Oregonians melt down over prospect of pumping own gas

I get the whole “tapestry of life” concept and the fact that there are plenty of folk out there who I will never understand. That’s fine. There’s plenty of room in this world for everyone and, left to myself, I’m happy to let others be.

But occasionally I get a glimpse of another world that truly confounds me, where individuals are so utterly foreign in their thinking that I cannot begin to wrap mind around what makes them tick, or even how they keep ticking.

Consider the uproar among some in Oregon after a law went into effect Monday that will shortly allow residents in some rural counties to pump their own gas. From the outcry, one would have thought the law required them to pump their own stomachs.

First, I didn’t even realize there were still places in the US where it was illegal to operate self-service gas stations, but it’s still prohibited in New Jersey and, as of Monday, in Oregon counties with more than 40,000 inhabitants.

Second, it should be noted that the new Oregon law doesn’t require anyone to pump their own gas; it simply gives them the opportunity to use self-service, which almost always means lower prices.

But when Medford, Ore., television station KTVL posted the story on social media, it received numerous negative comments from residents who apparently aren’t interested in getting out and pumping their own petrol:

  • “I’ve lived in this state all of my life and I REFUSE to pump my own gas. I had to do it once in California while visiting my brother and almost died doing it. This (is) a service only qualified people should perform. I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas,” said Mike Perrone.
  • “No! Disabled, seniors, people with young children in the car need help. Not to mention getting out of your car with transients around and not feeling safe too. This is a very bad idea. Grrr,” said Cathy Dahl.
  • “Not a good idea, there are lots of reason(s) to have an attendant helping, one is they need a job too. Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly. Besides I don’t want to go to work smelling of gas when I get it on my hands or clothes. I agree. Very bad idea,” said Tina Good.
  • “I don’t even know HOW to pump gas and  I am 62, native Oregonian … I say NO THANKS! I don’t want to smell like gasoline!” said Sandy Franklin.

Granted, these are worst-case reactions, but I’ve never thought of rural Oregon as  a place where common sense was in incredibly short supply. Or where ignorance of a simple task would be worn as a badge of honor.

Perhaps there is high propensity of drug-addled former hippies hiding away in the state’s hinterlands, unable or unwilling to handle something as pedestrian as filling up a gas tank.

Whatever the case, I’d love to see the individual who pulls up to the gas pump and just sits there waiting … waiting … waiting for someone to fill ‘er up. If it were my station, I’d tell him he can either pump his own gas or go pound sand.

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17 thoughts on “Oregonians melt down over prospect of pumping own gas

  1. Let them go to France and try it….they would be mummified before anyone came to sort them out.
    That said, I do appreciate having petrol pump attendants here in Costa Rica…..

  2. Yes, I can’t see the French being especially eager to help out the self-entitled who can’t, or won’t, pump their own gas. I can, however, see the French sitting inside the gas station, laughing and smoking cigarettes while the driver waits angrily.

    A smart businessperson offers whatever customers want. If people want to have their gas pumped for them and are willing to pay a little extra, it’s a win-win. If others want to save some money and pump their own, it’s nice to have that option, too.

    • No self service here that I have seen. A friend gloomily reckons that that dates from the time when only the rich could have a car and would not sully their hands…

  3. You should see the reaction when a Californian wanders into an Oregon gas station and gets out to fill his tank. You think you were about to commit a felony.

    Well, just having a California license plate in Oregon is considered a felony act by most Oregonians…

    • It’s been more than 25 years since I was in Oregon and I flew there last time, so driving – and getting gas – wasn’t on my agenda. In my entire life I think I’ve had an attendant fill my tank just once, while in high school a friend and I were going surfing and we were wearing full-body wet suits. Neither of us wanted to get out in and pump gas wearing said wet suits, so we shelled out an extra 10 cents a gallon. Otherwise, I’m proud to say I’ve pumped my own gas every day for the 36+ years.

  4. The inability to pump my own gas was probably the weirdest thing I had to adjust to when my family moved to Oregon from the Midwest. And Oregon has plenty of weird. I’m grateful to be back in my home region again, though I will say there have been a couple times during this cold snap we’re having that I’ve wished someone would pump my gas for me.

  5. I did indeed know that Oregon and New Jersey didn’t allow self-pumped gas. I’ve driven through NJ many times, and the husband has been to Oregon. It’s really not rocket science to put gas in your car yourself, though, lol, no matter what those Oregonians say.

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