Saturday, October 30, 2010

When did service stations turn into plain old gas stations ?

Remember when you drove into a service station and sat in your car while it was filled with gas , had the oil and tires checked , your windows cleaned and someone waved and said have a nice day? Not in a long time.

One would pull into a service station and almost immediately two or three smiling people wearing matching white shirts, bow ties (yes they did wear them) and dark uniforms swarmed all over your car.

One would lift the hood, pull the dipstick to check the oil and squirt some water in the radiator with no extra fee.

Another checks and inflates all four tires to the required pressure and asks if the spare also could use some air. He would then spray water on the windshield, towel and wipe it off while meticulously cleaning all other visible panes of glass.

The last attendant would lift the nozzle and pump leaded or unleaded gasoline into the tank and give you the total for the gas , walk back into the office and return with your change. Sometimes you even get a free road map.

Family members and attendants wave happily to each other as your vehicle slowly glides away and you felt a great customer experience.. Some had slogans like trust us or we care or full service.

Today that is replaced by you pumping your gas, going inside to ask for a token to add some air and having the ATM machine asking you if you want that car wash or just a receipt.

Let's take a poll: Who does not want a receipt for anything they purchase?

Thank you.

It doesn't matter which station you go to from Oakland to Fremont and all points in between.You do it all yourself. Chevron, Arco, Union 76 or any local brand you will find yourself in a sea of islands, hoping you see an empty slot and then seeing how much gas has gone up since your last visit.

At one time service stations were the "ultimate customer experience". Sadly we all dread pulling our vehicle into one now. Especially when the price per gallon goes over four dollars and approaches five.

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