Professional Software Consulting

Bennett Pump Company


The Convenience Store Point-of-Sale

Bennett's corporate headquarters were in Michigan, but our little band of a dozen or so programmers worked in Atlanta in a small hole-in-the-wall office. Our responsiblity was to maintain and enhance the software that ran in a convenience store, including interfacing with the software that ran in the pumps themselves. I learned that the big gas companies didn't like to invest in one company; they didn't want all their gas stations running the same software because of the dependency it created to that single provider. Into this mix, Bennett marketed convenience store and gas pump systems to the large oil companies as well as independent gas station owners.

Bennett gas pumps at a convenience store (Picture courtesy of

My sole responsibility during my employ was to create a back-end credit card processing program to authorize credit cards to a specific clearinghouse, towards the sale of a system to Conoco. Unlike the process I went through at ASDC to certify my software, the evaluation team actually came out to us, as opposed to doing things over the phone. They planned on being there for three days, our certification was done in two. They said that this had never happened before: nobody every qualifies on the first try. They mentioned that they were considering failing us anyway, because no one at their home office would believe them, but we ended up convincing them to let it stand.

The team at Bennett were some of the most gifted people I've ever worked with, and I learned a lot from them, especially my mentor. At ASDC, I learned how to write elegantly complex code that does incredible things; at Bennett, I learned how to write elegantly simple code that does incredible things. The system was a series of client server interactions (except for the reports that were written in AWK), designed for fault tolerance and to never go down. The data structures were object oriented before OO became a buzzword, and quality was truly the focus of what we did there.

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