I lived In North America and the United Kingdom for over 20 years in total, and one childhood memory would be my father driving us to different towns and cities and we would always pass by a petrol station. It was one of my favorite things as a kid to stop at these petrol stations, some of them were malls, motels, had the finest diners and even children playgrounds. They are deemed a tourist attraction and destination hot-spots.
Over the last few months, I been doing the same in Saudi, driving to different cities, yet my least favorite thing is to stop at a petrol station for a variety of reasons we all are surely aware of. Why don’t we move forward and set some new laws and legislation that drive better facilities.
So what’s my proposal you may ask? I am proposing a number of things; the first would be to change all the current petrol pumps to self-service. This eliminates the foreign labor we have working and dealing with cash which actually harms the business of petrol stations. Also if you take an average of five employees per shift at a petrol station with two shifts that’s ten employees that are sending money out of the kingdom at the end of the month, now replicate that thought with thousands of petrol stations, not to forget also the cost of the employees themselves (salaries).
Secondly if people are hesitant to self-service their cars, have one pump that’s open to someone serving you and raise the petrol price on them till they learn to start doing it themselves. Do you want to know what other benefits come out of this? Everyone will be forced to go into the store to pay. What does that mean? People won’t just buy petrol, but also purchase items in the store which we rarely have nowadays.
This all will help enhance the facility of the petrol station which eventually we can start seeing young Saudi men working inside these stores serving customers. I know it’s a far-fetched idea and won’t be accepted at first, but we have to start moving forward and lay down service standards for petrol stations which in turn will boost our economy as a whole.
I truly hope the Ministry of Labor, Trade and Commerce, Tourism Commission, and Ministry of Economics & Planning have a look at the proposed idea as the value is long term and has a positive effect on each one of them.