This morning I had reason to buy some petrol in the early hours of the morning.
In Hackney that is not so simple - most petrol stations are closed, and those that are open come complete with such welcoming signs as "Pay before getting petrol" . How are you supposed to pay, if you do not know how much petrol you need? I guessed at £25, and handed that amount over. I was then told that only one pump was open - number 7.
You can guess what happened next - as I was walking back to move my car, someone drives straight up to pump number 7. Having waited for him to speak to the cashier, return to his vehicle and then discover it was the diesel pump he actually wanted, I finally got to put petrol into my car.
As I walked back to get my change (£23 had filled me up) I noticed two signs. One declared that our safety was assured by CCTV, and the other stressed that the garage had sophisticated numberplate recogniton software.
If so, why do we need to pay in advance? Are the profits of the oil industry that threatened that this belt and braces approach is forced onto all customers?