Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumping gas in Oregon

Many of you know that my blogging friend, frugalmom, over at Fancyin' the Farm Life, came to visit me in Oregon in September. Of all the stuff I thought she'd be impressed with and all the Oregon differences I thought she'd be interested in, the thing that boggled her mind the most was this (photo by marcee):

Yes, that is a young woman, employed by our local Chevron gas station owner, pumping gas into my car for me.

Apparently, Oregon is one of only 2 states in the country (the other is New Jersey) that specifically prohibits, by law, pumping your own gas. I wasn't previously aware of this, nor would I ever have given it much thought, had I not seen the look of shock on frugalmom's face.

See these guys here? Gas station attendants. Note the matching coats and caps:

Self-service gas stations are illegal in Oregon. A law banning self-serve was passed in 1951, presumably for safety reasons although it was supposed to reduce unemployment rates at the time, too. Ever since, oil companies and gas station owners have unsuccessfully tried to have the law repealed, but with no luck. The last time the choice to repeal this law was on the ballot, circa 1982, Oregonians shot it down. We really and truly don't want to pump our own gas. Oregon Statute ORS 480.315-320 states that I could even be fined $500 by attempting to pump gas on my own. (One exception: motorcyclists may pump their own gas in Oregon. Don't ask me why.)

Regardless, I wouldn't want it any other way. I really appreciate the gas station attendant who comes up to my car window when I pull in, asks me how he/she can help me, and immediately gets down to it:

I *love* that I don't have to get out of my car to pump or pay when it's cold/rainy/snowy/windy/etc outside:

I even love overhearing the conversations attendants will have with each other when things are a bit slow. Here they're talking about who to help first when multiple cars arrive at once:

I also love all the things that I am able to get done while someone else fills my tank. You see, I'm one of those gals who perpetually multi-tasks. I love turning on the dishwasher or washing machine before I head outside to do chores because I know stuff is getting done inside as I'm working outside.

Well, it's the same for me when I'm at the gas station. I'm able to get all those little things done that never seem to get done when I'm back at home. For example, quite frequently, while waiting for my tank to be topped off...

I'm able to get a head start on cooking dinner:

I can finally hold still long enough to paint my nails a most dazzling farm girl shade:

I'm slowly but surely catching up on all those Anita Shreve novels I haven't read:

...and the other day, I was actually able to shave my legs:

So, you can see why I feel that Oregon's no self-serve law has allowed me to become a more efficient individual. I get more things done now simply by NOT climbing out of my car at the gas station. I really believe the rest of the country should consider passing legislation similar to Oregon's. I believe, as a country, we would all be much more efficient.


  1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! :D HAHAHA, that is hilarious! *BIG grin*. Well, good thing you got your shaving done. :-P =D

  2. I think I just snorted a little Fresca out my nose! OMG You crack me up! I can't wait to get gas next time. I can just see Donnie's face when he comes to get my money and finds me shaving my legs and making chicken soup at the same time.

  3. I went through New Jersey one time and I saw that I couldn't pump my own gas. I didn't know there was another state out there that did that too. I wish it was illegal in our state, darn it!

  4. That is a the last photo!
    That law is interesting...I like to pump my own, aren't I strange. We have both self-service and attendants here in Maine. I carry a book EVERYWHERES I go cause you just never know! ~Kim

  5. Ahahahahahahahahahah!

    I was SHOCKED. And in awe. And flabbergasted. I just knew the reason that we were sitting there and not getting out was quite simply because we were having a moment to ponder life's bigger questions. That or you were expecting ME to get out and pump your gas for you.

    I was trying to decide between the two when the gas station attendant appeared at your window....even then, being from Illinois and all, where people actually do pump their own gas...I was like, huh? Do they really have full service stations here? I havent been to one of those in ages....

    See, all that fancy hostess stuff you did for me(cooking, cleaning, warming my towels for me, breakfast in bed...)(which were all wonderful by the way) all you had to do was take me to the gas station.

  6. Man, and I thought my tank took a long time to fill...what are you gassin' up there, girl? A 250 gallon semi?

    Seriously, if this weren't a reason to move to Oregon, I don't what is. I loathe pumping my own gas, but I'm not sure why. And oil changes? I have been known to sell a car because it was time to get the oil changed.

    p.s. where's you find a rice cooker that runs off the cigarette lighter?

  7. You're crazy, you know that - right? How hilarious . . . each task got funnier and funnier!

    But when we come to Oregon for the summer we love the service we get at the gas stations, and moan and groan when we get back home!

    Thanks for the good laugh!

  8. I sure am glad you have all that time on your hands. No wonder my dinner's late, I look messy and haven't read a novel in ages, I have to pump my own gas. I never knew I was waisting so much time!
    (good one, hee hee)

  9. ROFL...LOVE the polish color! I'm from Washington and if I was just a little closer to the border I would go to Oregon just to have my gas pumped by one of those great attendents. Now I want to know how come they pay for all that extra help at Oregon gas stations yet Washington gas is still more expensive? It's a racket I tell you!

  10. LOL!!!!! Great post. Do you feel like you should tip? I probably would, especially is it's really cold or snowing. :/

  11. hehe silly girl!

    I sat in a Vancouver Washington gas station for 5 minutes before they realized that I had Oregon plates...

    I *erm* forgot I was on the other side of the river...

    I didn't/ do not know how to pump my own gas. How sad is that?

    Not very...


  12. This is hysterical! I needed a good laugh today and your post did it.
    I'm a native Californian but this is just one more reason to move to Oregon.
    Thanks for the laughter.

  13. Doesn't all of that DROOL stain or remove the paint on your vehicle as all of those attendants are watching you shave your legs?
    Do they offer to help with that too!
    Danni your a nut!

    And I'm glad of it!!!

    Thanks for the laugh.

  14. Fine. I started reading this yesterday, then marked it as new, because you know, the boss's computer and all...

    And I came back today, and started out all melancholy: My father used to pump gas. Little gas station that you had to run over the bell cord to get the guy to come out.

    Then I scrolled down. As I've already confessed that I talk like a truck driver, and not a sailor (or is it the other way around?), I kid you not, I just said "get the f*** outta here!"...and collapsed into giggles.

    Great post. You should get paid for this.

  15. You're too funny! That was great. I never realized that we were in the minority. I just assumed most states don't pump their own gas. We are lucky (in more ways than one) here in Oregon!!

  16. You totally crack me up! What I want to know is, who's hand is that holding the fingernail polish brush while both of your hands are busy (one being painted, the other holding the camera)??

    I recently heard about Oregon's gas station attendants and the law against self serve stations when my partner Jack went on a road trip this past September to visit relatives up near Salem. He jumped out of his car to pump the gas and got bowled over by a prompt and courteous attendant who was explaining the law to him as the took over the pumping. Surprised Jack a bit, but he got used to it quickly.

  17. Ok Danni.....

    First I was in Shock! Someone pump my gas.....I don't think so!!! I'm the one that parks my car in the WAY back of the parking lot...I tell my 80 year old mom..."either get out now or your walkin"!!! The first thing I tell the kids as soon as they walk..."play near the car and your grounded for life"!!!
    On the way home from Maine, I stopped at a gas station, started pumping my gas and an elderly attendant came over to finish up for me....I almost had a coronary!!
    I can answer your question about them not pumping for motorcycles...If a Harley guy comes up, and they value their, and their families life....better not touch the bike!!! Ha Ha Ha!!!

    Well Danni this was a very funny of the best...all I could think of was the put into it hahahahaha! I'm still laughing!!!

    I'm pretty sure the reason they came up with that silly law is because right after that feller in the first picture was done pumping his gas...with that cigarette in his mouth...the next shot was a smoking pile of rubble!!!!
    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!

  18. I loved it when we lived in New Jersey! I really hate pumping gas. Especially diesel in the pick-up. It stinks and won't wash off.

    Thing is...I don't think I was ever as good as you at multi-tasking. I was laughing my head off as each task got more ridiculous and involved. Hilarious post!

  19. I was laughing so loud right now I woke my daughter up. She told me it was too early to be snorting and stuff and to quiet down. I love those photos but the cooking one was hilarious. Oh and can you imagine what the attendant would think while you were shaving your legs? You started my day off right.

    Oh and I too love that I don't have to pump my own gas. You know years ago we had a gas card at a self serve farm co-op and I used to spill gas on my work clothes all the time. I a a big clutz and you can't get that smell off of your hands at work no matter how much of that cheap soap you use. One time I even over filled my tank and it splashed out all over my shoes. Gawd!

  20. You are a hoot!

    It's funny, I want to pump my own gas. I'm forever in a hurry and waiting for them would be torture to me.

    What's for dinner? Looks like something with coconut or rice? :)

  21. What the hell.....? LOL!!

    I'm really surprised about the law. It's kind of odd, although I enjoy getting served in the occasional gas station around here that still does that.

    .....still laughing over here....

  22. I still say had it been me in Marcee's shoes, I'd of gotten out the mace and sprayed the first person approaching the car. I'm just a hardcore, hairy-legged mid-westerner though.

  23. If only New York would follow this law, then maybe I would have time to shave my legs...I mean read books...READ BOOKS is what I meant to say ! LOL Great post!

  24. I'm with CeeCee. I hate that I can't pump my own gas! Tell me I can't do something and I want to do it even more. I seem to have a knack for picking the gas stations where the attendants take their sweet time getting to my car even when there are no other customers. Really makes me want to jump out and do it myself.

  25. This post made my day. What resourcefullness you show. Thanks for sharing your life, and your sense of humour.


  26. Hilarious! I used to work in a full service gas station. It went to self-service shortly after I left. I hated pumping gas...I still hate it. Only one place here pumps for people and it costs 20 cents or so extra.

  27. I thought us Aussies were funny but you Oregon-ites crack me up :)
    I hope you got to do both legs :O


  28. Hey DOROTHY....You been GHOSTED
    please reread my last blog

  29. Thanks! You made my day! :D

  30. That is Awesome! As an Oregonian, I too love to multitask while waiting for the gas to be pumped. You should submit that series of photos for an ad.

  31. Every time we go to Oregon, we stop for gas and Hubby jumps out to pump gas only to be met by the attendent. Every time.
    Nice leg, chicken sis.

  32. Yes, I confess... I was 27 years old before I learned how to pump gas... Yes, I, too, am an Oregonian!

    And no - we don't tip them for pumping our gas. But when I'm in Spain - where the nice attendant in the florescent orange jump suit-y uniform pumps my gas, yes, then it's good form to tip - usually a Euro or two. I have to say, they are very polite and kind, those Spanish gas station guys.

    Danni - as for me - I'm all for multi-tasking. I'm usually texting or emailing while my tank is getting filled up, tho! And yeah, seriously - if they took away our precious gas pumping people - I would hope they would have sense to keep them the time of year when it's wet, rainy, cold, blustery - and otherwise anything other than warm, sunny, and perfect. Which would be, um, August?


    You crack me up, girl!

  33. OMG, Danni, this is just what I needed! lol Your shaving picture had me laughing so hard.

    I, also, would like to know how you get gas that is cheaper than ours yet you have full-service stations. Racket indeed.

  34. I remember a long time ago when all the stations here were full service.

    The things you got done while waiting was amazing. Now if you could just haul the donkeys around, you could feed them as you wait too.
    lol...That was so funny and I needed a good laugh today.
    Have a great day, Danni,

  35. Danni, where are you? Are you okay? It's been a week--pretty long for you.

  36. LOL, Danni! And now you can learn to talk to the attendants in American Sign language with your toes?? (after all, your legs are freshly shaved!)


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