George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Short fuses at the fuel island

| November 10, 2013

My family is amazed at my patience. And now I can officially be the President, because that’s the biggest lie ever told. I seem to have a little bit of a short fuse when it comes to patience. I’m reminded of a comedian I heard doing a bit about how an automated world has made us all impatient. He said he stood in line behind a very agitated woman at the bank, who verbally assaulted a teller after waiting nine seconds in line. It’s true. We’re a very instant-gratification kind of society, we really don’t wait for much.

Except when it comes to the fuel isle, or getting unloaded, or getting out of a traffic jam, or just about everything that has to do with trucking.

I’ve gotten a lot better. My first few weeks out I spent with my hair standing on end most of the time. The first time we waited 45 minutes for the fuel isle, I nearly stroked out. For some reason, that’s the one that gets me the most. I get pissed sitting at receivers, I’m annoyed by traffic jams, but for some reason, the fuel isle thing makes me murderously angry. I think it’s mostly because it’s such an avoidable annoyance. First, because people should know better than to disassemble their freaking truck at the pump, and go over every single wire and hose while six other trucks wait to fuel. Don’t be an asshole, pull forward or park to do your monthly maintenance. And secondly, how hard would it be for the big three to have pump attendants, who are there strictly for asshole patrol, since we can’t depend on society to self-monitor and just know inherently not to be one? They have people scheduled to maintain the snack bar — why couldn’t they schedule someone to maintain the fuel-isle flow? I would gladly give up a rolling rack of butt rockets for a fuel island attendant.

George is a really even-tempered person, and extremely patient, but the fuel island gets him, too. He will eventually get out of the truck and go inside to ask politely what the hell the problem is, while my idea of settling the situation is to run inside and fire five rounds into the ceiling while screaming, “Who the HELL left their truck parked in the fuel isle and came inside to take a shower!?!!!!!”

Tall TalesSo yeah, sometimes the patience thing is a disadvantage for me when I’m on the truck. George knows when I’ve lost all tolerance for the situation, mostly because my eye gets little, but also because he knows me well. (My left eye gets little because I had Bell’s Palsy when I was pregnant with our son, kind of a mini-stroke thing, and my left eye droops according to how high my blood pressure is, or how drunk I am. What makes it even more awesome is that my other eye will bulge accordingly, and I begin to look like a one-eyed Ernest Borgnine. It’s truly the ugliest thing ever. “She’s got a little eye,” is a whispered phrase in our home, it’s so cruel.)

Anyway, I’m lucky to be riding with someone who tempers my pinging off the walls with quiet patience. He will listen to me rant and rave, and agree with all my proclamations of what kinds of torture should be inflicted upon those who go inside to get chicken while their truck is parked at the pump. He pats my hand and feeds me blood-pressure meds, and I really appreciate that he usually doesn’t remark about my Ernest Borgnine eye. The headlines should read, “George Parker Saves Lives at the Fuel Pump.”

Bless the patient people. There should be more of them. More importantly, bless the impatient. They need it a lot more, and while we’re at it, bless the people with a little eye, because it totally sucks.

  • guest

    Seems like guys log the 30 minute break at the pump….shower or visit Subway..with truck locked and hood up so it appears he is inside buying oil??

  • cjmarley

    It doesn’t really bother me if a trucker grabs some to go food or a coffee while he’s at the pump. We’re all wanting to keep moving and going through the whole process of parking just to grab a hamburger is just a pain the butt. But I’ve seen guys who will go in and sit down to eat or even take a shower while at the pump and those are the guys I want to strangle. But I rush like a bat out of hell if I even just go in to use the bathroom while at the pump because I don’t want to hold anyone up.

  • Todd Modderman

    All the truck stops have to do is give them a time limit, after that, it’s $10 a minute to sit there. IF you’re not pumping fuel, you can pay rent on that spot for what it would make pumping fuel.

    I stopped at a Pilot once, a truck was sitting at the pump, I fueled, went in and paid, parked, did my logs and messed around for about 15 minutes, went in to get some dinner and that same truck was still sitting at the pump with no one around with the window down. I felt like sticking the water hose inside his truck and turning it on.

  • Danny Murdock

    I find picking up the phone at the island and requesting an announcement works pretty well.After the PA echos the company’s name & pump # the driver moves much faster.

  • johnny dark

    i have mentioned this problem to several folks working the fuel desk and most of them look at me like i have 2 heads. But it is not the fault of the lady or gent working the fuel desk if the cafe is short handed. Call the truck stop office or the corporate office and tell them that will you know your single truck boycott of their place will probably never make a dent in sales , your constant bitching on the citizens band will.make sure they know you will post their attention or lack of , on every pos forum board you come across and that you will make it your life’s mission to spread the gospel about said fueling spot. I have been doing this a long time and one of the biggest problems we face in the world as a whole is that we give our feedback/opinion to the wrong people.

  • rickbiehle

    The Loves at Pittsboro, IN does have attendants watching those fueling and telling them to park. I also saw that somewhere else (forget where)

  • mlkmade

    OH Wendy can I relate to your article! Just a few weeks ago I went ballistic on a guy washing his truck (including floor mats) at the fuel island while there islands were 3 deep!! My poor husband stayed on the other side of the truck. It wasn’t pretty. I agree that the big 3 should put attendants out to keep people moving! I’ve seen it done at one Pilot and it made such a difference! Thanks for putting it all into words!

  • Fedup

    I know the feeling, and it isn’t just the fuel island where they fuel the trucks. It’s where the cars and suv’s gas up as well.

  • frustrated X trucker

    Dumb Truck Drivers; what do you expect. If they had brains they would not be driving a truck. I can’t believe the low life driving big rigs these days. Scary isn’t it!

  • Rc12334

    You can’t fix stupid… goes hand in hand with the moral breakdown of our society…

  • mousekiller

    A few years ago someone left their truck at the fuel island. It seemed to be there way too long. A driver went in to find out why. The driver turned out to be an ass.

    Then someone got in his truck as the keys were in it and parked it as far from the building that they could. Locked it up with the keys in it.

    Bet that driver does not do it again. Then again he probably doesn’t drive a truck anymore. I think I saw him at a Micky D’s asking if we want fries with that?

  • John Scott

    Its the same drivers who park and sleep in no parking areas and block the rest of us legally parked. Or the ones who leave pee bottle’s and garbage on the ground when a can was less then 10 feet away. Its a lack of respect for other people and property.

  • mousekiller

    That $10.00 wouldn’t benefit any one sitting behind the disrespectful driver waiting. But letters to the company would do a lot. Remember that TS’s are private property and we are there by invitation. That invitation can be revoked any time to any one. I saw that happen to a driver. He was asked to pull up and he got mouthy and foul .
    Contact the carrier with the truck trailer #’s.

  • mousekiller

    The problem with doing that is that few if any one has a solution to the problem and 99% of the time foul language is used to negate every thing they said.

  • Brenda Coe

    My husband finds drivers doing their 30 minute break right at the Island that pisses him off…

  • Jeff

    Here are my thoughts on the “patience” thing. I’ve been out here for 24 years. It took me about 18 months to learn that if you don’t have patience out here in this industry you have chosen the wrong career.

    Yes, I agree that some people need to learn to move their truck off the fuel island when they are done fueling but I don’t see anything wrong with doing a quick walk around and lifting the hood when the fuel is flowing in your tanks.

    One of the things I hate (a pet peave) is when somebody is “washing” their truck in the fuel island. I don’t get it. It leaves the entire are wet and then you track the water into your truck with your wet feet….I hate that!!

    For the record, I am not one who does PTI’s on the fuel island although I may check my fluids on occasion during the fueling process.

  • Jeff

    Truer words have not been spoken

  • johnny dark

    could not agree more. few know which hammer to use and even less know how to use it.

  • MercenaryMan

    Maybe we need a Fuel Island manager, who works the fuel Island, helping out the guys with Card Issues, payment issues, etc, and keep things moving, if your parked for longer then 30 minutes in a fueling spot, your bonus points could be stripped or showers lost…but it is out of control and those that do it are JERKS.

  • mousekiller

    When I fuel I pop the hood. Check the hoses, oil and belts and if needed add windshield washer fluid. All this while my tanks are filling. I also clean the glass but NEVER with the squeegees furnished by the TS. I have my own. Cheap at Wal Mart. Seldom do I stay at the truck stop I fuel at.

    I see too many irresponsible boobs use them to get spilled fuel and oil off their truck or just wash the truck then stick them back in the bucket. Most are foreign nationals and not many from south of the border. They really don’t care if they tie up the island or not. When confronted with it they shrug their shoulders and begin to speak a foreign language as if to say Go get screwed.

  • Werewolf

    Sitting at the fuel pump isn’t the only issue. Sometimes after the jerks have fueled and do pull ahead they do their bathroom thing or go and eat. I’ve set 45 minutes in any fuel line but I have sat for a considerable time. I get out and go find the idiot and tell him ( or her ) to move the damn truck or I’ll move it for them. They dare me to try and I go out and get in their piece of crap truck and move it. I don’t take shit from anyone ( especially form those that can’t speak English). My theory, MOVE IT OR LOSE IT!!! Period

  • hotdog

    I almost NEVER choose to fuel at Pilot, J, Loves or TA for just this reason. Easier, quicker and oftentimes cheaper to buy fuel at the mom-and-pop truck stop right around the corner. One of the real pleasures of being a 100% owner-operator, go where and do what I want to……for now. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.