November 12, 2004

Serving Oneself

Am I the only one who thinks the pay-at-the-pump option at gas stations is the coolest thing since sliced bread? The convenience of not having to interface with another human while making a purchase is something I appreciate. Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking to anyone, or having to muster up the energy for a smile or small talk. Places to go! People to see! Things to do! No time to stop and exude even the tiniest bit of humanity!

My enjoyment of that feature may also relate to the whole not having to walk all the way to wherever it is the cashier is to be found. No it’s not really laziness, it has more to do with being in a hurry. Paying via a cashier not only requires walking the extra distance but also standing in line behind other patrons. And mustering more smiles or small talk. Places to go! People to see! Things to do! No time to stop and exude even the tiniest bit of humanity!

While I haven’t seen them up here in Virginia, when we visit The Boy we always get gas at a station where the pumps also take paper money in addition to credit or debit cards. Options are good.

My parents who live in Oregon do not have such options. Oregonians evidently cannot be trusted to pump their own gasoline. Also, although I don’t know if the whole state is like this, when one stops for gas on the New Jersey Turnpike, it is not an option to pump one’s own gas there either. Around here, if I want gas the only way to get it is to pump it myself.

I must now apply self-censorship before I include an off-color comment about pumping it one's self.


Unknown said...

1) I've never left my now 3-year old daughter in the car while "just ran in for a minute" some place.

2) Pay-at-the-pump is a paranoid mother's best friend.

Meg: said...

I'm also in Northern Virginia, and no, you are absolutely NOT the only one who thinks pay-at-the-pump is awesome. Imagine having three kids (4, 6, and 9)unhook their seatbelts, argue with one another, step on one another, and eventually get out of the car. Then imagine three children all taking off in different directions in a gas station parking lot. Imagine, finally getting them coralled and into the store, where three children will beg for no less than 18 different items each. And we won't even talk about getting them back into the car. ;o)

Scott said...

I cannot remember the last time I was actually inside of gas station--thanks to pay at the pump.

As long as you’re talking convenience is it me or is Ohio the only place that has the drive through? You pull your car in, request your soda, chips, beer, wine—whatever and it’s brought out to you. I’ve never seen them in any other state and when visiting always get a blank stare when I ask about the nearest drive through.

elswhere said...

You know what else is cool? Self-checkout at the library. No one to remind you of all the overdue fees you owe (and librarians are the worst at bringing books back on time; there've been studies on the subject), no awkwardness if you're checking out awkward or embarrassing titles-- it's the best.

x said...

Like Oregon, New Jersey does not allow people to pump their own gas. It's usually a good thing, because when it's cold out you can just sit in your car and let someone else do the dirty work. No tips allowed, either.

Sometimes the ban on self-pumping is annoying though, especially when it takes forever long for the attendent to get to your car. And don't think about pumping it yourself - you can face pretty large fines.

I went to college in New York and drove through PA to get there. It took me a long time to get the whole pumping gas thing down. Not really sure why....