The Pump Jockey Employment Mandate

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One of the silliest and most obnoxious make-work laws on the books may soon be the law in Illinois. Maybe soon in your state, too.

It is already the law in New Jersey and Oregon  . . . where motorists aren’t allowed to pump their own gas. For saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!

And for other things, too.

The proposed Gas Station Attendant Act – yes, really – reads as follows:

“No gas may be pumped at a gas station in this state unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station.”   

This isn’t full-service. It’s being forced to pay for services many of us do not want – leaving aside the money.

In addition to being fleeced, you’re forced to let someone you don’t know and likely have no interest in knowing paw your car with his greasy mitts, maybe not-quite-tighten your gas cap (triggering the “check engine” light to illuminate and requiring an OBD scan tool to un-illuminate) while also probably spilling gasoline on your paint.

And it’s illegal to object.

Because it’s the law.

In NJ and Oregon, a motorist can be Hut! Hut! Hutted! by an armed government worker for pumping gas into their own car. There’s very little chance you’ll be burned to death – note that fires at gas stations where it’s still legal to pump your own gas aren’t a problem.

But you might just get shot if you dare to pump-it-yourself in New Jersey, Oregon – and soon, Illinois, too.

Pumping gas isn’t rocket science, of course – which precisely why rocket scientists aren’t hired to pump gas. Instead, a least-common-denominator, minimum wage flunky will do the honors – and maybe some other things, too. Maybe because he’s a lout. Maybe because he just doesn’t care. Maybe because he doesn’t like your Trump (or Bernie) for President bumper sticker.

But chiefly, because you won’t be allowed to say no.

The “service” he provides will be on his timetable – which will likely be more leisurely than yours. There will probably be fewer attendants than cars at times. If you’re in a hurry, too bad. At least it’ll make owning an electric car seem more reasonable.

The best part? You get to pay for it all, too!

Because that’s what government’s all about!

It “creates jobs”  . . . by forcing you to pay for “services.” Or those provided by its crony-clients, like the insurance mafia.

The chief sponsor of the Gas Station Attendant Act, State Rep. Camille Lilly recently Tweeted:

HB4571 is concept legislation that creates safety and convenience at the pump… The bill seeks to create options for self-service, service by gas station attendant, and jobs. Input is valuable to shape into legislation the people of IL desire.”

Italics added.

Leaving aside the maladroit construction, let’s consider the obvious fly in the soup. If, as Madame Lilly says, the Pump Jockey Mandate  “creates convenience” (of a piece with the teeth-grinding  injunction to “look for safety” that appears when you power up the LCD touchscreen in many new cars) then why the mandate? It is not necessary to mandate things for which there is a market – like convenience.

See 7-11. Or Amazon.

But it is necessary to mandate what people aren’t willing to pay for – precisely because it isn’t “convenient.” Like being a “customer” of the DMV’s.

How much will this inconvenience cost drivers in Illinois?

In New Jersey, where this obnoxiousness has been the law for many decades, the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded currently averages $2.48 according to the American Automobile Association. That is about 20 cents per gallon more than Virginians pay for the same thing.

Well, not quite the same thing.

Drivers in Virginia and almost every other state aren’t forced to let a government make-worker fondle their car, which is something many people would pay extra to avoid – in the manner of throwing a buck at the squeegee man to keep him from “washing” your car’s windshield while you wait for the light to change.

In Oregon – which also has a Pump Jockey Employment Mandate – a gallon of unleaded currently costs $2.97 or about 70 cents more than people pay to pump-it-themselves in states like Virginia and most other states, too.

Either way, the Pump Jockey Mandate adds significantly to the cost of gassing up – because someone’s got to pay for it. And you always pay more when you aren’t allowed to say no.

Taking the lowball figure of 20 cents extra per gallon, we arrive at about $3 extra per 15 gallon fill-up. Times four fill-ups monthly times 12 months equals $144 more each year – which is just shy of $1,500 over ten years… for a “service” most people have no interest in paying for.

No matter how many “jobs” it “creates.”

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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107 COMMENTS

  1. I was on a business trip to Germany in 1998. 4 of us decided to go in Don’s car to a castle. Don started his car and Matise said to him, “Don I didn’t know you had a diesel.” Don shut the car off. He did have a diesel. The night before he put petrol in it. So instead of seeing a castle, we had to put up with the hotel’s owners BIL siphoning the fuel out of the car. He was a mechanic. Took several hours to siphon, then the correct fuel was added. We got to see the local eatery instead.

  2. One of the fun ways at these stations is to see the fat obese people struggle to get out of and into their cars. Especially when they pull the car close to the pump island because a much bigger vehicle is parked alongside their car. That pleasure would be denied to me with an attendant to fuel the vehicle. Another fun way is watching the women struggle with the pump and where to put the nozzle. Another fun part is watching the gals in short dresses on a hot summer day spread their legs getting out of the vehicle.

  3. I have some foggy memories of there being something called “Mini Service” at some gas stations around western PA/northeast OH during the early 1980s. I think Boron/Sohio or ARCO/Atlantic offered it. Basically, all the attendant did was pump your gas, maybe clean your windshield, as opposed to the full service which involved checking all of your fluids, cleaning your windows, and inspecting stuff under the hood like belts and hoses.

    So. you could choose which level of service you wanted, from the works to pumping your own gas and being on your way.

    Now, offering a choice like that could make sense. Problem is, as all you said, when you don’t have a choice.

  4. What will they do with all those extra pumps? They’re not likely to employ an attendant for every pump. They’ll be able to remove all but one or two pumps like it used to be. Then there’ll be block-long lines to fill-er-up!! Ahh, the wisdom of government!

  5. Gas taxes in IL were increased recently. Result: stations in neighboring states are getting more business. This stupid law will have the same effect.

    We were planning to visit eastern IL as part of our summer vacation. If we don’t cancel that part of the trip, we will adjust our route home so we refuel in Indiana instead.

  6. So glad you’re bringing this asinine proposal to light! I live in Illinois and as soon as I saw this news come across one of my FB feeds I broadcast it on my FB feed as well. From what I have heard from informal sources that this will not come up for a vote. However, I am somewhat doubtful. There are too many uninformed, big-government suburbanites north of I80 (Chicago area voters) that may allow this POS legislation to move forward, argggg!!!

  7. Will states require a licensed electrician to connect electric vehicles to the charger? Will he have to stand by and watch for the eternity recharging takes? I recall many years ago using a garage which had valet parking. Even though it was just a beat-up 1967 Rambler, I did not feel right letting someone else drive my car.

  8. For those who no hablan español, here’a a good one. Spain is an equal sex country; the wahminz can do anything a man can do, only better. here0s an example. Cannot link to the video. maybe tomorrow.

  9. For those of who use wheelchairs it’s convenient for someone to pump our gas. It saves the hassle of getting the chair out of the car, re-assembling it, transferring to it and hoping there’s enough space to maneuver in. Then get to the pump, put the hose in your lap, roll up to the car, lift and insert hose, fill tank and then repeat the whole process in reverse. After that, if paying with cash, there might be obstacles blocking the entry into the store to pay. With that in mind, I’m all for an attendant pumping my gas.

    • No one is saying that having an attendant available to pump fuel should not be available for those who want it or need it. However, do you really believe that violence is the best way to accomplish this? (After all, every act of government is rooted in violence and coercion.) How do you justify coercing businesses at gunpoint to make such a service available, thus forcibly imposing the costs on those who do not want or need it?

    • Hi Gary,

      I understand; no question. But should everyone be forced to pay for “full service” because some need or prefer it? I have no issue with a gas station offering to pump fuel as a service for those who are willing to pay extra for it. If it’s a viable business model, then – great!

      The issue here is with a government decree – enforceable at gunpoint, as is the case with every government decree – that every gas station must perform this “service,” even if customers don’t want it.

      Put another way, someone else’s need or even their desire does not impose an obligation enforceable at gunpoint on others. Well, it shouldn’t.

      Example: Right now, I am dealing with chronic pain and little sleep because I have a badly screwed up shoulder. I don’t have health insurance (casualty of divorce) and I am not able to afford the $8,000 surgery. I am saving up for it. But in the meanwhile I deal with it – because I do not believe my problem gives me the right to force others to pay for it.

      I realize I’m old-fashioned and a weirdo!

    • Whatever are you talking about? Here in northern Illinois, every pump at every station has a sign above a button stating; “Push this button if you need help pumping your gas”.

  10. One good thing about the Jersey law is that it makes it easy to spot someone from Jersey at a gas pump. The Jerseyite will ignore the directions on the pump and just whine for help from other customers, adding, “I’m from Jersey”.

    • I sure as hell wouldn’t be one of them, even though I be a “Joisey-ite” myself! Growing up, I used to help pump gas for my grandmother all the time back when I was living in SC. Even my ~10-year-old self knew how to do it without much help.

  11. I grew up in NJ. I can’t tell you how many gas caps my family members lost because the foreigner pumping the gas forgot to replace them.

    • God, what’s next? An attendant to hold your member at the urinal? Why not? Without proper urinal control puddles could be left, causing potentially dangerous and even lethal slips and falls.

      Urinal control, NOW!

      • I know, right? It’s getting to the point where the sheep need their shoes to tie themselves. No, seriously. Nike has a line of self-adjusting “smart” sneakers called “HyperAdapt”.

        Yeah, shouldn’t be too long ’till full-grown adults need to be fed with “smart” utensils.

        • You know, I’ve been saying for a while that people are so stupid that I don’t see how they manage to dress themselves in the morning 🙂

          • Anon, you mean they can now? I know there’ll always be the diehard crew like me who can button a shirt, zip pants and operate a belt, lace boots and shoes but it’s a small minority. If it weren’t for all the stretchy fabrics in clothes people would revert to wearing sheets and blankets wrapped around their bodies like they do in those ancient countries where progress is defined by a pump for water and most haven’t reached the level of digging the basic hole a cat does for body waste disposal.

      • Chris, that really sucks in west Texas, esp with diesel. Everything has a thick coat of dirt. No doubt they sell a lot more fuel filters here.

  12. yeah I cant wait to sit in the car ten minutes for some otherwise unemployable ghetto hoound to come pump my gas for me. What a crock. Yet another way Illinois sucks.

  13. In eastern Oregon where it seems that many folks are looking to join “Greater Idaho,” I suspect that the guy or lady at the pump window inside the little booth is apt to be looking the other way. And when all but a few VA counties are looking west to those green rolling hills of Appalachian coal country, the effectiveness of other government mandates is hard to imagine as well.

  14. There is some upside to this. I don’t know how many times I have been approached by someone I didn’t know wanting money for gas while I was filling the tank. This has happened in many places over the years. So having to stay in the vehicle might eliminate the guilt of having to saying no.

    I usually found New Jersey gas to be quite a bit cheaper than any of the neighboring states, so it was still cost effective to have it pumped. We now live in a country that has gone bonkers over “equality” issues and that is why the government is quite happy to mandate “equality” for all.

    And this is how cultures, countries, governments and civilizations eventually crumble to dust. We are far, far down that road if you bother to look under the hood of America.

    • When I pump my petrol there’s great warnings that I must stay at the pump. If I don’t return fast enough when it’s done there’s a big nasty screen with lots of red.

      Clearly, not hovering over the nozzle is very unsaaaaaafe.

      Last time I was at an attendant station… no wait, time before that. Long story. Anyway, didn’t know it was until too late. Okay, filler up regular (with coffee and sugar? (Boston joke)). Dude hooks me up and then…

      Abandons my nozzle to go pump somebody else or have a smoke or something. And yeah, that’s what they all used to do back in the day. Keep people moving thru, check oil, wash windows…

      This law is clearly explicitly UNSAAAAAAFE.

      • Hi Gruhn,

        This would be a deal-breaker for me. I would never allow anyone I didn’t know and trust to put gas into my antique car – or my motorcycles. If fuel is going to end up on my paint, I want it to be because I spilled it! I could never live in NJ or Oregon for this reason alone.

  15. When filling up a motorcycle in the Garden State, about half the time the pump attendant would voluntarily hand over the nozzle for me to do the fueling.

    Pump attendants quickly learn that motorcycle owners (and especially a subset of crunchy old anti-authoritarian boomer dudes on hogs) exhibit an exceedingly low tolerance for fuel spilled on their shiny tank, right between their pants legs.

    So even in an authoritarian liberal dystopia, a bit of wiggle room in the rules is extended to those who look like they might create an unwanted incident … even without the implied threat of an Easy Rider-style shotgun holstered on the front fork, which would provoke a full-scale SWAT team assault in fanatically anti-gunner NJ.

    • In my younger years I pumped gas in at a station in Portland, the Peoples Republic of Oregon.

      One Sunday a group of bikers (gang) pulled. I lifted the nozzle and turned to face a shiv brandished by one of the molls. “Spill one drop on the paint, I slit your throat.” Seems she was the artist who painted the tank.

      Guess who pumped their own gas.

  16. Eric you mentioned that Oregon, a WE serve state) has fuel prices of about seventy cents more the gallon than the average prices, assuming the additional cost is for the wages of the service folk.
    Iev travelled for decades up and down the West Coast states, all three… and have lived in all three. Oregon’s fuel prices are consistenly lower than either of the other two states. Much of that has to do with the road taxes added. Oregons are lower.
    In Oregon customers may pump their own diesel fuel, and I know this, and often do. I am often thanked for doing i t myself. Diesel in Regon is most often fifty cents to a buck LESS per gallon thatn in Washington, and another thirty to fifty sents in California, the worse. This is a change in the past ten years or so. I well remember a mussion trip where we had chartered three school busses, dry. We provided drivers, fueled, etc. We stopped for fuel in the middle north-south in Oregon, on I-5. Having driven big rigs and knowing how to fuel, and we’ve always been able to fuel our own big rigs in Oregon. I pulled my bus up to the bowsers and began fuelling ALL the passengers were out, using the loo, strethcing legs, etc. That’s law in OR fur fuelling busses. The attendant came running up to me, all snarly, instantly shutting off the pump and chewing me out. I told him I thought it was legal for me to pump fuel into a commercial vehicle in Oregon He assured me it was NOT Hkay I’m so sorry , bow and scrape. HE, the Only One who was able, began to fuel the bus. It had a hatch door on the side, the tank was a large flat top unit with the big brass threaded hard cap, which Id already removed before he grew his fangs. He started the punp and went to tend to another vehicle. After a while I came round to watch the meter…. I knew it was getting close to filling it up, and was standing by to deal with it. He saw me and hollered “YOU CAN”T TOUCH THAT PUMP. OK I hollered back, trying to be “respectful” where no such thing was warranted. I stepped back a few paces… then I heard a CLANK, and heard liquid running onto the ground. I ran over and hit the paddle on the pump, shutting it off. He came of-ver in a a huff.. I told him he had failed to properly insert the nozzle into the fill spout and it had fallen out. I shut off the pump to prevent a HUGE spill. He was livid.. at HIS own careless mistake. But at ME. I asked for the manager and pollitely told him what had happened.. and asked if we could not get a refund for the two gallons or so of fuel that his guy had poured onto the ground. No dice… so we just piled back on board and drive south… the smell of fresh diesel filling the air…… what a sick joke I did tell the manager I drove long haul for a couple years, have pumped my own fuel for decades and the total of all fuel I”ve spilled is less than what this one “proffessioinal” dumped in one go.

    • Morning, T!

      That’s been my experience as well. I drive about 50 different new cars each year; some “fuel” differently than others. You have to insert the nozzle just so – or sometimes, hold the thing and repeatedly re-start the pump because it auto-shuts off before the tank is full. Some are much more prone to spillage – as are some pumps. In other words, one size does not fit all. The owner would know his car – and its peculiarities – and how to fill the tank quickly and without spillage – just the same as the owner house knows where the gopher holes in his lawn are.

      But we’re supposed to believe some geek knows better and – much worse – forced to defer to him not by the free market but by government edict.

  17. As a libertarian I despise government mandates that make anything compulsory.
    On the other hand, I worked at a gas station along Route 13 in Delaware during the late 1960’s.
    I ran to meet each incoming car, find out what the customer wanted, pump their fuel (23cents/gal regular, 25 cents/gal hi-test), check their oil, and clean their windshield. I ran with their money/gas card to the cash register inside and ran back with their change or receipt. Speed was critical.
    The best part is this was the muscle car era, and I spent all day servicing the Chevelle and Camaro SS, GTOs, Road Runners, GTX, Mustangs, and 55 and 57 Chevys that populated the roads then, and that command bank at auctions today.
    Ever since I am unable to gas up a car without checking the oil.
    It was a great job for a teenager then.
    There were also enterprising station owners in the area who hired young women to perform the same job while wearing bikinis.

    • J, I did that too in the same time period. I worked afternoons and evenings. Lots of women got their muscle cars serviced and washed there so I’d drive to them and ride back. Don’t think I ever got in one that didn’t need to be blown out……..

  18. You know, electricity is dangerous and I don’t think Tesla owners should be able to plug in by themselves at the charging stations. I would hate to see the electric chair effect happen.

    So when the minimum wage Pump Monkey puts DEF into your diesel tank who gets to foot the $5,000 bill to drain the fuel tank and replace the fuel pump and injectors?

    • It was just last night I saw a video where a guy had put DEF in his Powerstroke. Sounded like a bit of a hassle, an expensive one.

  19. So in other words, take jobs away from the stores and force us to replace the cashiers (for free); then force us to wait for ‘ol Ahmed to fill up our tanks because “convenience”? Sounds like good ‘ol ‘Murica to me!

    Gee, can’t wait for the “convenience” of having government-supplied chefs to cook us breakfast in the mornings while hauling our own garbage to the dump (and yes, I’m aware some small towns have public dumps. Just trying to make a point here.) Wanna hurry up and grab a bite before heading out the door to work? Tough shit! Your unemployed cashier neighbor needs a job!

    On the bright side, at least all the other 49 states who mocked us get to feel our pain. lol Okay, maybe that’s not such a good thing after all.

    • Dont live inside the city limints of Olympia, Washington. That stupid city MANDATES you make use of the city garbage collection service.. whether you need to or not. Or want to or not.

      I learned that the hard way some years back. When I moved in, I never signed up for garbage.. I jusst don’t generate trash. I’d have maybe one gorcery sack full over two weeks, which I chucked into the dumpster at church, outside the city. . Burn anything paper/cardboard, recycle glass, sort and bring all metals to the metal buyers and gat paid for it, compost, After about a year, I noticed the city billing me for trashservice. I called… well you HAVE to have garbage service. But I don’t NEED it. Well it is ilegal for YOU to haul your own trash anywhere because you live IN the city. Still don’t want it. You MUST. No I don’t. We will continue to bill you and if you don’t pay we can lien your house and take it. Hmmm… can I get a smaller size can service? Yes, IF you get a recycle bin, you can get the tiny rubbish cart. OK, delivere the recycle bins and sign me up for the small can. That still took me a month to fill up, working hard at it. I never put anything into the recycle bins After a few months I called and told them I was going on vacation. How long will you be gone.. not sure, it kay be a while, some family things to sort out, you know how that can go. How about I just call when I come back and restart it> Oh that wil be just fine. We’ll wait for your call to resume service. Hah, fooled em. After a year, they started charging me again for garbage….. I waited another couple months, then “went on vcatioin” again, same terms. Before they woke up to the fact I “needed” garbage service again I had managed to dunp that place and buy out in the county. In thirty years I’ve never had garbage service. Never needed it.

      I tolkd the little dweeb at the city that, with all the noise about being “green” they should welcome and encourage people like me, who never put out stuff that has to go into the landfill (after a three hudnred mile train ride). More people shold shop and live like I do, we’d have a cleaner planet. Oh ,but she was a well trained PoohBah, YOU MUST HAVE TRASH SERVICE.

      No, I willl not.Watch this…….

      • Want to have some fun?
        Most of these cities that mandate garbage pick-up have automated trucks.
        This requires a little planning but any worthwhile prank usually does.
        1. Make friends with a concrete truck driver these guys usually have early/late deliveries and those often have over the amount of mud.
        2. Clean the trash out of your neighbor’s mandated receptacle. never use your own (see where we are going with this?)
        3. Fill container
        4. Set up video camera
        5. Find out if city equipment will handle 750lbs of concrete.

  20. Eric – I think there’s another shoe to drop with this. I think that California’s vapor-recovery nozzles are going to become mandatory nation-wide.

    If you haven’t seen them – there’s a corrugated boot around the nozzle that traps the fuel vapors that are displaced as you fill your tank. They get sucked away by the pump and put .. somewhere.

    But the thing is, you can’t just click the nozzle and wait for it to finish – the pressure from the boot means that someone has to stand there and hold the nozzle in the tank (otherwise it’d be pushed out). And The Plebs can’t be trusted to do that.

    • I’ve seen those in CT. I recall the boot stayed in place, you don’t have to hold it.

      About the NON-boot ones in OR, since the attendant doesn’t wait for the gas to finish (because they’re multitasking other customers), when the gas is full and the pump automatically clicks off… the vapors from the tank are just releasing into the air! I think the vapor recovery suction shuts off! So that’s not even working to prevent the vapors from releasing! What a joke. So if everyone in OR was allowed to pump their own gas, it would be better for the environment. But for some reason, the guv doesn’t care about that.

      World’s gone mad.

  21. Lately I’ve noticed idiots at the station. Filling with engine running, sometimes while smoking a cigarette. Filling empty one gallon plastic water containers. This is the reason I’ve been waiting for a law like this to come to my state. Just last month someone had a fire at the pump. I really want to say something, but the possibility of a fight or worse just isn’t something I want to deal with.

    • The one I saw a few weeks ago was the driver pulled up on the wrong side, so had to stretch the hose across his trunk to reach the filler. He inserted it upside down (because of the tension on the hose), then walked away.

      Of course, this obstructs the sensor in the nozzle that shuts off fuel flow. So when the tank got full, it didn’t – and began dumping fuel all over the ground. I ran over and pushed the flap in the pump where the nozzle docks to shut it off.

    • I always fill up with a lit cigarette or a joint is better. Keep the engine running so my girl has heat. Also I recycle used milk jugs as gasoline containers. Just doing my part for the environment. I also wear wife beater T-shirts and smoke camels unfiltered. You got a problem with that? (Satire).

  22. Even from a pragmatic perspective I frankly hate this idea. I’m often in a hurry when I go to get gas and I do not have the patience to wait for an attendant to do it for me when I know exactly what I want and I know I can do the job faster myself.

  23. A town near here has an Esso with both full serve and self serve. Same price.

    Oddly almost nobody seems to use the full serve lane. I have once when the other lanes were full, but still got out and started filling myself as I did not notice the full serve sign. The guy finally showed up just before I finished filling. Probably why nobody uses it.

      • Hey Jason,

        When I was a teenager, I worked at a full service station for the whopping sum of $106.00 per week after taxes. Hard to believe, but I could actually afford to share an apartment with a friend, buy beer, food and some entertainment on that salary.

        Anyway, when a car showed up, three of us would run to the car, one would go to the window and determine what was needed and ask the driver to pop the hood. He would start pumping the gas and then check the level and visual appearance of all the fluids. Meanwhile, the other two were cleaning the windows, headlights and taillights. When I first started, there were three lanes of full serve and one lane of self serve. Then it was two and two, then one and three, then zero and four. I had left long before full service dwindled to zero.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

        • That’s great, Jeremy! Although I did not work at a gas station I certainly remember the days when you’d routinely get that kind of service pulling in. The clip from BTTF may be idealized for effect but that’s really the way it was.

          (Note that I do not condone government goons forcing everyone to pay for having their gas pumped even if real full service were to make a comeback.)

        • Man- I did the same thing in the early 80’s. I paid for lots of the good things in life at a little station where the owner believed in old school self service. We hustled out (not in bow ties and uniforms but at least in clean jeans and shirts) started the gas pumping, checked the fluids and belts, took the payment and brought back the reciept. We provided a bona fide service for the extra dime a gallon.
          I’ve also been through Oregon- what a joke- some slovenly lowlife saunters out and wastes as much of your time as he feels like to do something I started doing safely when I was 6. A pox on statists. A POX.

      • I recently had an shitty at a Wally(go figure). The fuel truck was in progress of filling the tanks. This woman beside me left and knocked his hose out of the tank. Good move crazy woman. He was pissed, I was scared and she was CLUELESS. God help me from women drivers.

        I had a pickup that had been through hell but the body was in good shape….except for the bottom of the bed in front of the rear tire. We were at a pump with those short hoses and after I got the passenger side tank full, I told the wife to pull out and go to the other side. Even though the thing had big brick columns at the end, she tried to turn close to one but that 4″ pipe guard all the way around the island stopped the pickup. I had to scream at her to stop her from trying even though the trucks was stuck. It was disgusting. I know nobody will believe this but it turns out to be my fault. Yep, not sure what it was I was doing wrong that made her do that. Oh wait, she didn’t do that, it was my fault.

        • One truth I’ve recently come to understand is that women never apologize. Never. Sure, it may sound like it at times, but not really. They are never wrong so no apologies needed.

          Since men are bad, we learn to apologize all the time. And have to mean it. So men and women are quite different.

  24. I still have family in NJ so whenever we visit I make sure to fill up before crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge, that tank will last until we cross over heading back north. I don’t object to full service per se but I would prefer to fill up and be on my way expeditiously instead of having to wait for the guy in the turban to saunter over when he feels like it.
    Was in NJ for a funeral years ago just ahead of hurricane Sandy and wanted to get a full tank to get out of Dodge before the storm hit; had to go by three gas stations before I found one that didn’t have a line out into the street because they only had one guy pumping even though there were multiple pumps. Looking back on that now I’d like to see an EV make that run (250 miles) and beat a storm home without having to stop for a recharge.
    As a side note I’ve always wondered why gas stations don’t have a small generator to run the pumps during a blackout, seems like a no-brainer but corporations don’t have brains

    • Mike, it takes a “special” person to live in Jersey and it ain’t me. It has to be the worst hellhole in the country. I have never trucked in Jersey. Its reputation preceded my first run up that way. Little did I know I’d catch holy hell in Va. and get this, Tennessee too. Just cruising along the interstate the radio was full of shit talkers about that rig with Texas plates. I was flabbergasted having never heard shit like that before. Yes, it was a big fancy Texas rig. All the lights worked.

    • Back in the dinosaur age when I worked at a service station, we had a rule to get to the driver within about ten seconds of he/she pulling up. Get the requested grade fuel running into the tank and then you could go back to washing windows, etc. Figured they wouldn’t drive away once the pump nozzle was in the filler neck. Otherwise, since there was another station next door and another across the street and several more right down the street, the potential customer would probably just drive away if you didn’t get to them quick enough. There was no room for “sauntering” as this was a little tourist town on US 50.

  25. Morning eric, great video. Sam’s has implemented a new policy…..no checkers. Hey, I don’t mind checking out. I might forget(and I once did after waiting in line for 40 minutes)everything on the bottom of the cart. Free stuff, about what it would have cost to have people at the check-outs.

    I don’t think of it as theft since waiting behind people my age makes me older. I had a birthday in there recently. Well, not really but it appeared I might. Now you’d think every register would be open but you’d be wrong. Now I just go in, load a big cart with pet food 3′ high, and head for the check-out since I know I’ll pay for it in labor.

    The “pump your own gas” thing got to be big back in the 80’s with gas stations you just used a card on(not a credit card but the company card) and it was cheaper. I had no problem since there was rarely a soul around and I could pump and clean windows and not be bothered.

    One day I was there and this woman with kids pulled up in a station wagon but couldn’t pump gas. It seems I had said something about getting gas there and a co-worker decided he could stand to save some money. It was his wife standing there thumb inserted trying to figure out a gas nozzle and pump that had directions on a sign. I showed her how. When I left she was just as confused as ever but the gas was flowing. Don’t know where she left the nozzle. Guess I should have stayed and showed her where to put it.

    I have no problem of them mandating forced pumping. I just won’t use a station again. I have an overhead tank and guess what? That farm diesel works great in the pickup. Just put a nurse tank under the tool box and go for thousands of miles, nothing the matter with that.

    • Plastic wrapped cases of soup at Walmart. 3 of 14 tills open and 20 deep at each.

      Used the self checkout and pulled one can from each case to scan. Beep. OK, scanned.

      Did not really consider that the price was so low until I got home and looked at the bill. OOOPPPS! only rung up one can for each case. 12 for 1 sale if you are an incompetent and inattentive (self) checker.

      • they must not have the scales on the conter where you are required to put the goods after scanning them. That thing will hound you until you put an item of proper weight for the one you just scanned…. makes me furious when I come through with two items in my hands, it MAKES me put each one down on the outbound platform before I can scan the next, or pay fo rthem. This things make me furious. Ya’d think I was a stupid little kid.

        Oh well, such is modren technology

        • There is a little steel platform in front of the scanner but if you wave a can past it is goes beep and does not complain. I think that is where things went wrong. I scanned a single can so I guess it is not considered enough weight to trigger the system. I realized the mistake at home and looked at the cases. There is a second UPC on the plastic wrapper that I suspect I was supposed to scan.

          If they make the customers do the work of employees for free, they get what they pay for. I have never had a service industry job in my life. WTF do I know about running a checkout correctly? There was an employee standing there watching everyone at the dozen or so scanners but she either did not see or did not care.

          Give it a try and see if it does the same for you. Of course, just as a test and make sure you go back and let the staff know so you can pay the proper amount……. or not. I certainly was not going to drive back 1+ hours to pay them for the faults in their system.

    • The only trouble is, what KIND of diesel are you putting in that overhead tank? I.E. was it TAXED? The stuff you used for farm and/or construction equipment is not taxed, at least not the road tax, and typically it’s dyed RED. Diesel intended for road vehicles is dyed green. Put that farm stuff in your pickup and if the cops pull a sample and check it, expect to pay one HEFTY fine.

      • I’ve only known one guy who got checked and he just reeked of using farm diesel with that big tank on his pickup.

        I don’t take one into a shop so that’s out and if there was something I had to go to a shop for I know one that is never checked.

        I typically use road diesel and mix a bit of farm diesel so it only shows a little as if you used some in an emergency. A friend worked a pipeline and was always filling me up with farm diesel. I never even considered getting checked. The way a vehicle looks has a lot to do with that. Mine always looks like it’s just rolled off the showroom floor, well, better than that since I tend to shave one.

  26. Self service gasoline stations proliferated after the 1973-74 Arab Oil Embargo. Prior to the shortage, most stations were full service. Stations did that to keep their prices low. It only took a couple of years for full service to disappear from the landscape. Today, I am surprised that full service has not made a comeback as I view that most Millenials and Gen Z people want very little to do with the mechanics and trappings of car ownership. I guess that doesn’t really extend to pumping gas. With the cold weather everyone is enduring in recent winters, I wonder why full service isn’t more common up in northern states. There are days I would just prefer to stay in the car. All that said, the idea of being forced to pay for this is abhorrent.

    • About 20 years ago, back near my home town in western PA, two young fellows took over a closed gas station. It was across the street from a Sheetz, which of course was self service, and they offered gas at the same price but with old fashioned service. They pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield, etc. Their business failed within a year or so. Maybe they were ahead of their time.

  27. Not just corpgov. It’s private business as well. They all attempt to force people to do whatever it is they want.

    Those that pay in cash means it costs them an extra 4-6% credit card and banking charges even though they don’t use them. With the digital machines we have today it would be no problem to differentiate. If one spends $20,000 per year (groceries, gas, TV’s etc.) $800 or more is in CC fees whether they use credit or not. Fair?

    Go into a store with self checkout. If plenty of full service checkouts are open the self checkout is mostly empty. Walmart is reducing their full service checkouts to ‘force’ the customer to the self checkout. Yesterday in a Super Walmart that had three full service checkers. Lines were backed up but their self checkouts were full. They say it is to lower prices,,, anyone see the prices go down? And those machines cost way more than a human checker BUT machines can be written off.

    Can’t count the times I have went into Lowes/Depot and they only had one checker. I walk to the check out line, stand there for a few minutes, then leave. Almost every time they would rush to tell me they would open a checkout which shows me this is on purpose.

    Same with McD’s and others. Does their prices go down. Nope! And again those expensive machines are write offs. If any money is made it will go to management and share holders.

    While all this is going on corpgov is losing. Each worker fired in less tax revenue and another one on the dole. So it is trying to come up with methods to diminish the impact.
    Cars are saving so much gas they want to start taxing by the mile because they’re losing revenue. Look at the gas tax in California… probably highest in the nation because they have many EV’s on the road not paying gas taxes and cars that get decent gas mileage.

    Forcing by law is bad but forcing by fraud is just as bad.

    Back in the day (lol),,, we had Service Stations. Today we have Gas Stations. I’m surprised corpgave hasn’t mandated at least one set of pumps as full service for the handicapped. I’ve watched fat Americans spend 5 minutes getting out of their cars and another 5 minutes getting in.

    • When I followed local chicago transportation issues the joke was that the CTA was moving to a model where it would get full funding but provide one ride a year. That’s the government-corporate model. To create a regulated system where people must pay but there is no service. Remember the old quote, “competition is a sin”. Why is competition a sin? Because it means always providing the customer with what he wants at a price he is willing to pay. Government is deployed to make it so the customer will pay whatever is decided for whatever they are willing to provide.

      There is a local grocery chain that was really good to go get lunch at. Now after a big corporate buy out the attitude has completely changed to offering only what can be done for the lowest possible cost to them. The customer doesn’t much matter. I don’t know how far the business has gone down, at least half on most days that I go and I go only half or less as much as I did before. It’s because they only offer half as much and of that half some of the items have degraded to the point where they aren’t viable.

      That’s the big corporate-government attitude. It’s soviet. You want a car? Here’s a Lada. Take it or leave it.

      • “Those that pay in cash means it costs them an extra 4-6% credit card and banking charges even though they don’t use them. With the digital machines we have today it would be no problem to differentiate.”

        Ken, On I-10 between Phoenix and SoCal, there are numerous stations that offer either cash or credit fuel prices. Digital sophistication is not required, because cash customers pay at the counter inside. I never pay cash. Takes too long to wait in a line of long distance travelers who are also buying Red Bull, Slim Jims, and lottery tickets. Can’t say I’ve seen too much of that anywhere else. But on I-10, they are there.

    • As I said earlier the fun part is watching these obese creatures get in and out of their cars at the petrol pump. Being skinny myself and never fat I can say this. Laughing!!!!!

  28. The worst thing about this law hasn’t been mentioned yet. In Oregon, most people simply hand their credit card to the attendant, who slides it into the slot on the pump. A dishonest attendant could probably steal enough data to do some serious credit card fraud against your account.

    Just one more of may reasons why I would never….ever live in Oregon.

    • You’re right Mike. It has happened to me a couple times in 5+ years. However, I frequent the same stations as much as possible, get to know the attendants, and all is well. I even buy windshield fluid from them from time to time, cause the local merchant lets them make a buck on each one they sell, so I pay a couple bukcs more, and get great service and friendly chat.

    • Hmmm you must not know the same people in Oregon as I do. NO ONE hands their card to the clerk, unless they are standing right there watching. I always hold it myself, he lets ME use it, and we’re chatting friendly like and easygoing, so no issue. I have heard of some little add ons to the card reader that scan and record the data being transferred… stored for later use.

      Not good….but I ALWAYS check my statements, and anything suspicios I always pounce on it right away. My banks have always been quick to jump on fraud, reversing the charge and taking the money back from the fraudster.

  29. I agree with your premise Eric. However, I’m from Jersey and our gas was on par with the cheapest in the union, even with attendants, but they recently raised the gas tax a lot to make us more on par with others.
    And I pump my gas all the time, not everytime, but a lot, even with cops in the parking lot. No one cares, except the gas attendant who thanks you when he’s busy.
    Interesting caveat, when you bring a gas can, the attendant always makes you do it, won’t touch the can. And on public property rest stops they won’t allow cans to be filled at all. So you just wait till he’s distracted and fill up your dirtbike or can, then they come yelling at you or just turn their head, hahaha…………too late.
    A funny bumper sticker I see from time to time is “Jersey Girls don’t pump their own gas”.
    I’m guessing that competition has kept our prices low except for the recent tax raise, and our location to close terminals. Plus most gas stations are convenience stores now, very few if any gas only places anymore, so they have employees already, and another revenue stream.

    • Yep. My experience too. I’m 14 miles from the NJ border and gas is almost always cheaper in NJ (even after the 2018/19? state gas tax increases) where they pump your gas IF you want them to. (Me? I’m like Chris – I pump my own.)

    • Where are most of the REFINERIES on the East Coast? That’s why “Joisy” gas is cheap, even with the mandated full-serve.

  30. There are a number of idiot proposals this season in Illinois.
    The full serve gasoline mandate, the million dollar insurance for gun owners mandate, and a ban on gas powered leaf blowers to name only three.

  31. You know, I’m from Jersey and I’m hoping Donut Lord and Officer Dick catch me when I tell Muhammad it’s ok, I’ll pump my own gas, like I always do

    Muhammad and the boys take their time coming to you, always hear regular (even when I say 93, especially with my st2 Audi) and then when it’s cold out, feel obligated to tip them (and I sadly never have $2 on hand)

    Again, while there are Hut!Hut!!Hitters!!! Out there, doubt the ones who’ll catch me in the nefarious act will be trigger happy

  32. I will say that Oregon, at least in a small way, is moving away from this model. In counties with fewer than 40,000 people, you can pump your own fuel. (I’ve done this myself traveling through Oregon in 2018). However, in more heavily populated areas, the ban is still in place, which is ridiculous, of course.

  33. So because you like the service you justify the state requiring the rest of us to pay for it? As far as creating jobs goes, demand creates legitimate jobs. Those “created” by the state are actually counter productive, in that the cost of state created jobs exceeds the cost of jobs created by demand. What jobs created by demand are lost because of the expense of jobs created by the state? Eric’s reference to the loss of jobs was not blamed on technology, but on the ever increasing costs of doing business under the regulation and taxes imposed by the state, which REQUIRES businesses to seek ever increasing methods of reducing operating costs.

  34. Digging holes for others to fill in. Everyone knows that gas is usually a loss leader for convenience stores, a marketing tool to get you into the store to buy carbohydrates, salt and alcohol.

  35. And the one other hidden costs of this whole mess of mandated fuel attendants is *lost time*. These gas stations under staff the attendants. So you pull in and wait while this one person runs around fueling cars and finally gets to yours and then when done fueling finally gets to pull the pump from your car. I’ve wasted 10-15-20 minutes easy waiting at fuel stop where if I was pumping my own I would be on my way. Normally, I let them start the fuel process then I finish it and get going. I’ve had some of these people threaten me with *that’s breaking the law-a felony* if you touch that fuel hose. Really?

  36. A far more likely motive for such legislation is that plenty of the agents of the state would prefer someone else pump their gas, and are willing to pay for the privilege, but can’t find a station offering that service. So, in typical tyrant fashion, they force all stations to offer it. Safety has nothing to do with it, but is an often used excuse for tyranny.

  37. Eric you wrote an article on February 11th bemoaning the use of self service kiosks at VW dealerships and drilled home a valid point that jobs are being eliminated by technology. Now you are complaining that jobs are being created. I am old enough to remember true full service gas stations where a pit crew would clean the glass, pump the gas and give you S&H Green Stamps to boot. You didn’t need to freeze your ass off pumping gas in a blizzard and drive home smelling like gas. I like full service. If we keep this up we will be doing everything ourselves and the profits made will go to the business and not the consumer. We do not receive a discount at the grocery store for bagging our stuff and the gas price differences from state to state can largely be due to state taxes and refinery locations that service specific regions of the country. Also, all work is honorable. Not everyone has a college degree or a skill set that demands a big pay check, you should not be calling anyone a minimum wage flunky.

    • So because you like the service you justify the state requiring the rest of us to pay for it? As far as creating jobs goes, demand creates legitimate jobs. Those “created” by the state are actually counter productive, in that the cost of state created jobs exceeds the cost of jobs created by demand. What jobs created by demand are lost because of the expense of jobs created by the state? Eric’s reference to the loss of jobs was not blamed on technology, but on the ever increasing costs of doing business under the regulation and taxes imposed by the state, which REQUIRES businesses to seek ever increasing methods of reducing operating costs.

      • And so what if there is a lack of demand for service people? One big reason why self-checkout is so prevalent is because many shoppers prefer to use it. If enough people complained and/or voted with their feet for checkout girls those self-checkout kiosks would be gone in a week. Note that Whole Foods doesn’t have self-checkout. Neither does Costco. In both cases (but for different reasons), the checkout personnel cost less per scan than a Walmart cashier. And when I shop at WF I look forward to chatting up the cute checkout chick as part of the experience. And at Costco I expect to get through the checkout in an extremely efficient way. But at the Walmart I just want to get it done with the least amount of interaction necessary.

        • Back in the 1980s when I was bagging groceries the checkers were FAST. I was very fast and good at bagging groceries and could keep up even with the one who took pride in burying a with a pile of groceries. Oh the look on her face when she would turn around and find I had everything bagged.

          Today, they are dirt slow. It’s annoying how slow. And very few know how to bag properly. I have completely emptied bags and repacked properly myself right in front of them when it was particularly bad.

          I don’t know what is creating poor service. Some say employees are told to do it to get people to use self serve but it happens at stores that don’t even offer self serve as well. I don’t think it can be loss of union power because after union dues at times I made less than minimum wage. The union in that business in my area is a racket more than a union. (hint same union caught in another state hiring protesters on the cheap to protest walmart’s labor practices. They could make more working for walmart than the union)

          • I did a few months bagging groceries too. For the most part I looked at it as a game to see if I could keep up with the checkout girl. Nice mindless work. And then there was a male cashier who was kind of a jerk to us clerks, who also had the fastest scan rate in the store. I figured it was a challenge to bag for him, but I could also keep up. I still will occasionally go through the line and bag my own groceries (most stores around here make the cashier also bag).

          • cuz the pool of potential “box boys” are the product of today’s (I said TODAY”s ) gummit skewlz. They dont care, they don’t have to, as SOMEONE owes them a living ANd a reason to exist. SOrry, snowflake, if you refuse to serve you will end up living in a stolen tent somehwere just outside city limits. Or, in the West Coast states, anywhere you can find a space between all the OTHER “iI don’t cares”.

    • Hi Oskar,

      There is a difference between the elimination of a service and being forced to pay for a service. I agree work is honorable as such. But it becomes dishonorable when people are forced to pay for it. If I show up at your house and start digging holes – or even some other thing that maybe is an objective benefit – but you didn’t ask me to do it, is it ok for me to force you to pay for it?

      I work hard every day, writing and speaking and prepping for both. But no one is forced to pay me. They do so if they think what I do is worth something to them. If not, they’re free to not pay me. That’s how it should be as regards all work… right?

    • Eric is consistent. The problem on both ends is government interference.
      On one end government artificially increases the price of labor leading to automation where it wouldn’t be otherwise. On the other end government mandates the use of labor where most people would rather do it themselves for speed and preventing their vehicles from being damaged.

      Even in old movies where full serve was the norm the irritation people had with “full service” at gas stations is on display. The upsell, the cons, the slowness, and so on. Full service went away not just to cut the price a little but for other reasons as well. Also, self serve also did pass the savings on in a most visible way. Automation and self serve in other places is used to preserve profit margin and prevent price increases thus the savings are largely unseen.

      Both are logically consistent rants against government’s undo and artificial influence.

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