Tipping Gas Jockeys

As a teenager in the 1960s, I pumped gas at an Oldsmobile garage. There were two customers who tipped us when we pumped gas, a gent in a new T-Bird (We had to remember to wash his T-Bird’s windshield for the nickel) and an elderly gent driving a brush-repainted Packard 120 who would tip us a dime if we also checked his oil and washed his windshield. At ten cents a coke out of the machine, and $1.25 an hour wage, we never forgot to give these fellows the extra service. As to getting tipped for pumping gas, I wish you’d been around to mention it back then!

OF COURSE gas jockeys should be tipped. I’m in my seventies. When I began to drive, all gas stations were full service and tipping was expected. The “gas jockeys” got more if they offered to clean the windshield and check the oil, and if the weather was bad. Then when self serve came in, lots of folks (men) thought that women could never do their own fill-ups. Huh! Now if I happen to come across and use a full service station (rarely), I tip. The public needs to appreciate service, whether from a waitress, someone cleaning your room in a hotel, or a gas jockey. These folks have to make a living, too.

Unfortunately for me, tipping was pretty much unknown in Cincinnati, I don’t remember getting any over 4 years at working at a full-service station, started at $1/hr. At least I was able to learn auto repair at the same time.

I wouldn’t tip someone pumping my gas anymore than I would tip the fine person giving me my coffee at one of many fine establishments that rhyme with “cartucks” It’s not like there’s good service and bad service. The gas either gets in the tank or it doesn’t. When I was alive in the 1960’s checking the oil and cleaning the windshield was part of the standard service, and the fact that you only remember two who tipped indicates that it wasn’t common.

Full service gas costs more than self-serve. What the station owner does with the difference is his business.

I pumped some gas in the mid 60’s. Checking the oil was the norm as was washing the windshield and I don’t remember anyone ever tipping me. It might have been nice, but in those days these things were part of a normal fill up.

Today I live in a self serve state. There is one station that provides a gas attendant stationed at the pumps. If I used that station I’d think a tip might be in order. It is worth it for folks who are older, or not car savey to have someone pop the hood and check the oil, etc.

About a year ago I moved out of NJ which does not allow self serve gas pumps. I did not tip the guys that pumped the gas. All they do now is run the pump. No windshield washing, no oil checking, just pump the gas. Really not full service as I recall the old days and not deserving of a tip IMO.

I pumped gas for four years from 1968-1972. Washing windows and checking oil was standard procedure. Getting a tip from someone was an extremely rare occurrence.

Back in my gas jockey days, I don’t recall ever having been given a tip–and since that was in the late '60s when we cleaned the windshield and checked the oil on every car, and even put air in all 4 tires upon request–I don’t think that most gas jockeys in this era of no extra service deserve to be tipped.

That being said, I did give the usual guy at my usual gas station $10 at Christmas. He seemed to be genuinely surprised and really grateful.

I gave the money to him because I did not have to point out the proper procedure for hanging the gas cap from the gas filler door to him when I drove in with my new car. He does this automatically, unlike so many gas jockeys who let the gas cap bounce off of the rear fender as it dangles from its tether.

I also don’t have to tell him, “Bastante, No Mas!” when the pump clicks off. He does not attempt to force more gas into the tank–unlike some gas jockeys. I think that his extra consideration did entitle him to a little Xmas gift from me.

Incidentally, I live in NJ, which is a mandatory “full-service” state. However, when the attendant is occupied with other cars when my pump clicks off, I finish off the process, rather than wait for him to get back to my car. Then, I just take the credit card receipt from the pump, wave it at him to signal that I paid, and off I go. It does appear that most attendants appreciate this action on my part–despite the regulations.

We buy our gas in New Jersey, where there is no such thing as self-serve – it’s against the law. (Honest!)

My wife was the one who introduced me to the idea of giving the attendent a dollar when we fill up.

I can not tell a lie – I never did it before, and the main reason I do it now is that ever since she mentioned it I can’t think of a good reason not to.

I live in Oregon - the only other state where self-serve is illegal. Having moved here from another state, I HATE not being allowed to pump my own gas. If I were choosing full-serve because of the convenience, I’d tip, but since I’m forced into it, I don’t.

If state law says it must be pumped by someone else no but if it is optional to fill up with service then you should tip the poor guy or gal

As someone who has worked as a waiter and a bartender, I tip well, and when I can’t afford to tip well, I don’t go to a restaurant. I can’t remember the last time I bought full-service fuel, but if it did, I would tip. The only time I have been in New Jersey, I was working as a truck driver. Truck drivers in NJ are allowed to pump their own fuel.

tarcaulk, I hope you don’t go to the same restaurant more than once. If you don’t tip your waiter, I would hate to think about what he is doing to your food before he brings it to your table.

tarcaulk didn’t say he didn’t tip his waiter. He said he doesn’t tip carry-out counter-service people for serving coffee. Lots of people don’t. Many people find the tip jars for carry-out counter service an unnecessary expansion of tip etiquette. I go back and forth on it myself. If there’s nothing out of the ordinary about pouring the cup of coffee or making the sandwich and taking the money, I usually don’t tip, there, either, and I do almost always tip at least 20% in sit-down restaurants, bars, or hair joints. Do you generally tip a cashier in a clothing store for ringing up your purchase? No. And that person works just as hard as the coffee jockey or the sub sandwich maker.

Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I used a full-service gas pump, either, but now that I heard the discussion on the show, I probably would tip there, too, IF there was something exceptional about the situation, such as bad weather, or if he checked the oil and washed the windshield, and was pleasant and prompt, but probably not only for pumping gas and taking the payment on a nice day.

If the weather is really bad I go to a full service station and tip them generously. If I am in that neighborhood and need gas in good weather I fill up and tip but less generously. The attendants recognize me and race to be the first to my truck. I am somewhat sure they are not making more than minimum wage but they are always quite gracious and friendly and I appreciate their efforts. I prefer tipping them $5 when it is cold and raining more than buying a cup of Mocha Latte at McD’s. But opinions vary, I guess.

He did suggest he didn’t tip the guys who pumped his gas, checked the oil, and cleaned the windshield back in the 1960s. Based on that attitude, I carried it a step further. If he does tip at restaurants, I would like him to say so rather than make that assumption, which, in my opinion, would go against the tone of his post.

I tried to fill up once in Oregon.

“Sir, STEP AWAY FROM THE PUMP ! I have to do that for you.”

No tip.

There are some professions that are paid less than minimum wage. Those I tip, usually in ones. Service station attendants are not in that group.

(This is my third attempt to reply to you. Can you guess what one of those professions is?) Hello, Mrs. Grundy!