Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dodgy Petrol?

As many of you might have already heard by now, there is a general concern among the Sri Lankan public (the ones who own/drive vehicles at least) that there is something wrong with the petrol that is available at the ol’ “petrol-sheds” out there.

I don’t read newspapers. Don’t even watch local “news” programmes on the Telly. So it is not surprising that I only heard about this issue yesterday. Only when a colleague of mine at work informed a few of us of an interesting telephone conversation he had just had with his friend who worked at a prominent car dealership in Colombo. He said that there are droves of pissed-off owners brining their sputtering vehicles to this particular dealership to figure out why their vehicle doesn’t run so smoothly anymore. The cause? Apparently, dodgy petrol.

“Oh sh*t! My tank is almost empty” I thought. I was planning to stop by a petrol-shed on my way home tonight to fill her up. During the next 30 minutes, I had called up someone I know who worked at Ceylon Petroleum Coorporation (CPC) and a couple of vehicle dealerships I knew to see if anyone can confirm this. The funny thing is that all three confirmed the story but the dealers were blaming the CPC and CPC was blaming the petrol-shed owners. Now what?

I had very little choice really,.. ignore the warning signs and pump petrol as usual or take the bus. If you had ever travelled on a bus in Colombo you would know that it is not much of a choice at all. So on my way home, just as I planned earlier, I stopped by a petrol-shed. I asked the attendant to fill ‘er up. While waiting I thought I would try my luck with the fuel attendant who looked cheerful enough. Cheerful enough for a petrol-shed attendant pumping petrol at the peak of evening traffic in Colombo that is.

“So what is this fuss about contaminated fuel then?” I asked casually.

Suddenly his cheerful demeanor vanished into thin air. He said, “I don’t know why people believe all these stories.”

Glimmer of hope,.. but I wanted confirmation. “You mean there is no problem”?

“Did I say that?”

Huh? I thought…

“There is a problem. But don’t believe what they say sir”.

He was clearly irritated by my ignorance. But at least he called me “sir”. So I pushed it…

“So what is the problem then?”

“Cars do have problems with this petrol. People come and complain to us sometimes. But how do we know it is our petrol? CPC says their petrol is pure. We take good care of petrol here. But the customer complains. Who knows what is going on?”. He picked up a pebble and threw it at a stray dog that got a little inquisitive – he missed the target but the mongrel was street-wise and didn’t hang around.

“Click” – it was the auto-cutoff of the petrol pump indicating that my tank was now full. That is my cue, I thought. So without another word, I paid for the petrol and drove away.

The way I see it, this is not something I can control even if I get to the bottom of this. So I decided to stay happily ignorant. By the way, the vehicle still works.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Treat Yourself

I never thought the humble cupcake can become the most sought after treat in town. But then again, I haven’t seen Miss Cupcake’s work until now either. They look lovely and are competitively priced too. But do they taste good? Well, try them out for yourself…

Treatz facebook page

By the way, they do contribute 20% of the profit to a well deserving cause. A socially responsible business - good on you Tina!