Gas Station Audit - Blocked Pump

I picked up a route of gas station audits and completed it yesterday. One of the stations had a truck parked in front of the pump the entire time I was there. It took me about an hour to do the other questions and take my backup pictures. At that point, I asked the employee if the truck belonged to him. It was his co-worker's truck, and that person was off the property and not expected to return any time soon. There was no way to move the truck to get a clear shot of the pump.

I reported this in the app as a violation, also noted it in the summary, and took a picture. I then answered the other questions for that pump and finished up the audit. Now the editor wants me to return to get a picture of the pump without the truck parked in front of it.

This is my first time doing these kinds of shops. I've had to return to a couple of locations because I didn't get the right photo. That's fine, that's on me. But I really don't think I should have to return to get this particular photo because there was nothing I could do to get a clear photo of the pump.

Is the editor right in asking me to do return to get the photo? (I'm also aggravated she's expecting me to complete this in 12 hours on a holiday. It's impossible for me to get up there before dark now. But that's another issue all together.)

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

Generally, if a car is blocking a pump for a long time, I just get a photo of as much of the pump as I can. It has always been accepted. I do not think it is reasonable for them to expect you to return. Sometimes customers leave their cars parked while they hang out and drink coffee inside, at stations that are not so busy that there is a big demand for all of the pumps.
In my opinion the editor is wrong and I would request to ask to speak to a supervisor. Do you have a shot showing the truck blocking the pump? Perhaps the other side of the pump? I know it is too late now but I would have taken a picture of the pump, even at a severe angle, with the truck in front of it.

If this is a Maritz shop you might try presenting your case to a scheduler on the team involved and asking her to get a supervisor involved as it is usually difficult to actually get through to a supervisor.
I would have taken photos of both the left side and the right side and/or attached multiple photos to ensure every segment of the pump was included in the attachment slot. If this was a Maritz shop, based on what you said, then I am also noting in additional comments (not internal), that my rating/recommendation scores are lower due to the fact that an employee parked his vehicle in front of the pump, per their co-worker, and left the property, thus potentially causing customers to needlessly wait for a pump in the event of a busy spurt.

(I commonly ding stations in rating/recommendation scores for parking their personal vehicle in front of a pump, and mention why in additional comments, and never been told to not do that. I have also seen improvement in not doing that in the future when I have done that station a later time after remarking that).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2019 10:40PM by KA047.
In this case, I would send a polite response briefly restating the truck blocked the pump for more than and hour, and I am unable to return to the location. (Or I will be able to return Saturday or next Tuesday or in two weeks or whatever.) Put the ball back in their court.

As others have stated, in the future at least get the best angle you can. Sometimes I also take a close up of the pump face where the required elements would be, and attach that as well. Never have any problems.

And really, it is usually possible to get a decent photo of the pump even when a vehicle is parked in front, unless it is a really big truck or the vehicle is parked super duper close to the pump.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/2019 11:39PM by mystery2me.
Thanks everyone. The truck was a large pickup truck with a trailer on the back. I did get a picture of the top half of the pump that clearly showed the truck blocking it. It was parked so close I couldn't get the bottom portion without climbing on the truck-- not exactly something I'm comfortable with.

I did send an email, but I think I'll send another one offering to get it on Sunday when I have other work I can do up in that area. I'm not making a special trip up there just for that, though.

Thanks again!
It's not Maritz. I will probably be back up there on Sunday for other gigs, so I offered to get it that day. The editor is waiting to hear back from her supervisor on what to do.
I didn't think it was Maritz as I have had that exact situation and noted it in comments. I also always include the phrase "I cannot control the fact that the truck was in front of the pump for the entire length of my visit." I have never had one returned for that. I agree that you shouldn't have to return.
None of the other companies ever know what to do in these various situations. It's one of the reasons I appreciate Maritz.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
The company agreed with me and the shop was validated. I like your suggestion and will include that verbiage next time this happens to me.
I realize that I'm late in commenting about this particular subject, so maybe I'm echoing everyone else.
It has been my experience that the shops I perform that seem to have chronically blocked pumps are those that are owned by single, independent operators. IOW, the gas stations that are part of a large chain of local chain operated sites hardly ever have blocked pumps.
Sure, there are the dead vehicles, repair vehicles or some other emergency type situation, but the pumps where the attendant or someone else just parks in front of the pump with their personal vehicle always seems to be more prevalent when the shop is private owned.
At the site where the owner of the car is sitting in their vehicle, doing whatever, I'll take all of my other pictures, giving the person time to finish their text, their call, putting on makeup, scratching instant tickets or something else.
Then, I'll smile and tap on their window and nicely explain that I need to take a picture of the pump, could they move forward just a few feet.
Most of the time they do it, other times, no.
When they don't, I snap a photo of the pump at an angle and move on. I make the notation on my worksheet of the photo and why it was taken at the angle it was. Then in the report, I submit the photo with a comment that I was unable to take a frontal photo due to a car blocking the pump. Usually, I have given myself enough time in my length of stay reported at the site to justify the photo.
For other situations where the car is empty, I go ahead and snap the angle photo and move on. I'll take note of the car's continued presence while downloading my photos into my laptop and filling out my worksheet. If it is gone, I'll take the frontal shot. If it is still there when I'm ready to move on, I use the side shot photo of the pump and explain it as such in my report.
In the old days, I would go inside and ask the attendant or employee about the vehicle. That hardly ever helped in moving the offending car. I do not ding the site for the blocking vehicle - the editor can do that.

But, most importantly, for me, I always, always, take the photo of the blocked pump, no matter how visible it is. If the editor doesn't like the photo and wants me to go back, I would refuse.

That has never happened. And, I'm glad your situation has been resolved.
Twice I have had people pull up to the pump I am taking pictures of. Both times I got the first picture before they pulled in. They had to pull in between me and the pump, and I was close enough to the pump that they could see me. I snapped a second picture with their car in it.
Once while doing a pump shop there was a person unconscious in the car. I went inside first to ask the manager if he could ask the driver to move up while I take the picture. When he approached the car, he realized that the person was unconscious and called 911.
O called the company and told them I could not take the picture and they told me to leave and I was paid.
@Insight wrote:

Once while doing a pump shop there was a person unconscious in the car. I went inside first to ask the manager if he could ask the driver to move up while I take the picture. When he approached the car, he realized that the person was unconscious and called 911. O called the company and told them I could not take the picture and they told me to leave and I was paid.

Did you realize the person was unconscious? I hope not, or otherwise I assume you would have called 911. I comment because there was a woman who shopped at the store my son works at who left the store, got in her car, and apparently had a heart attack. The employees in the store couldn't see this, but there were many other people in and out of their cars who must have seen her and did nothing. When a store employee went off duty, he saw her and called 911. She was alive when the ambulance came, but died. She was probably in her car for more than an hour before 911 was called. If somebody had bothered to check on this woman slumped over her steering wheel, she probably would have made it. Similarly, a few years ago here, there was a case in which a man had a heart attack while driving and pulled into a car dealership. He managed to park right in front of the windows, then passed out. Nobody bothered to check on him after he'd been there for hours. He died, too.

It makes me sad that people die because people are either too self-absorbed to notice what's going on around them or just don't care enough to go tap on somebody's window and say, "Hey, are you OK"? :'(

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
@BirdyC wrote:

She was probably in her car for more than an hour before 911 was called. If somebody had bothered to check on this woman slumped over her steering wheel, she probably would have made it. Similarly, a few years ago here, there was a case in which a man had a heart attack while driving and pulled into a car dealership. He managed to park right in front of the windows, then passed out. Nobody bothered to check on him after he'd been there for hours. He died, too.

It makes me sad that people die because people are either too self-absorbed to notice what's going on around them or just don't care enough to go tap on somebody's window and say, "Hey, are you OK"? :'(

My reply is somewhat off topic. I do hope the person the OP mentioned is OK.

I do a shop that asks me to pull up to a pump as if to get gas...but not to pump any gas. I've always thought that was a provocative act and that I'd eventually be outed for sure by doing it. I've been wrong on that. It's never once been an issue and I've done dozens of them.

From this thread it seems I need not worry about it. Apparently nobody knows or cares who is at a pump or how long they are there unless the alert goes off signalling a possible drive-off.
I've literally done thousands of gas station shops over the last 10 years for Ipsos and Maritz. Multiple times per week I have encountered blocked pumps and I have never either been asked to return to take a picture nor had a shop invalidated for it. Only once or twice have the employees asked if I wished for them to move their vehicles, which of course I agree to. Maritz, early on, specifically told me on the phone to take the best angle I could and move on. Ipsos stated in their guidelines not to ask for vehicles to be moved and simply to work around it. I allow 20 minutes max (the longest I am usually ever on site) and if the pump is still blocked will take the picture and leave. Don't waste your time waiting for pumps to be cleared and don't agree to return to take a picture, we aren't paid enough for that. It's not your fault nor should you have to pay for circumstances beyond your control. Honestly, if that were to change, I would seriously rethink doing gas station visits.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/04/2019 06:22AM by KarenMSW.
@BirdyC wrote:

.

It makes me sad that people die because people are either too self-absorbed to notice what's going on around them or just don't care enough to go tap on somebody's window and say, "Hey, are you OK"? :'(

Because if you are wrong, then people overreact. While working for a hotel years ago, there was an older woman (80-ish) in a similar position, hunched over in her car. I was concerned so I walked over and tapped on her window (this was around 10pm). She was fine, screamed at me for waking her up, then I had to contend with her husband, who was in her room, for waking her up. She then complained the next morning about being woken up, saying she had every right to sleep in her car. (Evidently she didn't want to sleep in her room for some reason). We had to comp their room because of this claimed harassment.

That's why people don't respond. Not because everyone's so self-absorbed in what they are doing or don't care. It's because if you are wrong, people overreact. That's the society that we live in.
And that is just as sad -- that someone would freak out over a concerned person asking if they are OK. We live in a very bizarre society. sad smiley

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
@KarenMSW wrote:

I've literally done thousands of gas station shops over the last 10 years for Ipsos and Maritz....Maritz, early on, specifically told me on the phone to take the best angle I could and move on. Ipsos stated in their guidelines not to ask for vehicles to be moved and simply to work around it. I allow 20 minutes max (the longest I am usually ever on site) and if the pump is still blocked will take the picture and leave. Don't waste your time waiting for pumps to be cleared and don't agree to return to take a picture, we aren't paid enough for that. It's not your fault nor should you have to pay for circumstances beyond your control. Honestly, if that were to change, I would seriously rethink doing gas station visits.

That's interesting that Maritz told you that - I've never heard them say anything regarding blocked pumps!

As for the 20 minute minimum (in your case max), I've found that I can do most gas stations in around 20 minutes too. And that's with downloading my photos into my laptop, reviewing and naming them and filling out my worksheet.
In the old days with Cori/Steri, I remember doing some in about 10 minutes. But that was back when photos of the restroom and employee (if I remember rightly) weren't required. OTOH, their pay was terrible and 2 of the 3 women who were at Cori/Steri were pretty picky. That company was just not very spendy!
Yeah I agree the Maritz take no longer then 20 minutes, IPSOS no longer then 25 and I still love the Stericycle ones (once they are bonused) and those take 10 min max.
I have never had an issue with a blocked pump. In Detroit, it seems like everyone is at the gas station to hang out and there are many times up to 4 pumps will be blocked for my entire visit. I also would never ask someone to move, just because I have never had an issue with an angled picture. I just do all my other pictures and if they are still at the pump, get as much as I can of the pump in a picture, at an angle and move on.
Yeah I agree the Maritz take no longer then 20 minutes, IPSOS no longer then 25 and I still love the Stericycle ones (once they are bonused) and those take 10 min max.
I have never had an issue with a blocked pump. In Detroit, it seems like everyone is at the gas station to hang out and there are many times up to 4 pumps will be blocked for my entire visit. I also would never ask someone to move, just because I have never had an issue with an angled picture. I just do all my other pictures and if they are still at the pump, get as much as I can of the pump in a picture, at an angle and move on.
I never ask anyone to move their vehicle, but I will tell someone who is standing in the way for a long time that I need to take a quick photo of the pump. This is after they have finished punching the buttons and stuff and they are just standing there pumping gas or doing something else. Almost everyone is helpful, and a surprising number of people pose for the camera. I just go along with it. (It does add a little brightness to what can otherwise be a dull day.) I had one guy decked out in expensive biking gear who thought I wanted a picture of him and his fancy bike. (He didn't speak English.) I played along and took the photo with the pump in the frame.
@mystery2me wrote:

I never ask anyone to move their vehicle, but I will tell someone who is standing in the way for a long time that I need to take a quick photo of the pump. This is after they have finished punching the buttons and stuff and they are just standing there pumping gas or doing something else. Almost everyone is helpful, and a surprising number of people pose for the camera. I just go along with it. (It does add a little brightness to what can otherwise be a dull day.) I had one guy decked out in expensive biking gear who thought I wanted a picture of him and his fancy bike. (He didn't speak English.) I played along and took the photo with the pump in the frame.

Old men who hang out at gas stations drinking coffee always think they are funny and say "You want to take my picture, too?" I have heard that literally hundreds of times. They also always have to know what I am doing.
I do a lot of gas station audits for various MSC's. When a pump is blocked you take a few pics from various angles, as you can, to get as much of the pump as possible. And note in the comments that the truck belonged to an employee that was not on the premises and it can't be moved. And leave it at that. No reason to violate anyone, no need to make a fuss. And I would not go back, and I've never been asked to in a similar situation.
Are your 20 minute shops for Maritz just the gas and go, or the full audit? Using their mobile app for the full revealed audit it takes me between 45 and 60 minutes to get all the photos and answer all the questions. What am I doing wrong?
I won't ask a customer to move, but I will go in and see if the vehicle belonged to an employee, because if it is, I believe it potentially affects the customer experience, which as I said above, I will note in additional comments and ding on the rating/recommendation scores. If the station has 8 working pumps, and the employee is in front of one, the station could get busy meaning a customer would have to wait for a pump that they shouldn't have had to wait for. Anyone who's done these audits enough knows a station can go from dead to packed (and vice versa) in the blink of an eye.

It takes me 25-30 minutes to do the inspection at a normal station. 20 if there's no restroom. I do the report at home in the peace and quiet and comfort of my living room.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2019 07:37PM by KA047.
Cahlvin, it takes me 45 to 60 minutes to do the audit in the app as well. I tried doing one as others have said, but forgot some pictures and had to return to two locations the next day to get them. The two stations were 80 miles apart. Not very profitable, so I decided after that I'd just finish everything up on site. I've only had to go out of my way for a new picture once since then. Since I live in BFE and do routes, it's worth my time to finish everything on site, at least for now. Maybe when I've done tons of these and have it down pat I'll change my mind.
Thanks, marcelinebeem. I was afraid I was messing up by taking so long. Most of the time the app works great, and saves time at home. Plus I know I haven't forgotten pictures or looking for the right things.
@Cahlvin wrote:

Are your 20 minute shops for Maritz just the gas and go, or the full audit? Using their mobile app for the full revealed audit it takes me between 45 and 60 minutes to get all the photos and answer all the questions. What am I doing wrong?

Perhaps you don't have a well organized work sheet.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login