Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Late night lock-out

I was hoping we'd escaped it here in Australia, but it seems we haven't.

Driving home from the city last night I stopped in to fill up with fuel and buy milk at the petrol station in Heathcote, one of Sydney's most southern suburbs. Once filled with fuel I headed to the store to search for the milk... the main doors were locked and had a sign directing me to the night counter... A bank like system of glass wall and steel drawers with microphone sound through which to transact. No more in-store purchases. I had to request the milk I wanted which was then passed into the small drawer in a plastic bag and out to me standing outside. Even the credit card reader was put into the drawer, wires attached, for me to swipe away then sign in the drawer... The attendant was personable at least, I think, the tones of his voice not too well transmitted through the sound system. And I left feeling cold and clinical. Of course when I got home I discovered I had the wrong milk.

We've stepped back in time and ahead all at once. I'd purchased fuel this way in the States & in France in the past, but it's a new thing here. A sign of the times I guess, and if I were an attendant I'd feel much more secure, but it's a depressing thing for me. I don't feel like I live in a dangerous world, but these changes suggest that I've been a little lucky or equally naive. I'm sure the next thing is no store at all, and an unmanned, credit card operated fuel pump... Progress can be quite an impersonal thing at times.

1 comment:

Stu said...

I've stopped filling up with fuel at that petrol station at night - I prefer to walk in and decide if there's anything extra I want.
At least there's an alternative about a mile back up the road that doesn't use a night counter...