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Do you think Lawrence needs a law requiring gas stations to make customers prepay or be pre-approved before they get gas?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 21, 2006

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Photo of Courtney Stillings

“I understand the reasoning for it, but it would just make it feel like the people in our community aren’t trusted if we need to pass that law.”

Photo of Chad Hamilton

“I don’t think we need one. Most people here are law-abiding citizens, and by making that law they are inconveniencing those people.”

Photo of Priscilla Belcher

“If there are a lot of drive-offs, then sure. It’s sad. It’s getting to where you can’t write a check anywhere and you have to prepay. It’s just sad.”

Photo of Tristan Wagner

“I don’t think Lawrence needs that law. It’s the gas stations’ choice to make people prepay or not.”

Comments

audvisartist 8 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence does NOT need to pass a law for EVERYTHING! Gas station owners and employees should just make it policy that everyone pre-pays when purchasing gasoline! And there you go, end of drive-offs! Sheesh.

My parents owned a convenience store back in the 80s and they had that policy in place even way back then. Just seems like the smart thing to do, especially if you have a lot of drive-offs, even if it "inconveniences" people. Just because it's called a convenience store doesn't mean you can't take a few seconds to go pay first or swipe your card through before pumping gas!

I'll tell you what Lawrence needs a law about. They need to pass a law making parents responsible for the oral health of their children. I see WAY too much neglect in that area for there NOT to be a law! Better yet a law making it mandatory that our children get regular dental check ups so that toothaches and rampant decay are a thing of the past! Ahhh... one can only dream I suppose.

But yeah, stop passing stupid laws, whoever does these things!

tell_it_like_it_is 8 years, 9 months ago

No. As usual..it should be up to the business owner. Get the dummy in the White House and congress to at least make an attempt at doing something about the robbery the oil companies are doing to us and maybe there will be less drive-offs. (Not that the high gas prices make driving off without paying right)

Nikki May 8 years, 9 months ago

This is insane. Did the business owners ask for a law? Many have there own rules, if you want their gas you pay at the pump or whatever. Stop regulating things.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

Are stations having that much trouble with drive-offs, or is this a manufactured or exaggerated problem?

I've seen more than one gas station that is pre-pay after 11:00, or after dusk, or whatever. In some areas, I've seen stations that are pre-pay all the time. It would seem they had problems with drive-offs and reacted accordingly. So ... why the law?

YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 9 months ago

If you get to know the owner or the people who work for them it different. I normally get gas at the same place so I don't have to go inside first. They can see you from inside and wave.

I guess you can say its a trust between you and them.

Have a great day everyone. Its cooled down a bit and we do need the rain. My outside plants are much happier now too.

sunflower_sue 8 years, 9 months ago

Happy 16th Anniversary to me AMLTMOL. Guest writer.

DanFreako 8 years, 9 months ago

Laws, Laws, Laws ..next there will be a law on how to wipe.

As I have stated before ..is this really the land of the free?

ms_canada 8 years, 9 months ago

Posters - I beg your indulgence as I wish to comment on the question of Tues. to show that I am not totally against U.S. policy. Three months ago Doug Saunders, London Corresp. for Toronto Globe & Mail, wrote in his column, Reckonings, about Brcko (say birch-ko) * In A Tiny Bosnian Village, The U.S. Got It Right.* Brcko, sight of some of the most horrific atrocities, mass killings, etnic cleansings of the Bosnian war in the 1990's. Now a model of peaceful co-existance between Serbs and Croats. Why? Here in a forgotten corner of the Balkans is a different story of American occupation. (I must condense the Saunders article)
The U.S. State department set up an administrative department in Brcko and literally ran the district as a protectorate. They rebuilt schools, revitilized economy, rebuilt infrastructure and made property restitution. Children were forced to attend multi-ethnic schools. They involved both groups to work together to rebuild the district. The intent was to rebuild Brcko into a multi- ethnic community of peaceful co-existance and the experiment worked, the current U.S. administrator, Susan Johnson, told Saunders as she took him on a tour. Ms Johnson knows full well the difference between Brcko and Irag. She worked under Paul Bremer in his ill fated Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
When the statues of Saddam fell in 2000 the State Department under the Democrats had a 15 volume study that described exactly how to turn Iraq into a stable, harmonious democracy. It drew on the hard lessons of Brcko. The book was ignored because it was Clintonian. The question of transforming a multiethnic, devastated by dictator place into a peaceful one, has been answered, but no one in this administration is listening. This is what I meant when I said on Tues. morning that the U.S. needed to finish the job. But perhaps it is too late now for anything but soldiers with big guns on patrol being bombed and shot at.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 9 months ago

Is there a related story to this question? Where did this silly question come from?

Murph912 8 years, 9 months ago

I think that they should come up with a way to better target the criminals in this situation. That way the consequences have LESS of an effect of the lawful customers. They could have cameras to catch all tags of cars getting gas. It's like cameras at stop lights. If someone drives off, then just send them a ticket in the mail or something. I just know that the people of this community don't need to be punish for someone else driving off without paying for EXPENSIVE gas!

blessed3x 8 years, 9 months ago

The business owners should just do it on their own. It's their pocketbooks that are being saved. Do we really need a law to protect THEIR money? Lawrence will not be happy until you have to show ID to go anywhere and ask permission from the city commission before watering your yard.

Besides, who pays for anything with cash anymore? Swipe your card and get out of my way!

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

Hey, wait a minute. Instead of free wi-fi, why not provide county-wide free gas? Charge $3 per mb for wi-fi!

southerngirl 8 years, 9 months ago

No, stations should each make their own policies. If we are going to make a law, lets make it that it is against the law to pump your own gas. Folks in Oregon have this law. Ahh, the ultimate in lazy...way to go Oregon!

Just back from the country of Texas where the gas was $2.65 a gallon (it's $2.78ish here in the Volunteer state).

Happy Anniv. to Sue and her alphabet guy! d

ms_canada 8 years, 9 months ago

I am with blessed3x - is a law really required. Business owners can do it on their own. It is their business. I know it is done here in my province where owners deem it necessay. I noticed it also when driving in Montana. Individual practice.

lunacydetector 8 years, 9 months ago

if this law will infringe on the citizens, then look for something to be passed in the very near future.

it will be killing three birds with one stone. there won't be drive-offs, they can limit our spending power, and they can stick it to the business owners (corporations and big oil). after all, it's our quality of life that makes our city so wonderful, seig heil!

Larry 8 years, 9 months ago

Currently, we have no law against it, giving station owners full right to require pre-pay yet many aren't doing it. This makes me believe that the gas station owners don't see the need. In addition, why punish those individuals who frequent the same station and are known quite well and trusted by the employees.

ms_canada 8 years, 9 months ago

Sue - you and D. are still in my prayers. God bless.

warthog 8 years, 9 months ago

As an employee of a Lawrence incovenience store, I want to throw in my two cents. We have very little problem with driveoffs, probably because our clientele is so high class. (insert laugh track here) Seriously, we do have lots of repeat customers and the biggest driveoff problem we have is that we get busy chatting with a customer and forget to collect his money. They're always good natured when we remind them the next time we see them.

Does Lawrence need a law to cover this? No. For small stations it would be a death sentence. We don't have pay at the pump, so that means every customer would have to make the effort to come in to prepay and the inconvenience would drive business elsewhere. The cost of upgrading to newer equipment would be prohibitive. Let the station owners decide it. It's their business and this is still America, the last time I checked. By the way, has anybody noticed that more and more station owners are mideastern businessmen? A lot of the small stations in Lawrence, including ours, have recently been bought out.

Oh well... free enterprise...

Shane Garrett 8 years, 9 months ago

Why not have the business hire a person to collect cash, and prevent drive-offs. Perhaps he/she could check your tire pressure, clean the windows, even check the oil. Or, would that be considered customer service.

Tony Kisner 8 years, 9 months ago

New question,

Should the City pass a law requiring pedestrians not to step into the way of on-coming traffic? Running with scissors? Spitting into the wind? Getting up out of bed each day taking a chance that something will happen to you? Yikes!

jayhawks71 8 years, 9 months ago

Why the heck would there need to be a LAW about this anywhere? Let the business decide whether they want customers to prepay; that is a risk of business. Some folks need to get out of the 1800s and get a credit or bank card if they have trouble walking in...which they have to do anyway. The only inconvenience I can fathom here is when you want to "fill er up" and you have to guesstimate the total.

Wally, they have a person to collect cash (the cashier) and most have machines built in to the pump! Full-service stations went the way of the dinosaur; they are not cost efficient. I bet these "attendants" in this day and age would expect an additional tip (there used to be a surcharge for "full service").

Wilbur_Nether 8 years, 9 months ago

Here's the story that inspired the question. Apparently such an ordinance now exists in Jackson County, MO to reduce the burden on police resources.

torcia 8 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence should pass a law limiting the city commission to 3 ridiculous laws a year. It would then create some interesting competition among the commisisoners who could come out with the most outlandish laws. My suggestions for 2007:

  1. A law preventing Lawrence businesses from accepting Canadian change, and imposing a stiff fine (in US currency) for violators.

  2. Roundabouts mandatory at every new intersection, because the drivers of Lawrence can not be trusted with the responsibility that comes with a four way stop.

  3. A law banning law enforcement agencies from enforcing state and federal laws at Wakarusa fest and other places in Lawrence where scum bag drug users gather.

thomgreen 8 years, 9 months ago

Just more worthless questions for the people on the street to answer. I don't even think this was brought up as a possibility here in town. They seem to be stretching for questions from other towns instead of dealing with issues here in town. As for the Oregon practice of not allowing you to pump your own gas, I thought that was born out of the concept of providing jobs for people that were employable instead of letting them go on public assistance. I might be wrong though.

craigers 8 years, 9 months ago

It would effect me too much since I usually pay at the pump, but I would think that it should be a case by case scenario. If the gas station is having a lot of drive-offs, then make people pre-pay. Seems pretty simple.

mooseamoose 8 years, 9 months ago

next we'll have to prepay for groceries and if you underpay it's jail and if you overpay they keep the change.

sweetpeagj 8 years, 9 months ago

Actually, all the kwik shops in Lawrence would like to have to prepay but corporate in Hutch won't allow it. When I did report very frequent drive offs to the police with all the info provided they said they wouldn't do anything about it because I authorized the sale without requiring them to pay first. Even when all the numbers get sent into the home office they still don't want to set it up because they feel it would irritate customers and lose sales. Of course, when these people drive off and take all the hose for the pump with them that isn't an inconvience for the customers is it? For the one who said that people in Lawrence are honest doesn't read the papers or see just how much money a month these honest people take in gas without paying. Do I think that there should be a law? Not really just smarter people in home offices who will actually fire the employee for the drive offs instead of implementing a policy change. As far as i could tell, our drive offs didn't burden any police resources because they won't do anything to help get the money lost. I was a manager for Kwik Shop and went through this with home office and the police. When some joe shmoe in Hutch calls me and tells me to fire suzy q because she had three drive offs on her shift so she must be letting her friends fill up with gas and putting them down as drive offs. Always blame the employee and not the ones that actually are stealing. The customer who thinks it's a joke anyway.

gphawk89 8 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence does not need to invoke another law. Why can't the gas stations do this themselves? Just set up the pump system so it will not dispense fuel until after payment has been made. I'd expect that most if not all newer pumps can be set up this way.

sunflower_sue 8 years, 9 months ago

Should there be a law...no. C'mon!

Good morning guest writer...and Happy 16th A day back at ya. (Now be a good boy and quit hacking into my username and password!) :oP XOXO from far away.....

Thanks, Ms_C, RI, Sgirl, et al.

Happy Friday everyone and Congratulations on the rain and the cooler temps!

Kathleen Christian 8 years, 9 months ago

In every business you write off a lose - gas stations are no different. If there are repeated drive-offs at a gas station then there should police or security patroling it or have the patrons pay before pumping. I'm from Maryland and it's been that way for the past 10+ years. The trouble lawmakers put all this effort and money into making more laws which in turn makes more work for the police to police and jamming courtrooms - when lawmakers should just add more police to the force to patrol high crime areas. Of course then people would say there are too many police and it's like the gestapo. Don't think we can win this battle.

sunflower_sue 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm not a "hacker", I just play one on TV

RonBurgandy 8 years, 9 months ago

Relax people, Lawrence is not trying to pass a law it is just a question, don't get your panties all up in a bunch.

Of course it should just be up to the business. Maybe a law designed specifically for prosectution of people who drive-off could be thought of, but I am guessing it falls within the bounds of shoplifting (I am only guessing).

For me, I always prepay using my debit card, so it is not a big deal when I fill up. But I can see it being annoying if you wanted to buy something inside.

rhd99 8 years, 9 months ago

If the City Commission can't trust US the residents, then I certainly don't trust them. It goes both ways, sports fans.

Janet Lowther 8 years, 9 months ago

Not just no, but HELL, NO! This is the stupidest proposal I've heard of in a while.

Gas station operators have the right to choose how they will do business.

Those with a pre-pay policy who have customers complain want to be able to blame the city.

"The easiest way to reduce crime is to make fewer things illegal."

Ken Miller 8 years, 9 months ago

Why isn't anybody attacking the credit card companies? This type of law, if it becomes widespread, will MOST CERTAINLY increase the number of credit card payments for gas at the pump...and if you don't pay off your credit card every month....

Uh HUH, that's right... Visa and MC say "cha-CHING."

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't know what the penalty is down there, but in Michigan, every single pump is adorned with a sticker warning customers that people who drive off without paying will lose their license.

This reminds me: a couple months ago, I was in front of a local Dairy Queen with a gas station across the street from it. I was watching traffic (it's a busy corner in Ann Arbor) and talking to my friends, and all of a sudden I heard this loud, insistent whistling coming from across the street. I looked at the station to discover that someone had (as far as I could tell, inadvertantly) started to leave with the nozzle still in his car. The attendant was trying to get his attention. He did, and their interaction led me to believe he wasn't a drive-off, but just a bit forgetful. But I did get a good chuckle out of it.

All hail breakaway hoses.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 9 months ago

Would LPD consider it a "petty" crime and not worth their time if someone stole $60 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart? This isn't any different. Gas is merchandise, too.

But if the police think it's not worth their time to have to go and take reports for gas drive-offs, just wait until there's a law and they have to go and take a report because someone figured out a way to fool the computers on the pump and managed to get gas without pre-pay. It can be done. It's already been done in stations around the country where they require pre-pay. I've seen it on the evening news.

If the police honestly think having to take reports for thefts of things that are $100 or less in value are a waste of their precious time, then you'd better watch out. Word will get out, and all the "petty" criminals will begin to rob houses all over the place. But they'll only take things worth $100 or less in value each time, so the police won't bother to come.

Gee, next thing you know, just so the police won't be inconvenienced, it will no longer be considered a crime at all to steal, as long as what they take is under a certain value.

canyon_wren 8 years, 9 months ago

Kearney writes

"The theory behind this law is so that police departments aren't bogged down with having to write up and investigate petty crimes such as 'drive-offs.'"

Wouldn't having a law against it STILL require the cops to come if there is a complaint? How would the law help that?

In my town, which is much smaller than Lawrence, but where a majority of the gas customers are tourists, we still seem to manage without pre-pay at most of the stations. One station who DID start requiring pre-pay found that most of their regular customers (who keep them afloat in the off-season) started going to other service stations.

I hate pre-pay, myself, because I like to pay with a check, rather than credit card, and even if I use the c.c., I go inside rather than pay at the pump.

I agree that it should be up to the individual station owner, as it is here. Whatever--a law about it sounds pretty stupid to me, and I agree with all the posters who claim Lawrence is "regulation-crazy"!

missmagoo 8 years, 9 months ago

Jackson County, MO has this law so Lawrence, KS has to also? Let's compare...shall we.

mztrendy 8 years, 9 months ago

is there a way to pay other than pay at the pump? You mean you really have to go into those buildings where they have the gas pumps? Huh, who knew? I love debit cards.

lonelyboy 8 years, 9 months ago

If it is a prepay ..... it's on to the next station.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 9 months ago

Forget checks, if it wasn't for the two bills that I have that don't have online payments, I wouldn't even have them.

I'm with you mztrendy.

jonas 8 years, 9 months ago

If we're going to make laws, why don't we make a law requiring the construction workers to make at least good progress on finishing the street construction that they've already started before ripping up another major street.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

It sounds like this would all be much easier if they just enacted a law that said, "We'll do what Jackson County, MO does!" That would put all the responsibility on the shoulders of their government officials. They'd have to think about all these laws and debate their usefulness, and then pass them after everyone decided they're mostly pointless.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

AMLTMOL: Anniversaries May Lead To Miles Of Love.

I may be wrong, but I'm happy being wrong.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 9 months ago

All Mitigating Lemmings To Miss Ostrich Luau

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

Allow Miniature Lynxes To Munch Oompa-Loompas.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 9 months ago

Actual Meeting Lunch Time May Organize Labor

gphawk89 8 years, 9 months ago

All Men Like To Moon Other Leprechauns

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

Arlene Might Like Training Models Outside Lawrence.

Abilene, Midland, Lansing, Toledo, Moline, Otsego, Lakeland.

gphawk89 8 years, 9 months ago

Also, 'Mericans Long To Move Outta Lebanon.

reginafliangie 8 years, 9 months ago

Crazy the article didn't say they (LPD) don't take the reports, they do. But the people at the gas stations have got to report them, which the article stated was not done very often. The problem whether a report is taken or not is that it is very hard to catch the person who stole the gas. But they do get caught from time to time. I think what the article was stating is that even when it is reported that the officers aren't going to drive all over lawrence looking for that person when other more important crimes are taking place where a person/s life, property, etc is on the line.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 9 months ago

A Moose Leaves To Misinterpret Old Letters

swamp_rat 8 years, 9 months ago

Happy 16th Anniversary Sue

How about " All Men Like To Moon Old Ladies"?

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

omb, Europe is also quite familiar with semi-regular strikes by disgruntled workers. We here in Michigan get kind of tired of occasional strikes by the UAW and Northwest employees (since Detroit Metro is a Northworst hub), but it's really not much compared to some of those European strikes!

Ceallach 8 years, 9 months ago

So true, sgt. I was amazed that we had to plan traveling around the strikes. The locals all know in advance and seem to take it in their stride -- drove me crazy!!

BunE 8 years, 9 months ago

Toyota is not stupid enough to buy that crazy bloated company.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 9 months ago

The idea I got was that the police don't like drive offs because they don't like having to go and file reports for a "petty" crime.

Isn't that what they're there for? To deal with crime, and make reports about each crime? And who gets to decide whether it's a petty crime or not?

And Kearney, I don't think the analogy was silly at all. Preventable or not, is Wal-Mart's $60 loss more important than a gas station's?

I didn't say anything about police taking the time to try and find and apprehend these thieves, although again, this is the job of the police, isn't it? I have heard many officers complain (and not just in Lawrence) that they don't even want to have to go and take the REPORT.

Isn't that their job?

YourItalianPrincess 8 years, 9 months ago

Happy Happy Anniversary to the both of you on your 16th year. Best wishes for more years to come.

sgtwolverine 8 years, 9 months ago

omb, you wouldn't believe the amount of noise generated by all these potential alliances. The biggest noise so far has been caused by the talks of GM and Nissan forming an alliance (all sort of talk about Wagoner of GM and Ghosn of Nissan putting together a deal), and that's caused a number of other ideas, like Ford dumping units like Jaguar and Land Rover and hooking up with BMW or Honda. I'm wondering if it's mostly talk.

I don't remember hearing Toyota's name in the mix, and I'm not sure they're in the mood to be talking to the Detroit automakers. Japan (yes, the country) just publicly smacked around Toyota a bit for its recent recalls.

I'm wondering how much the Chrysler/Daimler deal affects Detroit's mindset towards deals with foreign automakers. It's kind of funny, because there was a lot of talk about how Chrysler got absorbed by Daimler ... but now the Chrysler group nameplates (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep) are succeeding, and Mercedes is struggling. Such is business.

reginafliangie 8 years, 9 months ago

Crazyks, just fyi the police don't have to actually go to the gas station to take the report, it is done over the phone. The desk officer takes all the information and writes the report. Unless some survellience tape is needing retrieved then the street officers go and pick this up. This leaves the regular officers avalible for other reports. But the gas stations have got to report it and if they did, they might have a shot of getting the subjects caught and their gas money retrieved. Most don't think it is worth their time to do so, so you know what some owners do? They take the money out of the employees paychecks to cover it, there reason being that, the employee should be watching and preventing that crime, which I understand to a degree, but if you are the only one working, and you got a store full of people and are trying to clean, stock, etc. kindof hard to do.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 9 months ago

Well, since a lot of Wal-Mart's now have their own gas stations in their parking lots, we may get to find out if they think gas drive offs are more preventable than shoplifting.

I really have no idea whether they are or not. But anymore, with gas thieves comes the possibility of more serious crime. Seems that a lot of stupid people are getting more desperate for gas. I've read about people shooting others to get away with that gas. In one town (don't remember where; it was on CNN), the owner of the station tried to run after the gas thief, and was run over and killed by that thief.

I'm pretty sure that was one gas drive off that the police took a report on.

reginafliangie 8 years, 9 months ago

Oh I totally agree it's a problem, maybe if more owners would report the driveoffs the LPD would see it's more of a problem than they realize and things might change.

reginafliangie 8 years, 9 months ago

Well by blog I meant him typing his comments on these threads. I have no idea if he does, but I know if I tried to read it I would be having issues. I can't make out a lot of those abbreviations.

kcwarpony 8 years, 9 months ago

Happy Anniversary Sun Sue :) And many more for you and yours for years to come.

Maybe "All My Love To My Old Lady"?

jayhawks71 8 years, 9 months ago

If you won't move your lazy butt to pre-pay, you have bigger problems (like your butt) to deal with, clearly. The only people that should be complaining about having to walk in are those who are somehow unable to walk or cannot walk without pain... and then, you know what? Make changes in your own life and use a credit card or an atm/debit card. I couldn't tell you the last time I went into a gas station to pay for gas... and if you need to buy snacks/drinks, buy them when you prepay!

jayhawks71 8 years, 9 months ago

People, using a reference to Hitler, fascism, Nazi, or sieg heil instantly make your point ignored.

sunflower_sue 8 years, 9 months ago

Nobody's gotten it yet, but I LOVE all these possibilities! :o)

oldfashiongirl 8 years, 9 months ago

How about "all my love to my only love" or "all my love to my old lover"?

In Richmond, VA we have a system where you have certain lanes you can use to pay tolls as cameras are installed that record your license plate number and the tolls are deducted from an account you have previously set up. It would seem with all the technology we have that something along that line could be used by gas stations to record "drive offs". I think this would reduce substantially the loss to gas stations. They could hire some strong arm collectors, with lists and photos of the license plates in hand, go after them and get a part of the collected amounts as their pay. Of course it would be expensive for the stations to do this, but if the police are not going to respnd then you have to take the bull by the horns and do it yourself.

KyleXY 8 years, 9 months ago

It's "All my love to my only love"

What is love?

sunflower_sue 8 years, 9 months ago

Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more!

Thanks, I needed a new song stuck in my head. Since yesterday, I've been singing "How Great Thou Art." :o)

Linda Endicott 8 years, 9 months ago

Kearney, we have a Wal-Mart super center, but no Sam's club, and it has one of the gas stations.

Problem with that method, oldfashionedgirl, is that it's possible for someone to steal your car and help themselves to gas, and then they'd charge you for it, when you didn't put the gas in...

Saw a guy on the news the other night. He was sent a traffic ticket by the city of Seattle, and they said his license number was video taped on a speeding car. Only problem was, the man hadn't been to Seattle for over 20 years. Seems that when they transcribed the license number from the video to paper, someone switched a couple of numbers. Boy, was he surprised. Yes, they're going to drop the ticket, but it was probably really annoying.

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