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Not so much a lack of brand loyalty ...

 Posted: 2:00 AM September 10, 2012

I once took a class where we learned about something called "Brand Loyalty." Apparently, this is where people, regardless of price, always use the same brand of product. I wish I had brand loyalty, that would show that I am capable of remembering which variety of a product I like the best.

Unfortunately, I'm too scatter-brained to have much brand loyalty. I know that there is one type of toilet paper I like a lot more than the others, but I can never remember which one that is. I spend a lot of time staring at the walls of toilet paper in the store, trying to come up with the answer.

I also recently bought some paper towels that are amazing. The paper towels are soft and absorbent and I feel like I could wipe up something dyed blue off my counter, just like the commercials. But since I've already thrown away the packaging, the only chance I will buy these paper towels again simply will be a case of blind luck. Guess I shouldn't waste any by testing out any fake countertop spills.

There is one thing that I am loyal to, my favorite gas station.

I'm not sure what the name of my favorite gas station is, but I remember where it's located, so that's enough to get me through and get my gas tank filled up. I can't say that I never buy gas anywhere else, but I actually do go out of my way to frequent this one particular gas station.

The men that work there are always kind to me and never make me feel stupid for having no idea how anything in my car functions. Last week I went there, parked the car and just stood outside the driver's side door until I was noticed. "A light went on on your dash, didn't it?" asked the gas station attendant. Apparently, my look of total bewilderment was well-known to him.

The man was able to quickly check the pressure in all my tires (is that right? Is that what he did?) and quickly put some air in one for me. Honestly, he was probably able to solve my car problem more quickly than it took me to notice that I had some scary exclamation point light going off in the front of my car. I was fairly certain that it was alerting me that a self-destruct pattern had been initiated.

About a year ago, I had to drive my parents' car for about a month. At the time, my parents had both a red Prius and a blue Geo. To their misfortune, I am completely unable to drive a stick shift, and they were forced to lend me their Prius.

In one of my occasional attempts to be a good daughter, I decided to fill up the gas tank before returning the car to them. I pulled in to my favorite gas station and waited to be helped while I silently said a little prayer of gratitude that I don't live in a state that requires me to pump my own gas.

The gas station attendant came up to my window, stopped, stared at me and my car, and finally said, in an accusatory tone, "This is not your car." I had a sneaking suspicion that he was sizing me up and was wondering if I had finally figured out cars well enough to be able to hotwire and steal one.

"It's my parents' car! Mine's at the body shop!" I quickly explained. The attendant's face quickly settled back into his usual expression, all was right with the world. I had not committed grand theft auto and, of course, my car would require body work (he's been witness to my driving, after all).

I felt happy and relieved. I may not be able to remember which paper products I like the best, but my gas station knows me. If my toilet paper ever put air in my tires I'd probably remember it better, too.

Zoe Abel can't change a wiper blade, let alone hotwire a car. You can contact her at

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