Friday, August 21, 2009

Chevron "Grift" Card

I just took a look at my Chevron credit card. I've been a customer since 1982. I became a customer before it was fuel, and it was still just a fossil.

Today I was driving on fumes and pulled into the Royce Chevron at 1250 W. Sepulveda Blvd. I had two used Chevron gift cards that I intended to finish up, and then use my Chevron credit card for the remainder of the transaction.

Or so I thought.

After swiping one gift card at the pump, the small screen came up with a (paraphrasing here) "Card not authorized" or some such message. I cancelled that transaction, and after receiving the same message for the second gift card, I went into the store and approached the station cashier. I asked her to check out the amounts left on both cards. There was 92 cents on one, and 97 cents on the other. I asked if I could use the cards, and she directed that she would have to swipe one card, I would have to go outside and pump my gas, close out that transaction, re-enter the store so she could swipe the second card, and I would have to once again pump my gas and close out THAT transaction.

The term 'gas station convenience store' is obviously a misnomer here.

Apparently, whenever there is less than a certain dollar amount on the card, the card won't work at the pump. So, following my example, if you had 15 Chevron gift cards each with less than $1 remaining on each card, you would have to enter and exit the station no less than 15 times and pump gas 15 times,

It would take you 20 minutes to pump 5 gallons of gas. Longer if you were handicapped in anyway.

My guess is this is a ploy by Chevron to so frustrate their 'valuable' customers that they disregard the few cents left on their cards and chuck 'em. If millions of gift card users chuck their cards every day, well, you do the math.

I'm going to save all my Chevron gift cards, especially the ones with less than, say, 50 cents left. I'm going to hoard them until I have an ungodly amount. I'm going to go to the same gas station during the busiest time of the day, and I'm going to use those gift cards, one at a time. As a matter of fact, I'm going to make it a point to leave just a few pennies on each gift card, just so I can have a cadre of cards with which I can torture Mr. Hamid Zerehi's employees.

That certainly is more fun and entertaining than buying, say, 13 cents worth of gas.

Some might say, sheesh lady, just buy a candy bar.

I'm sorry. I don't buy shoes at a grocery store, toilet paper at a jewelry store, or food at a gas station.

What I want is the so-called convenience that Chevron claims these cards offer. ATTENTION CHEVRON: It isn't convenient if I have to initiate a separate transaction to use up the remainder of a gift card. It isn't convenient if I have to leave my car to enter your shop to use my gift card, as if I were paying with cash. It isn't convenient for your customers to march to and from the pump and store repeatedly because you wish to pad your bottom line.

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