Friday, May 20, 2016

Full Service Gas Stations

Eric, over at Eric Peter's Autos, reminices about the days when full service gas stations were commonplace, I've read Oregon doesn't allow self service gas stations, as doesn't New Jersey. I understand the Oregon restriction is a jobs thing.

The only full service station I know of in Eureka is the Patriot station in Henderson Center, although I'm not clear if full service means doing mechanical work on cars too. There's a station down near the courthouse I've been told does repair work. I suppose that would qualify as full

I remember those back in the day, a mechanic on duty that could usually take care of all your car's needs. Just like Gomer and Goober's station on the old Andy of Mayberry TV show. About the only repairs done at the Patriot station is fixing flat tires.

I might have mentioned before I used to pump gas here in Eureka back in the mid to late 70s. I guess we were full service, although we didn't really do repairs- just check oil and tire pressure if the customer wanted it done. What used to piss me off is people- nearly always women- that would drive up, ask you to check their tire pressure, then drive off without buying gas.

Then there were the ones that would try that but get all pissed off when you'd tell them you could check their tires but couldn't fill them because you didn't have compressed air. There was a fire at the Myrtle Avenue station that destroyed the compressor. People would get all pissed off over that: "What kind of gas station is this that can't fill my tires.../???". Screw you bitch, I'd usually say to myself.

I wouldn't mind pumping gas again, although I'd probably have a hard time staying on my feet as long as that required. Funny how now I prefer to pump my own gas. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just don't want the pump jockeys to do more than they have to?

Addendum: Just remembered a full service story that happened when I was a kid living in Irvine. There was a full service Chevron station on the corner of Culver and Michaelson my mom frequented. They did it all- mechanics plus gas, tires, check oil and wash windows.

One time my sister and I were in the car with mom when she drove in there. I guess the guy wasn't quick enough to wash her windows. She jumps out of the car and, almost yelling, goes "I guess I'll have to wash the windows myself", then proceeds to wash the windows. The gas station crew looked on not knowing how to handle that. My sister and I sat in the car all embarrassed over the scene our mom made. I'll have to ask Sis Meliss if she remembers that.


At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cahill's Patriot at 11th and K in Arcata is full service plus a rather extensive service bay as well.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how much I miss the days of full service competition. The employees competed for raises, the owners competed for best place to apply for work, and they all competed for best price & service. The employees would receive hams or turkeys every thanksgiving, and cash bonuses at Christmas. The employees were as proud of the service station owners as the employers were proud of their employees. There was always a job available in every tourist town in the summer, & every town had a service station within shouting distance of another.
Then regulators began regulating. The underground tanks had to be replaced by such and such a date, despite how the tourist season panned out for the year. The pumps had to be exchanged for fancy new ones, the overhead canopies raised, the bathrooms made handicapped accessible,the ding alerts quieted, the never ending standing in line at the bank for renovation loans... soon employees were let go due to lack of funds, banks refused to increase loans until previous mandated loans were paid, & gas prices soared. The petroleum distributors were also under pressure & costs. The patrons soon had no reason to shop at the best service, so they lowered their goals & sought best prices. Then the competition began once again, once the deli's and one stop shopping became crowd draw ins, & gas prices sky rocketed even higher to cover the forced loans & ingenuity.
Keep your candy bars, deep fried wannabe food, over priced gas, we want our kids back to work with a smile! I miss being won over by courtesy, hard work, and a competive free market.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

"The employees were as proud of the service station owners as the employers were proud of their employees"

That would be me. Smiling Fred, unless you came in an wanted your tires and oil checked and didn't buy gas.

At 5:51 AM, Blogger Amber Patzlaff said...

The Sequia station on Main St in Fortuna is full service, sometimes. They pump your gas if they are not too busy. Which seems relative at times. But I gladly pay a few cents extra to have it pumped for me on some days...

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Sally Sheffield said...

Thanks for another good memory, Fred. When my dad was in the military, he also had part-time jobs in the evenings, at times. We always lived off base (except for Puerto Rico). One job was at a filling station just 2 blocks from our house. Early evenings, sometimes I'd ride my bike over to take my dad his cigarettes if he forgot them or also sometimes just to visit. For some reason my sister, brother and I really got "tickeled" when our car Windows were washed when my dad bought gas. Easily amused, I guess. Anyway, "those were the days"!


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