Being a teacher working part time at a convenience store is not easy. In my primary job I spend a lot of time correcting behaviors, trying to get students to react to stress and disagreements in a more productive way and how to be respectful of other people and their property. At Chevron we just suck it up and pass on any cost of these behaviors to the customers. (Note to world: “Oh, it’s a big company, they can afford it” is a load of crap. Every business has an expected profit margin, and if you think that candy bar you stole comes out of the owner’s pocket you’re lying to yourself or just plain stupid. No matter how big the company, it’s every paying customer that makes up for it.)
As I worked the last few days I started thinking about a list of things that people do in convenience stores that they probably do without even thinking. This is my list. Some of them have just become a part of convenience store culture, some of them are due to laziness and some are caused by the “I’m more important than anyone else” attitude. If you do some of these, don’t automatically think I’m putting you in the last two categories. (This is a random list, these are not ranked in any order of cost, annoyance or thoughtlessness. I’m just writing them as I think of them.)
- Please don’t fill up a fountain drink and then leave it there because you decided on something else. It still costs the company the same whether or not you take it out of the store, we can’t pour it back. And since the cup costs (a lot) more than the soda, it doesn’t matter if you only fill it up 1/4 of the way.
- Trash cans are there for a reason, and it’s not so you have something to put your garbage next to. I’ve seen people chuck wrappers out their car window, less than 5 feet from a trash can.
- Cigarette butts belong in the ashtray or trash can, not on the ground.
- Cups cost money. It’s not the water we charge you for, it’s the cup.
- Hang up your phone and talk to the clerk like they are a human being, not an ATM machine.
- If you have a question, come up to the clerk, wait for them to finish whatever they’re doing and then when you have their attention, ask it. Do not ask the question from the other side of the store and assume the clerk has been watching you your whole time in the store to see if you had a question. And when a clerk is ringing up a customer, they’re trying to give that customer the full attention they deserve. (ok, this may not be true for all clerks, but for the most part it is).
- If you make a mess, clean it up. Or at least let the clerk know about it. Yeah, clerks get paid to clean it up, but mostly because if they don’t, nobody will. Not because they should have to clean up after you.
Just a few things to think about next time you’re in a convenience store (or fast food restaurant and many other places).