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Johnny Cupcakes

I have been a gas station cashier/attendant for over a decade now (family business since I was able to drive) and there's not too much to worry about. With tobacco, just be a bit vigilant with ID checking. Google on what to look for with IDs and it should be helpful. With tobacco products, the last year or so changed all the labeling (can't say "light" anymore) so most custys understand if you ask what they are looking for- should be no trouble. Depending on the state though you might need to get certified for Fire safety. Usually a small procedure booklet and a short quiz with get you licensed (less than 3 hours in NY for me) and it lasts 2 years.


I've worked at a gas station for a year now, cigs are pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

General rule of thumb, if someone asks for "lights" get them a blue package (as Johnny up there said, not allowed to call them lights anymore, even in canadia), that's usually the colour for "lights". Except for some cig brands that want to be all speshul. Bleh.

We sell quite a few brands of cigs (and cigarellos) that my problem is remembering where they all are! XD

I wish our pumps were prepay only :( Alas, no. And when we DO put them on prepay (usually around 9, when we start cashout in the evening shift), there's always that one fucktard that bitches at us about it -_-;

Otherwise... greet customers as they enter the store (this is often policy anyways, but it's an added bit of customer service, plus it warns potential thieves that you're paying attention), keep it clean (cleaner stores = less likely to get robbed, apparently), and mostly just keep vigilant. See anyone that seems to be loitering, ask them if they need any help with anything, that sort of thing.


If you lock your keys in the secure cage (which I don't know if you have), you can tape plastic silverware together and stick a piece of bubble gum on the end to retrieve said keys. Yes, at 2 am in the morning, I left the keys on the counter inside and shut the auto-lock door - there was only a silver depression for passing money, but the flexibility of the knives worked great! Also, look for the cops and make sure they know you are new and working late. Good luck!


I was a shift supervisor for a truck stop several years ago. There have been many memorable episodes while I worked there.

With cigarettes - if you don't know the brand, just ask the customer what it looks like. I was a smoker when I worked at the truck stop, and there were still times that I didn't know the cigarettes the customer was asking for.

Never be afraid to ask for ID on cigarettes or any type of alcohol sales. It isn't worth you getting fined because of some crusty. There is a gas station near my house that I visit. They card everyone, and I do mean everyone (even if you have gray hair, look 100 years old, using a walker, etc) that purchases alcohol.

You are going to get lots of people that play the lotto and will have complicated instructions for you to place on the lotto machine. And these people will be your regulars. Lotto is like crack for many people.

If someone tries to rob you, just give them the money. Do NOT try to be a hero. The company has insurance for that and it isn't like the money is yours anyway. Some of my coworkers while I was working at the truck stop would leave their wallets/purse in the trunk of their vehicle and only bring in their ID and no more than $10.00 into the store, just in case of a robbery. Something to consider.

Late at night, you will be getting plenty of drunks wanting to buy more beer. Sometimes they will make you laugh, sometimes they will piss you off. Don't take it personally. Remember, without you, they cannot get their beer, so you are really the one in power.

Pump number mix ups can be confusing. One custy will say pump 1 when they are really on pump 2. The the custy at pump 2 will say why did my gas stop at $x.xx amount when I prepaid. Just take a deep breath and use critical thinking skills to sort out the situation. It sucks, but will happen time to time.

With more time to think, I could give you some more info, but this should give you a start. Plus what the other comments say will give you a great intro.


Hey there. Don't sweat it too too much; people are usually understanding when you say you're new to this. Learning where each variety of cigarette is can be tricky if it's not curtained storage (we had them in a set of 25 drawers under the front counter, three or four kinds to a drawer!) but regular customers can be very helpful giving directions. "Over, over, yeah, that row, up.... there it is!"

Also: As you restock the stacks of singles from opened cartons, that'll help you learn a) what all there is and b) what goes where.

Good luck!


Wow, for a second I thought I was reading something from my self.

I had this same issue when I worked at my gas station. Even with the prepay, some customers will leave when you try to clarify what pump they wanted, or they won't stick around for change.

As for the smokes, just ask the customers if they can help you out and remind everyone that you're new. That way, they won't be that rude, but some still will. On your downtime, try standing in front of the section and checking out where everything else.

Headset Hellion

Ah, cigarettes. Such a pain in the ass to sell since they changed the labeling. Generally, gold=light, silver=ultra light, unless you're dealing with a brand like Pall Mall in which case it's orange and blue. (I honestly thought they were orange-flavored smokes the first 3 weeks I worked at the gas station.) If you're dealing with Misty's, good luck. They have packages that are fucking pink and I still don't what that shit means.

It gets worse with menthol cigarettes, but for the most part, the lighter the shade of green=the lighter the cigarette. Marlboro puts a gold or silver stripe across theirs which usually helps, except that their full-flavor menthol also has a silver stripe...the menthol golds and silvers have white corners on the box. Just check the lid of the box to be sure.

Then you have Camel, which sells like a bazillion different flavors and half of them are in black boxes.

Yeah, I do not miss selling cigarettes. I'm a smoker and it still used to make me nuts!


At least your cigarette packets are all different colours. In Australia all cigarette packets are khaki green no matter what brand they are, with the name printed in black text in a white panel - all exactly the same. And they're covered in lovely pictures of cancerous growths just for extra fun. Turns my stomach and makes me glad I don't smoke.


Thank you everyone for the great advice! I'm hoping to avoid the drunk idiots. It's likely they will just go to the store behind us to get their booze (the gas station is owned by a supermarket chain.) I also forgot to mention that this job includes membership in a union! I know, I was shocked, too! Retail unions are pretty rare. I'm not sure how long that will last, though, as Michigan is currently debating a new "Right to Work" law. I also just discovered that minimum wage here is 15 cents than federal, so that's a bit more money than I originally planned.

"Adventerous" Clerk

I agree with the other comments, smokes are easy once you start getting with the flow of the brands, my old stand by with brands I'm not familiar with is to grab multiple packages and do the old "which one looks right", this works well with chew as well.

I work a similar shift and beware the drunks usually start showing at 9, the upside being that early they are usually either giddy party types or on-foot alchies who just want to get their elixir of life and go home.

On the lotto: we have a stand-up thick plastic box thing that feeds the scratch tickets out, if they fall out of the feeder into the box grab a pen (cap on the not writing end to make it longer) and a loop of tape and they can usually be rescued.


Crazies all have to get gas too, so don't be too hopeful in avoiding them on any shift. Learn to enjoy the crazies, it's way better to join us than to hope we won't show up, we are kind of like cats that way. On a more serious note always be aware of your areas liquor and tabacco laws, and card if you are ever in doubt. The penalties are absurd if you mess it up, and they won't care if it's your first day. Don't take it too seriously and have fun. Wich isn't to say slack off or anything, just have fun with a fairly easy job.


Worked at a gas station for a couple of years. Best single piece of advice I can give you is if you're a girl, go buy a cheap $10 "gold" ring with a single "diamond" and wear it to work. It'll stop most of the guys from hitting on you and give you an excuse to get the few rest of them to stop. Just flash them your "engagement" ring. ;-)

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