Lucky customers pump 35-cent gas
PEKIN, IL—A day after a run on a gas station where an attendant incorrectly set the pump price at only 35 cents a gallon, the owner was looking beyond the lost revenue.
"We lost about 1,000 gallons of gas and about $3,500," Mimi Zidan, owner of the Lucky Mart on Derby Street, said Wednesday. "But I don't feel too bad because the people looked so happy when they were buying gas. If I can do this for them, that's all right."
Tuesday evening, the attendant on duty at Lucky Mart on Derby Street realized something was wrong when the customers' bills added up to no more than $5 or $6 each after topping off their gas tanks.
As he struggled to deal with the hordes pouring in, he called Zidan on her cell phone.
Earlier in the evening, the attendant had adjusted the gas price, which should have read $3.50 a gallon, to 35 cents. That was about 5:30 p.m. The gas pumps were not corrected until about 7:30 p.m.
During that time, people called others to tell them to rush over and buy at the phenomenally low price. The result was that the situation at Derby and South Fifth streets was totally chaotic, with traffic backed up in all directions when Zidan returned to the store.
"I thought it was an accident," Zidan said. "For the first 10 minutes I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to say you must stop, the price is wrong."
But once the police came in and restored some order, she felt better.
Her sister, Amy Habal, who helps run the store, said it would have been nice if someone had told them about the mistake instead of calling their friends.