Thursday, November 30, 2023

Seen at the Gas Pump


While pumping gas at the Shell Station on Snowden River Parkway (the one near BJ’s and Michael’s) I saw something I had never seen before.  The little screen on the gas pump was showing me TikTok videos.


Yes, those little screens are not new. I’ve seen them featuring news headlines and entertainment news. Possibly other things? I can’t remember. I’ve never found them all that compelling. What is the purpose? 

Is it an opportunity for advertisers to sell us more things while we are stuck at the pump? Is it to entertain us because we are completely unable to be alone without own thoughts for the time it takes us to fill the tank? 

Has it really come to that?

There is nothing inherently wrong with airing TikTok videos. It was merely one of those moments in life that remind me that I am getting older, I guess. “What will they think of next?” I don’t drive much these days, so trips to the gas station are not as frequent as they used to be. Perhaps the next time I go I’ll find they’ve monetized those videos and I’ll be prompted to click a screen to pay for the Ultimate Video Experience for Just One Dollar More.

For two dollars they’ll turn the dang video off for you. So you can be alone with your own thoughts.

Let’s have some fun with this. Send me your best - - serious or silly - - ideas for what you think should be on those gas pump screens. Some suggestions to get you started:  

  • Stand up comedy 
  • Calming nature scenes with music
  • Local news: and I mean Columbia/HoCo news
What do you think?

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