About three years ago I landed a pretty sweet gig tutoring rich kids. Lots of money...they work with my hours. Sweet. Well, I was on my way to one of my jobs and I stopped at a gas station to get some snacks. It was one of those gas stations that looks corporate on the outside, but on the inside smells like weird cleaner and all of the food is generic and near expiration and dusty!? Seriously, does Chevron dust their snack foods?... do you know what I'm talking about?
I walked in and the guy behind the counter was SUUUPER friendly. He had huge fake teeth and was all sorts of bending over backwards to help me. "Are you working hard today?" Is what he asked me when I headed for the counter. The question caught me off guard, I don't think anyone has asked me that when I'm not at work. I made some lamewad remark and motioned to put my food on the counter. This is where it gets crazy...
I was about 4 steps away, not even TO the counter, when he leaned to the right in the direction of the cash register, pushed some buttons all fast and then straightened up to face me again. At first I figured he was doing something with the gas pumps, but then he whipped my card out of my hand and before I knew it he was telling me the yellow copy was mine. I seriously frickin' blinked and the transaction was over. He rang the food before I even got to the counter and ran the card before I even knew what was happening. I'll admit, I was impressed! I thought, "damn! This guy really knows his stuff! How did he even know what food I had in my hand."
I got into my car feeling pretty much like I went through a revolving door and my hair was still whipping around my face. I had that downward, thoughtful smile that you get when someone surprises you with their talents and you think "Huh, God really does bestow different gifts and talents on everyone." It's a moment of enlightenment...when God makes everything clear for ... WAIT! WTH!? $4.57 for two crummy snacks?!?
I was WRONG...That guy was not good at his job, he was GREAT at it. He was on par with those guys in New York who walk around with the cups and the walnut and ask tourists to "find the nut find the nut" while they move the cups in figure 8's around faster than you can see and use slimy slide of hand tricks making it impossible to win any money. Here's the receipt:
You can't see it, but the two prices are $1.08 and $3.49.
This is what I bought (objects may appear larger than they are):
The cracker jacks should be $1.08... but the peanuts, which btw are neither sweet nor salty, they're JUST frickin' peanuts, had the price on the bag and they were $1.67.... PSH!
This guy ripped me off! Now, before you call me cheap, hear me out. My tab should have been $2.75. That means he overcharged me by $1.82....which is like 66%! If my bill would have been $275....he would have charged me $182 more!? SERIOUSLY!
Whatever. It wasn't even worth going back in for the few dollars, so I just left. And that's exactly when I realized the genius of his plan. He woo's us with his speed and seemingly chipper disposition, then expects us to drive away if we realize his "mistake" . He set up shop in just the right place. It's a neighborhood where people don't check receipts under $200.... Very Smart. He's like the Houdini of the gas station world, so it's only appropriate that his store be named accordingly...