…and when a customer got service along with cheap gas!
When we were growing up, if you wanted gas for your car, you went to a “Service Station”. We knew no such thing as today’s gas stations or mini marts with gas pumps at which you have to pump your own gas, clean your own windows and can buy everything from milk and beer to hot dogs and hamburgers.
No, when we were growing up, every town had a number of locally owned and operated, full “Service Stations” where you bought gas but also got full auto service. In our days, when you pulled up to the pump in a “Service Station”, you were greeted by a friendly attendant who pumped your gas and automatically cleaned your windshields, checked your tire pressure, checked your oil level and topped off the water level in your radiator. If you needed local directions or information, the attendant would be able to help you or at very least tell you where you could get what you needed. If you were planning a road trip there were free maps of the local area and adjacent states inside. There were also postcards that you could fill out regarding a proposed road trip and mail prepaid to the oil company who then would send you a personalized trip plan outlining suggested routes, restaurants, hotels and enroute attractions.
All of this was included in the price of gas which when we started driving was less than 20 cents per gallon.
Inside, the “Service Stations” there were (usually) clean rest rooms and also typically had at least one or two service bays where mechanics did lubes and oil changes, repaired tires, hand washed your car and did minor (and sometimes not so minor) repairs – all, of course, for an additional fee and often while you waited. Local “Service Stations’ also served as gathering places where local men and boys would gather to have a soda, listen to ball games or swap stories.
In all cases the establishments where we bought our gasoline in the 1940s and 1950s were truly “Service Stations” and service was what the oil companies marketed and provided.
(see the Texaco commercial below)
Frank remembers living across from an ESSO service station and on hot summer mornings when the windows were open being awakened by the voice of the attendant at the station across the street sending customers on their way with a very robust and sincere shout of –
“We Remember Blog”
Pat & Frank Fleming