Yesterday, I went to a “service” station, to put some air into the tires of my vehicle. When I got there, lo and behold, there was a new pump, with a slot in it, and a sticker proclaiming that, for the privilege of using some air, it would cost 50 cents. I don’t know how long the 50 cents would have given me to put air into my tires. I didn’t stick around to find out. I am sure there must be some station somewhere that doesn’t want to gouge me further for some air. What’s next? Charging me for using a squeegie to clean my windows? A surcharge for the use of the water in the squeegie holder? Where does it end?

I remember a time, not that long ago, where air was free, and these places actually tried to make you feel like they cared about your business. They would pump your gas, check your oil level, top up the windshield washer fluid, check your air pressure in your tires if they looked a little low, and even put more air in, if you asked nicely and it wasn’t too busy at the pumps at that time. Today, all you get is a person behind the cash register at the self-pump station, and 50 cent shots of air for your tires.

It seems to me that every day, the oil companies are looking for more and more ways to take the “service” out of service station. I guess that is why they are now being referred to as gas bars. Any day now, they will implement a cover charge, like some regular bars do. Then, you will be forced to pay just to get to the pump. Maybe charge a fuel pump rental fee too. Where will their greed and need to gouge the customer end?

Each day, as I look around me, I see the term “customer service” mean less and less. Soon it will be a completely meaningless phrase. That will be a sad day indeed.

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