The other side of gas station audits

I meet a lot of gas station owners who are put out that I'm auditing them. Some of them are downright snotty. Well the other day I met a guy who was delighted. He could not have been more pleased, and with good reason. His gas station was the cleanest I've ever encountered. Seriously, he must scrub the pavement with a brush all night long. The bathroom was immaculate and smelled like it had just been cleaned. His eyes lit up when I presented him with the LOA and he proudly informed me that he had gotten 100 on the last audit. Then he added "I bet I get 100 this time too."

It was a nice change of pace, and a little rewarding to realize that the hardworking people who get it right are more than pleased to get a chance to show off.

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I have a few regular stations that do that. They're always the most enjoyable. There are the ones that thank me for getting them extra attention from the company lik I called up Mr Mobil and told him that the guy in Middletown really wants his inverted POP holders. He's been waiting forever.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
I met an owner like that. He told me that the reports are sent to the client, who then produces a score, and then that report/score is sent to the fuel distributor first, and that the distributor gets all of the benefits from a good score, and none of the benefits go to the store/location owner. He told me that the owner of the store gets something from the distributor when the scores are good. In the case I'm talking about, the owner said that he wanted an LED sign, and that by getting a good score, he might have a better chance of getting the fuel distributor to pay for one.
I was told by a gas station manager that she got an email that morning before I arrived. I am Not sure if they all get an email, warning them.
Curious, when filling out the "How likely are you to return/recommend/bla bla bla," how often do you give out all 10's? What about if every aspect of the audit was spot on? Do you give out all 10's there?

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
The determining factor for my returning or recommending a gas station is price, which is not on the list. If the station is clean, local and has the best price that is where I go. If I am on the road and need gas, again, I look for price. As a result, for me, 8 is a very good rating, 7 average and 5 or 6 poor. I have only given one 5 and no 9 or 10.
I very rarely, if ever, give out 10's across the board because there is usually some sort of flaw or issue at the gas station. The main one is the rolling papers and pipes. They will lose a point for that.

I recently performed an almost brand new gas station (just built, not a rebranding) so I was excited thinking there would not be any major issues. I pull up to the pump, wave my "wand" in front of the pump and it doesn't work. I swipe the credit card and it doesn't work. I look around and other customers are having the same problem. We all descend into the store at the same time and discover that there is some sort of computer glitch and none of the dispensers will let you pump gas even if you pay cash.

So there went their perfect score. Oh ya, they had rolling papers also.
My determining factors as to whether they get 1-10 are purely personal because that is the way the question is worded. If the bathroom shows signs of regular scrubbing, not just a once over, if the people are friendly and seem to care, and if the outside has been cleaned sometime in the last few years, yeah, I'll recommend. I've only given one 10 though... I couldn't find a single thing that wasn't perfect.
OTOH, I recently met a station owner who was perhaps the most handsome station owner I have ever met.

He rode up on a Harley wearing a black leather jacket, wayfare sunglasses and dark jeans. I thought he was just another customer until he walked over and introduced himself. Taking off his sunglasses, he looked like a model standing there, dark brown hair and blue eyes.

I guess that's all I can say
My ratings are based on my personal feelings, since that's what the questions ask. I can go to a run down station with multiple infractions and still give all 10s as long as the employees made me feel welcomed and valued, and the restroom was clean. I don't really care about the condition of the pumps etc. as long as they work, and if someone wants to roll their own cigarettes or whatever that doesn't bother me. The station already will get dinged for those infractions based on the answers in the rest of my report.
I've had several owners of all types of stores be glad I was there. I did one the other day that the ID sign and canopy were half missing due to a tornado. The distributor in his case was responsible for them and he has been trying to get them fixed for a year a half. He kept pointing out things for me to take photos of, lol.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
for one of the brands I visit I can base it on price and all else equal do.
I use the price gauge based on stations that are on that street or corner.
One of the stations I visit charges 40 cents extra for credit and it's not
advertised on the sign. I don't think I've ever given them over a 6 because
of this.

Another station price was always 50+ cents higher then the other 3 stations
right there. They got debranded for that and a bunch of other reasons.

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There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots
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When you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody
I base it heavily on the interaction with the associate.
Today I has an old lady that was all over the place. In one breath she's like my BFf and the next she's sayin, "you KNOW- we PAY you for this!" and " you're SUPPOSED TO introduce yourself."

Needless to say she said that second one about a minute after I introduced myself as the auditor.

She did not rate well.

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Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
The ones I love are the unrevealed audits. And then they get all pissy at you for taking pictures.
I had one yell at me that I was supposed to tell them I was there. I was like uh, no I'm not. Well the last one did. Well the last one did it wrong then!

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
With regard to tornadoes; last week, whilst traveling through Illinois, I was diverted from driving along the state route that passed through the recently tornado ravaged town of Fairdale.

However, I did come upon the intersection where a restaurant once stood. It had sustained damage from that recent tornado. All that was left was its ground floor, the above ground structure was no to be found. The trees about were shredded of leaves and smaller limbs, there were numerous vehicles sitting askew, dented and punched with their windsceens and side windows broken. The report was that there were many motorists who survived by taking shelter below ground at the business.

Diagonally, across the intersection was a farm that sustained unbelievable damage: Farming equipment sat crazily upon, against and overturned within the wooded area (or what was left).

It was as if giant hands had tossed everthing about or a bomb had been dropped.

Sadly, it brought back old childhood memories. I blinked and hurriedly drove on.
I have a gas station shop (the green people) where the manager is totally OCD and follows me every step of the way, interrogating me about every photo I take, trying to look at my paperwork as I write my findings, even snatching them out of my hand at one point. He screams at employees to fix whatever it is before letting me leave, the last time he pulled that I whipped out my cell phone and told him to back off or I'd call the cops. (He made it plain that I could not leave the store building until he got his 10 on everything.) The MS company got an earful from me about that one.


A different station owner (the seashore people) is a total contrast, a small privately owned station/ repair shop with nothing fancy, but clean, everything works and is in good order. It was a 10 by all the corporate standards because the owner really made the effort to make his business as good as it could possibly be.

Her Serene Majesty, Cettie - Goat Queen of Zoltar, Sublime Empress of Her Caprine Domain
Good for you. I would not put up with a jerk like that. We have patience but it can wear thin.
OP - Thanks for sharing the positive!

Re. the ten point ratings and "how did it make you feel" stuff...
I strongly feel this stuff does not belong on the surveys. We are not given objective criteria to use, and this thread confirms my suspicion that our subjective criteria vary widely when determining likelihood to return or recommend, etc. If I was able to pump gas, they've already got an "8" from me. If they have a restroom and it didn't make me vomit, that's a "9." If the CSRs weren't rude, that's a 10. I'll take a point off if they're gouging customers with horribly high prices or if I have to wade through litter on the lot, but otherwise that's it. I've never given lower than a "7" because my likelihood to return is based on my ability to get gas. I couldn't care less about availability of credit card applications at the counter, whether there's rust on the canopy poles, or whether the bollards are unscuffed and the right colors.
Oh, and how do I feel? Comfortable, 99% of the time, simply because I got gas.
Should anyone else use this system. No, because it's purely subjective. All me and only me.
Should it mean anything to the client. No, because they've never interviewed me to ask me why I felt comfortable or why I give 9's and 10's to 80% of my visits.
Get rid of this subjective nonsense and let us do what we do best - report the facts; thoroughly, defensibly, accurately, and *objectively*.
I hear what elcarev68 is saying. But a few of you have brought up the fact that you allow gas prices/gouging to play a role in your ratings decision. I realize that we could be talking about different brands of gas stations but I have never seen anything in the guidelines or the reports of the various gas stations that I have performed that mentions anything about the prices except the condition of the main ID sign and the conditions of the numbers posting the gas prices. Why give or take points for something that is not considered by the client or the MSC?

Rolling papers, pipes and hookahs are specifically mentioned for one brand of gas stations so it means something to the client even if it has no affect on me. I don't smoke but some of the artistry on the glass pipes is quite impressive. I give my ratings based on if they are violating the rule by having them for sale in the first place, not how pretty and colorful there are.
If the form asks for my likelihood to return and the price of the fuel is out of line with nearby stations, I state that I would not be likely to return due to the high price of gas. They asked, I'm telling. Whether it's a criteria on the form or not, that would be my reason.

I am always delighted and surprised at how much pride some of the employees take in their stations. I've found some of the guys at different stations over the years after having been let-go or quit for whatever reason. They remember me and sometimes almost hug me when they see me....too much, but I do adore them. One always pointed out the lovely flowers and plants he personally cared for each season. Others have bragged about their restrooms. The only rude ones I came across were at Valero and I rarely do them because they seem to be some unhappy owners/managers!

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The more I learn about people...the more I like my dog..

Mark Twain
I don't do audits that require this, but the company that asks this on their audits also asks a similar question on their mystery shops. Would you return or something like that. Biggest factor for me. Do they charge a debit card surcharge or have a debit card minimum.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Thanks for honest sharing. I have been wondering if I should go any gas stations since it seems so strict. Now, I can just relax and do it.
With respect to a score of "10" my attitude is that I am to grade the experience from the viewpoint of the “typical” customer, not a trained eye. On top of that, I take the attitude that we are to “catch them doing something right” as opposed to trying to find where there is something wrong.

If there is no reason a typical customer, a prudent person, would not come back then “10” it is. If the bathroom has some wear or stains, that is not a problem. If the bathroom is dirty and I would not want to use it, I note and score accordingly.
I mystery shop at a gas station regularly. One time that I was not mystery shopping, I asked the girl that was working a question and she did not know the answer. She made the effort to call her supervisor, who did not live far. The supervisor said he would come down to answer my question in 2 minutes, which he did. When he arrived, he answered my question, and added some other details that I did not ask and that are usually things that a mystery shopper needs to look for in the store. I thought that he was probably expecting to be mystery shopped that day and came down to see who it was, thinking it was me. It was not me that day. LOL. So I do think that they must get some kind of warning that they will be shopped.

Dr. Seuss: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind
Do you mystery shop then turn around a month later and audit the same place. Or Audit it and then a month later mystery shop it. Have been doing Mystery Gas shops for the last few months and this month they are all audits for the same price oh and they say to plan on spending and hour doing the audit and go back if it's raining. Four times as long for the same amount of money. Went through this morning and deleted them from my possible shop list because of the Fee.
For the ones I do, once you do an audit, you can't do a mystery shop for a set period of months (varies from one client to another). The biggest issue I have with gas station audits is that if the weather is bad, all your planning is shot. Even if it is really cloudy and interferes with the lighting. Two (I think) weeks ago, I had to have the MSC reschedule several for the following week because of 4 straight days of rain. Almost makes me want to live in California. I won't do them without a bonus. Simply too much time onsite, especially when there are issues to record and photograph.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
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