Opinion: You’re spending too long at the petrol station

parking fines petrol station

You’ve no doubt seen the headlines about a chap getting fined for spending too long at a BP garage.

No, not Alan Partridge. There’s no whiff of Lynx Java about this story.

The fact that a shopper has been fined £100 is crazy, but here’s the thing: if you’re spending half an hour at a petrol station, you’re part of the problem.

Anything longer than 15 minutes at a forecourt is inexcusable. I’ve never timed it, but assuming there’s no queue, the splash and dash should be completed in less than 10 minutes.

Sure, grab a Dairy Milk or a packet of Wine Gums on your way to the till, but taking anything other than the shortest route between the door and the cash deck should be avoided. Pay, get in your car, then go.

How is it even possible to spend 30 minutes at a petrol station?

The guy at the centre of the story spent 47 MINUTES at a site in Croydon. Yep, forty-seven minutes. Most of that time was spent queuing behind SIX vehicles to use the car wash. Seriously, wouldn’t you come back another day?

Another man who received a fine wondered whether an “allowance of 45 minutes would be far more reasonable”, to which I say “NO”. Think about that for a moment, you genuinely see a scenario in which you’d want to spend three-quarters of an hour of your day at a petrol station?

Why? There must be better things you could be doing with your time.

‘Get the hell outta there’

petrol station at night

Almost everything is more expensive at a petrol station, so anything other than a distress purchase should wait for another day. You’re paying for the convenience and the fact that the retailer makes virtually nothing out of the highway robbery you experienced at the pump.

It means that today’s petrol station is less about petrol and more about shopping. Even the petrol element is in doubt, with forecourts adding banks of electric car chargers to prepare for our electrified future.

Quite how these fit into the maximum stay limits is a subject for another day…

I have sympathy for drivers caught unaware by the parking restrictions – I’m not siding with any retailers who have misled motorists. It’s just that I think that spending the equivalent half a football match at a petrol station is time wasted, even if you’re a Man Utd fan.

Casually wandering around a Little Waitrose or M&S Simply Food looking at chilled ready meals, cat food and household cleaning products while your fellow motorists slip into a coma in the queue behind your generic crossover just isn’t cricket.

When you’re back in your car, don’t spend an age checking your smartphone, arranging your shopping or having an in-depth conversation with your passenger. Be like a celebrity and get the hell outta there.

A visit to a petrol station should be like an Olympic event. Time yourself from when you open the filler cap to the moment you’ve fastened your seatbelt and are ready to go. If you beat your personal best, treat yourself to a Dairy Milk Duo the next time you need to fill up.

No parking fines, no waiting, no bother. Better for you, better for the rest of us.

1 reply
  1. Jason
    Jason says:

    Considering petrol stations make their money from everything but fuel, it’s the customers that are spending money on groceries, food to go, car wash etc. that make petrol stations viable. Without such customers, we’ll end up with even fewer places to fill up. Be careful what you wish for!

    Reply

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