No one ever thought that $4.05/gallon would look like a decent price for gas. Here on Cape Cod this summer it did, so I stopped. It was a gas station in West Falmouth, a town I once lived in but visit only rarely these days. The $4.05 was at a "full-service" pump which once meant that someone would pump your gas and even wash your windshield. Forget the windshield these days but most of us have adjusted.
On a blackboard at the corner of the station a sign read, "Coffee, any size, 49 cents."
"I'll just leave the car here a minute while I run inside and get an ice coffee," I told the attendant.
"I'll show you," he replied and followed me inside. The Quikmart was newly renovated and the attendant - who I suspect might have been the owner - pointed to the coffee area. "Coffee," he said and then pointing again, "Milk, cream, sugar." It was actual milk and cream resting in a bin of ice, not those terrible little plastic containers that add reams to the landfill and are filled with something that doesn't taste like milk.He walked around the corner, pulled a bag of ice and a scooper from the freezer and brought them to me. Across the room was another machine, "Ice Coffee - $1.29." He saw me looking at it.
"Chemicals," he said, "not real coffee."
It says everything about what's happened in America that I was shocked. Real coffee, real milk and a man who wanted to point me toward a good deal. You can be sure that I'll fill my car there again soon.
Actual customer service. Imagine.
Customer friendly - a different kind of shock at the gas station!