Thursday, August 26, 2010

Filling Station Saga

On Saturday my cousin stopped by to help install a new anti-virus software on my laptop. As we got discussing he asked if I still wrote on my blog, to which I answered “yes”. His facial expression changed from the jolly one to a more serious one (more like an irritated facial expression) as he started narrating his experience at a filling station he stopped by during the week to buy some petrol. Here is his story...

On this particular occasion (this had happened to him before) when he stopped at the filling station to buy some petrol, he told the fuel attendant how much petrol he wanted and looked away for a few seconds to bring out some money from his pocket, unconsciously  he looked at the meter right before the sale began.(The meter at that point read N500 which meant that the previous buyer, bought N500 worth of petrol) he saw the attendant reset the meter (which usually means that the meter would start reading from N0).

By the time he looked back, what he saw amazed him. The meter had run so fast,it already read N500. This felt like trick to my cousin because he only looked away for about 3 seconds. He ordered the attendant to stop and asked why the meter already read N500 when he only started running it about 3secoonds ago. The attendant who already knew that he had been busted cheating, immediately started to apologise and beg(apparently immediately my cousin looked away to get some money, the attendant quickly reset the meter to the previous sale and was just about to continue selling from that amount when he got caught. This will mean that for instance if my cousin wanted to buy N2000 worth of petrol, the attendant would have sold him N1500 and kept the remaining N500 in his pocket, the meter would have showed N2000 as the amount purchased and my dear cousin would have left thinking he had N2000 worth of petrol in his tank).

He was not ready to listen to the attendants plea so he jumped into his car, drove straight to their manager’s office and reported the incident to him .
The manager who understood the gravity of what his staff had done, he sincerly apologised, sent for the attendant, confirmed what had happened and asked him to take off his uniform which of course meant he was sacked.

My cousin went back to the same filling station several times after but with his eyes on the meter from the start to the end of his purchase. After this incident, he began to understand why his fuel never lasted the length of time it usually did. Unfortunately, he began to think there was something wrong with the fuel tank in his car not knowing that some filling station attendants were having drinks on him.

Apparently this sort of fraudulent act happens mostly at filling stations that are still in use of the old type of meter and not the new computerised one.

Business owners must emphasise (to their employees) the danger behind cheating or stealing from customers. In plain English, stealing, cheating or ripping off your customers (whether this offense is committed by an employer or employee) can leave your business stuck with a horrible stigma which will eventually bring about the downfall of that business. 

Why not do this: deliver the best service....Over Deliver ( a discussion for another post)


  1. It could be a number of things; Poverty, greed or just sheer stupidity! So its either the petrol attendant's salary isn't cutting it or he's not satisfied with what he's got or he's just a silly fool.

    That said, one should always keep one's eyes on the meter whether its analogue or digital fuel dispenser

  2. Well said Lush...keeping my eyes on the meter for sure