The Mystery Behind Gas Stations Using Sonic Sound Effects

If you’ve ever stopped for a snack at a local gas station convenience store, chances are you’re familiar with that jingle that plays every time the clerk scans your item. You might also be familiar with it if you’re a Sonic fan, because they both use the sound byte whenever a golden ring is collected.

Yeah. Weird. It must be some obscure manufacturer that stole the sound effect because it sounded nice, right? Well, maybe not, at least according to a YouTuber who’s built a reputation for investigating strange mysteries.

Nexpo is known for diving deep into the weird and macabre, and he wanted to figure out why these gas stations used such an iconic sound effect. His video explains the potential link between those registers and Sega Sammy Holdings:

As it turns out, the company known as Gilbarco Veeder-Root is responsible for the production of these registers. They use third-party developer support for their POS (Point of Sale) software, so there’s a possibility that Sega Sammy could be the mystery developer. It would certainly explain why this has gone on for so long without so much a cease and desist making the news for a few decades.

For our readers in the US, have you ever noticed that your gas station used that ring sound effect? If not, do you think you’ll go on a road trip to find one? Do you think there truly is a connection, or it’s all just a mix-up? Let us know in the comments below!

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Indigo Rush

Indigo Rush (Alex) is a longtime member of the Sonic Stadium's message boards. If you're into memes, check out his Meme Bean account on Twitter for shenanigans of the Robotnik variety! https://twitter.com/memebeanregime

19 Comments

  1. I have a gas station down the road with it

    First time hearing it was easily more than 10 years ago at some highway gas station

  2. I found about this when searching why the Scott Pilgrim film uses some Sonic sfx, because I could not understand the connection (still don’t), and someone mentioned gas stations but I’ve never heard any irl.

  3. US Reader here ! Definitely noticed the Ring sound effect immediately when I made my first stop inside a gas station. It sounded so spot on, I was curious what the legal implications were as well haha.

    1. Anyone remember ICQ from the late 90s?

      Remember the default sound that would play when you received a message? (Ut-oh!)

      I’ve also heard that from a gas station register

  4. I remember the first time I heard that sound at a gas station, it totally caught me off guard. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has been curious as to why it’s there. This connection definitely seems possible to me!

  5. In addition to the ring sound, I’ve heard an “uh-oh” sound effect played when there’s a problem or when removing a scanned item. I don’t know what game it would be from, but instinct makes me think it’s Amy’s voice. First noticed the sound effects in cash registers pre-2010. Maybe 2008?

  6. Multiple times during ocean city ive heard this sound effect. On trips to there, back, and even during there. There was one guy who noticed I recongised the sound and immediately told me I wasn’t wrong and that indeed was the sound.

  7. Scott Pilgrim just used the sound effect because the entire movie is filled with video game references. That’s just one of them. It’s just an homage.

  8. US… There’s a couple around where I live. I actually shared this on Facebook commenting how weird I always thought it was, but surprisingly I’ve never considered looking into it. This is awesome

  9. Local station has this, another I passed through had the Zelda rupee collection sound. It’s always fun if not confusing when it happens.

  10. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to insist “they’ve gotta be involved” like he does in the video. I mean, if SEGASammy was so careful to not Tip there hat anywhere on the internet that they made the system, why would use their most iconic sound effect? Could the use of a single sound effect fall under the legal protections of “fair use”? Under fair use you can use upwards of 10% of a creative work. I think a short single sound effect would be far less than 10%.

  11. Isn’t this just coincidence, or the sound effect is so generic enough to not be copyrighted and to be used freely? It’s just a high-pitched ding.

  12. At my local gas stations, I’ve heard the ring sound at a Shell gas station and I think Amy Rose saying “uh-oh!” If I’m not mistaken at the Sunoco gas station. The ring sound was at the Sunoco gas station too. I thought it was extremely bizarre to hear Sonic sounds at my local gas stations.

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