My friend, Bubba, took me on a trip the other day down Memory Lane, to the service station.
For those of you who've never heard of them, these were locations where you didn't even have to get out of your car.
Here's an example of a stop at the service station. I'll use Bubba's description.
“You pulled in the driveway and rolled across this rubber hose that went ‘ding, ding, ding' to let the guy inside know he had a customer.”
He came out of the station wearing “some kind of uniform, or at least a shirt with the station brand and a nametag.” He also usually was wiping his hands with a rag because he had been servicing a car on the rack.
“I think I saw more guys named Bill, or Joe, or Jack, or Jim than any other name,” Bubba remembered. “But they were usually always friendly. I guess that was one of their job requirements.”
The attendant would greet you, and say something like, “Fill 'er up?”
“Back then, most people just used ‘regular'” gasoline, Bubba said. “I'd say, ‘Give me a couple of bucks of regular.'”
Then, the attendant would ask if you wanted him to check under the hood, or sometimes he would just do so without asking as part of your visit.
“He would check your oil level, some of the other fluid levels, maybe even how tight your belts were.
“And they would check your tire pressure and clean your windows. All for no extra charge other than what you paid for gas.”
At a full-service station, Bubba remembered, you could get: a flat tire fixed, an oil change, new wiper blades, a lube job, a tuneup, a tire rotation, water for your radiator, a car wash, an inspection and some repair work.
Most of those items, of course, were for a fee, but you had someone doing the work for you, and he usually knew what he was doing.
“I also liked some of the things you could get if you bought so much gas, or if you had some other work done,” Bubba said, “like Green Stamps, or collector glasses, or kids' toys. Those were great places.”
Of course, costs were much lower “back then.” A gallon of gasoline today costs about the same as many of the services you could get then.
By the way ...
I asked Bubba if there was anything about today's do-it-yourself locations that he liked and he thought he would miss some day.
He thought for a minute, then said: “The hot dogs and cold drinks are pretty good. But I think I miss those full-service stations more than I would the hot dogs from the (quick stop).”
Me, too, Bubba. Me, too.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.