The price of petrol going up has become another of the certainties in life. Midnight hikes, announced on the news are the signal to head for the filling station and so it was that this Saturday night saw me heading not for my nearest petrol station but the one in which the system of queuing was least likely to lead to an argument over who was there first.
A little off the beaten track, it was not as full as I'd expected perhaps because I'd managed to beat the rush by heading off as soon as possible after Shabbat but there was still something of a tailback, largely because only 2 of the pumps were operating - par for the course I suppose but I assumed the worst when one of the attendants started to make his way down the line and a couple of cars raced off the forecourt.
"I'm out of 95 Octane but you can have 98 Octane for the same price" he told me. Confused I contemplated what he had told me "98's a better petrol right?" I asked, wondering if I'd missed some vital detail. "Absolutely" he reassured me. I sat there, waiting and wondering where the catch was. Surely there was no obligation on the petrol station's part to sell a more expensive product at a lower price because all the cheaper (but in no way cheap) stuff had gone? The customer is there, he's going to buy whatever you charge him because he can't be bothered to move on in search of 95 somewhere else.
My turn came around and I rolled up to the pump - "can I fill it myself" I asked, knowing that it's cheaper that way. When I received an affirmative reply I got straight down to work, checked that the appropriate price was listed (it was - 98 same as 95 with the same reduction for self fill), filled up and was on my way, double and triple checking the payment slip.
One day on I'm still none the wiser as to where the catch was. Alon petrol station, far end of Derech Hebron, no arguing about queues, reductions for self service and clearly know a thing or two about customer service.