land of milk and honey my ass

May 16, 2008

Me and the family drove to San Diego last month for a week of boogie boarding and eating fish tacos. The boogie boarding was off the hook, the fish tacos were fresh and yummy.

You want to know what WASN’T off the hook and fresh and yummy?

California gas stations and convenience stores.

In a word, they suck.

I think you can judge the quality and advancement of a civilization by its gas stations and convenience stores. Of course, in advanced societies, gas stations and convenience stores are the same thing.

For example, my local convenience store, the Holiday Chevron at the bottom of the Suncrest hill in Draper, UT, has plenty of gas pumps, you can pay at the pump when the store is closed, and inside, they have a large array of soft drinks on tap (an absolute necessity to even make the list, although, I’d be happy if all they offered was Diet Coke), flavor shots, an array of hot dogs, and a small well-stocked grocery store. They also have free (compressed) air out back, and both a manual and automatic carwash.

And this is a pretty mediocre convenience store. The really good ones always have window washing material, always offer funnels when you buy a can of oil, have an actual fast food option besides cheddar cheese dogs, like Wendys, Arbys, or Subway (or better), and on the hot dog stand, they have “Fixins” like relish, sour kraut, and onions. And bathrooms that don’t require a key. And fritters and Dunford donuts. And lots of other stuff, like even their own bakery or deli. And maybe a balloon animal/shape guy.

In contrast, when I stopped at any number of gas stations in and around San Diego, they had these stupid kiosks between the pumps where you have to punch in which pump you’re using, then put your credit card in, then go back to your pump, where the nozzles have those fume blockers like big black accordions that make it so you can’t get the nozzle all the way into the gas tank and spill everywhere (um, maybe defeating the purpose) and when you’re done, go back to the kiosk and type in your pump number again to get your receipt. And the store inside has mediocre selection, never any flavor shots for my coke, they almost always have the dreaded cardboard/paper cups, short, skinny straws, and surly help.

Oh, and pretty much without exception, there was a sign that said “.75 cent surcharge for using a debit card.” You know, instead of saying, we’re grateful you’re buying stuff from us, it was, we only want your business if you don’t use a debit card. And bite us.

The odd thing is, the farther north we drove, the better the stores got. Bad in Barstow, bad in Baker, pretty mediocre in Las Vegas, slightly better in Mesquite, and by the time we got to St. George, we were back to the good stuff.

I guess I really do live in Zion.

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9 Responses to “land of milk and honey my ass”

  1. brkeyes7 Says:

    What’s a flavor shot and are they off the hook?

  2. KanyonKris Says:

    Hey, no CarboRocket market research permitted here! I think flavor shots are those pump bottles with various flavors (cherry, lemon, etc.) you can add to your fountain drink.

    I thought Vegas was the gas station armpit of the nation, now from your report, I’m afraid to go to Cali.

  3. Boz Says:

    The Holiday Stations around these parts seem to all have 2 diet coke taps. My wife goes there all the time, which must expalin this strange quirk in fountain drink continuum, as she drinks twice her weight in diet coke per day. Sounds like dug has a simular problem..

  4. VA Biker Says:

    But if you have to put a flavor shot in yer’ Diet Coke, should you be drinking it for the flavor in the first place? And if you’re not drinking it for the flavor, why drink it at all? Just curious; no offense intended.

    (With the understanding that dug and Elden are keeping Coca-Cola in business with the purchase of this particular beverage. Ever think of buying the syrup containers and mixing your own at home?)

  5. Bikemike Says:

    ohhh, VA Biker, if you poke the bear with a stick, it gonna get ugly. (runs and ducks for cover)

  6. dug Says:

    va biker, that type of stringency applied willy nilly like that would lead to sheer craziness. NO mixing anything? why toppings on ice cream? why toppings on burgers? why chutney on your sandwich? i’m just saying.

    but it brings up a good point, which is, what is the hierarchy of drinking for me?

    1. diet coke, fountain, lots of ice, with a shot of vanilla.

    2. diet coke with lime, fountain.

    3. diet coke, fountain.

    4. diet coke with lime, two liter, poured, ice

    5. diet coke with lime, can, poured, ice

    6. diet coke, two liter, poured, ice

    7. diet coke, can, poured, ice

    8. diet coke, can, straight.

    for some reason i’m no fan of the 20oz bottle.

    oh, and if all this is unavailable, i’ll go ahead and drink something else. used to be, if i went to a restaurant and asked for diet coke, and they said “is diet pepsi okay?” i would sadly shake my head, and ask for water. i’m not so orthodox anymore. getting soft i guess.

  7. Rick S. Says:

    Dug- You’ve clearly thought this through. I like the 8 degrees of Diet Coke.

    I went to a gas station today during lunch to grab a coke and a hot dog. I walked over to where the hot dogs were and found 2, um, rather large ladies. One of them was picking up the hot dogs with the tongs and smelling them to see which ones had the cheese filling. I was so bummed out, I opted to skip the hot dogs and just get a coke and some fig newtons for lunch.

  8. KanyonKris Says:

    The unexamined life is not worth living. And then there’s dug. Rock on, minutia man! 😉

  9. BotchedExperiment Says:

    My wife won a cruise, but we had to go with her co-workers. The big boss was friends with my wife’s brother, who also was on the cruise. Therefore, we always had to eat with the big boss.

    The big boss liked diet coke with lime. In a glass. With REAL lime. Ice, but cubes, not crushed. 5 cubes. Yep, 5 cubes. AND he insisted that the waiter squeeze the lime. I’m pretty certain that by the second of 5 days, everyone of the servers was hawking loogies into his soda.


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