Goodbye and Farewell, Shell Oil Company
We're cutting up our Shell gasoline cards and sending them back to the company even though we have used their gas exclusively for many years. Why? Because when we stopped for a fill-up at the station near home this morning there was a sign reading "Cash customers pay in advance" on every pump. Sometimes we pay cash, sometimes we use the card. Now, unless we use the card at the pump, one of us has to walk to the kiosk and pay before pumping. How, I would like to know, do you figure how much gas it will take to fill the tank before it is pumped?
Sure, just hand them forty bucks and then go back and pump. After that they'll give you your change. But when they don't trust us to pay, why should we trust them with our money? They have people drive off without paying so Shell has decided to penalize those of us who do pay. Stores suffer losses from shoplifting so sometime in the future can we expect to be patted down and searched on our way out or drop off twenty or fifty dollars on our way in?
Those of us old enough to remember back to a better day wish that once again we could drive into a station and have an attendant come out and do the pumping. Then he'd clean the windshield and do anything else you asked: check the oil, check the coolant, check the battery, put air in the tires, give you a map of the state or others nearby, you name it. He also kept the restrooms clean. Restrooms? Yes, service stations used to have them. Many also had a mechanic on duty to help if you were having a problem. That's why they were called service stations. On top of that, the employees at the stations you visited regularly would call you by name when you drove in.
Today they pay someone minimum wage to watch you do all the work while they sit there and collect the money. Some even charge for air you put in the tires yourself. Now they may ask you to pay in advance.
Some young people laugh when anyone mentions the good old days. Many would gladly give up their electronic gadgets if just for a month they could live in a time when service was more than a word in a dictionary. No computer chat room compensates for the face-to-face relationships that once were so commonplace and you didn't need a cell phone stuck to your ear to hear a friendly voice.