I stopped at a gas station with no employees

stylinexpat

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 6, 2009
1,891
3,700
Things are changing quickly. Everything there was automated via machine. No employees around. If stuff like this spreads quickly unemployment numbers will be changing pretty quickly.

3A2E966B-09F2-47BE-9F0B-0E9B21FB6264.jpeg
 

stylinexpat

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 6, 2009
1,891
3,700
Was it JUST a gas station?
I mean, we pump our own gas anyway. (At least in my State).

Those prices though. I think 87 is $2.78 a gallon here.
Just a gas station in Irvine. Try and post more pictures next time I drive by.
 

Strider64

macrumors 6502a
Dec 1, 2015
777
2,873
Suburb of Detroit
I from Michigan where we pump our own gas, so I went to visit my sister who lives in Eastern Pennsylvania. I needed gas, but the only local gas station was in New Jersey. I pulled up to the pump and there was no one else at the pumps and I looked around to see if it was open. It said it was open, so I got out of the car figuring it was self-service. The next thing I see is a guy literally running and screaming "You Can't Pump Your Own Gas!". He gets up to the car and explains that a gas attendant has to pump the gas for it was an Union thing. I got back in my car while he pumped the gas and for a guy who came running out like a jack rabbit the transformation to slow motion was amazing. I swore I was watching the "Bionic Man" where they show Steve Austin in slow motion in order give viewers the perception that he is actually running fast. However, this this wasn't a special effect, for he literally was going slow. I could had baked a caked by the time the guy returned with my changed (I payed cash). OK, I'm exaggerating, but to this day I get a good laugh out of it. :D

A little following up to this story, so after visiting my sister for a week or so, I decided to get gas on the New Jersey side. I went to a different gas station in New Jersey to see if the first guy was intentionally being slow. Nope, the second place was just as slow as the first which just makes me laugh a little bit more when I look back.
 

scubachap

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2016
186
314
UK
(Quite) a few years ago I did a couple of driving holidays in the States and had a fab time on each. However, one thing that drove me mad was that everywhere I went there seemed to be a different system in use at every Gas (Petrol) station I visited. (Bear in mind that here - having someone pump petrol for you was a very distant early 70's memory - they've all been self service for decades and they all seem to work in the same simple way.)

I seemed to get it wrong at every station - some places I'd get shouted at for trying to do it myself, others I'd be sat in the car for ages waiting for someone to come out (not wanting to get yelled at) until I realised that this one was actually self service. Also the pumps all seemed to be different - quite often I couldn't get them to work until some other person took pity on me and showed which weird lever round the back or which odd button you had to press. As I said this was quite a few years ago now and perhaps they've all been standardised since?

While ours have been self service for decades ours are pretty much always manned as it's unusual not to have a big chain supermarket shop integrated to it (you don't make enough from just selling fuel here) and also drive offs where people don't pay for fuel are a massive problem. (You often see the security guard noting number plates at our local stations)
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,157
4,710
Denmark
I think 50% of all gas stations here are without employees... Is this really not a thing in the US? How strange. What do you need them for? We only have employees at stations who sell stuff other than gas and car washes.
 

MuchBob

macrumors newbie
Sep 13, 2018
8
1
Tampa, Florida
"I first met a fully automated gas station in Switzerland in 1994. It was somewhere near Zürich."

Oh, so automated gas stations aren't a new thing then.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,978
1,524
Georgia
(Quite) a few years ago I did a couple of driving holidays in the States and had a fab time on each. However, one thing that drove me mad was that everywhere I went there seemed to be a different system in use at every Gas (Petrol) station I visited. (Bear in mind that here - having someone pump petrol for you was a very distant early 70's memory - they've all been self service for decades and they all seem to work in the same simple way.)

I seemed to get it wrong at every station - some places I'd get shouted at for trying to do it myself, others I'd be sat in the car for ages waiting for someone to come out (not wanting to get yelled at) until I realised that this one was actually self service. Also the pumps all seemed to be different - quite often I couldn't get them to work until some other person took pity on me and showed which weird lever round the back or which odd button you had to press. As I said this was quite a few years ago now and perhaps they've all been standardised since?

While ours have been self service for decades ours are pretty much always manned as it's unusual not to have a big chain supermarket shop integrated to it (you don't make enough from just selling fuel here) and also drive offs where people don't pay for fuel are a massive problem. (You often see the security guard noting number plates at our local stations)
Most areas are self service now. I can't recall the last time I've seen a full service gas station. From what I read New Jersey is the last holdout requiring an attendant fill your tank.

Most gas stations have mini markets now. Gas is used as the attractant. They make all their money in their stores. Gas Stations are also popping up a full size supermarkets too.

Pumps aren't standardized. Most are similar and use a button to select. Every once in a while I come across a confusing one with some lever that needs to be flipped.

I don't know if people running off without paying is a problem. I don't see how it could be. I'm not aware of any gas station which will allow you to pump gas without prepaying at the pump or in the store. I don't see why you wouldn't do that there. No cash, no gas. Well no ATM pin or Credit Card authorization, no gas.
 

scubachap

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2016
186
314
UK
Most gas stations have mini markets now. Gas is used as the attractant. They make all their money in their stores. Gas Stations are also popping up a full size supermarkets too.

I don't know if people running off without paying is a problem. I don't see how it could be. I'm not aware of any gas station which will allow you to pump gas without prepaying at the pump or in the store.
Sounds very similar now, I thought it might be (The last trip was over a decade ago). The one difference here is that while we do have 'pay at pump' at most pumps - you can also generally pay in the attached store (which most people still do) after you've filled up - the pump is 'released' as you lift the nozzle by a cashier. (I think cameras record number plates at the same time.)
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,978
1,524
Georgia
Sounds very similar now, I thought it might be (The last trip was over a decade ago). The one difference here is that while we do have 'pay at pump' at most pumps - you can also generally pay in the attached store (which most people still do) after you've filled up - the pump is 'released' as you lift the nozzle by a cashier. (I think cameras record number plates at the same time.)
Really, for how slim margins are on gas. I'm surprised they do this. Here if you want to pay inside. You have to go inside give them cash or do a credit/debit card authorization and tell them your pump number. Then you go out and fill up and come back in for change. If you give them cash the pump will stop once you hit whatever amount you hand them. You simply cannot start filling until they have some form of payment. Perhaps some states are different. Every state/gas station I've been to has been this way.

Now that news article from the UK about the motorcycle rider being in a huff about having to remove his helmet makes sense. I was wondering why a gas station would give a flying fart about whether someone wore a helmet while filling up. It makes sense if you can fill up without prepaying.
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
4,480
10,305
Really, for how slim margins are on gas. I'm surprised they do this. Here if you want to pay inside. You have to go inside give them cash or do a credit/debit card authorization and tell them your pump number. Then you go out and fill up and come back in for change. If you give them cash the pump will stop once you hit whatever amount you hand them. You simply cannot start filling until they have some form of payment. Perhaps some states are different. Every state/gas station I've been to has been this way.

Now that news article from the UK about the motorcycle rider being in a huff about having to remove his helmet makes sense. I was wondering why a gas station would give a flying fart about whether someone wore a helmet while filling up. It makes sense if you can fill up without prepaying.
Are you in Georgia USA or Georgia near Russia?
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
4,480
10,305
I pay at the pump. The only time I go inside the store is on an emergency run for something like sour cream where I don’t want to drive a mile to the market.
[doublepost=1537535258][/doublepost]
Got it. Both are beautiful!
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
2,964
2,509
Milwaukee Area
20 years ago, it was explained to me that gas stations make almost no money whatsoever off the actual sale of gas. All the money is made in the sales of the convenience store, selling drinks, cigarettes, junk food and lottery tickets. The convenience store is a separate business, and the presence of gasoline is merely a draw to bring people in the door to buy everything else. Now, you’d think as the convenience store, you’d want to get every customer in the door to snag a lot more impulse buys while they wait to pay, but that’s outweighed by it being more profitable for the gas company and distributor to have stations where the line of people can move quicker past the pump, buying their gas themselves with no waiting and getting out of the way for the next customer.
But, regardless of the gas company’s big sign on these places, people who build and operate the better “General Store” locations with higher quality offerings are independent people spending their own money doing that on their own accord.

I don’t know if that disfunctional relationship has improved since, but there’s why self-pay stations.
I see your Buc-ee’s and raise you one ridiculously named:
 
Last edited:

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,155
1,336
Always a day away
We have a client who bought one of these gas facilities - no attendants, no store, no employees at all. Completely self-service. It went out of business years ago, my guess is because all the money is made on the snacks and drinks they sell inside (and this place had no "inside" to sell anything).

Anyway, our client bought the building next door, he's going to turn it into a C-store and diner and re-open the gas pumps.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.