Shell convenience store sign

A sign on a Shell gas station on U.S. 82 advises oil men who smell bad to stay out. Despite this, oil men of Express Grain still frequent the convenience store.

Some workers from Express Grain aren’t thin-skinned when people complain about the strong odors that cling to their clothes.

In fact, objections to their scent don’t prevent the workers from patronizing  the nearby Shell gas station and convenience store on U.S. 82 — despite a sign placed on the front door that reads, “Notice: Bad Smelling Oil Mill People Please Do Not Enter.”

Anurag Randive, the store’s manager, said the sign has been in place about three months.

It was posted after Randive heard from several customers who complained about the odor of the oil mill employees.

The station is across the street from Express Grain’s oil mill and biodiesel refinery, so it is often frequented by Express Grain workers. They stop there to buy snacks during their breaks and then socialize outside the store.

Randive agreed with the customers’ complaints, speculating that the strong scents could be a health hazard, such as with cold cuts of meat sold at the store.

Despite this, the workers don’t take offense to the sign.

On Tuesday around noon, a group of Express Grain workers hung outside of the gas station, some sitting or standing on the curb and others seated in golf carts, enjoying their breaks. Several popped in and out of the store to buy snacks.

Seated in a golf cart with his feet propped on the dashboard,  Express Grain worker Michael Blount said, “We know we stink. We don’t wear our s*** at the house.”

Looking at the sign, he said, “Ain’t nobody bothered about this. This man’s just looking out for his business.”

Coworkers of Blount agreed, all saying that Randive has always been welcoming and hospitable.

“This man has showed us love,” Blount said.

Seated next to Blount, Michael Bankston said, “He’s never once not taken care of us.”

 For the most part, the workers are allowed inside the store to purchase snacks. In some cases, though, Randive said he has had to prevent some of the workers from entering, such as those who work in the pits filled with rotten beans, which have a strong, awful smell.

Blount said that those who work in the pits have co-workers go into the store to fetch snacks for them. They have no problem with this, Blount said.

Randive said he has not received any complaints about his station’s sign. “Most of my customers are oil men,” he said.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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