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.