Friday, December 30, 2011

Buying Gas in Italy

I'm tired tonight...Traveling usually energizes me but I think the stress of buying gas in Italy just about wiped me out. Our Fiat, dubbed "The Clown Car" by Alex held about 6 gallons of gas, so even though it got good gas mileage, we still needed to fill it up frequently. The first stop was in Sienna, Italy on December 26th. The date matters because nothing was open except self serve gas stations and coffee shops. We pulled up to the pump at a Shell station with a mini-mart/coffee shop. Then, we found the machine that took cash and credit cards and tried to pay. First I tried the credit card but the machine kept spitting it back. Then, another gas patron said "Euros only" so I pulled out a 50 Euro note and fed it to the machine. Alex filled the tank and the machine spitted out a receipt with a 12 euro credit. I walked into the shop where the cashier indicated that they only sold coffee and I would have to come back the next day for more gas or my refund. Even though I don't speak Italian, I'm sure there was nothing on that machine that said, "under estimate the amount of gas you will need and pay for the minimum because we don't give change."

The next time we bought gas was at a service area on the freeway. I liked this place because they pumped the gas for us and accepted a credit card. The problem was that I never specified "regular" or whatever it's called, so The Clown Card had steak for dinner that day. (easily $10/gal)

The last time I bought gas was the night before returning the rental car. This was another self serve place so I was smart this time. I went to the coffee shop, got 20 euro notes, and tried to insert a 20 euro into the machine. I tried and tried but could not get the machine to suck up the bill. Finally, another patron came over and showed me that the slot was over-sized (probably for money they don't even print any more) and showed me how to line it up with the right edge. Trust me...there were no words or pictures on the machine to explain this. Unfortunately the 20 euro note did not fill the tank and I had to repeat the whole process...get smaller bills (10 Euro notes this time..I certainly don't want to leave another credit in Italy) , have a stranger teach me again to insert the bills (I'm a slow learner..), unlock the gas cap, etc...
Just writing about this is making me even tireder...

No comments:

Post a Comment