During a three-hour stint on Sunday morning, Nguyen’s Valero station was pumping premium gas at $1.10 a gallon, a significant bargain when you consider that the 91 Octane should’ve been pumping for $4.29 a gallon.
Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and smartphones, word of the discount spread quickly. It wasn’t long before the lines began snaking their way down the street.
Motorists pumped some 7,000 gallons of gas into their tanks at the discounted price. Business was so booming that police had to be called in to help control traffic around the area.
Nguyen says the attendant on duty was busy staffing the convenience store and didn’t notice that the price change didn’t take, so the computer system defaulted to the $1.10 price.
“What can I do?” he said, according to the Torrence Daily Breeze.
Nguyen is hoping that people who took advantage of the windfall will come back to the store and make up the difference. On Monday, patrons flocked to the store to buy candy, snacks and whatever else they could to help make up for the lost earnings, but it’s not the same as giving the family business the $30 or $40 difference from filling up their tank.
It’s really unfortunate, in many ways, because expecting the kindness of people who probably got wide-eyed and giggly at paying $1.10 for gas aren’t exactly the same people who are going to willingly come back and make up the difference. Which is a shame, because it’s Nguyen and his family that are losing out significantly because of a computer glitch. Still, it’s up to the business owner to make sure that his machines are working properly — ultimately, it’s his error, not the consumer.
Hopefully, the community rallies behind him to make up that difference — $21,000 is a ton of money to lose out on as a small business. Nguyen shouldn’t hold his breath.