The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thieving Gas Station Attendants

I went to one of the gas stations in Phu Hai (near the bridge, just as you enter Phan Thiet from Mui Ne). The gas was 55,000. I gave the attendant 205,000. Change should be 150. He walks back to the pump and looks away as though we are finished (I am the only customer there). I stare. After a while he walks back to the desk and brings me some change. It is incorrect. I tell him he owes me more. He hands me a bill and smiles. It’s still incorrect. I start yelling at him. The owner, who was sleeping off to the side wakes up. He lies to her and tells her I only gave him 200, trying to hold onto the last bit of change. Little does he know the owner is a friend of mine and I’ve been coming there for 5 years, so the owner told him to return the correct change as I asked.

What’s worse is the attendant at the other station across the street pulled the same thing twice last week. And the station on the hill has done it so many times over the years that I have it posted a warning to tourists. Then in the other direction, the one in Mui Ne village rigs their meter so it’s ridiculous.

The fact that attendants would try cheat me even though they see me every day, suggests they probably try to rob every single tourist that stops. Unfortunately this a problem I often encounter in Vietnam—when you know all the businesses in a certain category are dishonest, which one do you recommend?!

2 comments:

Tank said...

I know the gas stations you mentioned about. I did not think the attendants can treat in that way because they used to be very honest. When I return Phan Thiet, I will complain them about it. Hopefully, it works because as fas as I know, many Phan Thiet people are honest.

Adam said...

Unfortunately the attendants at all three gas station in Phu Hai have tried to steal from me at one time or another. I agree that most people in Phan Thiet are very honest. Unfortunately though, when some people see foreigners, greed gets the best of them and they do terrible things.

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