back to article It is unclear why something designed to pump fuel into a car needs an ad-spewing computer strapped to it, but here we are

Welcome to a bumper edition of The Register's ongoing series of screens surprising users. The petroleum retail industry is today's culprit in a double borkage. Americans insist on calling them "gas stations" while those in Blighty prefer the pre-fix "filling" or "petrol". Others might refer to the refuelling locations as " …

  1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Caring is sharing...

    We offer no "paymant" for borks, other than the warm glow that comes from inclusion in the hallowed halls of The Register and there is always room for more.

    But given it's "paymant cared" that's displayed, at least it's nice to know someone cares...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The real question is

      What happened to Paymant? Why did they stop caring? :(

      1. OssianScotland Silver badge

        Re: The real question is

        Round Objects?

        1. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: The real question is

          ...Who is Round, and to what does he object?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "paymant cared"

      ... at which point I would think ... has this system been hacked? Do I really want to trust it with my payment card?

      1. Wim Ton

        Re: "paymant cared"

        Probably, the software contract was awarded to the lowest bidder from India.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          You're forgetting the boss's nephew.

          1. seven of five Silver badge

            He actually got the contract, but then outsourced it to a gaduate in Bangalore. Met the guy when he was asking around for help on stackexchange.

    3. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

      Re: Caring is sharing...

      I once went to an open air market and noticed a stall selling crockery. The price list included

      Plates £5

      Side plates £3

      Mugs £3

      Cups £2

      Sausers £2

      Bowels £2

      I aked the stallholder why he was selling his intestines, but the comment went straight over his head.

      ElReg, we need a "Whoosh!" icon please.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: Caring is sharing...

        Had one on the Book of Faeces recently where a recollection of a local dairy, had a guy recalling his memories of bowels (See Icon) of clotted cream, he did not react well to my suggestion he should go to the doctors about his digestive tract.

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    Measuring the fuel, communicating that to the tills.

    Small computer jobs.

    In the US add in “display adverts to customer”.

    And then imagine you run IT for shell, or BP - you’re going to want remote diagnostics for your forecourt computers...

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      In the UK pumps have had adverts for many years. Although you probably don’t take any notice of the add for AA or Direct Line on the back of the nozzle. Or the placards on the pump itself.

      Seems logical if the pump has a display panel to extend it there.

      T4Media have a service adNozzles that specialise in fuel pump ads in the UK.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Petrol pumps have a horizontal surface for placing the fuel tank cap with keys attached - a surface on which my local Gulf petrol station helpfully taped a tent-shaped advertisment for their loyalty card, leaving nowhere to put one's fuel cap.

        I appreciate many vehicles have a hinged fuel cap that stays attached to the vehicle, but it would seem that the advertising team thought that *all* cars have them.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          That horizontal surface is designed to ensure a certain percentage of drivers leave their fuel cap behind. I think blocking it is doing us all a favour.

          Next time you're filling up, tell the cashier that you left your fuel cap behind on your last visit. They'll probably have a huge box full of them behind the counter!

          1. Hans 1

            Good luck finding one that fits your key!

          2. Nick Pettefar

            Bikers Too!

            I put my helmet and gloves on there. Handy.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge


          All the vehicles I've owned or hired that had a removable fuel cap, also had a "slot" in the back of the cover to store it while removed.

          Of course, some vehicles will have lost the cover, but one assumes fuel pumps are designed for vehicles as-built, rather than after several "incidents".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Huh?

            I saw a Youtube comment the other day (don't judge me, please) on a car review - the commenter had never before known what that bracket on the inside of the fuel cover was for. So some enlightenment was achieved.

            1. IGotOut Silver badge

              Re: Huh?

              "the commenter had never before known what that bracket on the inside of the fuel cover was for."

              And how many don't know about the Petrol pump symbol on the fuel gauge which tells you the side the filler cap is on?

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                Re: Huh?

                My uncle once borrowed my Dad's car, a Ford Corsair, and needed to put petrol in it. He couldn't find the filler on either side. Eventually someone in the garage found it, in the centre of the rear panel behind the hinged number plate.

                1. Gene Cash Silver badge

                  Re: Huh?

                  The Pontiac Fiero had the filler cap in the normal location.... however the door release was hidden in the door B pillar underneath the mount for the shoulder strap. If you didn't know where it was, you certainly weren't going to find it.

                  > a "slot" in the back of the cover to store it

                  And I've never had a car where the cap actually fits in that slot.

                  1. ReadyKilowatt

                    Re: Huh?

                    Late 1980s Subarus (or maybe just the XT) had a dual action lever on the floor next to the rocker panel. Pull it to open the trunk, push it to unlatch the filler cover. Not at all obvious and the graphic didn't help because it looked like one was supposed to move it to the right, not push down.

                2. captain veg

                  Re: Huh?

                  Behind the number plate is sneaky. My dad's Mk4 Zodiac had reflectors across the full width of the boot between the the tail light clusters. The fuel filler was behind the middle panel, which also hinged.


                  1. Youngone Silver badge

                    Re: Huh?

                    My Hillman Imp required me to open the bonnet to fill it. The lady who sold it to me showed me where it was, which was nice of her, because it would have taken ages to find.

                3. Neil Woolford

                  Re: Huh?

                  Happy days. The series one Landrover trumped all others. Anyone fancy a guess?

                  My Reliant Scimitar has a central filler at the rear, but above rather than behind the number plate.

                  1. bluush

                    Re: Huh?

                    Two square tanks right underneath each front seat. Massive filler cap on each. A lever to select left or right tank........or left in the middle to p1ss your mates off. Ex raf where we had what seemed the oldest landy in the Air Force.

                4. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge

                  Re: Huh?

                  My father had a 1956 Chevrolet BelAir sedan. The filler cap was cunningly located behind the hinged left hand rear light cluster. Part of the chrome trim was used as the locking knob, to open it you turned the vertical strip to horizontal, and then the whole light cluster pivoted out backwards from the fender to reveal a conventional filler cap inside. Made for hours of fun as gas station attendants searched around the back and sides of the car to try to locate somewhere to insert their nozzle (oo-er missus!). Back in those days, there was no such thing as self service at the pumps, it was all done by an attendant.

              2. Duffy Moon

                Re: Huh?

                "And how many don't know about the Petrol pump symbol on the fuel gauge which tells you the side the filler cap is on?"

                My Honda Civic doesn't have this. I'm not sure about a bracket for holding the fuel cap - I just plonk it on the car roof.

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  Re: Huh?

                  I'm not sure about a bracket for holding the fuel cap

                  Several of the cars I've owned or hired had an off-center slot in the rim of the fuel cap so that you could let it sit on the fuel cap door.

              3. DiViDeD Silver badge

                Re: Huh?

                Petrol pump symbol on the fuel gauge which tells you the side the filler cap is on?

                I have never owned a car with an arrow or other symbol telling you which side the filler pipe is on. Until recently, I'd never even seen such a thing, but discovered a little petrol gauge arrow on a 2019 Qashqai intended for the US market. Maybe it's a cultural thing?

              4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

                Re: Huh?

                And how many don't know about the Petrol pump symbol on the fuel gauge which tells you the side the filler cap is on?

                From experience of the many hire cars I normally have to endure per year, around 10-20% of motor manufacturers...

                It's always fun in such vehicles when you have to fill them before returning them, and you just have to guess when you pull up at the pump unless you've remembered to check first.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Huh?

                  It's the first thing I note when I walk around a hire car to check for pre-existing conditions damage on account of usually taking fairly large trips. That said, it's been a while since I've come across a car that did NOT have the little arrow near the tank symbol but it's become a habit, as is locating the means to open it.

          2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

            Re: Huh?

            My current car has such a bracket, but my previous car had such a discreet arrangement that I didn't notice for about 2 years - the fuel cap had a couple of notches in the side, allowing it to perch atop the flap. It was also tethered so couldn't be removed entirely. A brilliant bit of design, masked by the fact that nobody knew about it - I told several other owners of similar cars who all responded with "wow, never knew that!"

            Prior to that car though, there was no such arrangement. The cap either got placed on the pump, or on the car roof. I never had a problem with that either.

            1. Chris G Silver badge

              Re: Huh?

              If the car didn't already have one, I have always purchased a locking fuel cap and keep the key for it with the ignition key. Left the cap off? No ignition key to start the car and drive away.

              That became a habit after buying three replacement fuel caps for the same car in the '70s.

          3. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Huh?

            Some (older?) caps have unremovable keys while it's unlocked. Since it's the same key for the ignition driving off without it wasn't an option.

          4. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Huh?

            This is the bane of my life at filling stations. My Spider has some sort of high tech design that somehow recovers vapour from the tank and feeds it into the engine (no. I have no idea how or indeed why it does that). As a result the filler cap is around 17cm long and perfectly round, so wherever you put it it will roll onto the ground and under the car.

            The only method to avoid this is to hold the filler cap in your hand until you've finished filling and put the cap back in before paying.

            But then it is Italian, so the filler cap, like anything not directly related to performance, was designed on a napkin over a particularly boozey lunch

            1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

              Re: Huh?

              It's the evaporative emissions control system, or EVAP for short. There is basically three lines coming from the fuel tank: the main fuel line, the fuel return line, and the vapor line. The vapor line connects to a canister filled with activated charcoal which stores the fumes from the gas tank when the vehicle isn't running. When you start the vehicle, the intake of the engine forms a vacuum. The computer opens the EVAP purge valve which connects engine vacuum to the EVAP system (charcoal canister, vapor line, gas tank). The collected vapors are drawn from the canister to the engine to be burned, and any subsequent vapors from the tank are sent to the engine as well. So while the engine is running, the gas tank is under vacuum. There is a sensor that monitors the pressure in the evap system. That's how the computer knows you left the gas cap off (and will light the check engine light) when you drive off. This system isn't really high tech. It's been around since the 1970's I think, definitely since the 1980' least here in the U.S.

              1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
                Paris Hilton

                Re: Huh?

                Thank you for the detailed explaination of the EVAP system, that certainly explains the whole check your filler cap advice regarding the check engine light.

                I think I experienced something similar once on a Vauxhall Astra that brought the light on when I was literally running on fumes or had really topped off the tank.

                Icon because: She likes a Tiger in her....err tank & never is lost as to where the nozzle goes.

                1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

                  Re: Huh?

                  If you top off the tank, you run the risk of getting liquid fuel in the EVAP system which is not good. It can saturate the canister and you can end up with a gasoline smell when the car is off. When running, the engine will run rich which can screw with the emissions, injector timings, etc.... The only fix if that happens is to replace the canister.

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. MJI Silver badge

          I put my cap in the handle to hold it open to fill my tank

          1. agurney

            I tried something like that recently and got a ticking off.

            HSE guidelines refer to constant control being required and latches not being wedged open:

            1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

              lsoas local petroleum officer (yes they exist) from the local authority could have invoked serious sanctions up and including revocation of petroleum licence IIRC (yes for my sins I worked in a petrol station for 4 years between end of high school, through college and up till I started university....(they are a kack place to work with hours as bad)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                US fuel pump handles usually have a built-in latch, so you can let go of it while it continues to pump. I suppose a case could be made for the nozzle coming out of the car and spraying everywhere, but it seems an extremely unlikely accident - especially if the user isn't touching it at the time.

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  but it seems an extremely unlikely accident

                  YouTube discredits that notion.

                2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

                  Really handy at -30C that locking latch.

                  Icon - Hands nice & toasty in coat pockets.

                3. CountCadaver Bronze badge

                  Its not so much that, its the potential for static spark discharge due to different potentials building between the user, the car and the pump.

                  Particularly an issue for those wearing nylon/synthetic underwear and tights/pantyhose, can build up a static charge at quite a rapid rate, example lock on pump, go and get purse from car etc, walk back go to click off pump, static spark, potential vapour explosion (as its the vapour thats the biggest danger with petrol/gasoline)

                  Pumps we had, had the lockout catch ground off the handle casting at factory, we still had the rest of the componenets to lock it out though (inc the lever below the trigger handle) and so were visually identical to pump handles in the USA, it just wouldn't lock due to the piece ground off, to the bemusement of american tourists who would fiddle with it and then come in and ask if we knew the pump lock was broken and were equally bemused to find it was illegal, one local customer who brought a large plastic peg to clamp the pump trigger got strips torn off him by my boss, she read the riot act to him well and truly about it. don't think he got a word in edgeways

        4. DJV Silver badge

          Back in the 1970s I was working for Rediffusion as a TV engineer. Once, while out repairing TVs in one of the company supplied vans, I stopped off at a petrol station for a fill-up. Then, after driving off, I was flashed and beeped at a couple of times by a car driving behind me. I stopped and so did he in order to point out that, as I'd driven around a roundabout, the van had chucked out rather a lot of fuel over the road. I looked on the roof of the van to find the petrol cap still sitting there! Oops!

        5. keith_w Bronze badge

          my last 2 vehicles haven't had a fuel cap, they seal the fuel pipe internally. That said, the first time I fueled my ex-wife's car, I forgot to put the cap back on. Which may explain why I like the capless vehicles better.

        6. martinusher Silver badge

          >I appreciate many vehicles have a hinged fuel cap that stays attached to the vehicle, but it would seem that the advertising team thought that *all* cars have them.

          The most common type of fuel cap in the US is a plastic one that sits behind a door that's released from inside the car. This cap is attached to the car by a piece of plastic and you may find a couple of bits of bent tin on the door that you can put it in while fuelling so it doesn't dangle down and mark the paintwork.

          I haven't seen a removable cap for many years, its probably an emissions requirement (leaving the cap off will eventually trigger a engine check warning).

          1. CountCadaver Bronze badge

            Its to do with the EVAP system on US vehicles, system needs to be sealed to work properly and you also burn more fuel due to evaporation of fuel vapours without the cap, hence why the UK mot checks for

            the presence of a seal on the fuel cap - so your car isn't spewing flammable vapours and ergo a mobile fire hazard

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        We've had static paper based adverts, not dancing singing ones...

      3. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Logical - and did anyone do a competent cost-return analysis?

        1. oiseau Silver badge

          ... did anyone do a competent cost-return analysis?

          Of course not.

          Marketing/advertising dicks don't do that type of thing.

          Neither do the management idiots who sign off on these stupid ideas.


        2. Donn Bly

          The typical high school or college kid won't voluntarily read a chapter book, but will stay glued to any digital screen within viewing range. As such, the screens are more effective than paper and cardboard.

          Add in that the signage can be updated remotely so that you don't pay someone to drive around and deliver and set up signage, and that the ad agency can sell more, different ads into the same space, and the cost-return probably isn't too hard to justify.

      4. Richard Boyce

        "you probably don’t take any notice of the add for AA or Direct Line"

        You noticed enough to recall who the ads were for. Job done.

      5. Someone Else Silver badge

        T4Media have a service adNozzles that specialise in fuel pump ads in the UK.

        adNozzles describes them quite nicely, I wot.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "In the US add in “display adverts to customer”."

      Shell in the UK are doing this now. At at least one filling station the noise is blaring and they all seem to play the same advert at the same time but a bit out of sync with each other. I complained to the staff but they just shrugged, so I assume either they have no control over the sound volume or someone higher up is in charge of that setting. Either way, I don't care. I just never go there any more.

      For reference, it's the new Shell "services" at Leeming on the A1, Nth Yorks on the southbound side, not the long established Leeming Services on the northbound side (You can get to either from north or southbound direction.) I can only use Shell as the company fuel card is a Shell card, but there are many other Shell filling stations I can use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        At least one Jet or Texaco in Dundee (I forget what they are branded as most recently) have those and they are a pain in the rear, store is also piled high with various overpriced tat as its also a convenience store run under whatever "buying group" banner

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I just never go there any more."

        These are very common in the US. Typically one of the unlabeled buttons beside the screen mutes it. But if there isn't a mute button, I won't be back anytime soon.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      These exist in France also

      Which, I suppose, is one more reason not to go there.

  3. Psmo Silver badge

    As one who raises bugs for font issues

    That second one is especially painful.

    But I keep looking and can't look away.

  4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

    Could be worse - imagine what it would be like if they let a web designer near it.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

      Oh lord Wordpress with 20 css files and 14 different js files with modified plugins that when updated overwrite their customisations!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

        Can't have that expensive cpu sitting around doing nothing. John Maynard Keynes suggested in his proposal for with the Depression, IIRC, that rather than pay people dole it was better to pay some people to dig holes, and others to fill them in again. And that's what a lot of the Internet seems to do these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

          "Can't have that expensive cpu sitting around doing nothing."

          Worse than that ... I think I suffered "early onset grumpy-oldman syndrome" about 20 years ago when the "product division" told us in the CPU team that they'd want a 2x increase in processing power in 12 months time - when we asked why the answer was that their customer had decided that all the STB menus would look so much better with 3-d shadowing effects so they needed a lot more CPU power (this was pre GPUs) to render the dispaly

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: John Maynard Keynes suggested in his proposal for with the Depression

          Your proposal is that pump advertising screens be replaced by "resting" actors performing the claims-direct advert live ?

          Would this be making a Shakespearean drama out of a crisis?

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: John Maynard Keynes suggested in his proposal for with the Depression

            Excellent idea!

            I can't think of any downsides at all, in fact.

            More of this sort of thing!

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

        "Oh lord Wordpress with 20 css files and 14 different js files with modified plugins that when updated overwrite their customisations!"

        And that's just for the "Hello World" demo.

      3. Someone Else Silver badge

        @ Captain Scarlet -- Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

        And there will still be misspellings...

    2. FuzzyTheBear

      Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

      engineers no .. helicopter test pilot yes . Working on a touch panel design guy in charge for the buyer was an actual test pilot for the Apache .. guy had excellent requirements so what i was creating became easy to use with eyes closed . Much of what i learned then i still used in my latest designs for Crestron and AMX panels.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

        Crestron and AMX are two names I've not heard for a long time. I always preferred the AMX ones myself.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

          AMX...don't they make bowling alleys?

          /me ducks and runs for cover...

      2. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

        Wot? An engineer that listens to and learns from the customer? Haven't they removed your certification yet?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

          In my line of work, we get our repeat customers by being much more flexible than anyone else, at least that I've seen.

          Pert near every single job is custom in some regard, and when it's field commissioned we have a rather large leeway to add/change features and customize to customer spec.

          We have a saying: "Just like the last machine, different in every way."

          Keeps me on my toes, and keeps the £/€/$ coming in.

    3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: "engineers should never, ever get involved in User Interface design"

      Had a piece of equipment test software that always bugged me & a member of the design team from the first floor (AKA Skylab) sat with me to investigate the failure rates of the units out in the world.

      He jumped on me when I set up a Voltage Controlled Oscillator at the upper end of the test limits (Unlike my idiot co-worker who always aimed them for the bottom of the range, we usually caught his ones at final test).

      "WHOA! That's why they are failing in the field, you set them up too high" He smugly pronounced.

      "Watch this" I replied even more smugly as I fitted the screening can lid I had kicking about & the VCO fell to dead centre of the range as I had hoped.

      "Ohh I hadn't accounted for that" he dejectedly replied.

      "Well while you are accounting for that, can you please correct the spelling of Course Adjustment to Coarse Adjustment at the same time"


  5. b0llchit

    We need more options

    These modern days require us to have full touch screens with a multiverse of options. I suggest, that mere commercials are no longer adequate. As an example:

    Option 1: do you want sugar with your gasoline?

    Option 2: do you want windowwiperwash with your diesel?

    Option 3: do you want tireair with your super 100 octane?

    Option 4: do you want coupons with your mileage?

    Option 5: ok

    Then, after the free-form options have been burned into our minds, then we will make them a non-voluntary option and make you click through all of these before any drop of gasoline may flow. I'm sure, that "ok" will find its way up the ladder so we can both be done faster and have our pockets picked in an orderly fashion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need more options

      Don't forget the "do you want to blow all your money on lottery tickets?" that is an "option" here.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge


    I want to see the Details!! And one of those Wendy's brekkie things!

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

      Re: Details!

      My missus just bought me a Wendy's breakfast Baconator (with sausage*) for the first time. Better egg & meat quality than Tim Horton's, that's for sure.

      * The details: two layers of bacon AND a sausage patty, plus egg and cheese. Looks like I better skip lunch to make up for all that.

      1. Ethangar

        Re: Details!

        And there is the other Canuck! LOL

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          Re: Details!

          We have you surrounded now.

          1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Bronze badge

            Re: Details!

            I may have 4 Tim Horton's within 5 miles, but if you read my post history you'd know I'm in Michigan, not Canada!

            Of course, my closest escape is to the holier-than-thou flatland of O-H-I-O, so yeah, Canada has me more or less surrounded.

      2. CountCadaver Bronze badge

        Re: Details!

        Then again Timmy's is a pretty low bar to clear....their peach juice for one is rank and chemically.....Their bagels are passable (well last time I ate one), tim bits aka timshits are ok if nothing else is on the menu or within visual range, albeit I did have a soft spot for a boston creme doughnut from Timmys

        Haven't eaten fast food in about 10 years, subway in about 5 years...and tbh I don't miss it, albeit I do have a hankering for an Arbys (which thankfully for my waistline I can't get in the UK)

        My wife (Who is a canuck, I'm just a nomad :P) was a both amazed and partly disgusted that I managed to eat not only most of 1 meal from wendy's but the 2 I was given gratis after they supplied me with a burger with green stuff I hadn't asked for on about 1/3 of it, Canada being almost as litigious as the states in some respects, manager promptly offered me burgers as compensation, her remark "I cannot believe you are going to eat both of them" my reply "you already said you didn't want one, I've not really eaten all day AND they're free"

      3. Zarno Bronze badge

        Re: Details!

        I did not know that Wendys made a breakfast baconator...

        That'll fit right nice with my baconator quad patty with a sour cream and chive baked tater. Small drink, natch.

  7. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I hated the pump ads...

    Back when I could still see to drive I'd often encounter those buggers when I tried to refill the tank with petrol. Noisy, annoying, & ignored as much as possible, they were still enough to make me want to "accidently" back my truck over the pump... repeatedly.

    My local Shell station was the worst for this with them forcing a 30 second ad on you before it would start to pump the fuel. I complained, they did nothing, so I stopped buying from Shell. Funny how that works, eh? Piss off your customers & they'll choose not to BE your customers any longer.

    I found a local Mom&Pop station that did *not* have the ad slinging shite, switched almost entirely to buying my petrol there, & let them know the reason. The lady was rather pleased with my candour & replied that she valued the feedback. Then she gave me a free cookie from the rack. I wonder why they became my favorite station?

    *Remembers the cookie & tries not to drool*


    TL;DR: Ads are bad. Chocolate chip cookies are tasty.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

      Re: I hated the pump ads...

      Some, though not by any means, all, of the pumps have a hidden "MUTE" mode. One of the eight buttons surrounding the screen, when "long pressed" MAY mute the audio for the duration of the sale.

      WHICH button it is, or whether it exists at all, seems to be programmable on a by-pump basis. So this may not apply to you, but what else were you going to be doing for the 5 minutes it takes to fill your tank?

      And there's always the "shove a sharp object through the speaker grille" approach, but I would never recommend vandalism.

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: I hated the pump ads...

        You can always push the "call" button to complain if you can't find the mute trick. I don't know if that mutes the ads or the operator does it, but I've had success. (Three presses on the second down right side screen button works around here)

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: I hated the pump ads...

        And there's always the "shove a sharp object through the speaker grille" approach, but I would never recommend vandalism

        Oh, why not? Like attracts (and deserves) like.

    2. tin 2

      Re: I hated the pump ads...

      I agree with you entirely on every level. The problem is that the vast majority of people aren't bothered enough, don't vote with their feet, so it continues.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: I hated the pump ads...

        Well, I can't vote with my feet... the local Wawa station is the ONLY one that provides hippie-free ethanol-free gas for my motorcycle. The manual specifies NO alcohol in the fuel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I hated the pump ads...

          The manual specifies NO alcohol in the fuel.

          Don't knock it, that leaves more for you :)

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Of course. Alcohol is for the driver, as everyone knows . . .

      2. a_builder

        Re: I hated the pump ads...

        I voted with my feet and drive a Tesla.

        300+ miles range does me fine for almost of of my journeys.

        Rarely go anywhere near a filling station :)

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: I hated the pump ads...

          Now there's an idea: Tesla ads on the fuel pump.

          1. skeptical i

            Re: I hated the pump ads...

            No, it'll be adverts at the Tesla charging stations for whatever stores are in the mall/ complex where the charger is located. Why should anyone be exempt from the ... joy ... of being advertised at whilst feeding the steel beast?

            1. timrowledge

              Re: I hated the pump ads...

              Except you don’t even need to stay around whilst the ol’Tesla charges. Amble off and enjoy the on-site burger’n’lap-dance emporium.

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          Re: I hated the pump ads...

          "Rarely go anywhere near a filling station"

          I'm sure you do, you just don't need to stop at them.

    3. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: I hated the pump ads...

      @Shadow Systems - oh that all advertising cookies were so desirable...

    4. Giovani Tapini

      Re: I hated the pump ads...

      I had a chat to the owner of an independent petrol station in the UK once.

      He described how many millions of pounds the business turned over, Then how much he was able to pay himself, which was around national average income, despite all the money and effort. Other forms of income like advertising (historically renting videos etc) have always been necessary.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

        Re: I hated the pump ads...

        Here in Canadaland, the fuel sales typical just covers the rent & fee's the site operator has to pay, their income comes from the non-fuel sales. Close their station down, they are chomping at the bit to be back up. I had one complain about 10 minutes downtime, while I switched out a UPS.

        This is an mix of the two calls, once for the fitting of a non-approved UPS as a stop-gap & its proper replacement two days later (Oh & the project to replace all the PedroCaanada UPS's a few months later).

        Why do you need to do this now?

        You logged a ticket, we have a SLA to be on site within X hours\We have a project from Buncorp to do this.

        Why don't you come back tomorrow at 5am before the station opens & do this!

  8. jonnycando

    Where I live these kinds of pumps don’t play videos anymore because the station finds out quickly what broadband costs and the attendent data slurppage of 12 of these crazy pumps!

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Never see them

    On the basis that these 'smart' {choke} pumps almost certainly have a camera attached, I make a point of turning my back on the pump. I always fill the tank so only need a quick glance at the tally, before going in to pay.

    1. GrantB

      Re: Never see them

      They don't have cameras; they are PCI payment keypad devices, so if they do have cameras they are more likely to be from the card skimmer 'add on' that is trying to capture your keypresses.

      What does have cameras, is the convenience store and the canopy; pretty much every service station has a full set of cameras set to pick up drive-offs and cash being pocketed by staff.

      So in summary, you are turning your back on a device which doesn't have a camera, and being picked up by cameras that are more likely to be doing ANPR and/or facial recognition these days.

      (and yes, I do work in the industry)

  10. DryBones


    The first image I'm pretty familiar with (it has caused a giggle about the office), and the simple explanation is twofold.

    1) It's a telemetry and terminal management program. Any station that's more complex than the "Lift handle, attendant pushes button when the handle sets off a buzzer by them" ones are going to have one running on the dispenser. Imagine managing a forecourt with 64 stations and trying to pull logs and push configurations without one.

    2) It's probably not running the latest version of software. Fueling is an industry that places emphasis on stability and security more than bleeding edge. I know, this image does not suggest stability, but there's plenty else to go wrong. Imagine having BigNameOilCo telling you that the dispensers keep rebooting in a Fibonacci sequence after lunch or don't recognize chip cards...

    The second one... That typo is all on the fueling station co themselves, it comes from the POS system inside.

  11. IGnatius T Foobar ! Bronze badge

    Advertising on the pumps...

    It may be annoying, but it's better television than CNN, that's for sure.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Advertising on the pumps...

      If it were Fox, it would be denying there is any petrol in the pump and it's a Communist China conspiracy if you have heard otherwise.

  12. JacobZ

    Relief from the ads

    If you mash all of the buttons around the display, you will usually find one that silences the adverts, and occasionally want that turns them off entirely.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Relief from the ads

      I don't want to give the low-life ideas, but the the advertising/marketing people see opportunity everywhere to plug their wares - so, I wouldn't be surprised to find adverts on life-support machines in hospital touting undertakers/funeral businesses.

  13. Neil Woolford


    That's a great (antipodean) term for these establishments.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Luckily one of the buttons is usually mute so you at least don't have to listen to the damn ads. On pumps I've encounter it seems to be the second button from the top on the right side.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge


      A lot of commentards mention there being buttons, one of which might be the one to hit to mute the sound. And those pumps being run by the big oil companies.

      The only petrol station I know that has video ads on their pumps is one owned by a local fuel vendor (a dozen filling stations or so around the region). It has no sound, no buttons and just a small selection of static ads for local businesses (including themselves). Occasionally there's a video of the innards of a pump working to put fuel in your tank, still without sound.

      But this may have changed in the past year as most of our filling-up is now done via a Mennekes Type 2 socket near the front door, and filling up the diesel has been reduced to maybe a quarterly event.

  15. PeterM42

    To be sure, to be sure.....

    .....isn't a "paymant cared" an Irish payment card? (To be sure)

  16. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Soon to be obsolete

    With an EV charger, the whole point is you plug in, punch up your credentials and walk away. If you charge up at home or work, you may rarely even use a public charger. I hate those screeching little speakers cranked up to 11 playing inane ads for things I can't afford or choose not to afford.

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