Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another Creative Income Generating Strategy

Ever get to the point where your fuel needle is pretty well on empty but you really don’t have time to stop and fill ‘er up? It can make for very stressful driving. Well, I thought I’d avoid that this time and fill up while I had the chance. It was a Saturday morning and Kathy & I were out cruising around in a part of town we’d been wanting to explore for a while. Suddenly I saw a gas station, remembered that I was running low on fuel, and pulled in to get the tank filled.

Several minutes and 35,000 FCFA (about $70 later), I pulled back onto the road and we continued our explorations. It was only after we’d already gone some distance that I realized the fuel needle was at just over the halfway mark. What? 35,000 FCFA should have put it up to the top! I stopped and shut off the engine, then restarted it, thinking that the gauge needed a fresh start. No difference.

Now I was puzzled. Where had all the fuel gone? Into my tank as far as I could remember because I was standing there watching the guy the whole time!

It wasn’t until we were nearly home again that a possible explanation occurred to me. When I’d first pulled into the gas station, the attendant had been filling another vehicle with that hose. I bet he then just turned the hose into my truck without resetting the pump, yakking away at me to distract my attention from the fact. Come to think of it, he did seem to fill the tank awfully fast. Normally it takes longer to put 35,000 worth of fuel in my truck.

And what makes me think this was deliberate? As the pump meter was approaching 35,000 FCFA, the attendant pulled back on the pump like you do when you’re trying to top off the tank, getting that last little bit in there without overflowing it. However, the tank was only half full at that point, so this must have just been for show. And he probably realized that if he filled it all the way up, the final charge would have been way over what I normally pay to fill my tank and I’d have wised up to the fact that he’d not reset the pump. But since 35,000 seemed reasonable to me, it aroused no suspicions. A pretty clever way to pocket some extra cash, don’t you think? And I can’t prove a thing.

Well, they say you’ve got to pay for your education. Haha, I certainly did that! But you can bet I’ll be watching the pump a little more closely from now on! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! :)

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