Rotten Terrible McNasty's

When I was growing up in the Valley there was a gas station off the freeway called Terrible Herbst. This was a source of great amusement for me as a teen, the idea that any company would call themselves terrible anything, and I avoided the place just for the sheer stupidity of it.

A few years later during a trip to Northern California I came across another gas station called Rotten Robbie. Again I had to wonder, not only about the logic of having the word rotten associated with your product, but why both of these aberations were in the business of selling fuel. Were there any other badly-named companies I didn’t know about?

It turns out Terrible Herbst still exists and now operates gas stations in California, Nevada and Arizona, as well as Terrible’s Casinos, all seeded from a station in Chicago in 1938 and named after founder Ed Herbst. (They even have a racing division called Terrible Motorsports. Would you want to drive for Terrible Motorsports?) Wikipedia doesn’t say where the bad side of Ed came from, but the website for Rotten Robbie says one of the owners was named Robinson and they thought rotten was “catchy.”

There was also a bar in the Valley named Filthy McNasty’s ( and apparently are others today as far-flung as Fort Worth, Texas and Aberdeen, UK), but that somehow seemed more appropriate, if not kind of odd to a kid. Then there’s those reality missed:

Diabolical Dalrymple
Putrid Pete Petrol
Shady Smith’s Sunoco
Horrible Hank
Awful Andy’s

The possibilities are endless, but my dedication to the riff isn’t. I tried to look for other bad names but mostly found pages dedicated to names that were either unfortunate or just plain stupid, rather than ones intentionally named with negative connotations. Are there more like this, and is the trend limited to gas stations and bars?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are gas stations in Idaho named "Stinker Stations". They have a skunk as a logo.