Avoid Getting Conned at the Gas Station: Never Swipe Twice

Avoid Getting Conned at the Gas Station: Never Swipe Twice

We Got Ripped Off in the Desert

I was down in the desert in 120 degrees sweltering heat and wind—every time I went outside, it felt like a  giant hairdryer was just behind me with the heat turned up about seven notches too high. My husband and I were visiting his sick grandmother at the time and made regular trips between the air-conditioned mall, her air-conditioned condo, and the also air-conditioned (but less cheery) convalescent center where she was recuperating from surgery. We felt like we were DOING THE RIGHT THING, but our self-righteous feelings didn’t necessarily make the trip all that enjoyable.


Both the heat and the visits to the doctor were pretty overwhelming for us, but those weren’t the worst parts of our trip--we got double-charged at the gas station for a tank of gas, which sucked slightly more than you might expect. The astute asshole gas station attendant probably noticed that my husband’s name was not Agnes*--the name on his grandmother’s debit card—and decided to have my husband swipe his card through the machine twice. He protested, but the astute asshole gas station attendant protested even more and started claiming that the original charge had already been voided.


My husband made the mistake of swiping twice.


The first transaction hadn’t been voided at all. Two days later, my husband got a phone call from his astute aunt complaining about what she thought was my husband’s excessive use of her mom’s debit card. (To this day, I am unsure whether or not she actually thought my husband intentionally tried to de-fraud his grandma or whether she thought it was just an accounting error.) The over-charge was for $40, not a huge amount, but enough to piss us (and his aunt) off—we never told his grandma about the scam since she had larger issues of life and death on her mind.


So, basically, we were the only ones in the family available at that time to help his grandma, were stuck in the worst heat you could ever possibly imagine, were trying to DO THE RIGHT THING, and were getting bitched at for being cheated by a gas station attendant.


Getting cheated by a gas station attendant is never a nice feeling. I know, because a different astute gas station attendant—this time a woman with lying brown eyes—tried the same thing on us last night. Because we had learned from our prior mistake and understood the importance of NOT MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE TWICE, we didn’t swipe our card another time and refused to allow another con artist with a legitimate job title take us for a ride.

Don't forget: Never swipe twice.


*Agnes is not her real name, but is a fairly representative name for her generation.

Image courtesy of Franco Folini