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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

With gas prices up, should we expect more at the pump?

It was an odd start to my day today. For the first time in the more than five years of working here, I forgot the punch code to gain access to the second floor and the newsroom from the parking lot entrance. I had to call my editor (Jim Franco) to ask for the code. I walked in to him laughing at me, and I was laughing at myself. Then, around my desk, some of my co-workers had gathered to talk about random things. They were also laughing and joking, but about many different topics. One of the conversation points was about the awkwardness we New Yorkers feel when pulling up to a full-service pump at a gas station. Apparently, our Rensselaer County reporter had accidentally pulled up to one the other day and she did not exactly know what to do since full service stations are kind of a thing of the past and really almost a relic of bygone years when there were only a few models of cars on the road, thruways had not yet gained popularity and taking the family on a drive along a two-lane highway was considered fun (well, I guess it still is but now the kids are too busy texting and listening to their iPods to really notice any scenery). But my co-worker was not sure whether she should tip the attendant since the price of the gas was already more expensive than at the self-service pumps. I remembered being in a similar situation when I was visiting a friend in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. My friend told me that all the gas stations in the community were full service and she said the reasoning was two-fold: fewer people stealing gas and more jobs. I made the mistake of thinking this full-service thing applied to the whole state, even though I realized I had been to gas stations along I-90 and Route 2 in Massachusetts that were obviously not full service. So, I just did what anyone my age would do: I Googled it. The overwhelming online consensus is that you should tip these attendants, except if it is in an area that mandates the full service stations. According to wiki, this applies to Oregon, New Jersey, and a town on Long Island named Huntington. I have to admit. New Jersey takes a lot of badmouthing but you can’t go too wrong in a state where you get notoriously cheaper gas and it’s pumped for you (along with a quick windshield cleaning). And, with the high gas prices we’re seeing these days, it would kinda be nice to at least have someone pumping it for you. Maybe another thing to write to your state representatives about: lower our gas taxes, and require full service stations which should create more jobs in the process. And, random wiki fact of the day, did you know that along with full and self service there are also “minimum service” filling stations? I guess that means the attendant (another fun fact: sometimes they’re called “gas jockeys”) just pumps the gas and no extra services.


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