14 June 2006

...and here's YOUR credit card, little lady.

Found while looking through my old gas station road map collection for information about a long-gone roadside chain:
SKELLY was the name of a regional gasoline brand which marketed in the Midwest states (I vaguely remember seeing some in Missouri and Arkansas once upon a time). Like most other "earl" companies, Skelly also had its own credit card program, which it pitched on the back of their road maps (oh, for the days when gas stations gave those things out for free).

[Side thought: I wonder if Skelly had a grudge against Michigan and Ohio ... they seem to be missing from the U.S. image above.]

Skelly, though, had to be different. Unlike Shell, Texaco, Chevron, et petrolius al, Skelly issued not just one credit card. No, siree. Our Fine Skelsters had two of 'em up their corporate sleeve! First was their "regular" card, but evidently that one was available only upon proof of a functioning penis.

But what if you weren't talliwackily equipped? Fear not, Miz Running-On-Empty! Should this have been the case, Skelly would bestow the other card on you. It was called, as you can see above, the Ladies' Credit Card. It even appeared in a faux-elegant script style font, too. How ... feminine?

My question is, WHY? Were the Skelly people sexist little oinks? Or were they forerunners of the current-day Southern Baptist Convention ("Women, be graciously submissive to your husbands.") Heck, it makes me wonder if Skelly didn't also issue a Skelly Colored Peoples' Card back in the '50s? "Honored only if The Man lets you use it."

What if a lady drove over the ding-ding hose out front in her '71 Plymouth Fury Station Wagon, the attendant came out and pumped 15 gallons of Skelly Premium into her car, and - upon time to settle up - she whipped out .... the REGULAR Skelly card? *GASP!!!*

Would the entire gas station fall more silent than an E.F. Hutton commercial? Whispers aplenty --- "she used a MAN'S card." "What a dyke." "What kind of man is her husband? He oughta set her straight!" "How DARE she?" "Next thing you know, the dame's gonna want to vote."

I wonder if the interest rate was higher or lower on the Ladies' Credit Card? (Probably higher. Much higher. This was the early '70s, after all. I don't think women were even allowed to be out after 5:00 p.m. yet) Did all the bills go to the Family Patriarch to scrutinize?

"Hey, June, explain this one - $4.72 on March 4th. Almost FIVE DOLLARS!!"
"Ward, I let The Beaver, Larry and Whitey each have a Coke when I stopped for gas."
"Not on the Ladies' Credit Card. Don't let that happen again, you understand?"
"Yes, sir."
"Now go put on your pearls and chiffon dress and fix me some supper."

"Gee, Dad, you were a little hard on the Mom, weren't you?"
"SHUT UP, Wally."


"DONALD! My very own Skelly Ladies' Credit Card."
"Yes, Ann. Now don't go gassing up in one place."
"I promise, Donald. I don't even own a car."


"Aw, cheez, Edit' ... stifle yourself and go get gas in the '62 Dart."
"But Ah-chee ... you have the Skelly card."
"Why can't she have a card of her own, Archie??"
"Because women can't handle real credit cards, Meathead!"
"Now little girl, you give the dames real cards, then it doesn't stop there. Next, they'll be voting for McGovern. Burning their bras. Practicing lesbianism, witchcraft and leaving their husbands. All because they couldn't take their Ladies' Credit Card and stay in the kitchen."


Today, on The 700 Club ... Pat Robertson traces the downfall of American civilization to the day Skelly discontinued the Ladies' Credit Card. It was the reason Skelly disappeared from the roadside. And it's the reason women have become 'uppity.'


In all seriousness, I have a feeling my best friend, soulmate and sweet wifely one Seraphim would gladly accept a "Ladies' Credit Card" if it would mean she could gas up at 1972 prices. 12 gallons to fill up the Element at 32.9¢ a gallon .... $3.94! If only!

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Don't forget my S&H Green Stamps and candy box with fill-up!" Gleck

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