There are so many questions that need answers, for example:
a.) Why would someone want to pump $10 into a car?
It is possible. Some idiot friend returns you a car on loan leaving you drops of fuel left to get to the nearest station which is not your regular brand.
Many drivers are very particular about the brand of petrol they put in the car, some believe that mixing different brands would spoil your engine. (I think this is ridiculous, but I’m not auto expert).
Or it could have been a rental car and he was about to return it.
Or yeah, he could have been a fraudster – but we leave this to the police to decide. If he had been one, it would have been a lousy trick, how many times can he pull it off?
b.) Can a BMW 5 series run on just $10 of petrol?
Yes. The writer of this article used to drive a BMW 3 series and a full tank of petrol takes you from between 700-800km. $10 can take you 30 km which is plenty. The closest distance from Bedok to Jurong East is about 40km.
c.) Should he have turned down the offer of compensation?
You are the best person to judge this, but before you do, consider that many service staff do offer to pay for their mistakes to avoid confrontation. However, it is up to the company to decide if their staff should ultimately pay.
If the company insists that an elderly worker on a humble wage should pay, then there truly is something to be angry about. But in this Caltex fiasco, this is not the case.
Maybe the Mr. BMW should have paid for it first, then taken Caltex to task separately for the mistake.
Maybe he could have just paid for it and went off. But then again, unless you’re in those shoes, who knows how you will react?
d.) Can an employer deduct money from staff for their mistakes?
Yes, the Employment Act allows for such deductions provided that these deductions do not exceed the damage caused to the employer and cannot exceed one-quarter of the employee’s salary without permission from MOM.
e.) Is it true that all BMW drivers are rich and wealthy?
A second hand 5 series has a depreciation of about $14k a year. This means you spend a little over a thousand on the car itself. This is not very much different from many Japanese cars. The price of the vehicle sounds high, but the value you get at the end of the term is very high.
Maintenance costs are also exaggerated. If you go to Performance Motors, yeah they’ll skin your wallet alive. But there are many workshops that can work on your vehicle for a very, very decent price.
f.) If we removed the element of an elderly worker, would this story sound less emotional?
Here’s what it sounds like if you remove the emotional elements:
- Someone asked for $10 to be pumped
- A mistake was made
- A customer was made unhappy
- To de-escalate the confrontation, the worker offered to pay
- The customer accepted this offer
- The end
This same scenario could be seen everyday in Singapore, especially when there is retail involved. Mistakes happen every time and many companies have standard procedures on how to deal with these mistakes.
This article is certainly not trying to justify the acts of the BMW driver, but does hope that people do consider various sides of the story before diving straight into blame and judgement.
Trial by internet can easily go wrong and that is the reason why we have an established justice system.
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