Monday, September 07, 2009

Petrol Station Etiquette

I normally buy petrol every second Tuesday, the cheapest pricing day. Well it was, but the day has now shifted to Wednesday. Last week instead of buying petrol on Tuesday, I bought it Wednesday. I won't do that again. Too busy.

But I was disturbed by what happened at the petrol station. Maybe it is standard practice and I am out of touch. What I saw was certainly a breach of polite behaviour though, by my standards.

I went to the Shell garage, or is that Coles?, in Dandenong Road. I am unfortunate, like many of us who have their filler on the left hand side of the car. Most people do. So that side of the bowsers are always busier. The far right lane looked to be the quickest, so I pulled in behind the car that was sitting at the second bowser. The car in front of that one pulled away from the first bowser as the car owner at the second went in to pay for her petrol. I won't have to wait too long.

A chap drove into the service station and reversed into the first bowser, hence blocked the forward exit for the car at the second bowser and me being behind her, she was trapped.

I reversed and went in front of another car who's owner was in paying, but it was wider area and I left plenty of space for the driver to get around me when he came out.

The woman who was in front of me where the guy pulled in, reversed out and used the centre gap to leave.

The guy who pulled in front of her went to pay and I was glaring at him and he picked this up. I glared at him as he left after paying too, and I could see he was conscious of me. If all else fails, pick snobbery. He was very badly dressed and had a dreadfully ugly old car.

I queried R about this situation, as he has to buy petrol weekly and is more in tune with service station ways and means. He agreed it was wrong, but he added a qualifier, that some people go in to pay for their petrol and then do their weekly shopping while inside. Slight exaggeration, but they come out loaded with coffee, papers and terrible food.

I hate buying petrol at Coles/Shell and Woolworths/Caltex and I suppose I should just pay more and buy it at the non supermarket BP. How I lament the loss of our small petrol service stations. I used them until the disappeared in the early 1990s. There was a marvellous one in High Street Ashburton I used.

While I already know that that guy's actions were wrong, what are your thoughts?


  1. I have two cars with fuel tanks on the left and right, but I never choose which side to wait for -- hose length is 99.99% enough to reach any side of the car.

  2. I was about to comment the same as above. Don't need to now.
    Anyway, yes, reverser bloke was in the wrong. Bugs me when people do it, espesh when there is no room to go 'round them to escape, and they don't move their car before going to pay. Grrr....
    I've glared at people for doing this. One day I'll have enough guts to actually tell them off before zipping away :)

  3. Sounds awfully like the etiquette (NOT!) observed by me as parents drop off their kids at school.

    Ill mannered, self centred parents who no doubt pride themselves on being role models to their litle Tarquins and Skyes.

    (Jeez, I am really getting old and curmudgeonly.)

  4. Apart from trapping the lady in front of you, it's also queue-jumping. Why should that guy be so special he can fill up before you, who has properly queued?

  5. Hi Mr very interesting characters. I know they will just reach, but it is a bit awkward. Next time I will try that.

    You can Cazzie should get together LS. She hates the drop off parents as much as you do. She takes photos of them!

    Daniel, I thought maybe society's rules had broken down at service stations. I guess not.

  6. Raelene, that is another thing. If people are going to stuff around shopping or whatever, move the car first.

  7. I use one of two servos, the 7-eleven in Richmond or United in Carlton, neither ever seems that busy, but I probably buy at stupid times as I don't give a fuck what it costs, I just fill up when I'm empty - with my petrol swilling beast that's about two to three times a week though!

  8. I hate that when it happens Andrew...see it too often. I am happy when I have to fill the Pathfinder with diesel..not for the cost of it..but because I don't have to put up with the people who are doing their shopping at the same time (R is right there).
    When I have to fill the Mazda up, go late at night, so I avoid the crowds who do the wrong thing.
    Lord Sedgwick is right, ill mannered..and may I add arrogant people.

  9. What Mutant? You don't hang out to save $1.50 on a tank like I do.

    Late night sounds good to me Cazzie.

  10. I purchase petrol every Wednesday at the same service station to take advantage of the week's lowest price.

    Each week, the same operator asks me whether I want to take advantage of that week's discount price for multiple purchase of chewing gum or lollies and each week I politely say no thank you.

    This has gone on for years. Surely the operator must realise by now that I never buy those things. I'm still waiting for the day when he doesn't make me that offer.

  11. Reversing bloke was clearly in the wrong, as Daniel pointed out, but some people are bullies like that.
    Hope his petrol tank springs a leak ;)

  12. I tend to buy my petrol at an independent station here in Port Melbourne. If someone parked me in at the pumps, I'd try driving over them in my Mazda. Zoom Zoom Zoom! ;P

  13. aw luckily i don't have to buy petrol or i might let the air outta someone's tyres!!

  14. Victor, I never see the same face twice. It must be extra aggravating when they should recognise you and still try to push lollies onto you. You would have learnt about taking lollies from strange men many years ago. Bet you did.

    Jayne, I simply must carry a gun. I could have shot a hole in his tank.

    Not happened to you Evol? You buy your petrol in Port Melbourne. Clearly Beacon Cove residents buy theirs elsewhere, or they would be doing it.

    Fenz, no road rage at the bicycle stands then. I have mentioned it ages ago, but I saw a dispute where someone locked their bicycle onto someone else's bike at a bike stand.

  15. haha! a) I'm so glad I don't live in Beacon Cove, it's a creepy place. b) I buy Petrol on Bay St, and imagine most of the Stepford Wives in Beacon Cove go to the BPs at the base of the Westgate?

  16. Agree Evol. Scary place. I don't like.

  17. I refuse to use the Coles/Woolies ones and stick to a garage that is a garage- easier to find in the country.
    But as well, my husband Don used to install underground petrol tanks at service stations and knew a fair bit about the industry at a practical level. After his accident he kept up on it just out of interest. When the supermarkets started selling cheap petrol he did a bit of research, and found out that their fuel came from Asian refineries - China these days and that their refining pracitces were not as good quality as that of the more expensive stations. Their petrol is rougher on the engine.... the one thing I do is buy the best quality petrol, despite the cost - there are other areas i can cut down on, but I am fond of my 1996 VW Van and I intend having it for another ten years at least - The petrol is cheap because it is produced more cheaply - they are not doing anyone any favours thats for sure.

  18. MC, perhaps we should have labelling laws for petrol.

  19. Anonymous2:16 pm

    I am from Western Australia and we have the same sort of problems here too. My gripe is the
    "paying etiqette" used by most patrons, of not driving forward to the bays provided (usually) and allow the next in line to move up. It absolutely INFURIATES me ..... why is it that this courtesy is not the norm? Is it that people love the power over others (because it is a power to make others wait for you to finish whatever you wish to do for however long it takes you to do it). I just get INCENCED over this and see everyone following the selfish route and not the courteous one. What happened? did we stop caring about others?
    Do others not have appointments and schedules to deal with?
    I always drive forward even when there is no-one behind waiting for the bowser. Just my habit, why isn't everyone of the same mind? You know THEN the Mr Line Jumper wouldn't bother either as his turn would soon be available and queue jumping wouldn't be necessary. Can you imagine this Utopia?

  20. Interesting. We don't have bays to move forward and if you moved your car forward before paying, the attendant would probably shoot you for leaving without paying. Thankfully, I only buy petrol once a fortnight or every three weeks. I hate doing it though.