Tuesday, 19 March 2019

My fuel tank cover is missing.



2018 was a whole lot of a year for me with many personal and professional milestones achieved which meant that I made huge strides forward. However, this also meant I needed to step back from one of the things that I love the most which is blogging, the expression of my thoughts/ self and use of myself as a muse to mirror the silent conversations/ start conversations that are often felt as mundane.

In short, I have come back to my passion of writing, I do not know how regular this will be but I am seeking to push myself to experience and make my life as colorful as before. So stick around and you might read a few things that you may like and come back for more.

On 27th December 2017 my car third party insurance expired and so I did the responsible thing and drove to the Total Kira road station across from KFC for renewal. I paid for renewal and as the lady replaced my old sticker with a new one and given that I only fuel from total, I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone. I am a creature of habit so I usually go to the same restaurants, fuel stations and supermarkets that I like so I decided to fuel up with my usual full tank for the week. Everyone who knows me well knows that I hate having to stop to fuel up mid-week given my full schedule. Everything went well and the third party insurance lady was helpful so I drove off without a second thought that anything might be wrong.

A week later at my second usual station at Total Najjera, I saluted my favorite pump attendant and the following conversation ensued;

Me: ‘’Happy New Year sebo.’’

Pump Attendant: ‘’ Happy New Year madam,’’ he responded as he opened my car fuel tank cover.
‘’Eh madam, please come out and see this before you say I stole your cover?’’

Me: ‘’What are you talking about?’’

Pump Attendant: ‘’Your fuel tank cover is missing. Where did you fuel up the last time, I know you fuel weekly?’’

Me: ‘’Total Bukoto.”

Pump Attendant: ‘’Oh, if you have a receipt and remember the day that you fueled up you can go back to them and they help you.’’

Me: ‘’Thank you very much, so fill my tank not to full capacity though and then let me head there.’’

So I headed to the Total Bukoto and asked for the manager (Indian) I was told to wait for the supervisor (Ugandan) since the manager was not around. I was given the run around the whole afternoon with claims of the fuel pump attendant was off that day, then the supervisor was sick, then they did not know who the pump attendant was.


To cut the long story short, I was told that the manager was off then the following day in the morning, he had resigned and in the afternoon the station mechanics and pump attendants avoided me like the plague. Now those who have met me know that I am very agreeable and often let things go which is why when I decide I have an axe to grind with you I go all the way. So I told them thank you, played the bigger fool and showed up the next day mid-morning and headed straight for the manager’s office and he was in.

He asked me for my details and I relayed what had happened and after he proved that I was indeed at their station that day since I had a third party sticker purchased at their station he referred me to their other branch on Wampewo avenue. So, it is at this point that I realized that the 2 stations are owned by a family and 2 Indian brothers run them. I was given a note to hand over to the office manager of the Total Wampewo location who then referred me to the station supervisor and he immediately began to grumble under his breath as he made a beeline for the storage space.

Station manager: "Naye bano ba kyali teba tegera." (but this fellows they do not understand/ stubborn.)

I realized later that he was speaking about the pump attendants from the total Total Kira road location since this seems to have happened before. I know this because I was given 3 fuel tank covers to choose from depending on which fit better. So as all this was going on I asked myself;

1.        Did the pump attendant actually resign or had he been fired for something else?
2.       Where did these fuel tank covers come from?
3.       Was another customer driving around without a fuel tank cover because I had gotten my replacement?

As he replaced my fuel tank cover the Indian station manager walked up to me and said, "My apologies for the inconveniences madam."

I thanked him and decided not to meddle with their internal processes but decided to remain a loyal customer since they had followed through. Now, I am not tribalistic/ racist but let's be honest if the owner of the station had been Ugandan the conversation would have been something like this,

"Are you sure you even came here for fuel?"
"Well no one says they took your fuel tank cover so I don't know what to do for you."

Then I would have been ignored the very same way that the Ugandan station pump attendants and mechanics had done earlier. We often complain that Indians are taking over everything business related leaving nothing for Ugandans. However, my note of caution is, if we spent more time fixing our lacking customer service, poor work ethic, bad attitude towards work and actually showed our customers that we valued their business we might be better candidates to succeed.

Food for thought.





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