Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A stressful day

Today.  I felt nauseous before work and didn't want to go.  That's pretty normal however, so I went to work as I always do, and the nausea abated after about an hour.  I think it was just 'beginning day anxiety', which seems to be a 'one out every couple of days' part of my life that I just have to live with.  When I got to work, Brittney told me about her weekend and I told her about mine.  I described my Sunday flub to her, and she described her ongoing adventures with trying to get to know her birth mother.  The work day progressed, and I ordered wine while Chiy kept barking at us to "Sell The Pizza!"

After about an hour the new owners of the Malone store showed up for a visit with the owners of the Oak St. store, and Brittney asked Chiy's wife, Lin, if they were friends.  Lin rolled her eyes and shook her head.  She doesn't talk much, but that gesture communicated everything she wanted to say.  I guess those Malone store folk must be pretty obnoxious.  I've talked to the assistant manager at the Malone store and she said that she didn't like the new owners; that they were disrupting how everything worked and were making things more difficult.  This is how I expected it to be with Chiy when I started at 7-Eleven for the second time, but I really like Chiy a lot and am glad to know him and his family.

After Chiy and Lin and Brian left, Brittney had a problem with a customer who had asked her to set pump 2 for $10.00, but what the customer actually meant was pump 1.  After the problem was called to her attention, Brittney set the new pump for $10.00.  We were busy, so it was easy to forget that the pump 2 was still set, and what happened was this:  A guy in a white van pulled up to pump 2 and pumped the gas.  He was about to drive off when Brittney explained to me what was happening and asked me to go out there and do something.  I ran out there and explained the situation to him.  I didn't really know what to do about it, other than to flat out ask him for $10.00, so I asked him to come inside.  He seemed affronted by the suggestion, but I'm pretty sure he knew that he had pumped free gas, so he came in without much of a fuss.  When we were inside, Brittney and I explained the situation to him again and asked him if he understood, and his response was that he had used his card and pumped the gas normally.  Brittney asked him how much he originally wanted, and the guy said five dollars.  The question was, why did he keep pumping then?  Why didn't he stop at five dollars if he thought that he was using his own card?  Brittney asked him to pay five dollars, the amount he originally would have pumped, and that she would pay the other five.  He said that all he had was a debit card, and since there was no way to really charge his card for gas that was already pumped, he said that it wasn't his problem.  He started to leave.  It was busy, and I didn't have time to do anything about it, so I told the guy that if he could live with it on his conscience, he could just take $10.00 worth of free gas that somebody else would have to pay for and leave.  He smiled really big and walked out the door.  I guess that was his answer.  I felt really depressed and angry about that for about half an hour, but later I realized that I couldn't judge the guy because there was a time in my life when I would have thought the same way, with my internal dialogue going something like this - "The store made a mistake.  So what if it's technically stealing.  It's not my fault, I didn't come here to steal gas.  It's not my responsibility.  They have to pay for it, and I'm happy as a clam with my ill gotten gas."  So Brittney paid for it, and when I get paid I'll give her five dollars.  We decided not to tell Chiy about it to avoid stressing him out more than he already was, due to the events I'm about to describe.

Soon after that, we ran out of Mountain Dew, so I went into the back to change it.  Well, there wasn't another Mountain Dew on the shelf, and the machine was going PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT over and over again, that obnoxious indicator that one of the pumps is out of syrup.  In desperation I started to unscrew a screw on the thing to see if it would close a valve or something, and the thing shot out like a bullet and broke in half.  After that the PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT PSSSHHHT became a constant HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.  Instant panic set in.  I felt like I had just triggered the timer on an atom bomb and that it was up to me to defuse it.  I spent about twenty minutes trying everything I could to stop the CO2 leak.  I pressed my thumb against it.  I pressed my palm against it.  I pressed napkins against it.  I tried to wedge a wrench with one end wrapped in plastic between the leak and the edge of the shelf.  I tried to wedge a piece of plastic with a screw shoved in it into the hole.  Nothing worked, and meanwhile CO2 was blowing out of this valve at full force.  I knew that if this continued that eventually the CO2 tank would be completely empty, and I didn't even want to think about what it would cost to fill the dang thing.  Chiy would expel bricks out of his posterior.  Out of desperation I got up and started closing valves on the actual CO2 canister, which is a big silver tank about four feel tall.  I experimented with several valves until I finally found one that did something.  As I turned it the noise of the leak started to abate, and I watched as the CO2 pressure gauge slowly fell to zero.  PHEW!  I had defused the bomb.  Denton was safe.

I called Chiy and he wasn't happy at all.  After about 20 minutes of crazy anxiety talky yammering godzillaspeak about how much it would cost to fix and how much money the store would lose because we couldn't sell slurpees or fountain drinks, he finally calmed down a little.  Eventually things were almost normal again, with Chiy telling me not to feel bad, that it was a learning experience.  He called me twice after that, each time telling me not to feel bad, that it's ok, everything is ok, it's ok.

Oh, and by the way.  Here comes the icing on the cake.  While all of this was going on, Brittney was the essence of 'flat out good person'.  She did everything she could to help me as I tried to plug a raging gas leak with the palm of my hand, all the while dealing with a line of customers that went back to the cooler.  And, unbeknownst to me until after I'd stopped the leak, all during this time there was another ongoing crisis at the slurpee machine.  A customer had poured a Wild Cherry Slurpee - how I hate Wild Cherry Slurpee - and of course the handle stuck as it is wont to do, and soon we had a lake of bubbly red half frozen crap to deal with on top of the CO2 leak.  I didn't know anything about this until after I had stopped the leak and was feeling like a hero, only to walk back up front to see Brittney mopping up this red river of madness.  She hadn't said a word about it the whole time I was back there bitching and moaning and panicking, and now there she was, shlopping up all of that crap by herself.  Brittney is just an outstanding person.

Ok, I'm done.  Time for beddy bye.

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