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Pre-pay leaves us fumbling at pumps

It’s high time service stations moniker their businesses more appropriately, because they don’t offer much service any more.

It’s high time service stations moniker their businesses more appropriately, because they don’t offer much service any more.

Pay at the pump (a term conveying convenience and haste) was to be a certain boon to motorists, the new creed of gas station security nationwide. But it’s been a lot of grand delusion.

The pre-pay gas system became law in British Columbia last February after a 22-year-old gas attendant was killed in March 2005 trying to stop a $12 gas and dash in Maple Ridge, making pre-payment mandatory at every gas station in the province.

Now consumers are paying for the actions of a few hoodlums, and gas jockeys are taking jobs with self-preservation paramount.

Granted, many factors contribute to consumer angst, but this self check-out model of disguising work, with labels of convenience, is anything but friendly.

It’s as if the franchises privileged to sell a commodity without the risk of consumer-need waning are saying: “Sure you can have some gas, but, we’ll have to put it on lay-away for a couple minutes, just to make sure you’re not a thief. Oh, and by the way, on top of paying in advance for our product, you’ll have to do our work.”

While it isn’t mandatory in Alberta for gas stations to pull the plug on the honour system, many managers/owners feel it is only a matter of time before pay-at-the pump becomes the model to follow, and most are equipped and operating pay-at–the-pump and pre-pay technologies already.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has not expressed immediate plans to implement a similar law, and said government will be looking at the B.C. law very closely.

But here is the majority vantage of the consumer public wrapped up for you Eddie:

The hassle of this unneeded task is wrought with bothersome intricacies exploited by fuel pimps who know sales will never waver. Consequentially, we are left fumbling around at the pumps trying to make wind of the muffled voice transmitting from the cozy cashier trying to guide us in the complications of a transaction so embedded in our daily cultures my seven-year-old used to be able to do it.

Now consumers are left to navigate technological nuances at the pump and endure the pre-pay cash or debit guesswork accompanied by transactions that go back and forth until the right price is met.

But no price is worth measures of inconvenience, especially a price spawned by the terror of thuggery.

 
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