Support for full-service stations running on empty

Why in the world isn’t there a full-service gas station in all of Durango? That would give jobs to some people and help out a lot of seniors. Hoping for some action. – J. in Marvel

Action Line did some calling around, and the chances for this happening are slightly less than the Colorado Department of Transportation admitting the Bridge to Nowhere was a costly blunder or a Durango nonprofit group not serving cheap wine and cheese cubes at its silent auction.

In other words, slim to none.

There are places that still have full-service gas stations, notably throughout New Jersey and Oregon, where it violates the law to pump your own fuel.

Rules against filling your own tank were enacted in the late ’40s and early ’50s, when legislators were concerned about untrained people pumping flammable liquids.

Gas-pump safety has come a long way since the Truman Administration, but the rules are still on the books, having survived several legal and political challenges along the road.

It seems that having full-service stations are proud cultural quirks in both the Garden State and the Beaver State.

One Oregon pundit points out the irony that the state allows its residents the right to self-service suicide with a doctor’s assistance while do-it-yourself gas is prohibited on safety and health concerns.

However, there is one issue that really hits home: unemployment. Laws mandating full-service gas stations are a jobs-protection measure.

In 2003, the last time Oregon made a serious attempt to overturn its fuel laws, economists estimated that 7,600 jobs would be wiped out.

And that brings us back to the Durango situation, which has the opposite problem.

Local station managers are almost certain they wouldn’t be able to fill a full-service position if they created the jobs.

“I have a hard enough time getting clerks. How would I find people to work outside pumping gas? No one wants these kind of jobs,” sighed one manager who asked to be anonymous.

“I’d also have to charge more for gas. How do you think that would go over?”

Not very well, especially when many locals will drive several miles to save a mere penny on gas, which doesn’t make a lick of sense.

The other issue is the gas pumps themselves. A boatload of money has been spent on card-swiping, pay-at-the-pump technology.

There’s no way station owners are going backward 60 years to the halcyon days of chipper uniformed attendants asking, “fill ’er up with ethyl?”

For better or worse, we are in a do-it-yourself society that values low price over high service.

Your best strategy is to find a friendly gas station and talk with the manager to see if the station could help you. Call ahead during non-peak hours. Then tip well.

Why do you think a “Dandelion Festival” is held at a park that has virtually no dandelions? – Just wondering

The fourth-annual Dandelion Festival was Saturday and featured local food, dandelion beer, activities, peace games and music. It was a fundraiser for Turtle Lake Refuge’s Grassroots program.

Ironically, the event was held at Rotary Park, a notably weed-free expanse of turf.

But we have to remember that local festivals are not so much about their names.

Consider that Snowdown can be just as much fun without snow.

The annual Dandelion Festival isn’t a party for the genus Taraxacum. It’s about celebrating spring, bees and organic land-steward practices.

What better place to celebrate than in a park that is not quite as green as the color of its grass?

Of course, if such a festival were held at the Action Lines, it would have to be billed as the Bindweed, Thistle and Burdock Gala – with Mrs. Action Line handing each attendee a digging fork and a wide-brimmed sunhat. Party on!

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