dimanche 1 septembre 2013

Serve yourself !

If you visit France and decide to rent a car during your stay, here are a few tips for you about filling
your car tank.

France runs self-service petrol stations, known as libre service, which are opened everyday of the year. To fill your tank, you have to do it for yourself. Unlike in Nigeria, in France there are no garage attendants.

Note that the general word for fuel is carburant and petrol is essence. Petrol is usually available in three grades, SP95  SP95-E10 & SP98. SP means "sans plomb" that is "unleaded petrol". While diesel fuel is called diesel or gazole.

In France, service stations have different prices. Fuel is cheaper on the highway and in supermarket stations. Note that Total filling stations are more expensive than Total Acces (Elf stations bought by Total).

When you drive into a filling station, pick a place, every stand has it's own number. Payment instructions are often pasted on the pomp... when you have to pay first. If not, pick a disposable hand glove, and fill you tank while watching the meter. If you are buying diesel and you over fill your tank, spilling some over, you are supposed to put sand on the spillage so the person after you doesn't not slip. Look around there is often a box of sand close-by. It has sable written on it. If you don't find one, don't forget to inform the caissier about it when you go into the boutique to pay.
Most stations have a shop selling confectionery, canned or bottled drinks and snacks, which are usually expensive. You can also buy newspapers, magazines, motoring accessories, cooking gas and sundry other items. If you do not see a shop this means the station uses pompes automatiques and you cannot buy fuel with cash or cheque but plastique only. Note that very few stations accept cheques, if you find one who does, it must be from a bank in France.

Some just have a small cabine where you make paiement as you drive out.
When paying at self-service petrol stations, simply tell the cashier your pump number. Debit cards and major credit cards are accepted by most petrol stations. Tips aren’t expected, although they won’t be refused!
In areas known as quartier chaud, you have to pay first, the meter will be programmed, then you can serve yourself. The pomp will automatically stop.

Most petrol stations have toilets, sometimes located outside the main building, when it may be necessary to ask an attendant for the key.

Some petrol stations provide services such as car wash, vacuum cleaners. Some provide routine servicing and repair. Most times air and tyre pressures are free but you have to do it yourself.
Filling stations close between 9pm and 10 pm. In summer, due to longer days, the boutique doors are closed by 8pm and payment are done through the window. In winter, doors are closed by 6pm when it starts to get dark.
Filling stations on motor ways are often attched to cafésrestaurants, shopping malls, supermarchés etc.

All filling stations are equipped with video cameras in case of robbery or people who fill their tanks and drive off without paying.

Don't ever sleep in your car at a filling station in France. There is every possiblity you will be attacked and robbed of all your possession.

I sometimes wonder if this system will ever work in Nigeria, apart from people driving off without paying, it will erase a lot of jobs.



*carburant - fuel
*essence - petrol
*sable - sand
*caissier - cashier
*boutique - shop
* pompes automatiques - automatic pumps
*cabine - cabin
*paiement - payment
*quartier chaud / quartier difficile - rough / problem area
*diesel / gazole / gasoil - diesel
*cafés - coffee shops
*restaurants - restaurants
*supermarchés - super markets

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