Friday, July 20, 2012
they'll get you in
Nolene and I just returned from a little road trip to see our sister in Arkansas. Always a nice little drive, and I enjoy the miles of trees on either side of the road. As can be expected on a trip like this, I had to make some stops for gas along the way.
When we went into a town, a little off the highway, getting gas was no problem. Slip the card into the slot, and pay at the pump. Then of course we might wander in and pick up a soda or snack. However, coming home we stopped at one of the stations on the freeway. I slipped my card into the little slot, and lo and behold, I got a message to see the cashier. I was not given the option of a debit purchase, just credit. I go in and she's only able to take my card for a set amount. "I want to fill up." I would have to prepay, and if I overpaid, she would refund. I declined and left.
I headed down to another station, this time a truck stop. Lo and behold, similar situation. I slipped my card into the slot, and without even being given an option of credit or debit, got a message to go inside. Same scenario. This time, with a huff, I did tell her a dollar amount (which was paid by debit, not credit), filled up, and went back inside to get my change...which was just credited back to my account.
Did I make any inside purchases in either of these facilities? You can bet your bottom dollar I did not. I don't like being manipulated, and I feel like this was blatant manipulation. Sadly, yes, some of these stores have probably seen fewer sales on their high profit items inside the store since pay-at-the-pump is now the norm. However, with these actions, they won't be seeing repeat fuel service from me. I'll make sure I stop in populated areas.
I understand there is a legitimate theft deterrent here. A few months ago at a local station it would not process a credit payment at the pump, and I had to go inside and pay by debit. I called my bank when I got back home, and yes, its not unusual to decline the credit transactions because of the possibility of someone using your card without your permission. However, debit transactions would not be a problem because a password has to be entered.
So be aware. If you're on the highway, and not even offered the debit transaction at the pump, they could just be wanting you to come in the door and spend additional dollars on inside sales.