Amazed how servos have changed !

Submitted: Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 16:18
ThreadID: 55296 Views:2369 Replies:8 FollowUps:5
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While out and about last Labour Day weekend I popped into 4 different servos to fuel up and was suprised by the lack of basic motoring parts and equipment stocked.

Ok if you needed milk, bread, ice cream, soft drinks, panty liners, condoms etc.......even flea treatment for the pet. But Lord help you if you need a fuse, spark plug, hose clamp or wheel brace.

Even the selection of oils and lubricants were very limited.

At one establishment I asked the chap behind the counter if they stocked valve caps and he pointed to a rack of assorted hats suggesting the baseball caps were popular at the moment !!!!

The moral of the story I suppose is to buy your motoring needs at the supermarket and your groceries at a servo....LOL.

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 16:50

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 16:50
Know just what you mean. I use to stop at the BP Truck Stops at Marulen and also the Caltex X 2s on the Newcastle Expressway and if you wanted a airline fitting, chain, rope , new load binder strap , etc they had nothing, but if you wanted a useless bloody fluffy bear or flowers, they plenty of that crap, They like the Trucks to stop but for equipment they only want the tourist dollar, Now same can't be said for the Highway 31 at Marulan , IT'S A TRUCK STOP.

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Follow Up By: Rock Ape - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:38

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:38
can't help myself. It is proper to sell teddy bears at Marulan BP cause all the Sesame Street pups need teddies to punt their trucks past there.

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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:50

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:50
Rock Ape
I'll pay ya that one

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Reply By: Ozboc - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 16:57

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 16:57
Lmao Valve "caps" --- would have to have a pin head to fit in one huh ???


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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 17:47

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 17:47
Hi Lionel, Know what you mean, I don't know why they call them "Servos" anymore because the "Service" has gone, no filling up the fuel, no washing windows, no checking the oil or "Looking under the bonnet" for you while you are sitting in your car, no taking the money and bringing back the change and definitely no mechanic at any of them anymore. So why would you even contemplate or even expect to get parts there???????

No I'm afraid that they are no longer "Servos" they are just "Gas Stations"!!!!! isn't that what they are called in America????? so why not call them that out here(or are we already) after all aren't we adopting their everything????

Now I'll get off my soap box.



PS just read that back, Geez I must be getting old LOL

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Reply By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 18:28

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 18:28
Hello there Lionel, you must be only a young whipper snapper!! Old codgers like me can remember when servos not only carried the sorts of basic spares you mentioned, but the attendant got off his bum, came out to the driveway, asked how much fuel you wanted & then commenced to fuel you up. While the pump was running, and without asking him to do so, he washed your windscreen!! All the while you sat on your bum in the car.
That's why they called them "Service Stations" in the first place they provided a service to the motorist.
I had a VW in the very early 60's and if you put 10 bobs worth in you pretty right for a few days. LOL & cheers.
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 19:44

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 19:44
Had a Pom with me the other day when I went to a 'service' station and he was amazed that we could get 'free' air. We don't know how lucky we are :-))
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Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:11

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:11
I asked Caltex boss rep same was all convenience stuff.....if we at caltex, or shell, or bp etc....then we are suppose to be able to fit it and to do that we need a certified mechanic and need to be able to give warrenty....its just "not the thing" anymore.....

Lubs are easily done, so is the odd cap for oil and radiator but go beyond that and its up to mechanics!

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Follow Up By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:12

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 20:12
sorry that should have said that if we fill it then we are suppose to have mechanic etc.....
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Reply By: flashcher - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 21:26

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 21:26
I work in a 'service" station and thought I might throw my two bob's worth in.
The main reason they carry such a wide range of stock is that is where there profit is. Where they make between 2 - 4 cents per litre on fuel, on shop goods they make around 10% profit. So if someone buys a 2 litre bottle of milk for $3.50 they make 17.5 cents profit per litre.
I must admit a lot of workers are just like the valve cap lad.
I make a habit of greeting every customer that comes in on my shift and what really bugs me is the way I am treated by customers. They come in and either throw the credit card toward me, or place it flat on the counter rather than hand it over or heaven forbid swipe it themselves. The same with cash, placed on the counter but hand held outstretched for change.
I think it is a courtesy thing and don't let it bug me because I would hate to become as abrupt as some of the people I work with.
Ahhhhh that feels better off the chest........
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Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 21:29

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 21:29
Service Stations with no service.

Why? Because we shopped ourselves out of it!

In a past life and more years ago than I would like to admit I worked for the Shell Company managing their own operated fuel outlets.

I sold “super” at 48.1 cents a gallon; yes a gallon that is 4.54609 litres.

I checked your tyres, oil, auto transmission and cleaned your windscreen, if you headlight or blinker bulb not working I sold you the bit and fitted it free of charge on the driveway. You bought your car wash, polish, and chamois from me. If you car was idling fast or slow I adjusted it there and then on the driveway at no cost to you.If you were mechanically inclined I supplied you with plugs and points which you took home to fit your self. Of course you bought the bloody car back for me to reset the correct gap on the points together with the timing.
I used to supply and fit your tyres, shock absorbers, mufflers etc.

The first of the rot to set in was the good old Waltons Dept. Store who started to sell tyres at $1.00 down and 50 cents a week Of course you drove into my Service Station, pulled the tyres out of the boot and demanded I fit them free of charge because you were a regular customer. Not long after that you took your business to a “specialist clutch & brake centre”, your accessory business went by the board to K Mart. You found you could buy oil by the gallon containers at K Mart.

In all that time my GROSS mark up on the petrol you bought was 12.8% that equates to a gross profit (before overheads, of 11.42% and now you wonder why your fuel outlet sells bread and milk.

It’s quite simple really, it’s the only way the poor bastard can get a return on the huge investment he has sunk into the business, and even then it depends on volume, not mark up.

Sorry if I upset anyone but I lived through the transition of full service to today’s fuel bar” type outlets. Just how much of your motoring expenditure goes in to the till at a fuel outlet? Yes! I know that someone is going to spout that they spend a gazillion dollars a week on fuel. Just remember that there is next to no return selling fuel to the retail market.

The bottom line is that you get nothing for free; it’s paid for in one way or another. If you take your ancillary expenditure away from a service station then what incentive does the operator have to provide you with freebies?

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Follow Up By: Member - Lionel A (WA) - Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 22:09

Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 22:09
Giday Ian,

Yep, definitely agree with you. I recall the days when doing the Sunday morning oil change and tune up, I'd head to the local servo for my oils, filters, plugs, points etc. These, of course, were the days when most people had a reasonable amount of mechanical 'savy'. Add to that, the cars were a hell of a lot simplier too.

I also realise that even if one owns the servo, the oil company is the real boss.
My initial post was to suggest that the industry has moved away from being motorist orientated to being a supermarket that happens to sell fuel.

Perhaps, to put it another way, the local church realises the Sunday morning plate takings have been getting a bit thin of late, replace the alter with a bar, then a pizza outlet where the confessional used to be. A auto carwash behind the rectory and hey presto, the people and their $$$s start rolling in.

In time you cant figure out why you have'nt seen a priest there for the past 10 years.....hehehe.

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Follow Up By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 13:40

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 13:40
Hi Lionel,

Nice analogy.

Few people realise that there are next to no "owners" in the business of reselling fuel. In just about all cases the so called dealer is actually a "commission agent". That is the fuel in the ground belongs to the oil company, and the agent receives a set number of cents for each litre sold. The reseller has no say over the selling price.

The oil company have the facility to remotely monitor the sales computers/pumps and will automatically debit the resellers bank account as the fuel is sold.

Once again, the is damn all money to be made in selling fuel.

FollowupID: 556931

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