Recent mention here of gas-and-go stations that offer few services moved Kenneth Eagan to send me a clipping about a station near Pittsburgh that now charges 25 cents for compressed air.

The owner had attempted to maintain full service but found that too many people were buying their gas at a discount station that didn't offer service, and then were flocking to his place to get their free air. He finally got fed up.

Betty Cress at Port Tobacco, Md., adds another dimension to our discussion. She writes:

"We were traveling yesterday and stopped at two self-service stations. The first, in Hagerstown, told us their rest rooms were closed because somebody had stuffed something into the plumbing. The second, in La Plata, said somebody had gone off with the key to the rest room.

"If they don't want to provide rest room facilities for the public, why can't they be honest about it?"

For the same reason, I guess, that most of us tell fibs to avoid arguments and bad feelings. Let's face it. It costs money to provide "free" services, and if the merchant isn't recapturing these costs by selling at a good enough margin of profit, something has to give.