Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Gassy

In so many ways, I feel very, very old.  I remember when ALL phones were hardwired and had cords, when computers were accessed through punchcards, and when TV stations actually went off the air at night.  These are things that many, many people don't remember...

Something else that I remember are 'service stations.'  At one point in time, The Father and his brother owned a 'service station'--a place where you would go and say 'fill 'er up' and get your gas tank filled, your windshield washed, your battery checked, and your oil checked.  (They also 'fixed' cars--The Father was a very good mechanic.)  The attendant would also walk around your vehicle and give it a 'once-over' look to make sure the tires were properly inflated and that nothing was about to fall off.  A lot of high school students--read that as 'guys'--would have these jobs.  While they were minimum-wage jobs, they filled the need before fast food restaurants became the normal place for high school students to work.  And once self-service became the norm, these jobs became a thing of the past--and I mourn their passing.

I have never pumped my own gas.  It isn't because I am lazy or stupid***, it just is because K has always done it.  I never wanted to pump my own and as long as someone else will do it for me, I'm happy to let them.  (Hey, when the wind is whipping at 40 MPH and the temp is -10, I appreciate not having to get out of my vehicle.)  I realize that there probably will come a time when I will HAVE to learn how to pump gas, but I can wait.  Over the years, there have been times when I needed gas in my vehicle and K wasn't around to fill it, but I always had the option of going to the full-service station that was down the street from us.  Sadly, that place is now gone.  One other station in town had full-service, but earlier this summer THAT was discontinued.  And if you think THAT didn't create quite a stir around here, you are deluding yourself.

As I said, I've been lucky to have someone do this--in my opinion--very distasteful job for me all of these years.  But, there are many who HAVE to rely on someone else to do this--and these are the ones who were hurt the most when this service was discontinued.  Many handicapped and elderly people were quite distressed over the thought that they would have to find some way to fuel their vehicles, as too many of them were UNABLE to do it themselves.  People in wheelchairs--besides making it inconvenient and time consuming--have problems reaching some gas pumps.  Elderly people, especially with arthritis, can find it hard to remove gas caps.  These were who relied on the last station in town to offer full-service.  And they were NOT happy.  Of course solutions were 'suggested'--'honk' when you get to the pump and 'someone' will come out to help you, or come into the station and ask for help, etc--but these really weren't good options.  After about a month, the station relented and now has an attendant on hand one day a week, for certain hours, to pump gas for those who need the help.  NOT the greatest solution, but it is better than nothing.

mental_floss did an entire story about 'pumping your own' and the states that don't allow this.  Personally, I wish full-service stations were the norm in ALL states--I really think it would help with the unemployment rate.  This could also be a way for some to learn a new skill, as so many guys learned how to do minor repairs and maintenance of vehicles when they were attendants.  It's ALWAYS a good thing to learn something new.  With all the talk about us becoming a 'service society,' it is strange that this is one 'service' that has gone by the wayside.



***If you go to read the mental_floss article, take some time and look over the comments that were left.  I'm amazed at the *hate* some people have for those who live in Oregon and New Jersey, and for those states not allowing self-service.  (As well as for those of us who never have, or don't want to, pump our own.)  I also can't understand those who 'don't want ANYONE to touch their vehicles' and WON'T allow anyone else to fuel their cars.  I guess they do all repairs themselves, too--and are completely self-sufficient in every aspect of their lives.  ;)  The things people get hot under the collar about...***




6 comments:

kristi noser said...

My fave station near our town has full service, usually is a penny or two less than the self-serve stations, and as a bonus, has free vacuums so while the attendant is pumping your gas, you can vacuum your car. Awesome, right?

cmk said...

Lucky you! I just don't understand why this is a service that is being put out to pasture...

And the comments to the article said that gas WAS cheaper at the full-service stations! I have to wonder if it is a cost-of-insurance issue that would make self-serve gas more expensive?

ordinaryjanet said...

It would be great if full-service stations came back in style! Maybe it would cut down on all those pump-and-split without paying incidents. Maybe it would lessen the number of gas station holdups, too. And cut down on those people who leave their cars at the pump and go someplace-God knows where, maybe looking at the stuff in the store, while you're waiting for them to move their damn cars.

I do remember attendants who used dirty water on the windshield and leered at me. But if full-service included putting air in the tires, I'd put up with the leering. I don't mind pumping gas-I don't LIKE it, but I hate checking the tires and putting air in them.

cmk said...

I'm sure I'm remembering the days of full-service in ideal terms, but part of it has to do with always living in small towns. You couldn't get away with bad treatment of customers without repercussions.

One of my main reasons for liking full-service is not having to brave the weather--it is so nice to not have to go out in the extremes we have to deal with. You make very valid points on what could be avoided with full-service--and I STILL think this would be a good minimum wage job for kids who don't want to work in the fast-food business.

meleah rebeccah said...

I have never pumped my own gas either. That's because in NJ it's illegal to pump your own gas. We have service attendants. I seriously have NO IDEA how to fill my car!

cmk said...

I REALLY wish full-service stations would not have become a thing of the past. I DREAD the day when I will have to pump my own--and I'm sure it WILL happen some day.