You know the drill: you’re at work, you’re stuck in traffic, you’re desperately searching for a gas station to fill up. Suddenly, you notice a long line of cars at the gas station, some with their lights on, patiently waiting their turn. You think to yourself, “This is odd. Isn’t there usually a sign warning people that this gas station is out of order?” You continue to watch in awe as the line slowly snakes its way through the station’s glass doors. The attendants aren’t even looking at the clock. You think to yourself, “Why aren’t they moving? This can’t be right.” You look at your watch and notice that the line hasn’t moved in 15 minutes. You begin to wonder, is this some kind of a joke?
Well, maybe not a joke. More like a practical joke. One played on you by your friendly neighborhood gas station owner who just so happens to be out of order and thinks that you’re coming to fix it. He might even offer to give you a bonus just for showing up.
It’s the kind of prank that we’ve all heard of. One where the owner of the gas station randomly closes down the station, thinking that no one will show up to help him fix it. He’ll play this joke on different people, so when you call about the gas station being out of order, you’re not the only one who’ll get the punchline. But why would he do that? What could he possibly gain from playing a prank?
Well, maybe he’s feeling generous. Or maybe he’s trying to teach you a lesson. Gas station pranks are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been part of American culture for as long as we can remember. They started out harmless, where gas station owners would close down their stations when they thought no one would show up. But recently, these gas station pranks have gotten a whole lot more dangerous. Why?
Well, it all started with ransomware. A few years back, cybercriminals started using ransomware to extort money from people. They’d encrypt your stuff and demand a certain amount of money to decrypt it. Well, maybe the gas station owner isn’t just doing this to teach you a lesson. Maybe he sees your car as a symbol of your wealth and power and wants to take it for himself. Or maybe he just found out that you’re a famous hacker and wants to teach you a lesson about security. Whichever the case may be, we want to make sure that you’re careful when filling up at gas stations.
So, how do we prevent ourselves from getting robbed? Well, instead of paying the cybercriminal, we need to protect our data and our property. The best way to do that is by taking care when filling up at a gas station. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Play It Safe
First things first, when it comes to dealing with gas stations, safety comes first. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all gas stations. It just means that you have to be careful when filling up at ones that aren’t well-lit or protected by cameras. It also means that you should try to fill up at a gas station that has a reputation for being safe. If the gas station owner is trying to teach you a lesson and doesn’t care about your safety, then it might not be the best idea to go there.
Also, make sure that the gas station is in a safe location. Where is safe? Well, that depends on you and how much cash you’re willing to lose. If it’s just a prank and nothing else, then maybe the parking lot of a fast food restaurant is safe enough. If it’s a more dangerous situation, then there are certain places that you might want to avoid. Places with high crime rates are a bad idea, as are abandoned buildings or empty lots. It also might not be the best idea to go near a gas station that’s close to a school or daycare center. After all, you never know what kind of situation you might encounter when driving children to school. Maybe they’ll mistake you for a monster and ask for help.
Watch The Signs
Second things second and as a rule of thumb, if in doubt, then don’t. This means that even if the gas station looks safe and it seems like everyone else is having a good time, it might not be the best idea to go there. Sometimes, signs can be misleading, especially when it comes to gas stations. In some places, it’s customary to leave your window down when you approach a gas station. This is to let the gas station attendant know that you’re coming. In other places, it’s customary to leave your window up when you approach a gas station, which means that you might not be so obvious to the attendants. So, when in doubt, always check the sign.
Look At The People
Another rule of thumb: if you see a lot of people inside the gas station, then it’s probably safe. However, sometimes, people can look threatening even when they’re just trying to be helpful. If you see a lot of nervous-looking people, then it could be a dangerous situation. On the other hand, if you see people that appear friendly, then it probably isn’t. It’s always a good idea to check people’s body language before you make a decision. Never get into a car with strangers, especially if there are children involved. It’s also a good idea to avoid gas stations that are near schools or daycare centers. After all, you never know what kind of situation you might encounter when you’re driving children to their school. Maybe they’ll mistake you for a monster and ask for help.
Take Your Time
Now, it’s not always easy to determine how long it will take to get to your destination. Especially if you’re in a hurry. Sometimes, the answer is simply, “It depends.” Sometimes, it depends on how much traffic there is. Sometimes, it depends on how good of a driver you are. Sometimes, it depends on what kind of gas pedal you’re using. Sometimes, it depends on the type of car you have. So, when you can’t answer the question, “How long will this take?” then it might be a good idea to just ask someone else. Or, if you’re really lucky, there might be someone walking along who can give you an honest answer. It’s always good to have an extra set of hands when driving. And remember, sometimes, the most obvious answer can be the one that you missed the most. So, next time you’re driving and you ask someone for the fastest way to your destination, make sure that you’re not just asking someone to give you the answer that you want to hear. Make sure that you’re also checking the signs along the way.
There are many different types of gas station pranks. Some gas stations close down for parts unknown, sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for a few days. Or, they might not even have functioning locks on the doors and windows, so it’s easy for someone to walk in and help themselves to a few drinks or snacks. Some gas stations give you an extra pump for free, just for being a customer. Some gas stations even give you a discount just for showing up, especially if you’re a returning customer. It’s all a matter of personal preference what kind of gas station you want to avoid.