When I was a kid,we went to the gas station to get, well, gas. I stayed in the car while my dad, or on rare occasions the gas attendant, filled the tank. We didn’t venture inside. If we did there wasn’t anything for us save an ancient Coke machine and a bunch of racks of oil.
Somewhere along the line someone decided that there was money to be made and combined a gas station with a grocery store/restaurant. Now we have the gas stations of today. They’re bloated, sprawling properties filled with a multitude of treats and treasures to satisfy any vice. Gambling, smoking, drinking, fatty food, occasional porn, it’s all inside.
After visiting two of Alpharetta’s newest stations, the Racetrac and the Quick Trip both on Old Milton, I say it’s time for these “destination stations” to stop.
I’m dumbfounded by the sheer square footage these places occupy. Lots of pumps is nice and handy, but the volume of the parking lots to allow all the cars is crazy. From the far pumps you could have a heck of a hike to get inside. Once you’re inside, you’re not sure if you’re in a convenience store or a mega mart. The poor bottles of oil and washer fluid of yesterday are condemned to a small section hidden from view. There’s endless fridges full of soda, sports drinks and beer. Most also have wine. Aisles of treats and candies and doughnuts beckon.
Don’t even get me started on the roller food. Where once the lonely weiner resided sadly rotating now lives taquitos, buffalo chicken things and sausages.
And the frozen, slushie type drinks? Are you kidding me? Both stations offer north of twenty different flavors. Twenty! Then we come to the coffee and tea. We love our coffee. I don’t drink it. I favor the five hour energy, which by the way, is crazily priced at these places, as are most things. QT has two walls dedicated to coffee and teas. Twenty flavors of tea are represented and there are eight types of coffee with four cappuccino machines. Where does it end?
QT also boasts a food counter where you can order flat bread sandwiches, pizza or something called a kolach. I don’t know either. When was the last time you went to a gas station and decided that ordering a sandwich was a good idea?
I think the RaceTrac might have that beat. It has a full on fro-yo bar. That’s right, ten flavors to choose from with all the toppings you could want. RaceTrac also has several tables and a row of stools facing the parking lot so you can leisurely dine on your soft swirl. They also have several outdoor tables. We’re not supposed to hang out here are we? This is why we’re not getting anything done, we’re lounging at the RaceTrac sucking down frozen treats and washing them down with a iced mocha frappa-whatever.
I say enough. Go and get your gas, but skip the grocery/liquor store/coffee bar/casino. I think as a society, we’d all be better off. And by the way, the QT has the best doughnuts.