Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fool me once

Here's a scam to watch out for the next time you fill petrol for your car.

You stop at the pump, roll down your window and tell the attendant how much petrol you would like: say, a thousand bucks' worth. All modern pumps have a facility by which the attendant can set this amount on the display and then proceed to fill the tank; the pump automatically stops the flow of the fuel when the amount reaches the Rs 1000 mark. The attendant sets the amount, but before he starts pumping the gas, his colleague approaches you and asks you some seemingly innocent question, the real purpose of which is to distract you while the first attendant surreptitiously resets the pump display to zero. He then commences the filling, and as the reading approaches say, Rs 900, the second attendant once again distracts you, this time with a query about the bill or the credit card. While you are busy answering him, the first guy stops the pump and quickly sets the reading manually to Rs 1000. Congratulations: you've just been scammed out of Rs 100.

I was scammed out of Rs 85 by a bunch of scumbags employing this M.O. at the petrol pump in Indira Nagar. I couldn't do much about it then since I was in a hurry at that time; I also felt that if I took up the issue, it would be the attendant's word against mine.

Anyway, I resolved never to fill petrol there again, but, as luck would have it, I was very low on gas one day and had no choice but to pull into the same thieves' den. This time I parked my car at a different pump, and things started out normally; I mentioned the amount, the attendant punched this number in, but before he could start, up came his accomplice with some stupid question, and what did I see on the display when I looked up after answering the bastard? You guessed it: 0.00. That did it for me: I got out of the car and planted myself about 18 inches away from the display, and didn't take my eyes off till the last paisa rolled up on the screen.

On second thoughts, I am still not sure whether I got my money's worth of fuel; folks who resort to such scams probably adulterate their stock, too.