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February 10, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Gas pump instructions

List_pumpJessamyn West writes in:

Gas pumps are always a horrible hodge podge of instructions, pictures, ads and ad hoc instructions taped over older instructions.

Recently we've seen pumps that try to ameliorate this by having clear indications of at least where the instructions are. However, having to read a one item list to get pointed to the real instructions which are someplace else is broken.


post instructions: read and comprehend english words.

Posted by: gmangw at February 10, 2006 12:14 AM

Pump instructions: Follow Instructions on Screen

Screen instructions: Follow Instructions on Handle

Handle instructions: Follow Instructions on Pump


Posted by: Ron Mexico at February 10, 2006 01:34 AM

Insight instructions: Read other posts.

Posted by: Role at February 10, 2006 03:32 AM

Technically it isn't all that broken. The owner of the gas station is actually quite smart. If you read that line under the screen, he's smarter than you. It's made to redirect people who are used to looking there for instructions. If that line wasn't there, the gas station would be inundaded with helpless customers who don't know what to do because they don't see instructions on the screen.

Posted by: zero??? at February 10, 2006 06:32 AM

Is it really that hard to use a gas pump?

Posted by: Josh Z. at February 10, 2006 08:32 AM

I've noticed this before, too. The worse part is, I was unable to read the screen because it had been sun-baked and was damaged!

Posted by: SDIgroup at February 10, 2006 08:59 AM

Not overly broken. Still, if as one poster says the owner is smart in that he got you to look on screen, then his designer wasn't very smart: this message could have been much simpler and set in a much larger typeface: PLEASE FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS ON SCREEN. The header ("Pump Operation") and the overly thick rule are completely superfluous, as is the numeral "1" indicating a list of items, except the list only contains 1 item!

Posted by: Michael McWatters at February 10, 2006 09:11 AM

I just nuked some Hot Pockets the other day and noticed the cooking instructions on the microwaveable sleeve. They were something to the effect of:

1. Remove the plastic wrap

2. Place Hot Pocket in microwave

3. Follow cooking instructions on the box

4. Do not re-use microwaveable sleeve

Uh... what? I'm glad I still have the box, because sometimes to save space in my freezer I'll throw away the cardboard containers. Step #3 could easily be replaced with the actual cooking instructions!

Posted by: Manni at February 10, 2006 10:27 AM

Zero- you are totally right- gas pump: not broken, user: slightly stupid?

Posted by: smartypants at February 10, 2006 12:15 PM

My English teachers always said:

"Where there is a "1" there must be a "2". Where's the "2"?

- The Precision Blogger

Posted by: Precision Blogger at February 10, 2006 01:31 PM

the solution is to gas up in NJ where it's all full service...

Posted by: Rick at February 10, 2006 04:58 PM

Speaking of full service... Here in Texas every gas station has the words SELF SERVICE all over it, yet I've never seen a full service here. If there's no full service they just shouldn't say anything; and if there is full service, they should announce it...

Posted by: zero??? at February 10, 2006 05:52 PM

Gas pumps may not be broken but they're a mild annoyance. Not two of them seem to be the same. Sometimes you have to flip the cradle holding the nozzle up, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you push a button to select gasoline grade, sometimes you use a different nozzle.

None of it's mind taxing but it does seem a bit silly.

And don't get me started on ATMs. . .

Posted by: Steve at February 10, 2006 08:26 PM

As I'm reading through, I notice that maybe three of the thirteen posters actually read the text closely. Jessamyn said: "having to read a one item broken." A ONE ITEM list. THAT'S what's majorly broken here, with a minor broken tagged on to the fact that it's even there in the first place.

The "1." is superfluous and a waste of space and white paint. But so is the rest of the sentence!! Axe the whole thing. If someone doesn't see the directions painted on, they'll assume they're on the screen.

Broken? Yeah, only mildly, though. I've seen worse.

Posted by: =David at February 11, 2006 01:15 AM

Yes, I am smart enough to pump gas. However, when it's below zero out, every little thing standing between me and getting my gas pumped is irksome including cokamamie instructions. This could have easily said LOOK AT SCREEN and instead it uses a known structure (list) for non list items, complete with heading, underline, etc. Not very broken, sure, but just an example of the bizarre UI of the gasoline pumping experience.

Posted by: jessamyn at February 11, 2006 09:33 AM

Let's put it this way: the concept of telling people to look at the screen is ok. The putting of a single instruction in that format is broken.

Posted by: zero??? at February 12, 2006 05:54 PM

Maybe there is ANOTHER screen with the instructions. It didn't say which one.

For some fun, type this on both sides of a note:

"Please see other side for instructions."

Posted by: steve h at February 13, 2006 03:18 PM

I noticed this as well, about a year ago!

Posted by: Matt at February 14, 2006 02:52 PM

I once went to Fallon,Nv last year and on the way I stopped by this gas station and pumped gas,

No instructions needed-LOL

When I finished the guy told me pump was not working right and added another $16.00 to my $20.00 pump price. So I did. I was so ticked off I burned rubber out of the station. I forgot to find out the name of the company to complain too.

I was told by freinds it's happened to them to.

The next time you bet I'll complain.

Posted by: bill sawyers at April 2, 2006 08:26 PM

What the heck is the thing in the reflection? A wigwam?

Posted by: joe at May 21, 2006 04:29 PM

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