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Old 08-19-2010, 05:30 AM   #1
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theft by full service gas in Canada

Never request a full tank of gas in Manitoba, and for all I know, all of Canada. The attendant will purposely overfill your tank, spilling gas down the side of your car, until he reaches an even amount.

I visited Manitoba a few days ago. Apparently there are self service stations, but I never found any. At every gas station, it was full service, and the same bit of petty theft. They ALL spilled gas, and expected me to pay for it. Not to mention what that did to my paint job. If they're still doing full service next time I visit, I'll ask that they only put in a fixed amount, so that they can't overfill the tank. At the last stop, I thought about making a big issue of it by paying a dollar less than I was charged, as I certainly did not receive the last bit of gas I was sold.

I hate full service.

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Old 08-19-2010, 06:54 AM   #2
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

That is insane. Not to mention that it is dangerous and not envoronmently friendly either. (spilling fuel with every fill up) And you are not supposed to fill your tank right up to the top of the filler neck either.

Anyway, at least the places around here are all self service.

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Old 08-19-2010, 08:14 AM   #3
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

wow yea that's bad for a dozen reasons. I'm sure they tell the people to do it, an extra .2 gallons spilled down every car adds up to a lot when you figure the hundreds of cars that go through every day. I hate full-service gas stations, but I hate other people touching anything of mine, computers, house, etc. it's no so much paranoia (maybe a little) but just that I know to have things done the way you want, you gotta do it yourself. this just reinforces the idea.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:11 PM   #4
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

That has to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Gas attendants that don't know how to fill up a tank? I can only imagine this happening otherwise if you requested a certain amount and they try to squeeze that all in for you. Otherwise, it is massive incompetence on a moronic scale. I wouldn't have paid for the spilled gas .. not a chance. Would you pay for a large coffee if they tried to fit it in a medium sized cup? No.

For what it's worth, I was just through Manitoba in early July, and didn't see this happening, nor did I have trouble finding self-serve stations.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:10 AM   #5
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

Ask the attendant: Hey man you have a light?
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:29 AM   #6
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

Originally Posted by bzipitidoo View Post
Never request a full tank of gas in Manitoba, and for all I know, all of Canada. The attendant will purposely overfill your tank, spilling gas down the side of your car, until he reaches an even amount.
I can see where you might think this is a general pattern for Canada, since it appears as if it was a pattern on your visit.

However, I've vacationed in Canada (albeit in Ontario, the province immediately to the East of Manitoba, so its always possible that there is a massively different culture in Manitoba) a number of times, and I've never run into this problem. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice and helpful people were in Canada (including the people working for businesses). Yes, some mistakes/problems can and do occur, but that will happen anywhere. For example, I once had a mixed up order at Tim Horton's (a coffee and sandwich shop common in Canada), but the attendant was happy/willing to resolve the matter when I pointed out the problem to her.

No matter where you are, some businesses (and even some individuals working for otherwise legit businesses) are just "jerks". It sucks when you encounter that, but you have to be a little careful to not generalize to a whole region, when the real fault may be a bad apple or two (which can occur in pretty much any country, and any region).

And in the case of pretty much any "full service station" (including full service stations in the USA), I long since learned that asking for a "fill up" is asking for trouble unless you know and trust the attendant doing the work. The problem is that you have no way of knowing what "full" means to the attendant, so they could easily try to "over fill" the tank (in extreme cases, such as you encountered on your trip, over filling to the point of spilling gas).

So if you must use a "full service" station (and "full service" stations are currently much more common in Canada than in the USA), your idea of asking for a specific amount of gas (either a specific dollar amount, of a specific gallon/liter amount) is the way to go. Because if/when you ask for a specific amount of gas (vs asking for a "fill"), you remove the ambiguity as to how much gas to pump (and are therefore much more likely to get what you wanted, vs what the attendant assumed you wanted).

And FWIW I see another reason to not "fill up" when visiting/vacationing in Canada, and that is the relative price of gas between the two countries. While gas prices in Canada do vary (just as prices vary in the USA), and you also have to factor in the current currency exchange rates and convert from liter costs to gallon costs, gas (or as they call it there "petrol") prices are consistently higher in Canada than in the USA (it seems to work out to approximately $1USA per gallon more, but this does fluctuate over time).

So from a selfish "saving money" standpoint, it makes sense to maximize the gas you buy in the USA (before crossing into Canada) and minimize the amount you purchase (at a higher price) within Canada. To do this, I will always "fill up" shortly before getting to the (USA to Canada) boarder crossing, but then try to buy just enough gas to "get by" while within Canada itself. The idea being, I want to exit Canada with a low (but not critically low) tank of gas, and then "fill up" again after reentering the USA. With such an approach, I may buy gas (sometimes multiple times) within Canada, but often don't need (or want) to do a complete "fill up" while within the country (after all, I can always buy more petrol if my partial fill wasn't enough for all the driving I end up doing in the country).

NOTE: I'm not a lawyer (so don't treat this as legal advice), but I have looked over the guidelines for boarder crossings, and it appears (from everything I've seen) to be fully legal (in both the USA and Canada) to exit the country (you are visiting) with a different amount of gas (in your vehicle's main tank) than you entered with. And furthermore this difference in how much gas you have (in the main tank) doesn't even count towards any taxes/duties/etc. So you are almost always at least a little better off financially (no matter which side of the boarder you call home) by having a totally full tank when leaving the USA, and a fairly low (close to empty) tank when leaving Canada. It's not a huge difference, but maximizing the gas purchased on the USA side will save you a few $$$ no matter which direction the trip is (the approach should work equally well for Canadians visiting the USA, as it does for us USA people visiting Canada).
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:20 PM   #7
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

What's even worse is when the attendant keeps an empty gas can nearby to drop a few gallons in while you are inside the gas station hitting the rest room or buying food, which is something I've heard happens in some places to unwary motorists
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Old 08-26-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

Suspecting gas would be more in Canada, we crossed into Manitoba with as close to a full tank as possible. Gassed up 4 times while there. 3 of them spilled gas to round up to the nearest dollar amount. Here are the 3 that did that:

Esso on hwy 3, Pilot Mound
Red River CoOp, Gimli
Shell at 124 1 Ave E, Souris

The 4th didn't spill enough to round to the next dollar-- it was too far away. But he still deliberately overfilled and spilled gas:

Esso at 1475 Main, Dauphin

No, these were not innocent mistakes, They knew what they were doing.

Admittedly, that's a small sample size, but 4 out of 4 is quite enough for me to suspect that this petty theft is endemic to the whole province of Manitoba. If it had happened only once, I'd pass it off as an exception, and wouldn't be so mad about it. Possibly they don't cheat the locals so blatantly and only pull this on obvious strangers, such as anyone with a US license plate. But maybe the locals don't care enough to make a fuss, and submit quietly to this? If they do it to everyone, imagine how much unburned gas that sends to the ground to contaminate water supplies even more, and how much vapor that releases into the air. Manitoba loves pointing out that the Dakotas and Minnesota are no saints when it comes to keeping the Red River clean, and they do have a lot of empty space which can absorb a great deal of pollution, but that's no excuse.

I'd forgotten about the empty gas can trick. Been such a long time since I've had to endure full service. They didn't try that one on me, but maybe they would have if I hadn't been right there. At the last stop, at the Shell in Souris, I didn't think of taking countermeasures in time. Gave the attendant a hard time after the fact, but he still got away with it, the scumbag. Was being pressed and hurried by other family members to drop it and move on, don't make trouble over a few cents, don't spoil the vacation.
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Old 09-09-2010, 11:39 AM   #9
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

Maybe they were trying to kill off the mosquito larvae in the nearby wetlands. I have been through and to Manitoba several times and wonder why anyone would choose to live there.

The full service thing is common; incompetent full serivce people in BC near where I live systematically spilled diesel fuel all over my car every time I went in there. I never paid for the spilled amounts. They also love to squeegee the soft plastic rear window of my two smart convertibles, so I have avoided this full service place like the plague it is since then.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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Re: theft by full service gas in Canada

That is bull and I'm glad I live in a place that does not have full service required. I would have demanded that I do not pay for that spilled gas and want compensation you know a pack of cigs, coffee, red bull or candy bar (something that costs over a $1.

On another related note I know some one in the US where full service stations are mandatory (stupid) and he asked to have the top quality gas the atendent decided it would be a good idea to put the cheapest gas in. That was not a good decision as his motor was worked over and super charged with a pully so small a turbo would cry, needless to say 3 blocks away POP a hole was now where the top of the piston was.

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