The gas station routine has not changed in years. I put in my card, enter my zip code, choose my fuel, and pump. When I’m done I put the spout back in its bracket and the machine asks me if I want a receipt. I say yes, it spits out the receipt, and I leave. Sometimes I remember to close the gas cap again.
About half the gas stations changed recently. The machine now asks the receipt question before I can pump. At the end, it gratuitously announces that ‘THE OPERATION COMPLETED SUCCESSFULLY” and out comes the receipt.
Can you see what’s wrong with this?
If I don’t make the receipt decision until the end, I’m looking right at the gallons and dollars when the receipt pops out, and without conscious decision I compare them. By the time it hands out the receipt the numbers are all done, and it doesn’t know until then that I requested paper proof of its honesty.
But now the machine knows from the beginning whether I’ve asked for a receipt. If I say no, the computer can cheat me and give me less gallons or charge me more, knowing that I’ll have nothing to immediately compare with and no paper later when small differences in my credit card show up or the car runs out of gas sooner than expected.
Considering the heavy presence of organized crime in gasoline fraud around here (particularly in PIN thefts from debit-only stations), one has to wonder, doesn’t one?