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C.O. gas station owner, struggling with short-staffing, calls for self-service pumps

(Update: Adding video, comments from station worker, owner)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The staff shortage crippling many businesses around the country may have a new impact, if a Central Oregon gas station owner gets his way -- and more Central Oregonians can pump their own gas.

Haseeb Shojai owns several stations around the region, including the Chevron on Division Street in Southeast Bend, near the Bend Parkway on-ramp.

Shojai said the station was closed on Sunday due to staffing issues and had to wait to open until 10 a.m. on Monday.

Brian Kidd was the only attendant on Monday.

"It’s been kind of rough because no one wants to work,” Kidd said.

Kidd worked from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday. Those were the only hours the station was open.

Shojai said, “We don’t even know when we can open. We don’t know when we can close. We don’t know if somebody shows up.” 

He plans to write a letter to Gov. Kate Brown, state Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, and the Oregon State fire marshal, urging officials to allow self-service gas station pumps in Deschutes County.

"That will take care a lot of the burden on employer, and employees, because we are at a point in our business that we have to break a rule," Shojai said.

Oregon and New Jersey are the only states where everyone cannot pump their own gas. Oregon's rules date back to 1951, when lawmakers said only trained gas station workers should do so.

Other reasons for the self-serve ban included equitable treatment of seniors and the disabled, and the job impact of not requiring an attendant to pump gas.

But Shojai said such a change will not impact his employees.

"They will just play a different role in the company," he said. "They will still be compensated, and they will still have their wages. Jobs will not be lost."

Critics of the continued ban, a half-century later, note far more safety features and a simpler setup in modern times.

The state rules were relaxed in 2015 so people in 15 rural counties with fewer than 40,000 residents could self-serve from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was expanded to 24 hours a day three years later, for locations without a market or convenience store attached. The rules for rural counties include Crook and Jefferson counties, but not Deschutes.

In 2020, the state fire marshal changed the rules for a time in all counties, allowing self-serve due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing challenges.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

Comments

124 Comments

        1. Yep, this is incredibly stupid. When I get gas in Madras or Prineville I get to choose whether or not to pump my own (and in Christmas Valley, Burns, Biggs Junction, etc.). Why not have the same choice in Bend and Redmond? Most of the time in those places I just hop out and do it myself, because life is short and I have better things to do with the time I have left than stewing in my car waiting to someone to eventually show up and provide me with luxury concierge fuel dispensing service.

      1. Why not both? Majority of pumps become self serve and then have a 1-2 pumps on the end that are full service for those who can’t or won’t pump their own gas. It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive if there are stations with enough employees (Fred Meyer gas comes to mind).

          1. They worked great in April 2020 when the silly self-serve ban as suspended. Those that wanted to could fill up themselves and be outta there quickly. The attendants were then able to promptly take care of those that wanted to stay in their cars and be waited on hand and foot. A win/win for everybody. No reason we can’t do this on a permanent basis.

    1. I used to work at a gas station in Bend. We need a nanny state because the people around here act like spoiled, petulant children.

      They think they want self service but they dont. And dont even get me started on how they would react if we had the same laws about buying more gas than you can use that other states do (Did you pay for more gas than you can put in your tank? Hope you brought a fuel can for the extra because in a lot of states, you dont get a refund for the difference.). The salt would hit the moon.

  1. Already been pumping my own gas several times this year. Don’t have time to wait for some pimply dingus to stop talking or put their phone down to do their jobs correctly.

  2. How about no? I don’t want to get out of my car to pump gas besides I thought the whole reason we had gas attendants was to give people with few skills job opportunities.

    1. Everyone forgets that you can have both.
      Some smaller stations might not but if there are 10 pumps then 2 can be dedicated for those that think along your lines.
      That’s how the rest of the world does it

    2. No one’s asking you to. But why do you care if someone else does? Are we going to next outlaw carrying your own groceries out to your car, or changing your own oil, in order to give people with few skills job opportunities? Maybe; I’ve heard talk from union leaders about banning self-serve checkout lines in stores. Talk about a socialist nanny state.

  3. If he wants to be self service does he plan on lowering his gas prices? I mean if he’s not paying employees anymore, there’s no reason to charge the prices he is now.

    1. You didn’t read the article.
      (But Shojai said it will not impact the employees he has.

      “They will just play a different roll in the company,” he said. “They will still be compensated and they will still have their wages. Jobs will not be lost.”)

  4. But who are the entitled whiners gonna try and bilk for a whole new paint job when they spill a drop of gas on their car? Who are they gonna cry too for an entire new engine when they put the wrong sort of fuel in it?

  5. it’s just silly we can’t pump our own gas here. when my father visited, he was so offended and yelled at the pumper, “i’m capable of filling my own tank”. it was funny!

    hope it passes – i’d much rather pump my own than wait in line for some bloat with diabetes taking 20 minutes per car!

    1. “he was so offended and yelled at the pumper, “i’m capable of filling my own tank”. it was funny!”

      You think yelling at someone who is just trying to do their job for no real reason is funny? Wait til you grow up and have to work a job. See how funny you think it is then.

      1. um – i am grown up and very successful, thank you. great work ethic given from a military family. you’re welcome for your rights to be such a ninny!

        it was funny that a southern man here in oregon was huffing about wanting to pump his own tank – like the pumper was implying he were incapable. 30 years prior, dad would have loved the white glove service. if you’ve ever known a proud elder from the south – you’d know why he was miffed.

        he yelled – barked might have been a better term for it – at him at first yes, but it wasn’t contentious. jeez – you really read literally. they ended up good friends in the end with my dad laughing over leftist laws that make zero sense.

        the whole point here is that every other state than 2 in our country pump their own gas. why on earth we don’t is simply amazing.

    2. Whattheheck ~ well aren’t you (and your father) the rude ones. Are you familiar with the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. Hmmm.

      And your “bloat with diabetes” comment ~ seriously? Woah. All crass for you, forget the class.

      Frankly ~ I would gladly have somebody pump my gas for me. Been there done that. Pass ~ especially on a nasty weather day.

      Happy Trails.

      1. so if you’re too entitled and lazy to get out of your car to pump you’re own gas, you don’t deserve a car. read my reply to the original comment – perhaps all you folks are reading way too much into it!

        1. WTH ~ Nope. Not lazy or entitled. Don’t care for doing it ~ and if it’s providing work for another. So be it. And I’m polite to the folks who provide the service. Think “service” (as in you served your country).

          Regarding ~ I don’t deserve to own a car. Woah…you might have military work ethics but you missed the boat entirely on manners, kindness and respect.

          My husband worked in a “service station” many years ago ~ as he says, you see quite the slice of life. Some not so nice.

          Lastly ~ as noted prior ~ your comment about a diabetic bloat is totally rude.

          Happy trails. Happy health! Adios!

        1. There are many seniors who can’t wrestle with the hose and nozzle. Due to Arthur Itis can’t squeeze the nozzle handle for long if at all. There are other disabilities which limit a person’s ability to get in and out of a car in a timely manner and without pain, but do not interfere with vehicle operation. Self serve for them is a hardship, especially is the weather is nasty.
          I suppose it’d be possible to find full serve stations if you looked hard enough. If our neighboring states are any indicator, full serve is far and few and with most you have to drive up and ask. If you’re a local, you can eventually figure it out. If you are travelling and the station does not advertise full service, you could look and look for a long time.
          I do support self serve. I’d like to ensure that every station has one attendant on shift that can pump gas for customers if needed/wanted. In my seventh decade, I find it increasingly difficult to operate the nozzle. Won’t be long

    3. You think that’s funny??? Let me guess. You and dad also treat servers, cashiers, etc like garbage too.Guess your dad is capable of pumping his own gas but clearly not capable of being a decent human being. Ugh, I hate that I have co exist with people like you. How do people even end up like this?

      1. oh my – how my comment has been misconstrued. jeez – maybe i need to reconsider my writing skills. my dad treats everyone with respect – he was just offended because he felt the pumper didn’t think he was capable. he is the most decent person on this planet. and he loves beets!

        he was a doctor for 60 years – lives in the south. even after malpractice insurance was needed, he took his doctor bag into the tennessee hills and cared for the folks who had zero insurance, were what folks call “hill people”, don’t have cars, etc. he gave them flu shots and exams to make sure they were cared for knowing the whole time, if anyone said a word, he’d lose his medical license.

        that was worth it for him. and he served in vietnam as a medic. he’s a glorious human and if you spent five seconds on the phone with him, you’d have a friend for life.

        wish i could delete or edit my remark. clearly i did not say what i thought i said.

            1. I merely stated the same thing about them that they stated about someone else’s father. That they sound like quite the jerk. iKnow stated “your Father sounds like quite the jerk” and I stated “iKnow you sound like quite the jerk” I never said “iKnow, you are a jerk”. So thank you for your statement of untruth. oh tolerant one.

        1. You admit your father was rude, you say you are quite successful and have manners, you put down those who work thankless jobs and have medical issues then brag again about your father being a doctor and tell all that he’s a veteran (thanks to him for his service) you act like a self entitled spoiled child and not at all like a military brat, you don’t get that when we go to self serve no matter what people say they will be so put out and will complain non stop (that’s all they do) and all those jobs WILL disappear. Yes I know it’s one very long run-on sentence. P.S. as a military brat and a southerner you should be ashamed and apologize for your posts.

          1. wow- i am not ashamed and will not apologize. but thanks for trying to dictate how i should be as a human. you sound like a total karen, man. wow – people are really prickly these days.

        2. My, folks are touchy. I thought it was funny. It may not have been the ultra PC way to handle it but it wasn’t uber offensive. I also have lived in the South and believe me, that’s tame coming from that generation. Also the “here we understand and are patient” is patently a crock of crap. I’ve lived all over the country and this world and Bend is no kinder than anywhere else and usually downright more hostile.

          1. thank you, neuro! my daddy is southern as the day is long. his “rant” was nothing more than an older person wanting to prove he can pump his own gas and isn’t weak. it was nothing more than a guy saying, wait, i can do this myself. he and the pumper had a great laugh. as did i. folks are so touchy. glad you found the humor in it – my dad is a gas for sure – no pun intended. we need some quan in this world these days – where’s the niceness!?!?!?!

        3. WTH — perhaps thinking before you type/ speak as to what you are saying and how it might be construed. Frankly – it is not a person’s title that makes them, it is what they do. Good that you admire your father for his work. But somewhere it seems that you lost the magic piece about respecting others or not calling them names. You learn what you hear. Is that how your father spoke of his beloved patients when he was at home? Just curious.

  6. watched a trump kook trying to pump his own gas at Fred Meyer. Predictably he failed because inorder to pump your own gas you have to be smarter than the pump!!! This resulted in the attendant having to go help the idiot while evryone else he was serving waited. Pretty sure most of the rest of the public is perfectly capable of pumping their own gas!!! AND gas station owners would make even MORE money!!

    1. Why are you still clinging to Trump? Please get help for your TDS. Your posts could be an indication you’re a fanatic and fanatics can become dangerous.

    2. Just stop already. Your Trump kook statements have become nothing but lame statements. Grab some soap, stick in mouth, wash, rinse, repeat. Just stop. Get over Yourself already. You are no saint. just self righteous.

  7. Yea, yea. Can’t wait for Oregon to be even more like California!

    Higher fuel prices and long lines at the pump.

    Waiting for inconsiderate people to come back from the restroom and finally move their car from the fueling island.

    Fuel pumps that blast TV commercials at us while we can’t step away.

    It’s going to be so great! Embrace the urban utopia!

    1. Yep. People think they want this but they dont. You got to get out, walk in the store, prepay, walk back out, pump your own gas and oops did you buy too much gas? Well, too bad all sales final. Hope you got a gas can or you just gave the station free money. Oops di you damage your car? That’s all you. Have fun. Oh you’re in a hurry? Well too bad, you are gonna wait on Buddy Bill to go inside with his 15 kids wait while each one of them uses the bathroom and then buys snacks and a drink while his vehicles blocks a pump. And possibly the exit if someone has already pulled in line behind you.

      Welcome to the other side. The grass isnt greener.

      1. You have obviously never pumped your own gas because none of this is true. I have always been given a refund on the difference of gas when I paid cash in another state, though I personally just use cards now. I never had people go inside and shop and leave their car at the pump. They would finish getting gas and move to a parking spot. You’re making things up because you’re either lazy or don’t understand how simple pumping gas is.

        1. “I have always been given a refund on the difference of gas when I paid cash in another state,”

          I drove everything from Indianapolis east and this dont happen. You pay in cash, you prepay, and you dont get a refund if you overpay. Thats what those “All Sales Are Final” signs mean.

      2. Obviously, Blue, you’ve not gassed up in many self serve states. When not waiting for an attendant, one can swipe their card, pump their gas, grab their receipt and drive off. Anytime, day or night. No lines like are regularly seen at the local Freddy’s. Nothing wrong with having an attendant for those who want the service, but forcing it on everyone, whether they want it or not, is unjust. Thankfully, the rural parts of the state have come around.

    1. It will be “Pump at your own risk, not responsible for accidents or damages, all sales final.” just like other states. This is something people think they want but they dont really want it.

        1. TomD (hmmm, what’s the “D” for)…

          California has self pump ~ and are tops for expensive fuel.

          Fact: It’s a pain to pump your own. Have done it. Would rather have someone else do it. Especially in frigid temps.

          Fred Meyer Fuel stations do a good job in my opinion. 99% of their team members are pleasant. And guessing they have plenty of rude folks they contend with.

          If you want self serve~ move to one of the regions that offers it. Or you could always try Idaho. Self serve there… fuel costs, similar to Oregon.

          1. Frogs. You are a isolated person with a small brain. Here’s how it works everywhere else. First of all California always has higher gas prices. Always will. But gas stations mostly have punks that are self service and pumps full service. Many states you pay a little more for full service. Self service you pump your own gas and leave many times faster than you would get help from a attendant normally.

            1. Oregone – nope – not a small brain. But keep on with the insults — I read yours constantly, you are quite good at it. And being rude. Happy trails — hope you are enjoying your life.

          2. Most of us self-pumpers have no problem with those who want their gas pumped for them. Why do these folks have a problem with those of us who prefer to do it ourselves? It’s not an either/or situation. Why not just let me pump my own without all the “You can’t do that here” drama?

            1. pumping our own gas is safe and easy. accidents very rare, if not never.
              you present a great idea – let’s have a self-serve and a full-serve option – varying prices of course.
              seems like a win-win compromise!

              1. The surfaces on gas pump handles are among the dirtiest commonly touched areas in public. A study commissioned by Kimberly-Clark found that 71% of gas pump handles it tested to be “highly contaminated” with the germs connected with illness and disease.Sep 30, 2020. Just make sure you wear your mask.
                I see people pump gas all the time, bare hands usually. I like all the jobs created for some marginally employable workers.

            2. I have no problem with you pumping your own gas if your really want to. Enjoy the fuel vapors and pump handles with germs and boogers from a thousand strangers all you like.

              However, I do have a problem with people being disingenuous about their arguments in favor of it. It will not result in lower costs being passed down to the consumer. And the reality is that full service options rapidly evaporate once self-service becomes the norm.

              Honest question – when was the last time anyone saw “full service” advertised in any other state you’ve visited?

              Anyone? Anyone?

              1. Thank You. So true. You have to drive in and ask. You’re driving down the freeway and decide to fill up at a junction where there’s a gas/mini mart and that’s all. Sorry Bud, no full service. Drive another 10 to 30 miles. Same scenario. Without a requirement to display the level of service, travelers, especially handicapped travelers can find themselves in a real jackpot.

          3. Are you stupid enough to truly believe prices are tied to who pumps fuel? Look at fuel heat maps. West coast is expensive, period. 48 states are self-serve. Fred Meyer is a bunch of BS. I don’t like them and don’t go there. Happy for you that you do. I am all for Oregon following the other 48 states and going self-serve.

            1. “Are you stupid enough to truly believe prices are tied to who pumps fuel?”

              The very fact that so many people here think other states have self serve AND full service pumps pretty much shows how out of touch they are with how people buy gas outside Oregon. Self service has been dead and fossilized outside Oregon and NJ. Its not even an option.

              East coast gas prices get as expensive or more than Oregon coast were a lot more and they havent had self service outside NJ there in decades And thats not factoring in the vast difference in wages.

      1. pumping your own gas is safe and easy. accidents very rare, if not never.
        why wouldn’t all sales be final for gas???
        it’s easy – swipe card, pump, get receipt.

        1. Fuel pump mishaps do happen regularly. Whether they are “rare” is matter of opinion but I’d say the Oregon fire marshal has solid evidence to argue against self serve. Search “gas station fire” to see what’s happening.
          “From 2014 through 2018, local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 4,150 fires in or on service or gas station properties per year. These fires caused an average of three civilian deaths, 43 civilian fire injuries, and $30.0 million in direct property damage annually.”
          Naturally, some of these fires are beyond the control of an attendant but many others are the result of stupid people doing stupid things.

    1. Bring down inflation and wages will be livable. But when inflation out paces wage increases, a wage increase is still a wage shortage. You get a 5% pay increase yet prices are up 7% or more. You get a 7% pay increase yet prices are up 9%. It’s not a win win situation. I’m all for higher wages. But for small businesses to be able to afford higher wages, they have to raise prices to compensate. You get a 5% increase but the increased cost for the employer is even higher than your 5%. Take some economics classes and you will learn the truth. Besides, most employers already pay above minimum. The best way to create living wages is to bring the cost of living down first.

  8. In the time it takes to wait at the pump for the attendant to show up at my window, I could have pumped my own and and driven at least a mile from the station. I have lived in many places. When I moved home to Oregon I discovered that I had to let someone else do it for me. Oregon is the only place where I couldn’t pump my own gas. Self serve gets my YES vote.

  9. Shell at 27th and Greenwood is the best example of service ever. You aren’t waiting and no one is on the phone. Inside the store too. What a business model. Employees are happy and more than helpful! Can’t beat that!

  10. You wonder where all those pallets of cash they USA ships to the middle east goes to . This guy is worth MILLIONS maybe if he paid a better wage it would help

      1. Earning “enough” money then spreading the rest around to those further down the ladder was the founding concept of capitalism. The fact we no longer do this is why the system broke. Capitalism was never intended to work with the wealthy hoarding money.

  11. It’s a stupid and archaic law, but I think they should keep it because it really bothers the narrow minded folks on here looking for anything to whine about.

  12. What Do Toilet Seats and Gas Pumps Have In Common? Germs.

    “Gas stations are visited by many individuals in a given day, and with them come germs. You may think that the public toilet seat would be the culprit to many of those germs but in reality, gas pump handles are considered more than 10,000 times dirtier than toilet seats. Yuck!”

    “The surfaces on gas pump handles are among the dirtiest commonly touched areas in public. A study commissioned by Kimberly-Clark found that 71% of gas pump handles it tested to be “highly contaminated” with the germs connected with illness and disease. Based on lab results, the tested pump handles contained an average of 2 million colony-forming units (CPUs) per square inch. Of those, about half are the type of germs that can cause disease and infection. By comparison, the standard public toilet seat contains an average of just over 172 CFUs of those germs per square inch.”

    https://www.commercialzone.com/what-do-toilet-seats-and-gas-pumps-have-in-common-germs/

    1. Excellent points……….additionally I love not having the opportunity to get gas on my clothes when the hose spits back. I got plenty of that as a gas station attendant 40 years ago

      1. Pumps have changed in 40 years. The only way you can get gas on yourself now is if you take the nozzle out with it still pumping. As an experienced fuel technician, I’m sure you wouldn’t do that.

        1. Unfortunately, I have to drive to CA periodically, so I’m up to speed on how modern pumps leave your hands smelling of gasoline. If you like your hands to stink, Oregon allows self-service septic tank pumping and maybe that will scratch that itch for you

  13. Hey, on second thought this self-service solution is a great cure for all our labor shortages.

    We should be able to pour our own beers at Deschutes!

    And let us grill our own burgers too!

    It’s so stupid that we have to wait for other people to bring us our food and drinks!

  14. These comments are amazing. All the excuses for not allowing people to pump their own gas like; GERMS! Gas fumes! It’ll raise the price! Jobs will be lost! I don’t want to get out of my car! These are ridiculous arguments and could easily be applied to anything else people do for themselves such as grocery shopping. Why not have a grocery attendant that fills the cart for you based on a list and ban self shopping? In other states full service is a thing, and if you’re the sensitive type you can have the grocery store shop for you, no germs required. All voluntary.
    Thankfully I live in a rural county and for the last couple years have been able to pump my own gas. I make a point to fill up here, and not in Bend or Redmond simply so I don’t have to wait for an attendant.

  15. “In 2020, the state fire marshal changed the rules for a time in all counties, allowing self-serve due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing challenges.”

    And that ruling was never rescinded so people still can pump their gas if they want. I do. And I am a native Central Oregonian.

  16. Nowhere in the article does it address why the owner is not out pumping gas at any of the various stations he owns. Nor does it outline if he has requested any of his family do the work to keep the business going in a labor shortage. Most business owners roll up their sleeves and do some of the “grunt” work to keep a business going in hard times.

  17. Would make things easier and faster for sure and I like that as much as anyone. Still safety issues do come to mind in todays society. Makes you wonder when a cars owners manual in the 50’s had directions for adjusting valves and todays owners manuals say things like “Don’t Drink contents of the cooling system.”

  18. I grew up in California. I saw all the gas stations there shift to self-serve in the ’70s. Having to pump gas is not on the Top 10 list of things I like. Now whenever I have to drive out of Oregon, I find pumping gas to be a menial task I can cheerfully live without. Already there is little about having to use a car to take care of daily errands that I like, so letting someone else take care of handling the fueling is a total pleasure. That said, while I totally sympathize with Mr. Shojai’s frustration, I just hope that Oregon stays a place where I can avoid having to stand at a gas pump while a TV screen on the pump shouts ads at me.

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