I generally accepted the idea that I was living in the 21st century because my desk calendar said so. I don’t really like change that much but I guess I “get on board” with changes just like everyone else. I wish life was simpler but I guess that’s one wish that I will never see fulfilled. Today…I had to take my wife to see a new doctor in a neighboring town and the trip went well. I pulled in to a large truck stop on the outskirts of town to fill up my truck with gas before we headed home.
When I had finished filling up the truck…I noticed that my left rear tire was a little low. I decided to check all my tires and fill up the low tire at the obligitory exit air/water station. As I pulled up to the air station…I noticed it was brand new and painted in lively colors. I reached into my pocket for some quarters and noticed a sign on the air pump. It read: “Please insert 4 quarters or use any major debit/credit card for 3 minutes of air.” I chose to use my quarters and did the deed. In the back of my mind I was thinking that this would never last as most people simply would not pay a $1 to air up their tires much less use a credit card to do it.
We got back into our home town and I stopped to get a loaf of bread at our local mini-mart/gas station. As I was returning to the truck…I glanced over and saw that the old rusty red air station on the corner was replaced with a brand new one with the same sign that I had seen at the truck stop. I guess I’ll have to change my mind about change at some point but for the moment I’ll just kick and scream a little. It accomplishes nothing but I feel better afterward. I’ll know the end has come when they charge me a $1 to do it…with 4 quarters or a debit/credit card.
I have $9 foot operated pump from walmart and get my own exercise pumping air. This is in CA where when you fill up, you are entitled to free air and water. But I was tired of the stares from the counter person and rechecking the tire cold & hot pressure also meant washing hands 3 times.
I have been using my own electric tire inflator for…probably about 15 years. I bought it in order to be able to inflate my tires at home, prior to driving to a gas station–where the tire pump was frequently blocked by cars.
Trust me, you will recoup the cost of buying your own tire inflator within a little more than a year, and the added convenience is…priceless.
Thanks @galant and @VDCdriver. I also have a portable air pump that I’ve had for many years. I loaned it to my aunt last weekend to inflate a large swimming pool and haven’t picked it up yet. I should have mentioned it in my comment but I completely forgot about it. I do use those air stations in a pinch though if my pump is not available.
I’ve got my own compressors so only would use one at a station in an emergency, Haven’t run across the pay ones but why not? The problem in Minnesota is when its 10 below and you need air, most of those are frozen up so you have to have your own.
Concerning the debit card, I remembe the day some years ago where I’d get gas and write a check and my wife would ask why I didn’t use a debit card. I said in my authoritative tone: “I don’t use debit cards”. Wasn’t long after that I started using them and now I wear them out. She doesn’t let me forget it though.
The only remaining full service gas station near me recently took out all of their air hoses and installed a 75 cent air vending machine; located near the entrance door where its difficult to access and which also blocks some of the gas pumps due to the tight fit.
The time allotted is not stated on the machine but it does state in so many words to have the valve caps removed and gauge in hand before starting.
My gut feeling is that another 75 cents would be needed before the job is completed and the next step may be a charge for washing the windshield.
20 years ago I wouldn’t have believed that I would use a plastic card to pay for a tank of gasoline. Using cash these days requires a banker and an escrow account.
And @missileman. That pump may have bit the dust. I pumped up a BIG BERTHA inner tube with a 12 volt pump and then threw it away and found that a shop vac set to exhaust will quickly inflate such toys.
What about those Red Box machines? Ever think you’d be able to rent a movie from a vending machine?
Conspiracy theory, Big brother will track everything by your purchases in the cashless society. The other side government intelligence is an oxymoron, so you are probably safe. God only knows when your filling up a spare tire might lead to some sinister plot.
Charging $1 for three minutes of air compressor use reminds me of an old Jack Benny television show. A couple burglars got into Jack Benny’s house, but didn’t find anything worth stealing and they heard him come in the door. When the burglars got to the window, there was a coin slide and a sign that read : “To open window, deposit 25 cents”. One burglar dug into hid pocket, came up with a quarter and opened the window… He got out, but before the other burglar could climb out, the window slammed shut and the second burglar also had to deposit a quarter.
People pay to buy bottled water, so I imagine drinking fountains will disappear. Now we have to pay for air. I am sure that pay toilets will return in the near future.
Before you start kicking and screaming too hard at the air vending machine, remember that there’s a cost associated with everything and that you get what you pay for when something is free. I used to have the last free air and water dispenser for miles around and people knew it. I’d watch people buy gas at the supermarket next door and then come over here for free air. I’d have cars lined up 3 deep for the free air, and watch people pull the hose out, drop the air chuck where it lay and then drive over it on the way out. I’d have people come and fill their leaky radiators and leave a rusty mess on the ground.
Over a period of 1 year I spent an average of $42/month replacing hoses, tire inflators and gauges and water spigots. It just made sense to eliminate that expense and replace it with a profit center. And people seem to treat the air hose much better now.
Pay toilets are alive and well. The price varies though.
The independent gas station I’ve been using for years had a old fashioned pump that you set the pressure by turning the crank on the side until it was stolen a few years back. Now if you ask he will hook up an air hose for you, all he asks is that you coil and hang up the hose when you are done. It seems that most people are incapable of that simple act.
“Pay toilets are alive and well. The price varies though.”
Indeed they are!
In NYC (and possibly some other places), there are glass-walled “comfort stations” in a few sidewalk locations. I don’t know the cost of these contraptions, but…when you need one, you need one, and in some urban locations, it isn’t always possible to find a free (and CLEAN) toilet, so entrepreneurs have decided to capitalize on this market.
According to the articles that I have read, the mirrored exterior appears to be transparent to someone inside these comfort stations, so the sensation of being in the middle of people hustling & bustling all around you while…answering a call of nature must be a bit unnerving.
In order to prevent homeless types from making these devices their homes, the door automatically opens after…I think…15 minutes or so. Then, the door closes again while the interior is washed down with a deluge of disinfectant & water, so the device is out of commission for a short period of time after each usage.
No, I haven’t availed myself of one of these devices, but, if the need arose, I would definitely use one of them.
In my area air has been $1 (for typically 4 minutes) for years. I even ended up using one yesterday because the regulator on my compressor in my garage is broken. It doesn’t shut off the motor the way it should. The motor keeps running until the overpressure valve opens and bleeds it. I’ll have to get to that this weekend.
I’m comfortable with a $1 charge.
I have a $14.95 air pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter (“accessory”) socket. Works great.
I was thinking of getting one of those. It’s good to know they work.
@asemaster…I fully agree with your comments. I’ve had time to think about it and I guess this has been coming for a long time. I have a hard time with change because it makes me feel older. I remember that these first air stations were free years ago. I didn’t like it when they started charging a quarter for air so, all in all, I guess we are getting a bargain. It’s easy to forget that “someone” has to pay for this equipment.
BTW @Rod…my pump gave it’s all trying to inflate that pool. The motor melted inside the case. Oh well…now I have an excuse to get the latest and greatest at the auto parts store or Wally World. My old one has been noisy for the past year so it was time for it to go. I made my aunt feel better by actually thanking her for finishing off the old pump. It was a black Campbell-Hausfield that was 10 years old and only cost about $10 way back then.
All new cars are required to have tpms. So you will see more people actually putting air in their tires. Not that new tires leak. But there are nails out there. Been told.
Hess gas here in the North East have FREE AIR stations.
But Hess announced a month ago they are getting out of the service station business and is looking for a buyer to buy their gas stations.