Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

You'll get service with a smile from Chrissie Lewis

29 November, 2010
Tales from the till point with Chrissie Lewis, cashier at Willesborough & Kennington Garages in Ashford, Kent
Page 50 

I get up at around 6.30am. I only live five minutes from work so it's a really easy journey. As soon as I get into work, I clock in then make the tea for whoever's around then it's straight on the till.

I've been working at Willesborough and Kennington Garages for three years and have worked in garages for 16 years in total. I do 7.30am to 2.30pm five days a week. It's really manic between 7.45am and 9.30am.

We're on a really busy junction just seconds from the M20. We get local businesses coming in scaffolders and builders filling up their vans and cars. The pumps are going non-stop.

It quietens down after that then picks up again at about 12.

We've got a new till system and it keeps freezing up and the system crashes. It's only teething problems really, because we're not that used to it yet. I've always got my eye out on the pumps. I'm pretty astute like that, I'm normally aware of who is where you have to be because otherwise during the rush hour you can take the wrong money off people and once you do that you're stuffed!

We get credit and debit cards left behind all the time. Most of them get picked up we keep them next to the till. I'm always amazed at people's attitudes to their PINs; it's really frightening. I get people who have them written on bits of paper or inside their purse or wallets. Don't they know they shouldn't do that?

Some people complain about the price of fuel but they still buy it it's mostly women who complain that the petrol's cheaper at Tesco up the road. But we've got a lot of loyal customers so I suppose we are lucky.

Drive-offs are not a big issue in fact nine out of 10 times the people come back and pay.

Just the other day a red van came in and the driver put in £15-worth of fuel and drove off. I called the police straight away to report it. But three hours later the driver phoned us and said, rather sheepishly, 'I think I forgot to pay for my fuel. I've just been in my wallet and found that I've got more cash than I should have'.

People putting wrong fuel in their tanks does not happen as much as you might think. If it's a tiny bit they can usually drown it out, otherwise we help them push the vehicle away from the pumps and wait for the breakdown people to come. I reckon that happens about once a month.

Deliveries are no problem on our site; they don't interrupt service at all because they're done off to one side of the forecourt.

I'm always amazed at how popular the pump-top promotions are. Some of the products come and go really fast which can be a problem because you get people coming back wanting more and they've gone.

At this time of year it's torches, gloves and scarves that go well. Sometimes I look at a product and think 'Who'd want one of those?' but they always go really well.

Most people pick up other items when they're queueing to pay for their fuel. Sweets and chocolate are most popular but the builders do love their rolls and pies. I'm surrounded by chocolate but I'm not often tempted; I'm more of a savoury person.

Cigarettes also sell well. We always have to count the cigarettes at every shift change to make sure everything is in order.

During quiet periods, I'll face up the cigarettes or top up the sweets or make more tea!

Apart from the cleaner and the Saturday girl, I'm the only woman in the place. I don't mind because I can give as good as I get!

I've always been interested in cars. In my younger days I used to take them apart and put them back together. Nowadays I sometimes sit in when the workshop is doing MOTs and help them with the checks. I love that.

I like dealing with the public; it's never dull. The people are quite nice and you get to know your regulars. I can't stand rude people and if any customer is ever rude I just smile at them.

We have an old lady who comes in and we save our stale bread for her so she can feed the birds with it. I bought her Honda 50 moped off her and love it. It's great for getting to and from work in the spring and summer. My husband laughs at me because I call it my dream machine!


Chrissie Lewis:

Job title: cashier at Willesborough & Kennington Garages, Ashford, Kent

Career history: worked in Texas/Homebase followed by forecourts

Greatest achievement: going parasailing in Kos while on holiday

Most likely to say: "Shall we have a cup of tea?"

Least likely to say: "no, I can't help you!"

Tips for success as a cashier: always be nice to people

Interests outside work: riding my Honda 50, my grandchildren, gardening, decorating, sunbathing





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Weekly retail fuel prices: 23 March 2020
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East123.5965.90133.69120.59
East Midlands123.11133.47120.13
London124.0063.40135.92121.61
North East121.10133.70118.76
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West Midlands122.86134.51120.07
Yorkshire & Humber122.1363.90133.53119.07

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