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Diatribe: Grating Local Commercials On Loud Televisions At Gas Pumps That Don’t Print Receipts.

01/23/2014

TripleDiatribe“What are we going to do today?” I asked last Saturday morning when, for the first time in what seemed like months we had a day on our calendar that was completely open.  It had been so long since we had any free time that a dozen projects had been set aside for a day just like this.

“Let’s go on a day trip.  We can drive to the other side of the city, browse through some antique stores and have lunch at that little place with the fantastic coconut cream pie that we like so much,” was the welcomed reply.

It took very little persuading (“pie”) to make me forget the looming chores and get me into the car and we were on our way.  As we exited from the highway we stopped to fill the car’s tank and use the restroom.

This particular filling station was in a relatively upscale neighborhood and appeared to be a relatively new facility.  The pumps were digital and each had a computer screen in the front, at chest level, that served as the home screen when making payment in advance for gasoline purchases.

Left alone at the pump on my relaxing outing I encountered what I’ll henceforth refer to as a Triple-Diatribe … the Grating Local Commercials On Loud Televisions At Gas Pumps That Don’t Print Receipts episode of January 2014.

Once I began to fill the tank, like I’d done dozens of times before, the screen magically became an extraordinarily loud television blaring news headlines and weather updates from across the nation and an assortment of grating advertisements for local businesses.  The headlines and advertisements seemed to get louder and faster, one beginning before the last was completely finished, in a race to show me as much materials as possible during the short time that it takes to fill an average car’s gasoline tank.

What was taking so long?!  Why wouldn’t the pump shut itself off?  Surely, the tank was full by now!  I was trapped … literally, a captive audience with no means of escape!

Finally, gasoline stopped pouring into our car and I quickly returned the nozzle to the pump hoping the chaotic television program would end.  After a short “thank you” message and one more advertisement for some special they were promoting inside their store, the screen asked me if I wanted a receipt.  I touched “YES” and received the reply that I’ve grown to anticipate at every opportunity:

“See Attendant For Receipt”

Yes, even a beautiful filling station with brand-new digital pumps in an upscale neighborhood needs someone to periodically load the little rolls of paper so customers can print receipts.

I did not see the attendant.  Instead, I took a picture of the screen with my Smartphone, got back into the car and played Candy Crush until everyone was situated and it was time to go for pie.

It turned out to be a very relaxing day.  I’m hopeful that encountering a Triple-Diatribe might make future individual diatribes a bit more tolerable.

Have you encountered one of these loud entertainment/gas pumps?

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9 Comments
  1. I haven’t seen those, but i’m gonna be on the lookout and I’ll head somewhere else for gas.

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  2. The only place I haven’t seen them is in NJ and that’s because they have a law against self-service (pumping gas that is). Along with digital billboards, road signs (yep the ones over the interstate), menu boards in restaurants, ad boards on the side of bus stops and almost anywhere else they can think of, it’s becoming a BLADE RUNNER world.

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    • I think digital billboards along the highway are very distracting to drivers, regardless of the message that they’re broadcasting. The last thing the drivers I encounter need is another distraction!

      Our local Hardee’s restaurant has loud televisions hanging from the ceiling that show a dedicated Hardee’s channel in a continuous loop twenty-four hours per day. I seriously wonder if they were installed to discourage customers from eating in their “dining room” and using the drive-thru window instead. It’s really that annoying.

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  3. Good post. I have grown numb to commercials and advertisements. To me, they are so prevalent, they become easier to ignore. Maybe I am old school, but very, very few commercials sway me to do anything. I tell my kids to remember this rule of thumb – the cuter the commercial usually means the higher the profit margin on the product – the duck commercials are a good example.

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    • Now that you mention it, I’m rarely if ever influenced by commercials in a positive manner. Perhaps with the exception of movie trailers, most advertisements help me decide where I do NOT want to spend my money. Those God-awful Charmin Bears come to mind!

      Maybe we’ll be able to tune them all out by the time we reach Bladerunner status. 😉

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  4. PS – I did not see “justajeepguy’s” comment until I submitted my comment, but I was thinking Bladerunner as well.

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  5. One of the benefits of living in NJ is that we don’t pump our own gas. Those gas pumps sound really annoying. They just keep thinking of new ways to squeeze in advertising.

    Great idea to take a picture of the pump with your smartphone. I may steal that idea if I’m ever in a similar situation. I’ll totally give you credit for it though 🙂

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  6. ka person permalink

    None of that in SE WA. Not sure about Tech Central (Seattle). Youngest Son is interning there this summer so we’ll have him investigate.

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