“Do you want to try a clam strip?” – I visit a Clarksville, FL gas station.

This title may be a little misleading. I wasn’t visiting, per say, a Clarksville, FL gas station. I was passing through on my way to Tallahassee, and my husband suggested we take the ‘pretty route’, which meant driving on roads that fluctuated between 35 and 55 mph, getting stuck behind farm tractors, and making a pit stop in Clarksville, FL to fill up with gas.

Now, in my brief research of Clarksville, FL, I can tell you this. It’s located about an hour north of Panama City Beach. TripAdvisor returns ZERO restaurants. The shopping consists of a convenience store, automotive repair shop, monogram shop, and tuxedo rental. So either the folks of Clarksville are the swankiest looking people around or the word ‘tuxedo’ has a double meaning for ‘plumber’.

This particular Clarksville, FL gas station does not disappoint. While my husband fills the car up with gas, I go inside to use the restroom. When I walk through the door, the smell of fry oil immediately takes over my nostrils and my clothes feel dense with grease. It’s 10:15am. There’s a line of five people at the fry station.

Along one of the walls, you see a display of mounted deer heads. It’s a proud display, you can tell. Perfectly spaced and aligned dead eyes, just staring at you.

I head to the bathroom. It’s a single room with two toilets in the open, one permanently out of order. As I get my quad workout for the day squatting over the john, I realize this used to be two stalls. When the one toilet broke, it probably was more cost effective to rip out the dividers over getting the toilet fixed. I bet the tuxedo shop, I mean, plumber is in high demand in Clarksville, FL. He can set his own rates. Quite the monopoly.

Before leaving, I stop off at the candy section for a treat. Now I consider myself a connoisseur of gas station candy, and I find the more deep in the woods the gas station, the better the candy. This gas station has THEE best candy selection I ever witnessed. There had to be at least 20 different sour something or other to choose from. Some candies I had never seen before. I wonder if general managers of gas stations list their candy picking ability on their resumes. They should.

I snatch up some goodies and head to the checkout, where every other customer is either buying scratchy tickets or not wearing shoes… or both. I swear my skin is shiny from all the fry oil in the air. I walk up to the counter and have one of the best customer service experiences ever.

Clerk: Do you want to try a clam strip?
Me: Oh, I'm okay.
Clerk: You sure? They're really good.
Me: Oooh, I'm good. Thanks though.
Clerk: It's free… It's a free clam strip.
Me: Haha, sounds great, but I'm really okay.

I don’t know why she kept pushing the clam strip. Maybe the thought of turning down a free clam strip seemed crazy to her. Maybe even though it was 10:15am, quite early for a clam strip, I was buying watermelon sour straws, so she thought ‘this bitch can hang with some clam strips’. Or maybe she is the best damn clerk I’ve ever met, and her customer service skills are the likes of a Four Seasons.

I don’t know, but that experience made me smile. Made me appreciate this gas station. Made me a little less pretentious. In the end, it made me feel passing on that clam strip was the biggest mistake I ever made. I bet it was delicious.

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