Forecourt attendants used to be a common sight at petrol stations across Britain in the past but this role underwent some massive cuts and a gradual whittling down over time.

As time went by, self-service became the norm in petrol pumps, with customers filling their fuel tanks themselves and even using the ‘pay at pump’ option which is becoming increasingly popular.

It is easy to feel nostalgic about the era of forecourt attendants when you have to yank open the fuel cap yourself, holding the greasy pump yourself, and all the while making a grand mess of your clothes and hands!

It is also sad to think about the fact that gone are the days where you  would interact with another human being, exchanging pleasantries, making an activity as mundane as filling up your fuel tank a pleasant experience. It may be especially nostalgic for people who are elderly, disabled, or who have trouble with joint pains who were grateful for the presence and assistance of forecourt attendants.

With several jobs that may need the human touch becoming automated, some people are beginning to miss the human interaction involved in these jobs and feel nostalgic for them.

For example, supermarkets with ‘pay at pump’ machines have taken away the small talk between customer and cashier, and getting your vehicle washed no longer requires a chat with the attendant but a trip through an automated giant washing machine!

Forecourt attendants did not just fill up fuel in fuel tanks. They also cleaned windshields, windows and lights. They checked levels of oil as well as the pressure and treads of tyres. This helped to ensure vehicles, especially those which travelled long distances, were always in good working order.

Forecourt attendants sometimes became a familiar figure and part of the lives of motorists who regularly used a particular fuel station. It is especially the elderly who were used to a time when there was more human interaction in everyday life who feel nostalgic about forecourt attendants. They miss the chance to have someone friendly and pleasant to chat with while getting their car filled up. Having a regular forecourt attendant who was helpful and cheerful also increased chances of people identifying with that particular station and so returning there often. This then increased the profits of smaller stations, not just the big players we see today.

Forecourt attendants also used to help people, especially fleets, save time by filling up the fuel tank effortlessly, which otherwise would have taken a person much more time to accomplish.

Forecourt attendants were the last of a bastion of service-centre jobs whose human interaction made life just a little bit easier for everyone. That personal touch is the reason why they are missed.