Why do we always ask for directions at gas stations? Why do we assume these guys are going to be able to tell us how to get where we need to go? I think we expect way too much of gas station employees in this regard.
Think about it. Often, at least in my experience, these employees are foreigners. This isn't even their country, and they could very well be new arrivals, and yet we, Americans, ask them for directions. I mean, put me to work at a Sunoco in Calcutta, and I'm going to be of absolutely zero use to you if you need driving/walking directions.
And even if the employees are American, why do we assume these guys know anything more than how to get back and forth from home to work? How does that qualify them to be omniscient in the way of directions?
My guess is, the assumption stems from the fact that gas station employees tend to deal with a lot of passers-by, but unless these transients are choosing to educate the gas station employees about the local thoroughfares for no clear reason... See what I'm sayin'?...
(Special thanks to the venerable Rabbi D.S.)