With two decades of cross-border travel I have noticed something this year that I hadn’t before. In the States there is a metal flap on the trigger of the pump. You can latch that in to hold the trigger in. It removes the need to continuously squeeze as you must in Canada. It makes me wonder if the latch is new or I have simply been unobservant over the past while. I have never done a five week road trip before and I had ample opportunity to observe other drivers being able to wander away from the handle while filling up.
Since I have been back in Canada I have been searching for these magic latches. The last time I looked it seemed to me that the small ridge had been removed that would hold the metal flap. If you have a garden hose with an open and close valve it’s very similar to that. Now that I’ve become lazy pumping gas the American way, I want to know when Canada will allow us this luxury.
Which brings me to Oregon – the state where you’re not allowed to pump your own gas. You’ll get in trouble if you get out of your vehicle and try to be independent and do it yourself. I kind of like having gas pumped for me. I remember full service gas stations where the attendant would leave the pump running (they must have had those magic metal latches back then), wash your windows, and even check your oil. I’m a little bad with checking my oil so I appreciate having that done. It’s supposed to be done when your vehicle has been sitting so that the oil can drain back and make the reading more accurate when it’s cool. Also checking the oil is a messy process where you have to be armed with a paper towel and try not to get dirty. The worst part for me is opening the hood and latching the arm to hold the lid firmly in place. Alas in Oregon the law that forbids you to pump your own gas thereby providing employment, does not allow the attendant to check your oil. You must still do that yourself.
I think it’s important to realize that jobs are disappearing all over. Everytime in a store or a fast food outlet where you enter in your purchases and take care of the payment yourself means that a human will eventually lose a job. Machines are taking jobs away from people. Even at airports generation of the boarding pass and border crossing forms are automated. At banks when you use the automated teller it tells the bank that human tellers aren’t as necessary as they used to be. Profits can be made while salaries disappear.
It seems that some states allow the Latch Trigger Mechanism and others do not. Obviously Canada does not either. Forcing the driver to stay put holding the handle prevents them from building up a static charge that might start a fire. It also may prevent spills caused by overfilling the tank.
So automation and making it easier to do things yourselves can have a negative effect on jobs for humans but please Canada can we get the metal latch for the gas tanks?