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What a gas!

May 4, 2009 - Jim Bartholow
I got to thinking the other day after reading about oil company profits taking a tumble, if you can believe it.

I wonder, in the quest to boost sales, if oil companies would ever consider going back to some of the gimmicks they used to have back in the '60s and 'early 70s. I'm thinking about those savings stamps that gas stations and grocery stores used to give out. You'd fill up your stamp books and redeem them for all sorts of stuff. I remember Leslie and I, as newlyweds, got a nice set of dishes thanks to the Big Bear savings stamps. The redemption center used to be right in the Frontier Shopping Center, close to where Dollar General is currently located.

Gas stations always seemed to have lots of freebies to entice motorists. The one I remember the most was Sohio's weekly Ohio license plate sweepstakes. License plate numbers were posted every Sunday on a huge sheet of paper taped the the front windows of Sohio gas stations that seemed to be on every street corner. There was one two blocks away from my family's home in Warrensville Heights. I'd gladly walk down there as soon as the numbers were posted and scan the list to see if our plates were listed.

As I recall we never won anything. About the only thing I gained was some exercise (as if I needed it as pre-teen who rode his bike or walked everywhere), an 8-ounce bottle of pop I'd get myself out of the vending machine, and lots of knowledge about which Ohio license plate combinations represented which counties. Back then, it was easy to decipher the state codes.

Later, in high school I remember deep discounts at Cerri's Sunoco in Macedonia on silverware and dishes for a fill-up, which maybe cost up to the whopping sum of $10. Those were the days, but we didn't know it at the time.


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