I pulled into a gas station and was baffled that every pump was full. I pulled up behind one car and waited for the driver to return after paying. A few minutes later, I was still waiting.

And I noticed that the 4 other vehicles around me (with nary a driver in sight) were all still sitting there in the time I was waiting. I assumed that the station must be very busy, with a long line to pay for gas. I moved the car around and found another pump that became free after just a couple minutes.

I paid for my gas with a credit card at the pump and then moved the car to the side of the parking lot. (I wanted to use the facilities.) In the station, there was only one person in line. Where were these people who stranded their cars at the pumps? Not in line to pay, not strolling through the aisles of convenience food. They weren’t in the bathroom either.

My guess is that they were in line for the Subway next door (it was lunch time). My initial response was “how rude.” Now I have to figure out if Californians have different gas station etiquette from what I’m used to or if it was a random fluke.

Can you leave your vehicle blocking a gas pump while you grab lunch? And can everyone do it so that there’s only one pump available to serve customers? Hmmm, it seems unlikely.

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