I do a fair amount of driving for my job so I’ve gotten to be something of an expert at finding the best deals on gasoline.

What’s a little trickier to avoid is the gas pump that pumps gas so incredibly slowly that you spend approximately 15 minutes pumping 15 gallons of gas. And I’ve found at least half a dozen of these sorts of gas pumps in the past month. What’s with these slow pumps? Are they old? Do the owners know they go slowly and therefore take five cents off of the cost of each gallon? That correlation between cheap and slow would explain the high percentage of slow pumps I’ve been encountering lately.

For illustrative purposes, this is what it feels like to be standing at one of these slow pumps:

Credit card swiped, approved and returned to your pocket, you lift the nozzle and insert into your vehicle. You pull up on the handle and wait. Hmmm. Is anything actually coming out of the nozzle? You check the display screen to see that you’ve pumped .034 gallons in the five seconds it’s taken you to perform these actions. You squeeze a little harder on the handle, hoping to get a little more flow. 0.092 gallons. It strikes you as odd that you can actually see clearly each of the numbers one through nine appear in the thousandths column of the display. It’s only been twenty seconds but your hand is beginning to feel a bit tired so you search for the metal bar on the handle that would give your hand a break. Gone. Broken. Never been there. Seriously, this is becoming more than annoying. If you’d just know before you started pumping… And then your opportunity comes to give someone else the advice you would have been grateful for when someone pulls up on the other side of your pump. But you don’t say anything. Never talk to strangers, right? They do their credit card thing and start pumping and though you never would have thought it possible, things are moving even more slowly than before. Honestly, you hope that your compatriot on the other side of your pump isn’t as stubborn as you are and gives things up rather quickly. You’re now up to 3.073 gallons. You notice that there are painters spraying a new color on the top of the convenience store attached to this gas station. You question the color choice – you rather liked the green they’re painting over with an unfortunate brown color. You watch as they work their way from one side of the roof all the way to the other. Check the display: 8.917 gallons. Makin’ progress. It turns out your compatriot is just as stubborn as you, or else just as desperate for cheap gas as you are. He sighs audibly. You sigh in return. Good thing you’re just on your way home and not on your way to an appointment, because this is the sort of thing that would normally get you super frustrated. You switch hands on the handle because you’ve got another seven gallons to go before your tank is full. After removing your right hand from the handle, you realize it is temporarily stuck in the gripped position. What a nice feeling. Under normal circumstances, you’d probably start swearing under your breath at this point.  But the extended exposure to the gasoline fumes has left you in a very zen-like state. You’ll get done. Eventually.

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