Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

ARCO Gas Station: Something Doesn’t Feel Right


Just before leaving Seattle for the airport, I filled my gas tank. I went to an ARCO station, opened my tank lid and went to swipe my card when I saw a sign saying everyone must pay inside.

Annoying. It’s so convenient when you can just swipe your card at the point of service. I go inside and the Ethiopian woman at the counter asks me how many gallons I want.

I said “I need to fill the tank; I don’t know how many gallons. Swipe my card and then I will come in and sign the charge receipt when we know how much it is.”

She said that’s not how it works, they need to charge me and then they will give me back change. My bad. At that point I should have walked. I should have gone to the next gas station. I didn’t.

So I guessed 15 gallons, and she charged me $60. My car didn’t even take nine gallons. When I went inside, she gave me back $26.81 in cash, not refunded to my credit card. That is just such a strange way to do business.

It bothered me. What bothered me more was that when I got home and looked at my receipt, I had been charged $61.00. It’s only a dollar more, but the cost of my gas ($33.19) and my change back (26.81) add up to $60. Why was I charged $61?

Here is my dirty suspicion – she thought for $1. no one will bother complaining. If you read my previous entry, you can see why – my life is busy in its own way, but other people’s lives are busy in their ways. Who is going to made a big deal over $1.00 overcharge?

I don’t have time to deal with it right now and I will hold on to the receipts to see if I want to spend my precious time later trying to make it right. Or will I just figure my time is more precious than arguing over $1. in which case the scam works every time?

If this was a $1. charge for something, I don’t see it anywhere on the receipts. Do you? Why would they charge me for the inconvenience of buying gas in such a convoluted way?

I will NEVER go to that gas station again.

Second thought: Maybe I should just think of it as a charitable contribution?

August 15, 2013 - Posted by | Customer Service, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Rants, Scams, Seattle, Travel


  1. Arco is famous for this kind of stuff. They went out of business in our area. Some places charge extra for credit purchases, they charged extra for debit card purchases. They also had some kind of weird card station that you had to use rather than just at the pump. I don’t trust them anywhere.

    Comment by momcatwa | August 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Ah. So it isn’t just me. Thanks, MomCat.

      Comment by intlxpatr | August 16, 2013 | Reply

  2. You spend half your article claiming how you are too busy to fight for your dollar. Yet your whole article is about the dollar. Not trying to hate just maybe you got a bad cashier. My local arco always lets me do fillups and I can pay directly at the pump so maybe you just got a bad site.

    Comment by Henry | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  3. I think I got a bad one, indeed. Dollars add up. I am not going to go to the company over a dollar, but I can write an article, which, even months later, gets readers. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | February 12, 2014 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: