Service isn't what it used to be at most petrol stations

WAY back, in the late 1960s, I spent my Friday nights working in a service station in my home town to supplement my income.

I still recall, some 50 years on, how every Friday night a little old man drove his E93A Ford Prefect onto the forecourt for its weekly fill.

The car was in mint condition. Sparkling black paintwork with not a speck of dirt nor a scratch to be seen.

He'd get out of the car and ask to have the petrol tank filled, and then he'd ask, every weekend, if I could check the oil, water and the tyres, and also clean the windscreen - even though it didn't need cleaning.

I recall how it used to annoy the hell out of me every time I saw the tiny car arrive, but I knew that was the service we provided, and so duly went about my work.

It was the same everywhere in those days. When you arrived at the service station you would be greeted and your fuel tank would be filled for you - in fact it was frowned upon to fill your own tank.

We still call them service stations, or servos for short, but there's not much service. They are gas stations, where you can buy all manner of other items, but you help yourself.

Now I'm not criticising today's servo attendants.

We still call them service stations, or servos for short, but there's not much service. They are gas stations, where you can buy all manner of other items, but you help yourself.

They are told what they are expected to do by their employers - it's just the way people's idea of service has changed over the years, and not necessarily for the better.

About Christmas-time we took a trip back to New Zealand to catch up with relatives and I was pleasantly surprised to find service returned to the forecourt in one chain of service stations.

The former major retail sales network, which controlled the service stations up until a couple of years ago, had been bought by a different company which rebranded all the stations.

Along with the rebranding came a change to the old-fashioned approach where customers are greeted on the forecourt, their tanks are filled and the windscreens are washed, and you get a cheery, "Would you like me to check under the bonnet"?

I've got no idea how much extra business these guys are getting, but it's certainly a welcome move.

It would be great to see it spread to other enterprises.



‘I’m going to f--- you up’: Woman’s threats to neighbour

Premium Content ‘I’m going to f--- you up’: Woman’s threats to neighbour

Maxine Victoria Frescon told police ‘if I want to f--- her up I can f--- her...

‘GOING TO SMASH YOU’: Man beat victim to near death

Premium Content ‘GOING TO SMASH YOU’: Man beat victim to near death

Mark Edward Parter’s victim suffered fractured ribs and a collapsed lung among...

Council claims prestigious award

Premium Content Council claims prestigious award

“Council employees should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.”