Let’s forget, for a moment, that I was born the year the first satellite was launched into space, or that I lived while the first men made it into space, made the first orbit of the earth. or made the first space walk. Forget also that I was 11 when the first man set foot on the moon.
Those were all exciting times for a child and most adults, and it saddens me that there doesn’t seem to be any equivalent explorative excitement occurring to give our own children a sense of the fantastic and amazing.
Oooh, the iPhone!
But that’s a blog for another day. No, when I speak of having lived during exciting times, I’m talking about the days when there existed service. You know, people who provided a service, who served you, happily and immediately, with a smile.
That was exciting!
There was a time when you’d roll into a gas station (we called them service stations back then) and your wheels would hit a little black hose and a loud DING-DING! would sound. Once you stopped, you could stay inside your car, unless you had to use the rest room, because a real live human being would come out to your car and ask, “Fill ‘er up?” And you’d reply, yes. “Regular or Ethyl?” To this day, I’m not sure who Ethyl was, but my parents always chose regular. The man would then proceed to fill your car with gas, wash your windows, check your tire pressure, and even check your oil!
If you were low on oil he’d suggest putting some in, and he’d do that, too. If the oil needed changing, he’d show it to you and suggest an oil change and you could make the appointment right then and there. Oh, and he’d check most of your other fluids also, and happily fill them too if necessary.
Then you’d be on your merry way as he waved and you waved and everyone smiled and was happy.
That was exciting! Service with a smile was more than just a slogan then, it was an actuality.
Those days are gone. Somewhere along the way, maybe as a cost cutting move, the service station became just a gas station. Now we’re all left to our own devices. Service is dead and we have to get out and fill the gas tank for ourselves.
We have to clean our own windows, too. And more than likely all the other checks that we had taken for granted are left undone. Few of us check things like fluids or tire pressure. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I checked my tires. Sometimes if we go to the instant oil places, they’ll perform all these checks, but at best, that’s every 3 months.
Back then it was weekly. Every time you filled up the nice Standard man, or Citgo man, or Sinclair man, or whoever would do these things. You were assured of a safe car.
The Texaco jingle said it all. “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star, the big, red Texaco star!”
Now there’s no one to trust.