Top Ten Things Not to Do at a Gas Station


10 If you are at a gas station, do not buy and eat anything not in a sealed bag. If you do, at best the food will be made today. At worst you will be lucky enough to experience emergency room procedures first hand. (Wow, that stomach pump was a real rush huh,Dalton?)

9 If you are at a gas station, do not think you can find that forgotten birthday present. If you do, at best your lack of attention will be noted. At worst, that mug with the 7/11 logo will be coming back to you quicker than you imagined. (Who knew how fast a mug could travel and how hard it could hit. Right, Danny? Oh, and I would put some ice on that lump if I were you.)

8 If you are at a gas station, do not think the restroom is like home. If you do, at best you’ll just look and move on. At worst, trying to use the bathroom without touching anything might not work well in the end. (How you fell down is still a mystery, Darren. Also, I don’t think that hand sanitizer is going to be enough for your whole body.)

7 If you are at a gas station, do not be rude to the help. If you do, at best they will let you slip. At worst, Tiny the WWF champ who is working there as part of his aggravated assault probation agreement has just allowed the last rude customer to get by. (Looks like we have a straw that broke the camel’s back situation, Dane. I think I would make for the door and hope for the best.)

6 If you are at a gas station and the lines are long, do not insist on having a clerk run last years lotto tickets through the machine to see if you have a winner. If you do, at best you will be told to come back when it is less busy. At worst, the people behind you will form a vigilante group and leave you tied up outside. (Seems like a drastic measure doesn’t it, Dwane. Of course, most were grabbing some beer for the Superbowl and kick off was in ten minutes.)

5 If you are at a gas station, do not walk in the door in your ski mask. If you do, at best no one will notice you since you are a customer. At worst, the guy behind the counter still has PTSD from the last robbery and has his finger on the panic alarm. (Was a little awkward explaining to the police you forgot about the mask, wasn’t it, Darrel. Now with your hands cuffed behind your back and you on the floor it is almost impossible.)

4 If you are at a gas station, do not fuel up and continue to puff on that cigar. If you do, at best the wind will blow the fumes away. At worst, just when your tank is full and the automatic trigger doesn’t work you realize there might be a massive fire.  (Lucky you, Deven. You were able to toss that cigar well away. Next time listen to me.)

3 If you are at a gas station, do not try to use the air pump. If you do, at best it is out-of-order. At worst you will feed it four quarters before you finally have enough air in your tire to limp to the tire store. (The worse part was skinning your knuckles on the rapid recoil of the hose, wasn’t it Doug?)

2 If you are at a gas station, do not ask for directions. If you do, at best all you’ll get is a shrug. At worst, you’ll get directions that put you on county road three which leads to the Twilight Zone. (What was it about that kid of eighteen with the wild stare that made you think he even knew where he was, let alone tell you how to get to grandma’s, Doyle?)

1 If you are at a gas station, do not ask if there is a mechanic on duty. If you do, at best you will be laughed out of the place. At worst, someone will pretend to be a mechanic with the result your car is now ready for auction. (Well all that beer and beef jerky should have told you something about their primary business, Damion.)


  1. Gwen Plano · ·

    This was a hilarious read; unfortunately, a few points were a little too familiar. And, the last line was perfect! Have a great day, John. 😀

    1. Thank you, Gwen. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Hilarious, John! Number five was too funny! Happy Monday!😀

    1. Thank you, Jill. Wishing you a super day (for a Monday)

  3. You’ll have a lot of people laughing at this post – it’s ALL true!!

    1. Thanks GP. I think I’ve lived it. 😀

  4. Really funny, John. I was howling at #5!

    1. Check out Charles’ comment. I happens. Thanks, Jennie.

      1. OMG! That was hysterical!

  5. I have a friend who can attest to #5. Really cold winter and it never crossed his mind. Took him a few minutes to figure out why everyone was watching him.

    1. Ha ha ha. I can imagine. Thanks for the laugh.

      1. Glad to return the favor.

    2. That is hilarious, Charles! 😅

  6. Great list John. I did once pass a gas station that had a sign that said “Sushi.”

    And only buy coffee if you saw it being brewed.

    1. Ha ha ha. Under the Sushi sign they should put “99% E-Coli free.” Thanks, Dan

      1. That’s kind of how I describe a local burrito place: “it’s like Chipotle but without the salmonella.”

      2. Ha ha ha. Good one.

  7. Perfect ending … oh the days of gas stations having a mechanic.

    Great point about the food. I have to be really hungry to stop for food … Hot dogs are ok – but wait – they go on a bun that’s in a wrapper.

    1. I’m just sayin’ 😀

  8. As someone who put himself through his first couple years of college working third shift in a gas station, I can attest to the accuracy of this list. I particularly enjoyed giving people directions to “The Racetrack.” (There was a place called Michigan International Speedway just down the road, where they held something called “Nascar Races.” and the place could NOT have been easier to find, but people would parade in, thinking I knew some secret ninja short cut to “The Track.” Unfortunately for them, if they were unspecific, and they always were, there was also a small horse racing track a few miles away, which was invariably where I directed them. Sometimes I miss those days.

    1. Ha ha ha. I can imagine the look on the face of the race towers to show up at a horse racing facility. Then the bickering about a wrong tern would take place and the whole day end in shambles. You did good work back then. Thanks for sharing. 😀

  9. Nice to see you venturing into true stories now.

    1. Ha haha. Thanks. Craig. 😀

    1. There you go. The only place.

  10. Number six is so true. And its not only at gas stations. People run a list of lotto tickets while others waiting on a long line.

    1. I’ve seen it. Usually a pensioner on a busy Friday night. (when he has all day to do it)

  11. That picture gave me a big laugh! I’m still amazed and the number of people who finish pumping gas, then get back in their car and play around with their phone – while there’s clearly a line behind them.

    1. I’m amazed by the number of people who leave the car at the pump while they go in and shop and write a check. (with long lines)

  12. Sheesh! That even works for stations on this side of the pond, although we say petrol not gas… 😛

    1. Yes. Petrol or gas it is the same.

  13. A great list, John. Do you guys still have full-service stations in Texas?

    1. Nope. At least I haven’t seen any. Most have a store attached.

      1. Yes, our self-serve stations usually have convenience stores attached as well.

  14. Oh, that picture! Happy Monday, John!

    1. Thank you , Marie. 😀

  15. These are GOOD, John! I love numbers 1, 2, and 8. Yes, I’ve made the mistake of asking for directions at a gas station. I usually find a clerk who “just moved here” and knows nothing!

    1. That is the greatest line. Sorry about the second post today. Mistake and I can’t communicate on the comments.

  16. Hi John,
    this reminds me of that inscription on a tombstone, “Here’s the final resting-place of John Smith. He used his cigarette lighter to see if there was any gas in his tank. – There WAS some in it still.”
    On a different note, a story that happened to myself: ar I had gotten my first diesel-powered car, I once made a mistake and tried to fill regular gas in. The assistant inside noticed my mistake, and switched the pump off, hoping I’d see my mistake. Which I didn’t. I tried again, and again he switched the pump off. Well, I still hadn’t realized what was happening, and quite puzzled I took the nozzle out of the tank and looked at it, keeping the lever pressed down. And exactly at that moment the assistant, without looking what I was doing, switched the pump on again. You can imagine the result: I had a nice shower of gasoline! 😀
    Talking of that assistant: he was a chain smoker and never bothered to get rid of his (burning) cigarettes whenever he walked around the pumps. It still is an enigma to me how he managed to not set his gas station on fire.
    Have a great afternoon,

    1. Man. I would call that dangerous.

  17. I laughed so hard at the picture “Eat here & get gas!” that it was hard to focus on the list. Seems gas-stations are the same here in Oz. Why is it that every gas-station attendant sounds like ‘Crocodile Dundee’. Geez, mate … lol.

  18. Love the post, John! Especially number one. Being female, and totally ignorant about cars, I used to limp my car into gas stations often in my younger days seeking help of some kind. Nine times out of 10, some goober in a ball cap would lumber out of the office, hitching up his pants and asking if “that little gal” needed her car fixed. Then he’d have me pop the hood and try to show him what the trouble was. I think this was either to look down my shirt or stand back and look at my butt when I was bent over the engine. Needless to say, I started buying Chilton’s. 😅

    1. Ha ha ha. Rhani. Thanks

  19. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    All very good gas station etiquette…had me laughing! I must admit a lot of truth, too.

    1. Thank you, Denise. Glad you liked it.

  20. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Here is another great top ten list from this post on John Howell’s Fiction Favorites blog.

      1. You’re welcome.

  21. Oh John, you are so funny. I am dead scared of using my cell phone while at a gas station (we call them petrol stations here), let alone smoking will filling up (we have petrol attendants to help us here too).

    1. Ah yes, A nice helpful petrol attendant. Excellent.

  22. Another great list, John. Tiny has quite a resume. 😀 Hugs.

    1. I know right? Thanks, Teagan

  23. Truth here my friend…..this is why I hate road trips. Bathrooms! Ick. Great advice 😂

    1. Thanks for the visit, Lennon. I’m with you on the bathrooms. I’d rather just go behind the building in the woods. 😀

  24. Hilarious an truth to truth. I personally liked number 1 – guaranteed food poisoning!

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