It was almost three on a hot summer afternoon.
All sixteen pumps were being used, Baum had traffic, and we were understaffed.
I was one of two cashiers standing inside an octagon-shaped counter with four registers.
The assistant manager said he’d watch my line while I cleaned, but that was wishful thinking.
The gas station was too busy for managers to stand still.
My mission was clear: clean the men’s room and return before the other cashier was overwhelmed by customers.
America had reached its peak with over 216,000 gas stations.
But after two oil crises rocked the industry, chains scaled back in numbers.
Gas station owners realized selling cigarettes, lottery tickets, and candy bars was more profitable than auto repairs.
Self-service was the next big change.
Attendants disappeared in the 1980s, except in New Jersey and Oregon where laws keep the job
In the 1990s, gas station owners embraced convenience stores, then fast-food, and the Exxon-McDonald’s-7-Eleven hybrids were born.
The bigger gas stations got, the more their numbers dwindled.
In 2012, there were just 156,065 fueling sites in the United States; this means gas stations have less competition and more vices to sell, and are busier than ever.