In the modern world, stories about new shops, particularly supermarkets, department stores and pubs, generate plenty of interest in the pages of the Tele.
In this age of consumerism, news about whether an Ikea will someday come to Dundee is eagerly anticipated and discussed.
We are clearly all desperate to spend/waste a weekend messing about with flatpack furniture to conceal the mountains of clothes we bought from Primark the previous weekend and may end up wearing if we can be bothered.
This makes perfect sense.
But a new service station? Er… just stick one up where it causes least offence and as long as it has decent access then you are good to go.
Not so in the Tele back on Thursday December 8 1988. Woe betide anyone belittling the significance of a new such facility 28 years ago because this was an almighty big deal.
We reported: ‘Motorists heading out of Dundee city centre along East Dock Street can’t have failed to notice a smart new service station just before the brae up to Droughty Ferry Road.
‘Tayside Autopoint, as it’s called, is the latest brand-new site to be opened by Brechin-based Octo Petroleum Services Ltd, in conjunction with Burmah Petroleum Fuels Limited.’
All well and good. But there was much more. This was a service station with bells and whistles, featuring a ‘number of attractions, and a number of sales-point ideas to make life easier for the motorist’.
‘At Tayside Autopoint, you’ll find four-star and two-star leaded petrol, unleaded petrol, and diesel.
‘For the greater convenience of customers, the hoses at the self-service pumps are colour-coded – red for four-star, blue for two-star, an ecological green for unlead¬ed fuel, and traditional black for diesel.
‘Incidentally, on the subject of diesel, there are not one, but two, separate points for its sale – one, under the canopy, for auto-diesel – ie, fuel for private cars – and one, further away at the back of the forecourt, for goods vehicles, with a double-speed mechanism delivering 20 gallons a minute.”
It is amazing how much we take all this for granted now, but the true genius of Tayside Autopoint was something that would be impressive even in 2016.
‘An unusual feature, too, which will intrigue younger car passengers, is that the autodiesel pump actually talks to potential customers, pointing out it only dispenses diesel, and advising selection of another pump if a mistake has been made.
‘Experience also suggests it is liable to make a customer’s spouse laugh out loud when the customer jumps into the air at the start of the conversation, but that’s another story.’
Another story that we would love to hear about. Just brilliant.
The Tele also reported on this day in 1988 that comedian Harry Enfield was quitting the stage ‘at the ripe old age of 26’.
The Tele reported: ‘Harry said: “It’s time for a change,’ pledging to force early retirement on all of his screen funny faces such as Stavros, the Greek kebab-house owner, and Loadsamoney, the oafish Cockney plasterer whose Jargon has become a national catchphrase.
‘The comic, whose touring cabaret show plays its last performance next week In Oxford, now plans to turn to behind-the-scenes stage and TV production work.’
Within a decade, Enfield had given us Tim Nice-But-Dim, The Scousers, Smashie and Nicey, Wayne and Waynetta Slob, Annoying Kid Brother, who grew into Kevin the Teenager, and two old-fashioned BBC presenters, Mr Cholmondley-Warner and Grayson.
Even Nigel Farage isn’t this bad at quitting.
Do you remember the opening of this service station, or do you recall getting excited at new shops that are now considered mundane?