Al Oula Gas Station – The People At The Pump

I think everyone has filled up at an Al Oula Gas Station at some point or another, and their employees in their green uniform come up and fill your car. I usually like filling my car unless I’m wearing a dishdasha and don’t want to get it messed up. They fill up your car if you stopped for any sort of gas, some of them are young men and some of them are older men. And their nationalities range from East Asian all the way to East African. I remember when it was public owned you would only see a few guys and not in uniform so its good to see they have a brand and stick to it, but I always wonder what they are paid and how they are managed.

One time I was at the gas station I was talking to one of the men working outside and I guessed he was from Somalia which I guessed right. He was giving me details on my car which were very specific, he seemed to be educated and when I was talking to him sounded like any normal guy. So I asked him about the details of the job, they are paid 60 KD per month for working 8 hours a day 6 days a week, and they provided with a place to stay but not food. If they work 12 hours a day its 95 KD per month for 6 days a week. That is substantially low, and I honestly thought they would be a lot higher since the minimum wage for help working in the household has gone up and they get more then that, but it depends from which country they are from. I stood their talking to the man for about 15 mins and thought it was a waste that he is in this job and not something else, but he said this is a job and he needed it so I can’t blame him.

Just to be clear the staff don’t look mistreated and Al Oula have done a decent job of cleaning up and rebranding these gas stations. I think they want to open more services in their gas stations but the Baladiya won’t let them even though it was originally part of the deal. Still I think they should raise the minimum wage and find a business case to justify it or work it out, they wouldn’t be in this business to loose money, and they operating within the law but still I think sometimes they should have the chance for a better wage.

So tip them if they filled your gas, that one or two KD adds up and makes the world of a difference to them. I usually tip between 1 to 2 KD per fill up when I’m filling up my car and 1/2 to 1 KD when filling up the bike even though its the same amount. One thing that surprises me is that sometimes they are really surprised when they are tipped. I know a lot of people take these men for granted and assume its their right to get a fill up, but they are less fortunate and it a laborious job with sometimes long hours and the summer is coming along which will be excruciating to work outdoors which they are all the time.

A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!

11 Comments

  1. essa k alessa

    well said brotha, shaklik after u saw the Machine Gun Preacher now ur preaching to us, Hala Looya ayman to what u said

  2. just to add, What happens is that Oula outsources the labor to another labor company, alkhrafi for example, ant pay them around 100-120 kd per employee a month. and the labor company make a deal with these poor people and pay them 60 KD and keep 50% for them to afford the big houses and Ferrari’s ;)

    even worse, the publicly held gas stations do the same btw, and its even worse in their case. I heard from reliable sources that the government pays a labor company 120 kd per month per employee and these companies pay only 40-50 kd per month to them.

    they even delay their salaries for 2-3 months sometimes and not pay these innocent people.

    o “3ammik A9makh”

  3. ‘Rebranding’ should include better conditions and salaries. I agree with Qabaq that it’s often the case with outsourced labour – they don’t get the higher salaries paid by the company.

    Your tips are a little too generous perhaps :) I usually give 1/4 or a 1/2 depending on what note I happen to have. On bad weather days: humidity, dust and extreme cold, I go up to 1. This is charity and to deserving hard working people.

    Good post, Marzouq.

  4. @essa k alessa – Lol! Haven’t seen it yet, but its always been on my mind to look into this a bit!

    @QABAQ | قبق – Very true! If the company pays a certain amount then they turn a blind eye and nobody pays attention to whats going on.

    @BuYousef – You are correct sir, sometimes its considered a bit too much but then again I think to myself that some of these people need it and sometimes they deserve it. What ever anyone gives is always a good step. And your totally right about the other aspects of rebranding.

  5. gabbar

    That is a nice thought to tip
    The guys at most of the petrol pumps dont even have a proper place to sit and are standing most of the time – come rain, come winter, come dust (storm), come heat

  6. @gabbar – Very true, sometimes they have back rooms but thats not at all the locations.

  7. Biker

    Marzouq,as usual you are very generous,but my suggestion is to show them kindness,with smile or learn a greeting word in thier language or even take the filling time to ask if married ? children ? how long in Kuwait ? etc , , , , but never a monetary reward as they will become used to it & expected it , but most importantly it releaves the employer from improving thier salaries & living conditios on the ground that they are getting good tips.
    He has a paying job like all of us !!
    I notice taht some of them fill up the tank with odd figures & then they claim the do not have small change !!

  8. Dave

    Once again, good job on the article :)

  9. @Biker – Those who take advantage like u said, I don’t bother with them, but some of them are good people and like you said they do have paying jobs but much lower and sometimes the costs are higher the payments. So a little help doesn’t hurt, the point of the post is hopefully someone at a higher place within the company would read this and do something about this. Honestly thats the only real way, nobody will stop filling up gas so that they won’t stop for these people’s sake!

    @Dave – Thanks!

  10. That’s mighty decent of you. I’m also reminded of the old post where you had to take one of your staff to the hospital. Not many decent young men these days.

  11. @Mathai – Yeah, what are u supposed to do if you see something messed up in front of you!

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