any trouble going out and buying a SUV with the same cost, which seems kinda hypocritical. Oh well, that’s just me. Personally, if I had the 30-40k$ to spend, I would buy one in a heartbeat.


Sources for cost of German gas: