'Uh, boss, we have a problem'

There are almost two dozen gas stations that motorists in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., can choose from when they need a fill-up. But had you been there a week ago Monday, almost everyone in that category seemed to be ignoring all the competition and heading straight for J.P. Raval's Citgo outlet on Eighth Street South. Kelly Joosten was among them. She pulled her Ford Expedition SUV up to one of the pumps, expecting to spend what she usually does: $100. Instead, the amount charged to her debit card came to ... $8.85. Yes, you read that correctly. And, no, Raval wasn't running a special promotion. The sign outside advertised premium at $3.43.9 per gallon. Ah, but the pump in question hadn't been set to charge that amount; it read 0.349. Within minutes, one of Raval's employees said: "People were calling people. Those people called people. By then, the whole town probably knew." Some customers even brought along cans so they could load up with still more fuel. Before the staff could reset the pump, as many as 40 people had availed themselves of this unexpected bonanza. "It was like a fairground," the owner told reporters. An estimated 200 to 300 gallons were gone, and the underground tank was dry. The unintentional mistake was costly as well; Raval said it took a big chunk out of his profit. Was it theft by deception, though? There's no word on anyone offering to pay the advertised rate. And as far as Kelly Joosten is concerned, "This will never happen again in my lifetime."

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