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Old 03-06-11, 02:21 PM   #1
trackhub
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Who has pumped Gas as a job?

The thread about newspaper delivery got me thinking and wondering, "Who here had a job pumping gas? Like paper boys, gas station attendants are a vanishing breed. Yes, I know that the state of Oregon forbids self service gas pumps, but that will probably change this decade. Full service stations are really a thing of the past. So, who here has pumped gas? What was the best part of the rather smelly job, and what was the worst part?

My story: I pumped at a local Sunoco station for a summer and fall. Worst part: The few customers who pulled in who were always cheesed off at someone or something, and took it out on the pump jockeys. We had one old u-know-what who would ask you to check his oil. While you were under the hood of his Buick Electra, he would blow the horn. No, I'm not joking. Then, he'd sit there and chuckle.

Best part: Summer, and the very lovely young women would would pull in. Definitely offer to wash the windshield. Nice that they knew when I was sneaking a peek, and they didn't seem to care.
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Old 03-06-11, 03:11 PM   #2
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Does truckstop manager count? I was that for 4 years. I pumped my share of fuel. I haven't heard the term "pump jockey" in a really long time. Brings back lots of interesting memories. There were 8 hour shifts when we gave full service to over 200 cars. I remember having cars lined up over 10 deep to get to our 12 gas pumps. Course we had to take care of semi-trucks too. I too enjoyed summertime. Some of the sights were pretty awesome. Of course gas prices were only up to 79 a gallon. I also remember trucks blocking our pumps because of the high price of fuel. Little did they know...
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Old 03-06-11, 04:03 PM   #3
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I pumped gas when I was 15 - 16 for a Lyon Monsanto station in St. Louis area. Nothing really too memorable, but one customer was worried because his oil pressure was reading too high. We told him not to worry until the oil pressure was too low . . . but that didn't satisfy him.

Lovely young girls too, sometimes, but my best experience was getting to check the oil on a lovely Jaguar XK-E roadster. That was the first time I'd seen an XK engine (other than photos), and it was a thing of beauty!

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Old 03-06-11, 04:17 PM   #4
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I pumped gas for $0.85 an hour. So, you can figure out how long ago that was. My parents (still in school and living at home) made me find a new job after the gas station was robbed at gun point twice during a one month span. Both times I was working alone.
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Old 03-06-11, 04:28 PM   #5
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My father had an Esso station from 1957 until sometime in the early 90's. I started pumping gas for him on and off from the time I was 12 until I was almost out of school.

We always had a few customers from hell like the ones that wanted "that spot" cleaned off their windows. Or the lady who came in driving a Chevy Monte Carlo complaining about a noise under the hood. We put the car up on the hoist, my father peers underneath with a light... Then he just says.. "That noise ? Your engine just blew a rod out the side." You could see the end of a con rod poking out the side of the block. I have no idea how the car stayed running without blowing steam and oil all over the place.

I have to admit that because it was a family business, having to work in it was an education in itself and the things I learned from watching dad run a small business taught me things that I never would have learned anywhere else.

I was a real grease monkey in those days and everybody thought that I'd be a mechanical engineer. I didn't, I took electrical engineering instead and I've actually been a software engineer for the last 35 years.

I remember those days being up to my elbows in grease (and constantly washing them off "a good mechanic should never be covered in grease" ), pumping gas in -10F weather, washing floors, shelves windows, cars.. you name it, I did it. But then so did the rest of his staff. I'll always remember the smell of the place and all of the stories that his mechanics tell me.

The place is gone now but I can still remember it like yesterday.
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Old 03-06-11, 04:36 PM   #6
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I pumped gas nights sometimes around 1970. I was in the service, but when I was in town the local station down the street employeed me as a mechanic nights and on weekends. Nights were reasonably calm and I could work on one of my race cars in one of the bays. Back then, there were no self service stations so most customers expected to be catered to. It was spotty work though because I kept having to take care of my day job for a few weeks at a time.
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Old 03-06-11, 04:40 PM   #7
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It's been awhile but I pumped gas before the era of self-service pumps. If I shook hands today with the guy who was my boss at the time, I'd count my fingers afterward. What a crook!
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Old 03-06-11, 04:53 PM   #8
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I pumped gas at one of the only full service stations in Orange County around 1976. Probably one of my favorite jobs ever. I think was paid around $2an hour. The girls on their way to the beach were amazing along with some of the rich housewives of orange county. That station is in some of the prime so cal riding areas but at the time was way more into my truck then anything with 2wheels. It was Newport Center Texaco on Jamboree and San Jacquin Hills rd., now a Shell station.
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Old 03-06-11, 04:57 PM   #9
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I remember the guys who would pull up to the pumps in their big block muscle cars that got 3-5 miles to the gallon. And the other guys who would come in with their beaters.. "fill the oil and check the gas".
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Old 03-06-11, 05:13 PM   #10
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add one here: summer of 1968 I pumped gas at the Stuckies in Conway, Texas. Rode my Honda 90 on the 18-mile round trip daily. Best part was washing the windows with cute girls showing cleavage inside. Worst part was having to be out there when our 40 & 50mph winds were blowing dirt so thick you could barely see the cars from inside the store 30 feet away.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisintx View Post
.... Best part was washing the windows with cute girls showing cleavage inside. Worst part was having to be out there when our 40 & 50mph winds were blowing dirt so thick you could barely see the cars from inside the store 30 feet away.
That reminds me about another window washing story ... oh.. never mind.. I'd better not tell that one.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:23 PM   #12
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..all through high school. This was at a time that, if you pumped in 1.88 worth of gas and the tank was full you would dump .12 on the ground so you didn't have to dick with change. We also sold used motor oil in glass bottles, oil that was saved from oil changes in good cars to be used in oil burners.
Great job and a good work experience..never took a penny from anyone because of jobs like this when I was young. Little different from some of the kids today.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:29 PM   #13
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yeah I use to pump gas. Back in '72-73 I worked at a BP station in Augusta, Ga for a buck an hour. Pumped gas, did oil changes and stuff. Not a bad job really. Got to see lots of 'leg' cleaning windshields. It was great. Maybe thats why I'm a leg man now.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:36 PM   #14
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I also pumped gas for a long, hot summer (1980). As an 18 year old, I got to drive many very nice cars. Learned a ton of useful things about cars and customer service. Also learned how car repair can be a rip off for unsuspecting customers
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Old 03-06-11, 05:43 PM   #15
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Yup. Pumped gas around '72 and '73. I had an old Rambler Classic, I think it was, with a cracked exhaust manifold. The passenger compartment had a perpetual bluish haze. My brother gave me the car. A coathanger wire kept the truck closed and a book of matches folded-up in the cigarette lighter socket replaced the lighter that didn't work. That car also had a hole in the gas tank. I jammed a pencil in the hole and it swelled up and stopped the leak. I only worked weekends. Every weekend I would put about $3 in the tank and that would last me all week. I didn't drive much. Probably a good thing or else I would have got CO poisoning.
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Old 03-06-11, 05:52 PM   #16
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That reminds me of a friend of mine who repaired a massive hole in the floor of his mothers VW beetle with a chunk of 1/2" steel plate and quart of epoxy.
The repair outlasted the rest of the car.
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Old 03-06-11, 06:01 PM   #17
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I pumped gas for a couple of summers at a Texaco station my uncle owned. This was 1967 and 1968. Gas must have been less than 25 cents as that is what it cost when I got my first car in 1971. No clue about what I got paid, probably not much. My uncle lived two doors down and I rode with him. I was 13 the first summer and it was the first real job I had.
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Old 03-06-11, 07:12 PM   #18
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I went right from delivering papers to pumping gas at Central and Dobbins in S. Phoenix. It was a cut rate Phillips Station refereed to as the Blue Gooses.
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Old 03-06-11, 07:51 PM   #19
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During the summer of 1970 I worked about 65 hours a week in a Texaco on the freeway. Met people from all over the USA. Maybe the most interesting job I ever worked. Pay was a bit dismal. Sort of wish I could do it again for another summer. The windshield cleaning comments are true.
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Old 03-06-11, 08:07 PM   #20
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I remember the good 'old gas pricing wars of the 60's. Gas was 39.9 cents a gallon ( those were imperial gallons so *1.2 times larger than the US. gallon, I can't remember the year) . There was my dads Esso on one corner, a Shell across the road and a Gulf Oil station on the opposite corner.

My dad would get a call from head office to bring the price down to 36.9.. Jim Jensen across the road would see that, call the Shell head office, they'd tell him 35.9... Lloyd Beattie would both prices come down, he'd call it in and then his would go down to 34.9.

Totally nuts. You had to make a profit of 15 cents a gallon or something like that just to break even and so you'd watch your margins go down further and further.
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Old 03-06-11, 08:10 PM   #21
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I pumped gas and did light mechanical work at a Sohio - started at 13 and worked there until I went into the Corps at 17.
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Old 03-06-11, 08:18 PM   #22
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My first job was pumping gas at a Sunoco. The geezer I worked for was a tough old *******. Two guys pulled in and told him to fill it up. One got out of the car and walked around and pulled a gun telling him to "give up the money". Sam calmly stood up from the gas fill with the still running nozzle in his hand covering he guy in gas. Reached into his pocket and pulled out his Zippo and sparked that puppy up. Said "what's that? Can't hear ya." Guy started crying like a little girl begging Sam to put the lighter away. Sam took the gun from the guy and told them both to walk home. They walked away quietly and Sam told me to go in an call the cops. Coolest thing I ever saw.
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Old 03-06-11, 08:21 PM   #23
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You guys will love this...

The first job I had when I was a college student in 1970 was pumping gas. My best friend and I worked the "rush hours" in the morning and early evening.

Oh yeah. Part of the job entailed wearing mini-skirts...
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Old 03-06-11, 08:25 PM   #24
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I pumped gas in the Air Force. Actually, I was the NCO in charge of refueling maintenance at a large Air Force base where we pumped a fair amount to each customer: B52 bombers, each taking on 40,000+ gallons (it was a classified figure, and it varied depending on the temperature of the jet fuel).

More recently, I've been General Manager at different marinas with fuel docks. There, customers take on much less fuel but are usually wearing swim suits, and the ladies are most often eye candy. I've even been treated to the flash of lifting the bikini tops up in return for various compliments I might make to the crew.

Boats with sexy young women in swim suits are much more pleasant than big, stinky jet bombers with a bunch of guys in flight suits.

Believe it or not, bicycles are welcome personal transportation in both places!
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Old 03-06-11, 08:30 PM   #25
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Pumped gas off and on from 1958 until 1961, then again in 1972 on the flight line, to pay for my training. Oh yes, many fine sights, and many tempting opportunities. Unfortunately, my misguided moral standards forced me to turn them all down.
I did get to drive a 1954 six cylinder Corvette Utility and a Ferrari, fly a Piper Arrow, and run the dry ice grinder on a fog busting flight.
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