Non-service Stations

I drive a company vehicle. When I need to fill the tank or get an oil change, I have a fleet card which I use to pay the bill. This is not an uncommon occurrence, and most businesses are more than happy to accept payment.

Not, it would seem, for the Shell “Service” Station on East Lake Crescent in Airdrie.

Earlier today, I needed gas, so I happily pulled up to the pump at the Shell Station, and popped the pump nozzle into my vehicle to fill it up with wonderful Eau d’huile ™ from Shell Canada.

Nothing happened.

After a moment, a tinny, annoyed voice came from the pump’s speaker:

“Pump 6 you are on a pre-pay pump. You will either need to pre-pay, pay-at-the-pump, or move to another pump.”

So I pulled out my fuel card and slid it into the slot on the pump.

“Card not read”

I turned it over and slid it in again.

“Please remove card.”

I removed the card.

“Card not accepted.”

“Oh for God’s sake!”

I turned, ready to walk to the office to hand them my card so I could get an authorization from the pump to fill my vehicle, when I noticed a young lady with a Shell uniform on, changing the receipt tape in the pump on the other side of the one I was using. She was well within earshot, and thus would have heard my frustrated outburst.

I turned to her and asked, “are you heading back to the office right away?”

“Yes,” she said, in the same annoyed voice which had come from the speaker a few minutes earlier.

I tried to hand her my fleet card, and was about to explain that the pump wouldn’t accept it, and ask her to activate the pump, but she looked at me and said, “that does nothing for me. You’re going to have to pay at the pump or move to another set of pumps.”

So I climbed back into my vehicle and drove to another gas station.

I’m not opposed to pay-at-the-pump. I’ve even used pay-at-the-pump before. I also have run into trouble with my fleet card before at pay-at-the-pump locations. Pay-at-the-pump is a nice option for some people, but it is ridiculous to force people to use it. It really doesn’t speed the refueling process up, because the menu system on the pump is incredibly slow to respond, and as a result, it takes roughly the same amount of time as it does to walk to the office and pay the cashier, so if it comes to a choice between the frustration of paying at the pump or walking to the cashier, I, for one, could do with the exercise.

The problem I have here is the attitude of the clerk. She heard my frustrated outburst, so clearly something was amiss. She didn’t bother to find out what was going on, nor did she show any scrap of empathy for my frustration. She simply cut me off and refused to offer any form of help at all.

So, as I’ve said before: “If that’s their sales pitch, what’s it like in the complaints department?”

As a result, I will be choosing different refuling establishments in Airdrie from now on.

About Steven Britton

Steve is a freelance programmer, partial billionaire, dad, Recovering Atheist, Conservative, and occasionally prolific blogger.
  • Trevor Bacque

    Understood, thanks for explaining!
    Perhaps your frustrated outburst caused her to not care. You’re both at fault, it seems. Also, tiny has one ‘n’, not two.

    • I wasn’t going for “tiny”, I was going for “tinny” as in “sounding like it’s being spoken through a long rolled-up piece of tinfoil.”

      My point of view in this is regardless of how I behaved, (and no, my frustrated outburst wasn’t a shining moment of The Life of Steve) a “Customer Service Clerk” is paid to serve customers. I was a customer, she didn’t serve me. She’s paid to care.

      I work in a customer service role myself, and I have learned that taking that step – of, if there’s a problem, getting to the bottom of it and, if possible, resolving it – goes a long way to building a long-term relationship.

      I’m not perfect – and I certainly would agree that customer service people shouldn’t have to take abuse – but I feel that my behavior didn’t come close to the point of making her “not care,” as you call it.

      Thanks for sharing your views.