Owning a propane tank essentially gives you the power to carry fire, just as owning a falcon lets you harness the power of terrified field mice. Wield nature's might with this Groupon.
$12 for a 5-Gallon Propane-Tank Refill ($24.87 Value)
The friendly staff tops off 5-gallon tank with propane. The best time to redeem this Groupon is Monday–Friday from 10 a.m.–8 p.m., when Emerald Oil is fully staffed.
Emerald Oil makes a surprise appearance in historian Diana Kernel Goodspin's biography of PR pioneer Theodore Hollandays, entitled "Maybe This'll Work?" The chapter "Propane Reignites a Career" is reprinted below.
As public relations took its first tottering steps at the turn of the 20th century, two men vied to nurture it out of its infancy into the full-grown science it is today. Little did they know then, but it was a clean-burning, liquefied gas that would determine the fate of their feud.
History remembers fondly Edward Bernays. The nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays employed many of his uncle's insights into the human psyche to sway public opinion, creating the modern press release and the PR stunt. His efforts resulted in the US Committee for Public Information and America's entrance into WWI.
Yet always in his shadow slouched Theodore Hollandays, who often pitched campaigns to the same clients as Bernays. When Bernays won the United Fruit account by hiring doctors to claim that they'd be out of work if everyone ate a "Banana a Day," Hollandays was left holding the scraps of his "Bananas: They're Nature's Snakes!" pitch. His attempt to rebrand communism in the United States as "The Crimson Annoyance!" also lost out to Bernays's "The Red Menace."
His luck changed, however, with a spectacularly successful campaign to convince Americans that propane, or "devil's breath" as it was then referred to, could be used for everyday activities. Set at Emerald Oil—a homey, Spanish-tiled slice of Americana—his film Now You're Cooking with Gas! depicted fathers in fedoras purchasing propane tanks from crisply uniformed attendants as doctors, inexplicably dressed in scrubs and stethoscopes, give the thumbs up. After heavy rotation on television and in elementary-school classrooms across the nation, the film resulted in propane consumption skyrocketing by 750% between 1946 and 1955.
Hollandays leveraged this PR coup to reel in influential clients and leave his fingerprint on the American cultural landscape, coining many slogans that we still use today, such as "The Generation of Swell Fellas" to refer the soldiers who fought in WWII. Were it not for propane, Hollandays might have been lost to history, and America might have been doomed to a future of smoky, labor-intensive barbecues.
With its sloping, spanish-tiled roof and matching fill-station canopy, Emerald Oil looks more like a roadside chateau than a roadside gas station. Nonetheless, visitors to this La Mesa hot spot can fill up their tanks—both gasoline and propane—and pick up any number of little conveniences. Inside the station shop, beer, liquor, and tobacco products rub elbows with a wide variety of sodas, coffee, and snacks. Customers can pick up lotto tickets and newspapers or ask the clerks’ assistance in filling up propane tanks and dream journals until 10 p.m. daily.