OWERRI: THE MENACE OF FUEL ATTENDANT THIEVES

Posted by on Mar 28th, 2018 and filed under AgwodInuju. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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Dateline; Owerri, Imo State. Location Porthacourt Road. It was a bright day as I found my way towards Porthacourt road in the first working day of the week. It had been a hectic one with yours truly battling with domestic challenges that had mesmerized me for a while But as I pushed the pedal of my car forward, the fuel gauge indicator signaled red. I pulled to refill the tank in one of the fuel stations where an innocent looking female fuel attendant acted in a manner, I felt shouldn’t escape readers’ knowledge.

For the umpteenth time, I experienced a shocking encounter with a fuel dispenser, the details of the event is worthy to share with the public, especially car owners and drivers.

The previous encounters I had was an eye opener but the recent one was indeed exciting to narrate the story. As I matched the break, and killed the engine, after taking position, near the fuel pump machine a motorcyclist arrived immediately at the other end to also be attended to. Instead of giving me attention as the first to arrive the spot, the fuel dispenser thought otherwise and considered the motorcyclist first, who from my rough observation purchased about three liters. Immediately, I told the attendant, a young looking woman to sell fuel of #3,000 to me which about 19 liters.

On arrival at the service station, I decided to keep the name close to my chest for obvious reasons, I took a good look at the petit sized lady that should not be above 20 years old by my assessment, before I focused on other pressing issues bothering my mind. Oblivious of the fact that she was a smart Alec with dubious tendencies, she refused to wipe the old record of the three liters and the corresponding amount stated on the meter reading machine courtesy of the motorcyclist before plugging the nozzle into an open fuel tank mouth of my car. I was a bit transfixed trying to juxtapose this development alongside what had pre-occupied my mind on arrival before regaining consciousness that the lady was up for sinister moves. Quickly, I reacted to intuition to detect the chicanery perfected by fuel attendants to defraud car owners at filling stations. While sitting at the driving seat to observe the illicit act, I asked her the type of quibbling conduct of not wiping out the old record before adding mine. Before then, the meter reading numbers had gone up to nine from the three meters. She stopped the nozzle movement and stealthily pulled it out from my car tank before relaxing it on the meter machine. With all form of guilt written all over her face, she cautiously approached me at the driving seat section to apologize and begged me not to report her to management of the station.

Ironically, I am a regular customer to the station and a bosom pal of the manager. I told her the name of the manager of the place and described him as a friend. She continued pleading for forgiveness before many who had entered the fuel station for refueling knew what transpired. Since I was not in the mood for rhetoric and upbeat about her subterfuge because of pressing family issues I was rushing to handle, without much ado, I zoomed off immediately.

The Owerri Porthacourt road experience adds to two previous encounters I have had even as I had witnessed disagreements at service stations arising from such shenanigans. The first was about eight years ago at Anara in Isiala Mbano area on the Owerri-Okigwe road, Imo State. This time, it occurred at the service station of a major oil marketer (names withheld). I had gone to Okigwe town, a gateway council of Imo State and pulled at the station to refuel. The male attendant who I later learnt was an Industrial Training (IT) student had asked me to move in front where I will not have a vintage view of the meter machine. The fuel attendant applied a tactics I latter gathered has become the fashion whenever they want to be funny with fuel dispensation. As I moved, I had stopped at the appropriate place the meter nozzle would easily dispense fuel into the car tank. But he asked me to move further to where I wouldn’t apply a more careful look to read the meter and determine the quantity and amount sold to me. But unknown to him, I had an aged woman behind the tinted glass of the back seat. The woman, a worthy sister of the Knight of St John International (Laux) joined my car back to Owerri after a Catholic Church function in Okigwe. I told the attendant the amount of fuel I wanted and made for my money inside my pocket, before he carefully plugged the nozzle in without wiping the previous record. But the eagle eyes of the woman who is also a car owner and familiar with the disdainful antics of thieving fuel operators  caught the “sharp guy”  She beckoned on me to ask him to stop the dispensing and even alighted from the car to  raise the alarm that the “guy’ is a fraudster. Arguments ensued as the “guy” man denied. The official in charge of the station who came to intervene went further to crucify him by disclosing that it was not the first time such report and embarrassing scenario arising from the “boys” corrupt practices was received. He was summarily suspended and asked to quit from the pump immediately as the official politely apologized and served us later.

The next encounter also in Owerri took a similar fashion. Having discovered their antics and learning from similar incidents I ensure my eyes go for the pump record corner anytime I drive into a fuel station to procure the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.

The young lady who I met tried to start dispensing without wiping the old record, but quickly I called her attention to the fact that the previous one has not be cleared.

While discussing with friends over the issue, I discovered that it was a common phenomenon in the fuel dispensing system. The Manager of the station on Owerri-PortHarcourt road I went the next day to inform about my ordeal and the need to caution his workers revealed that it is not unsual because fuel attendants are sacked regularly for such offence.

“Have you not noticed that is the reason why we have no old face here again. These ones are new. You see most times I go and hide to watch and detect the fraudulent antics” he added.

Efforts he made to extract the name of the culprit was unsuccessful.

Further investigation has it that the gains made from the fraud is called “tips” though the nomenclature varies from one station to another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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