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Free Gifts for Filling Up

Alas, another entry without an illustration. If I could have found ANYTHING about gas station freebies, I would have posted it (with the owner's permission, of course), but this one is really obscure, it seems.

In the 60's and 70's before the Oil Crisis, gas stations would offer you cool stuff free for filling 'er up at their places of business.

That seems strange today. Most of the time, you pay at the pump with a credit card and never see a human. Or perhaps you walk up and pay (in advance) some surly guy behind bulletproof glass.

There's not a whole lot of hope that he's going to give you a free dinner plate for filling up.

But go back to the 1960's and earlier, and service stations (as they were known) tried hard to get your business. In fact, they bent over backwards.

In addition to doing all of the work of filling your car, checking your oil, and making sure your tires had sufficient air, they would give you a gift out of sheer gratitude that you honored them by purchasing their gasoline.

I guess times have changed just a tad.

I remember most of the giveaways being dishes and glasses. And they weren't bearing the name of the station or oil company that provided them, either. These were completely generic items that you could set out for company without them ever knowing that you obtained them free of charge, well NEARLY so.

The stations that offered these tantalizing baubles usually charged two or three more cents a gallon than the ones who MERELY filled your car and checked your oil and tires.

Hey, that was quite a difference when gas was less than 30 cents a gallon.

But it was nice being viewed with gratitude when we pulled in for a fill up, instead of being glared at.

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