Helmets off on the forecourt? BMF fighting your corner

helmetsoff

Published on 21 March 2015 by Gill

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Filed under categories: Features, Campaigning

“Can you imagine any other circumstances under which a customer would be singled out and identified to all over the public address system, asked to remove items of clothing so that they may be permitted to shop?”

"I have been following-up on the frustrations of the forecourt that many of you have written to us about. One of many, was from Mr B who called at the Morrisons supermarket forecourt on Penistone road, Sheffield on December 11. Mr B usually buys fuel there, using the pay-at-the-pump service, wearing an open-face helmet with no trouble whatsoever. It was a cold day with ice about and so Mr B was riding his quad-bike, rather than his Suzuki Bandit and wearing his open-face helmet. Having done the debit card part in the pump for the payment, he began to fill his machine. The pump was switched off from the shop and he was asked to take off his helmet over the public address system. 

"Now, having already been cleared for up to £99 worth of fuel by the payment system, this puzzled him. Being a true gentleman - as are all male BMF members - he began to remove the open-face helmet and the pump was switched back on. If you think that is a bit strange, just you wait for the next part…
It was a very cold day and so Mr B was wearing a full-face neck scarf under his open face helmet, so his face was never visible in any case.

Mr B emailed customer services, and received the following, rather weak response, which incorrectly stated:

“We ensure there is signage in all our petrol stations clearly stating our policy, thereby allowing customers the opportunity to decide if they wish to purchase fuel from us.”

There were no such signs and they are seldom present, at least in a way that they can be seen easily. I am indebted to Mr B for remaining so calm in all of this humiliation and frustration. I have taken his experience forward to the Head of Policy at Morrisons supermarkets and we have had what I am delighted to report was an open and enlightening discussion around customer experience. I mean, can you imagine any other circumstances under which a customer would be singled out and identified to all over the public address system, asked to remove items of clothing so that they may be permitted to shop? I can’t and neither could the Head of Policy at Morrisons.

The Head of Policy and I will be speaking with the Petrol Retailers Association to see if we can arrive at a sensible understanding for all of us, which looks at wearing of helmets, the safe placing of removed helmet, pay-at-the-pump vs entering the shop and many other aspects of this strange subject, where strange, confusing and frankly ridiculous ‘local rules’ seem to be applied arbitrarily with complete inconsistency.

I will write more, when I know it."

Graeme Hay, BMF Government Relations Executive