The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by J.Ukrop, Dec 7, 2018.
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Fill 'Er Up!
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I made my high school spending money by being that guy in the uniform. That's when they were SERVICE stations.
Like to know where they exist ,definitely not here in the Orlando metro area, I remeber those days when I started driving ,then new Petro players started popping up with no garage to service a vehicle they only sold gas , cigarettes,maps,gum, etc. there was a area to the side that had air or water if needed
I used to run 8 pumps at once at the little red and white Oak gas-station in Rochester, Michigan. Especially at Christmas. I can remember having all 8 pumps going, my changer just a-ringin'...and looking down the street to see cars lined up part-way down Main Street! Still had time for whatever they needed...clean windshield, check oil, etc...and a smile. Made some good tips.
I've often thought that I'd enjoy running a small, full-service gas station for folks who are dressed up, elderly, in a hurry, just want the good service, etc. No party-store bs. Probably wouldn't make much money...
But I'd make 'em wanna come back...
Everybody have a good day!
Much like amodel25, I started working for a local "full service" Mobile station while still in high school, this was when the self service discount stations were getting popular so it was usually just me pumping gas, checking water and oil, cleaning windows and checking air pressure in their tires. In between the gas customers, I would service cars and fix flat tires as well as occasionally doing minor tune ups and brake work. Always busy, if not tending to the customers needs, there was clean up duties to preform. I miss those days!
There still is 1 full service station, here in town, that stays busy as a garage more than a service station. Being an independent with only 4 pumps, his gas prices are usually quite a bit higher then the rest. Most of his gas customers appear to be seniors that prefer someone else doing the tasks.
I'd wanna give anybody over 60 a discount.
Nope...for sure wouldn't make any money.
I worked in a Clark gas station 1964 .85/hour, pumped gas, washed windshields, checked oil, had to run to sell cancer sticks from island rack for 2 weeks after my paper route (4 years) at 16, got my first pay check and quit on the spot thinking I made more money delivering the papers. Found a much better paying union job. In my early 20's worked for a big gas station operation, gas, service/repairs, towing, snow plowing, I was on call, bad weather employee, would go out on service calls/plowing in winter. He made so much money on these days he paid me enough cash to make it worth my time to take a day off from my Tool & Die job, which did not make them happy as back then you did not miss work for any reason. Things have changed, I have adapted with the changes , Hell, I even use the self checkout at WalMart, at restaurants, now you order off the kiosk on table. I like many miss the old days, "It Is What It Is" applies. I know these advancements have eliminated many entry level jobs, other side of coin, everyone I know that needs entry level help can not hire/keep anyone, kids don't want to work, adults have it figured out how to sit on ass in system. Progress ?
My friend Steve had a service station about a block from my business and he took it over from his dad, It was a full service station and he checked the oil, filled the tank, washed the windshield and checked the tires if they looked low or the customer requested it.
Steve did business this way until he retired about 10 years ago and he was the last station to offer the service.
You could get a ice cold coke and a pack of nabs at his station but that's about it, he did do oil changes.
Those days are long gone. HRP
This full service station was on South Main street, here in Anderson, S.C.
Mid '60's I worked at a Standard station in my town. I was sixteen. It was full service, every car that got gas had the underhood fluids checked and topped up if necessary, tire pressures checked and every every on the vehicle cleaned. Station also had a full time mechanic doing tune ups, brake jobs, etc. We sold engine oil in those bottles the gent is carrying in the above picture. One of my jobs was to refill them every night. That and clean the giant coffee urn that kept my bosses cup filled all day long.
Read some articles over the years that warned of service stations out on the interstate that had a full time mechanic on duty. One said to always accompany the attendant when he offered to check under the hood, they were known to carry a pocket knife and give a fan belt a little cut then advise you that your belt was dangerously close to breaking and you probably shouldn't get back on the freeway without having it replaced.
There were a couple of service stations like that in the town I lived in out west in the 80's. More than once a car came into the dealership I worked at wanting us to check something out that they were told was going to fail immediately. Especially elderly and out of state plates.
Most blatant was the squirt bottle to the shock absorber trick. Junkyard alternators washed and painted silver, sold as rebuilts. Rebuilt TH350's in the 1980's were sold by one of those for $1895.00 plus r&r labor, we rebuilt those in our shop for about $ 800.00 installed. And people called car dealers crooks.
I think it was Readers Digest that did a story, they had a mechanic pull a plug wire loose, to cause an engine miss. Then they shopped the car around to a couple dozen highway stations for diagnosis, posing as out of state vacationers. The results were everything from "Loose wire, no charge" to "You need a new engine" and everything in between.
One trick I read about, when they checked oil the "attendant" would prevent the dipstick from full insertion with a finger. Show the customer "Hey you're a quart low" and then bring out an empty can with a spout and let that drain into the engine while washing windows or whatever.
Sad thing is it looks to me like an enterprising individual could have made good money without resorting to fraud. Do good work and charge a fair price and I'm certain they got all the business they could handle, for generations. Tires, belts, tune-ups, minor repairs like generators, fuel pumps, water pumps etc., they were easy to work on and diagnose. Not like today where half the engine bay has to be removed just to get at something and it's some weird, expensive proprietary component that nobody carries. I've often thought it would have been a great job, no degree or certification required. Just a 2 bay garage in a good location with a lift and a decent work ethic. License to print money, almost.
Worked at a little larger shell station than the picture. Washed every windshield even with a buck worth of gas. It became a hot rod hangout on the weekends, what i thought at the time was work was full of fun memories. Mariposa Shell Stockton, Ca in the early 60's.
Mom and dad owned a Richfield Service Station. Dad did everything from oil changes to engine rebuilds. When the shop was busy, mom would pump gas. It was a small rural town. There were a few deadbeats who wouldn't go for the expense to repair and abandon their cars with them. Dad had to pay a junkyard $5 to tow them away. They eventually grew tired of the grind and sold it.
We had 5 stations within a 1/8th mile stretch in my neighborhood in the 50s.(Cannon Blvd. in Kannapolis NC) I worked at all of them at one time or another washing cars on Saturday all day. 7 or 8 dollars a day from 8am till 6pm. Man I had all kinds of money until I discovered girls...…………………...
My Father had a SHELL Service station in Kent Ohio from 1960 to 1970 . Washed windshields, checked oil and battery, and service with a smile . He sold out there and moved and moved to Sarasota Fl and opened up a SHELL station at the airport . Good old days .
For those of you that love the old gas station bells, go see my friend Milt @
I'm a 60's child but remember a lot of area gas stations that always had a tri-five Chevy (or two) in the spare bay.
I bought my 57 BelAir (second car) while a sophomore in high school and had at least three stations I frequented where I could expect to see some hot rod related activity after hours.
At one station a guy that was a couple years older than my crowd had a 57 two-ten sedan going together for drag racing that we had been hearing about, he had just put a pretty nasty 327/Muncie in it and was buttoning it up when I stopped in about ten p.m.
I was just in time for him to take it for its first bonsai test run on one of the local back roads, he asked if I wanted to go with him, hell yes, I needed to feel something more potent than my little 283 and T-10.
Apparently he was as anxious as I was to test it out and had not gotten the hood latch adjusted right and as he grabbed second gear the hood flew up and hit the edge of the roof putting two of the nicest little dents in the windshield trim from the hood bulges.
Man I miss the 60's/70's!
back in the day, there was no need to cheat people with fake repairs..........i could ALWAYS find something legitimate to fix.
Things have not changed! There is always something to do on a car/truck/tractor/plane-you get the picture!
There still is no reason to cheat people with fake repairs......if you are an honest person. There are crooks and cheats in every business, mechanics always get the finger pointed. Probably because most people have no clue what is going on under the hood of their car and car problems freak them out. I have made a good living operating an auto repair shop for the past 46 years. By being honest about what repairs are needed, caring about your customers and being part of the community. Basic good business practices.
But I also understand that there are plenty of dishonest/incompetent auto mechanics out there. I really think the problem is incompetence rather than dishonesty. Plenty of so called "technicians" that have no understanding of how to diagnose and repair the complex vehicles we deal with these days.
Now that I think about it those people are really cheating people by making them think they know what they are doing and charging money for it.
Anything old I like because it was a people to people world.
Even Sears auto centers resorted to cheating and they had a great reputation but wanted more.
I used to work at a Conoco station on a busy corner when I was in high school. The station, of course, had the driveway bells.
Every now and then when Rex, the owner, was in the restroom we would drag the driveway bell hose out onto the busy street. Odd, he never thought it was as funny as we did.
A "service station" used to have a repair bay, maybe a hoist, and you could buy (for cash only) belts, plugs, points and inner tubes. Now they are just stores that happen to sell fuel as well. Don't ask if they have trans fluid or spark plugs, they will look at you and say "we don't have that type of coffee here..."
I worked in a Union 76 station in San Diego right after high school. My boss was a jerk and his son was a thief. He stole money from the till and bragged about how his dad would blame all us other teen agers instead of him! My hot rod buddies would hang around at night when things were slow. One night, a friend with a big Olds and hydro in a 50 Chevy coupe decided to burn out on the polished concrete between the pumps. When he did that, he gathered the bell hose with his rear tires, wound the hose around the axle and pulled it out of the gas islands, the walkway in front of the bays, and pulled it off the bell. It took us hours to snake that hose through the gas islands, under the walkway, and hook it back on the bell after trimming the shredded end and clamping the slightly shorter hose to the bell. Needless to say, I got home a little late that night , and 4 of us were not happy with the Chevy driver, even though he helped unwind the hose and restring the hose so he could drive home. By the way, the owner finally realized his son was the one stealing from him. Two crew turnovers and the same amount of money disappearing pointed to the kid.
A lot of us did exactly that when we were young. We're mostly retired now...
The same here worked all three stations in town at one time or another AFTER my morning paper route, school, then the evening paper route. Seems like every kid I knew hustled to make money back then and a lot worked the pumps and washed thousands of windshields. AND didn't complain or expect anyone to do stuff for them.
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