I openly admit that I can be very impatient. But I think I’m becoming more patient. As we were driving through Northern Ontario, I looked at the gas gauge and realized that we should have stopped at the last gas station. As a result, the drive to the next, very deserted looking, station was a little stressful. 15 minutes later, we found a gas station. It was so old, the pump was pre-digital and the price of gas was also 5 cents more than I had seen anywhere on the entire trip. The owners of the station obviously knew they were the only gas station for awhile.
We had $30, but the gas was $42, so we needed to use Visa.
This is where the adventure began.
Does anyone even remember what a party-line is?
Apparently, some people in Northern Ontario, not only remember what they are, but rely on a party-line for all communication with the rest of the world. When I say, “rest of the world”, this may include the Visa authorization line.
After the woman at the till made a carbon-copy imprint of my card, she picked up the phone to call Visa and confirm that my Visa was legitimate. Well, since the Gas station shares their phone line with other people in the area, the line was busy. She explained it would only be a few minutes so we sat at the small table and waited.
After 15 minutes of waiting
Andy and I are tired of discussing how unnecessary it was for her to even call before we could go. Finally I made my first attempt to getting us back on the road. I should also note, we had been driving for 7 hours already, and had 18 more hours to drive in the next day and a half. We even stopped at a grocery store in the morning so we wouldn’t have to stop for meals. Clearly we were in a rush.
Me:“Can I just sign the Visa slip and wait in my car?” (This way I could listen to the radio)
Cashier: “How do I know you won’t just drive off?”
Me:“You have my Visa imprint, and name. Even if drive off Visa will still charge me.”
Another 20 minutes later
I walked back into the gas station with a new plan.
Me: “Since it’s been 35 minutes and I have another 18 hours to drive and would like to start driving again, can I give you the $30.00 I have in cash and the rest on the Visa? That was it’s only $12.00. I’ll even give you my address so you can find me if you don’t get paid.”
Cashier: “I don’t know if we can do this.”
Me: “It’s not like I would travel across the country with a bad Visa.”
Cashier: “Stranger things have happened.”
Me:“Besides, Visa protects vendors against things like that. I’ve worked at places where they did the phone verification at the end of the day.”
Finally the other person working there, I think it was her husband, let me pay part of it with cash and let me leave after they made a new Visa imprint.
It took more than 40 minutes to fill the car and get back on the road. I curse you , Northern Ontario. Oh well, at least we were able to get a hotel room that night in Thunder Bay, ON without reservations.
My dad said I was much more patient than him. He told me he would have said, “Since you don’t seem to have a phone, you can’t call the police. Bye”
What would you have done?