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February 2011

Forecourt deceit at Shell Lychgate, Faversham

Petrol prices and diesel prices are ridiculously high nowadays, we all know that and we all can't do anything about it it seems.

But that does not mean certain forecourts should take advantage of us poor divers!

How much?

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I filled up our estate care on Monday at our usual petrol station on the A20 at Hothfield (Esso) and paid £ 1.309 per liter. So when Ton in the van on its way to the job on Tuesday morning passed Shell Lychgate at Faversham and saw the price on the big board for diesel showing £ 1.329 he thought that could be about right, diesel being more expensive as petrol.

List price is not the pump price!

So on his way back home, he drove onto the forecourt and started filling the van with diesel - only to realise the price at the pump itself was £ 1.4089 a whopping 6% higher!
When he went to pay he remarked about the big difference between the price on the big board - attracting him and many other drivers to fill up there on the Thanet Way - and the actual price he was told the following

"Oh, the board has been broken for a few weeks now"

How convenient (for them)!

Contrary to most petrol station the receipt he took home for the books, only shows the amount of liters and the total price - not the price per liter. How convenient, for them!

Ton is furious and so am I - what kind of deceit is this, IMHO it even smells of fraud. How can they get away with it? Daylight robbery, nothing else!

So be warned, if you are driving around in Kent and need some petrol or diesel - avoid the Shell Lychgate station on the Thanet Way near Faversham, listed prices are not what they seem!

Avoid Shell Lychgate on Thanet Way Faversham, the price listed is not the price you pay

How many other forecourts have a broken big boards and take all the time of the world to fix it? Until, no doubt, the minute the actual price drops below the advertised "broken-board" price.


Recharge - Rework

When we moved home last June we closed the showroom on Sundays - before we only had to cross the road, now it is a 10 minute drive. Thinking I would find more time to write on these now leisure days - even wrote about it here - things turned out differently, even after the weather turned and no more Sundays spent in the sunny garden or on walks (to the local pub - a walk of 25 minutes on its own).

Recharge Sundays

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On dark and wet Sundays of late I did write, but not as presumed for this blog. Marketing projects and ideas for our business took prevalence over general ponderings on business. Plus I rekindled my baking hobby!

There's nothing more satisfying than plunging your hands in sticky bread dough. No cheating with a bread machine here. Experimenting with ingredients, with temperatures and baking time takes your mind of the tasks and sometimes worries of the working days. I've come to call these days my recharging Sundays. It is a known fact that when you stop thinking about matters that occupy your mind normally, ideas, solutions and aha moments seem to pup up in the more relaxed mind of busy people. It recharges the battery, and you start the week revitalised (and with home made bread in the lunch box with as treat a slice of raisin and current bread!)

There are Sundays the only thing that enter my head is the lovely sweet smell of fresh muffins or biscuits (the Dutch spiced biscuits spekulaas as current favourite).
Might even write a (e)book on the subject"Recharge Sundays", filled with little tips and recipes for other retail and trade businesses like us, working 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. It might just changed the way they think about work, it has changed mine (for the better),

Which brings me nicely to the book review I'd planned to write months ago:

ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever

second book by 37Signal owners Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

Bite-size snippets of wisdom where almost none of the chapters is longer than 1.5 pages. And at the same tine showing/teaching you everything about being in business a MBA graduate adviser tells you not to do. If you want to start or grow/improve your business it is a must read, you will worry less and succeed sooner.

Example:

Don't Write It Down (page 164)
How should you keep track of what customers want? Don't. Listen, but then forget what people said. Seriously.
There's no need for a spreadsheet, database, or filing system. The requests that really matter are the ones you'll hear over and over. After a while you won't be able to forget them. Your customers will be your memory. They'll keep reminding you. They'll show you which things you truly need to worry about.
If there's a request that you keep forgetting, that's a sign that it isn't very important. The really important stuff doesn't go away.

Another snippet (from the introduction): They - the critics - say you need to sell to the Fortune 500. Screw that. We sell to the Fortune 5,000,000
Another gem of advise can be found in Building to flip is building to flop (page 59): you need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy.

Some books should b e compulsory reading, when we opened a business account with Barclay we received Kick-Start Your Business: 100 Days to a Leaner, Fitter Organisation (Virgin Business Guides) by Robert Craven. Where Robert's book gives you plenty of practicalbusiness advise on starting/running your business, Rework should be added to any new business account opening package for the sake of business attitude and long term strategy.

Let me give you some further chapter tittles to wet your appetite:

  • Out-teach your competition
  • Press releases are spam
  • The myth of the overnight sensation
  • Don't scar on the first cut (side note for UK readers: this is where the Big Society Idea is all about IMHO)
  • Start a business, not a start-up
  • Learning from mistakes is overrated
  • Enough with "Entrepreneurs" (side-note: Robert Craven should read this, he will have a field day ;-))
  • Mission statement impossible
  • Go to sleep
  • Let your customers outgrow you
  • Decisions are temporary

Go on, you know you want to read this, if it is only to fulfill your curiosity to find out what's behind the chapter tittles. And curiosity is a great characteristic to have as business person.