Oregon Can Pump Own Gas

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A little over a decade ago, I worked for IBM. Actually, it was a consulting arm of IBM called ISSC. It got rebranded as IBM Global Services. I don’t have any idea what it is called today.

Anyway, the point is that I never should have left. I never got paid more money for doing less than when I worked there, and also, that one time, they sent me to Oregon. As was custom back then, I rented a car, drove out from the airport, stayed at a hotel in town, and went to the client site each day. At the end of the week, as I was driving to the airport, I stopped to fill the car up with gas.

Anyone who ever rents a car is familiar with the options. One, let the car company grossly overcharge you for gasoline, or two, fill the car’s tank on your own at a gas station on the way to the airport, and bring it back “full”.

I chose option 2, in part because corporate policy required it, and in part because getting screwed over by a rental car company is getting screwed over, even if your employer pays for it.

So, I pulled into a gas station, got out of my car to pump my gas, like I’ve been doing since I turned 16 years old back in Fort Collins, Colorado, and was promptly chastised by the guy working at the gas station. As a gas station on the way to the airport, he had seen this before. People who don’t live in Oregon pump their own gas, or they pay 40 cents more per gallon for “full service.”

Spoiler alert: No one pays for full service.

It was so strange that I worried the guy was trying to cheat me into overpaying for gas somehow. Eventually, and mostly because this was all on an expense account anyway, I let him pump my gas for me. The whole time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how dumb it was to have someone else pump my gas, like it was hard, or tricky, or beyond the capacities of a non-professional.

I haven’t been back to Oregon since, and forgot all about it, except apparently Oregon stat law now allows you to pump your own gas, and some Oregonians are freaking out about it.

Welcome to the 21st century guys, where everyone else in the whole country pumps their own gas, and nothing bad ever happens because of it.

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