A Glimpse Into a Gas Station Manager’s Life

Running a gas station involves more than setting gas prices.
February 11, 2019

BROOKLIN, Ontario – Elizabeth Manetta, who manages a gas station in Brooklin, Ontario, wants customers to know two things about gas: She barely makes a profit and she can’t set the price, Driving reports.

“Customers are the best part of the job, but some get upset about the little things,” she said. “We had one the other day who tore a strip off the cashier because there wasn’t any washer fluid in one of the buckets.”

Manetta has been working at gas stations for more than two decades, starting with an after-school job and working her way up to managing a company-owned station. “You need a name behind you to sell gas these days. People want that brand, plus they have the loyalty programs for points,” she explained.

Part of her routine is calling in three times a day to the corporate office with the prices of her competitors. “I don’t set the prices; that’s all controlled by head office. Each store has a different strategy, and head office might say you can be two cents cheaper, one cent cheaper, or match it.” Fuel prices do tend to drop at night to bring in business, and everyone follows the leader,” she said.

Inside the store, Manetta runs a tight ship with her cashiers, making sure they card customers to avoid selling cigarettes or lottery tickets to minors. “Customers swear at us when we ask, because they don’t want to go back to out to the car to get their license,” she said. “But I need to ask, because the next person in line could be a health inspector who says, ‘Why didn’t you ID them?’ and if I say, ‘Well, I know them,’ that’s not good enough. The business gets fined, the cashier gets fined, and the cashiers don’t have $500 in their pockets to pay it. We get mystery-shopped, including from the lottery corporation.”