Friday, October 19, 2007

It's a gas

Not satisfied with charging customers for using their credit cards, the Triple 'E' Triumvirate of Enoc, Eppco and Emarat have after less than one month now decided to abandon credit cards altogether. In this high-tech, 21st century, go-ahead, first-biggest-and-best society, we're all expected to produce crinkly cash.

This radical change of direction occurs just after the Three 'E's have printed thousands of 'we're gonna charge you 1.65%' sticky notices. Now they'll all have to come down and be replaced with 'ain't yer got cash?' posters. How organised! I've seen more organised Brownian motion...

A recent letter in 7DAYS suggested that if the petrol companies want cash so much, we should shower them in small change rather than paper money.

An alternative to cash is prepaid cards. Naturally the petrol retailers love this. They get the money up front, and can collect the interest on it. By my rudimentary calclulation, if half a million punters each hold Dh100 on the card for a year, the petrol companies ought to collect the thick end of two million dirhams in interest alone. And there is the added advantage that a lost or destroyed card is to the customer's sole loss.

There is, however, a solution. Adnoc has never imposed the 1.65% surcharge, and after 20th October will continue to accept credit cards for fuel and other purchases. There is another advantage with Adnoc. The red-labelled 90 octane el cheapo petrol is only available at Adnoc. This is of academic interest to the Goatmobile, whose high-tech engine prefers the green-label 95 octane (or even blue 97 octane), but a Jeep Wrangler is quite happy with the red stuff.

Adnoc is alas 'not coming in Dubai'. I shall have to be organised and remember to gas up on my way home from work in Sharjah.


Gnomad said...

well if the Emirates is anything like the Magic Kingdom you wont be able to pay for your gas in small change because there simply isn't enough coinage in existence.

I am so fed up with getting chewing gum instead of small change. I hate loathe and despise chewing gum, but they won't give you anything else.

i*maginate said...

gnomad, I can't stand that mentality either. When I'm in a rush and notice later I've been shortchanged, I find some kind of trash sweet in the shopping bag, which I didn't ask for.

Grumpy Goat, first allowing credit card usage and then cancelling it backward the right word? Out of tune?

As a lady, I prefer Adnoc because the attendants don't oggle as they do in Dxb stations. Also the staff are very polite and helpful...generous too with the ole' tissue box hehe...and plus, the retail offering is better!

Anonymous said...

As I am given to understand, the retailer is expected to absorb the credit card charge either through increased sales or else by passing the cost on to the customer. He may achieve this by grossing up the sales price based on his projected credit card sales vs. cash sales. So if 50% of his sales are cc and 50% cash and the cc companies charge 1.6% then he needs to recover an extra 0.8% on all sales. He can achieve this in a number of ways most of which would go unnoticed by the customer. I am not a retail expert and would love to know if my logic is flawed, otherwise the petrol companies just look childish.

Gnomad said...

to anonymous,

yes the logic is flawed. Banks charge businesses far more for handling cash than the combined bank and credit card charges. Plus you also have the staff-time to pay for with having to take all that cash to the bank and the obvious temptations involved with large amounts of cash lying around.

It is entirely in the companies financial interests to use electronic payment over cash.

Mme Cyn said...

Give me a swipe card! In the US you pump your own gas, and in many service stations, right on the pump you can pay by swiping either a credit or a debit card. No people or paper needed!

Of course, that does mean people get out of their cars and (horrors!) pump their own gas...

Anonymous said...

Thanks gnomad, I was not sure and now I understand it better.

Anonymous said...

and pray tell, do you have to pay for this petrol upfront and then gas-er-up yerself/ or do you sit in the car, wave 10 bob out the window and get somebody to do it for you?


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