A couple of months back, I stopped at a petrol pump and requested the attendant to dispense petrol worth Rs. 1,000. As I stepped out of my car to stretch my legs, the attendant called his assistant, instructed him to dispense petrol worth Rs. 1,000, and went off to attend to another customer. The assistant reset the reading to 0.00, pointed it out to me and started dispensing the petrol. He stopped dispensing when the meter reading was Rs. 300.00. When I asked him why he had stopped at Rs. 300.00, he replied that that was the amount mentioned by his senior.
The attendant, who had come back to collect my payment, overheard this conversation. He apologized to me for his assistant’s carelessness, instructed the assistant to dispense an additional Rs. 700.00 worth of petrol, collected my payment and started preparing my bill. He asked me whether I wanted my car’s registration number to be mentioned on the bill, and I replied that I didn’t.
As I collected the bill, the assistant had stopped dispensing petrol, and the meter reading was Rs. 700.00. When I asked him why he had stopped at Rs. 700.00, he replied that he had reset the reading to 0.00 before dispensing petrol worth Rs. 700.00. In a raised voice, I told the assistant that I had clearly seen him start the second time at Rs. 300.00; he had not reset the meter to 0.00 as he claimed.
Hearing me speak in a raised voice, the attendant asked me what had happened. When I explained to him, he requested me not to worry, checked a reading on another meter, agreed that his assistant had not reset the meter to 0.00 the second time, and instructed the assistant to dispense a further Rs. 300.00 worth of petrol. The assistant did as instructed.
I got the feeling that the whole thing was pre-planned, including the attendant trying to distract me by engaging me in a conversation about whether I wanted my car’s registration number to be mentioned on the bill, and that it was because I had stepped out of my car that I had prevented the attendant and his assistant from cheating me. However, I had no proof. I just decided to be watchful during future visits to any petrol pump.
Believe it or not, I’ve experienced the same sequence of events, with slight variations, on four more occasions, twice at the same petrol pump and twice at another petrol pump. I am now convinced that this is completely pre-planned, and I suspect something similar must be happening at other petrol pumps as well. Hence, I decide to share my experience in this blog post.
Do you agree with me, or do you think this is just my paranoid overreaction?
Whatever you think, whenever you refuel your car at any petrol pump, do make it a point to step out of your car and keep an eye on the meter readings. If I’m correct, you would have ensured that you are not cheated. Even if all this is just my paranoid overreaction, you would have had the satisfaction of burning a few more calories by stepping out of your car, standing for a couple of minutes and getting back into your seat!