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Five Reasons Why Some Gas Station Attendants Continued to Work at Self-Service Facilities

Updated on July 11, 2017
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Kenneth has been a member of HubPages for five years. He is retired from a 23-year career in the weekly newspaper business.

Seriously, it was Like a Magic Act

first we Americans got the pleasure of driving into our local gas station and a guy named, "Buzz," jumped into action asking everything from, "Fill 'er up, sir," to "How's the air in the tires?" And for many years we were as happy as a pig sleeping in the sunshine in a fresh mudhole.

Yes, things were going smoothly. By now you have recognized that the 1950s were over and turning into the 1960s, but still, a lot of those old-fashioned customs that I told you about in the first paragraph held on for dear life as this era began to see changes in music such as The Beatles hitting our beaches in 1964 and after this monumental event, we were never the same.

But, the much-appreciated gas station attendant was still with us--still pumping gas for dad's car for I could sit in the backseat and watch him (or her) pump the gasoline, check the oil, and other automotive courtesies and thought that the gas station attendant would last pretty much forever.

This is what happened when gas station owners went to self-service leaving the gas station attendants  "out in the cold."
This is what happened when gas station owners went to self-service leaving the gas station attendants "out in the cold." | Source
Many gas stations (like this one), converted to self-service just to save money.
Many gas stations (like this one), converted to self-service just to save money. | Source

But Little did I Realize

that a bold, new change was now looming over the horizon. That change, (which for a lot of us were still in shock) was something called the "self-service" gasoline service. Simply put. This took out the middle man (or woman) who we were accustomed to seeing the attendant bounce from the office and take care of our gasoline needs all with a smile.

Yes, "self-service" was now the place to be if you needed gasoline and the majority of people who drove cars and trucks did need gasoline, so there you have it. No more friendly gas station attendant (with grease under his fingernails) named "Buzz," and other customer-friendly names who made us all feel comfortable and at ease knowing that "Buzz" had our gasoline needs well in hand.

Now, we were faced to pull into the gas station (of choice), get out of the car and fumble around trying to decipher the code on the gas pump on how to get the gas from the pump into our gas tanks. We had a better chance (at first) of understanding Einstein's Theory of Relativity. I'm telling you the truth with my eyes looking into yours.

Janice Dickinson, creator of the phrase, "Super Model," was photographed pumping her own gasoline.
Janice Dickinson, creator of the phrase, "Super Model," was photographed pumping her own gasoline. | Source

One Day Something Strange Begin

to happen. Something that first confused us and then realized that things were okay. What am I talking about? I'll tell you. Just as we grew at ease pumping our own gasoline, one day "Buzz," our old friend, the gas station attendant came running out of his office asking what he could do for us--and all the while putting a smile on our faces.

We were happy again to have our gasoline pumped. We smiled a lot. Sometimes we sang songs. Things were that good. That is until one day it began to dawn on us that something was up. Something must have went awry. The glaring question that started to hit us was: If the gas station (of choice) had a big sign put out in plain sight that read, "Self-Service Gasoline," in big, bold red letters, then pray tell why was our buddy, "Buzz," back manning the gas pumps? This not only became a point of concern, but something that grew to become a burden for us.

Then one day, someone, I forget who, asked, "Buzz, buddy, why are you pumping our gas when the big sign clearly says that you have 'self-service'?" "Buzz" was not in any hurry in answering. This too added to our curiosity. Then we began to hear whispers from within our cars as what was happening at our favorite gas station and what about "Buzz" and possibly more of his buddies now pumping gas at stations that were strictly self-service? These were questions that were beginning to impact our society at large.

Obviously a major-but-silent controversy was afoot. But being human, we fell back upon our human nature which provided us our nature to be able to ask seemingly-innumerable questions about "Buzz" now pumping gasoline at self-service gas stations.

Some of these questions were . . .

Silhouette of a time gone by: gas station attendants.
Silhouette of a time gone by: gas station attendants. | Source

(Below) the Five Reasons Why Most Gas Station Attendants Continued to Pump Gasoline

Making Points -- with the gas station owners who opted to change from employees named "Buzz" (and others) to a self-service facility. The gas station attendant who we thought had been replaced was probably in the process of making "brownie points" with the powerful station owners in hopes that the attendant might show the attendant a drab of compassion and change back from the self-service system.

Confusion -- might have led to why we viewed a gas station attendant pumping our gas due to this poor, lowly-paid employee who was so overwhelmed with the idea of being terminated that confusion overshadowed his judgement and just went back to the job he had performed for over 10 years.

Vengeance -- sometimes (I'm guessing) caused many gas station attendants to be phased out in order for self-service station owners to save money, but this move led to these guys and gals who could not find suitable work to literally work for nothing to give themselves an image of pride, but the vengeance came when the attendants received the customers' money, they (attendants) would whisper harsh words of truth as to why they were angry and doing this job for nothing--hoping that the customers would sympathize with them and frequent another gas station.

Substance Abuse -- namely, (but in a small percentage), alcohol by the name of booze which these poor, broken-hearted "island jockeys" (gas station attendants) took to drinking themselves to try and forget their unemployment woes, so some of these helpful men and women, being drunk, were seen pumping gas while weaving and stumbling while the customer's windshields were sometimes washed and the oil stick left laying on the ground.

Doing a Good Deed -- might have been why (some) terminated gas station workers were seen pumping gas for their faithful customers. To just do a good deed. No explanation needed.

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

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