Petrol Filling: DIY or Assisted?

Photo credit: Tim Regan

Until recently I had never gone to a petrol station with forecourt attendants.

I had seen this kind of thing on American films and always thought that I was missing out on something. Doesn’t it look great to pull up and have someone fill her up while you hold up the cashier or hide round the back from the big alien that is following you?

What I didn’t realise is that it used to be like this in the UK as well. Ever since I have driven it has been a strictly self service sort of business to fill up your car. I remember being really worried about filling up the tank for the first time. A work colleague said that he spilled petrol over his shoes once and I built it up into a big ordeal in my head while I took my driving lessons.

A Bit Awkward?

In the end it turned out to be really easy and I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. Then, I went to drive outside the UK and started getting uptight about the idea of using a forecourt with an assistant there. Apart from the language problems it just seemed a bit strange to be sitting in the car while someone else poured in petrol .If there were no aliens around to keep me busy it might be a bit awkward.

Eventually I did it and realised it was fine as well. Now I don’t really have any preference who puts the fuel in the tank but I see that there is talk of forecourt attendants making a comeback in the UK.

Shell has brought them in to around 300 of its petrol stations across the country and it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction this gets from motorists.  They’ve even given the idea a fancy , trendy name, as it called The Attended Service programme. The move has been welcomed by the AA and by people who can’t be bothered getting out of their car.

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