back to article Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Mi dispiace, non parlo italiano. This would be easier if I'd been armed with a proper phrase book rather than a single page of everyday expressions at the back of my tourist guide. And it would be more effective if I was trying to communicate with a human. I am, of course, talking to a machine. No one else is around, which …

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Re: Cash, always

"Cash.. I use when I have it, but I don't want to carry around £200 constantly to fill up twice a week."

Around town and for much of the time abroad, plastic can work. But when it doesn't, having cash is a good thing. The further away from home you are, the more you should have available. That's not to say that it's a good idea to walk around with a week's pay in your pocket. A bit stashed here and there is safer.

The best place to stash some money might be inside a prosthetic limb left in a suitcase left in a hotel room. Most people will not touch them which could mean even fewer would think to search one.

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Re: Cash, always

Got to love the thumbs down - the only way I can get cash is at a bank counter, so it's actually really difficult to get cash to carry around, so unless you can get the bank multiple times a week, yes, for some of us cash is really hard to keep and use unless you feel like carrying a few hundred on you at all times.

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Re: @Triggerfish

Most places I have traveled only one ATM has not been an issue, (except Laos and they had a guard with an AK47 next to the machine).

Generally speaking I tend to leave the card behind and take what I need day to day. YMMV but getting mugged and having the card taken and the pin for me is still a limit on what you can take out and its less than a bundle of holiday cash.

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The only way to use an Italian automated petrol station is to use an Italian

Last two times I had to use them I ended up getting help from the locals. The menus and the whole process is utterly counterintuitive.

Not that other countries are any better. There are as many methods of implementing an automated petrol filling station as there are countries.

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Re: The only way to use an Italian automated petrol station is to use an Italian

"Last two times I had to use them I ended up getting help from the locals. The menus and the whole process is utterly counterintuitive."

Quite unlike their automated ticket machines at railway stations then - being a non-Italian speaker, it only took me two or three ticket purchases before I found myself regularly assisting Italians to buy tickets.

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Anonymous Coward

Not quite Italian...

But a bit closer than Audioslave - Benzin by Rammstein, youtu.be/z0wK6s-6cbo

"Give me gasoline" indeed.

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Anonymous Coward

Sicily, you say?

Sicily, you say?

I wonder if a certain someone had installed NoScript on the payment machine for the lulz, and so it was failing to work because of being unable to load 25 bloated and not really particularly necessary external JavaScript libraries...? (Secure, lightweight, efficient coding? We've heard of it...)

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Anonymous Coward

"seems to be asking me to choose a pump. I press..."

Some systems have buttons on the display sides - to select a pump you need to press the button besides the pump icons displayed, not the pump number on the keypad.

BTW: "minchiata" has the plural form "minchiate".

This article could be somehow not "politically correct"... <G> - but this is El Reg...

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Anonymous Coward

Driving through the Netherlands one night I discovered that unlike the UK - the major road petrol stations were unmanned at night - and only took cash.The machine rejected all but a couple of the proffered Dutch (pre-Euro) notes. Apparently only crisp new ones could be recognised. By the time I reached home in Luxembourg the tank was registering empty.

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Could have been worse

At least there was no sign of "Oggetto inaspettato nell'area di insaccamento."

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Re: Could have been worse

> "Oggetto inaspettato nell'area di insaccamento."

Ahhh -- This is why this Silicon Valley techie avoids the automated checkout lines at his local supermarket!

Normally three of the six automated checkout stands are out of service at any given time and the working one that I choose to use decides it does not like me and says "Please wait for attendant" in the middle of the checkout process, leaving me to wait for a human being to finish checking out other customers in the human-attended lines before coming over to reset the machine.

To slow the rise of the machines, I choose the human-attended checkout lines whenever I have more that one item to purchase...

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Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon

Hats off to Mr Dabbs for "I miei capezzoli esplodono di gioia.". I copied it into Google Translate, and my monitor now has a fine coating of coffee all over it.

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Pint

Re: Just what I needed on a Friday afternoon

Thanks for the translate warning. My keyboard expresses its joy at not being splattered. PP

>> To replace the coffee.

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Here in SA you will need to wait for an attendant to come and fill your car for you.

They have some sort of electronic key fob on the pump which need to be triggered by its counterpart which the attendant have on his person. (Think it is meant to stop theft of fuel).

So you rock up, attendant activates the pump, and fills you up, then you pay (or drive off if you want to feel lucky). To counter that sort of thing, all fuel stations have cameras all over the place.

And currently we're paying over R15 for a litre of engine juice. :(

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over here it is the equivalent of 25Rand.

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Pint

Even Canadians that find themselves in the USA...

"ENTER ZIP CODE OF CARD BILLING ADDRESS"

Ah, we use Postal Codes, with letters. Some say, "Just enter 00000." Yeah, yeah....that was the first one I tried, followed by "00001", then "00002", etc.

Thankfully, there's always a human attendant on duty selling cheese doodles, beef jerky, and lottery tickets. After waiting 26 minutes for the unwashed masses to finish their $400 lottery ticket buying spree...

Pay in advance. "How much gas do you want?"

It's a rental, I need to fill it up. "How much gas do you want?" About half a tank. "How much gas do you want." Screw it, I'm on expenses, I have to catch a plane, so make it $99. Proceed to put $12.35 worth into tank.

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J27

Re: Even Canadians that find themselves in the USA...

If this happens to you again, you can get around it by following these instructions:

https://www.mastercard.ca/en-ca/consumers/features-benefits/travel-tips/mastercard-pay-at-pump.html

This should also work for VISA cards.

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Re: Even Canadians that find themselves in the USA...

@J27 -- thanks a bunch for the tip and the link. Right neighbourly of you!

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404
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Re: Even Canadians that find themselves in the USA...

The system won't charge you until you finish the fuel delivery... Something I didn't know about until relatively recently and I'm Americanese... have been all my life pretty sure.

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I'm a poor lonesome cowboy, I've a long long way from home

Automated gas stations are great in making you feeling miserable - especially when you run low on fuel

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Thumb Up

Btw. there was a note by Dabbsy in one of the IEEE sub-zines (I think "Region 8 News" or "The Institute") about the dangers of surveillance capitalism.

Congratulations.

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Go

Perfect Planning Prevents Pathetic Performance

It is worth doing a bit of planning if you're going to rely on petrol stations in uncharted territories. A friend of mine spent the night in his car when the machine said "Non" at a French filling station.

Given most of Europe has better rail infrastructure compared to the UK, why not interail it? Much less hassle and you can have a drink and relax.

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Anonymous Coward

"Given most of Europe has better rail infrastructure "

Not Sicily - believe me....

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What pumps need is an

animated clippy avatar. "Hello, it looks like you are trying to fill up your car with petrol. Would you like me to help put the wrong fuel in your tank, dribble all over your shoes and steal your card data?"

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Re: What pumps need is an

"Would you like me to help put the wrong fuel in your tank, "

Thank you for reminding me to ask Shell why they have hinged flaps marked "Diesel" over the diesel nozzles at service stations in NL but not in the UK. Seems an effective, low-tech solution to make sure folk don't fill up with the wrong type of juice.

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Re: What pumps need is an

They have 'em here in Oz too. Doesn't stop some people doing the opposite: when I worked for transport company one of the drivers put 200 litres of unleaded into the tank of his truck before noticing...

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Re: What pumps need is an

Don't need flaps.

In the UK (and most of the EU), diesel nozzles are a larger diameter than petrol ones.

So it's physically impossible to put diesel in a petrol hole, and a petrol nozzle flops around in a diesel hole

So you should notice before you put any petrol in your diseasal.

Many newer diesel cars (all French models) also have a mechanism to make it very difficult* to insert the narrow petrol nozzle into the diesel hole.

* The manual says impossible, I don't believe that.

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Orv
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Re: What pumps need is an

Early American import diesel cars are a hoot because at the time the only reliable place to find diesel was at truck stops. My diesel Vanagon had an enormous filler neck meant for high-volume truck pumps. I never got the chance to try but I imagine the tank (around 20 gallons, IIRC) would have been full VERY quickly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What pumps need is an

Many newer diesel cars (all French models) also have a mechanism to make it very difficult* to insert the narrow petrol nozzle into the diesel hole.

The nozzle goes in OK, but is too narrow to open a small flap inside the filler pipe, so the fuel just backs up & flows over your shoes insteasd of into the tank. A Ford invention, IIRC.

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Orv
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Re: What pumps need is an

The flaps that used to be found inside the filler necks of most cars that took unleaded gas had a similar purpose -- they were to keep you from squirting fuel down the filler neck without inserting the nozzle, which would have let people defeat the restrictor and pump in leaded fuel. Up through the mid-80s leaded fuel was often cheaper than unleaded in the US so the temptation was always there, but lead would destroy catalytic converters.

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Anonymous Coward

On this occasion, Google Maps decided to take me on a scenic tour of the city's most impoverished slums.

Remember when Microsoft attempted to tackle this by programming Bing Maps to not route people through slums/high crime areas, and how Microsoft was promptly excoriated for their racism?

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"Remember when Microsoft attempted to tackle this by programming Bing Maps to not route people through slums/high crime areas, and how Microsoft was promptly excoriated for their racism?"

Yeah, it's funny how people scream racism when it's just a good idea to not go places where your presence might be seen as an opportunity for somebody to increase their personal wealth in a very rapid and vigorous way.

The local real estate agents would get ridden on a rail if they published a map showing the best and worst parts of town. They have to divulge that information verbally and in person.

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Facepalm

Yep!

Microsoft Maps on my old company phone was doing fine until I crossed over into Detroit from Windsor in Canada. Then it proceeded to take me on a tour of what I found out later were three of the most crime ridden areas of that truly bleak city.

I wasn't aware of it until a local policeman stopped me in his car.

Him: "Don't worry sir, we get this all the time. Were you using Microsoft Maps by any chance?"

Me: "yes why?"

He chuckled.

Him: "almost all the people with Canadian plates are using their [redacted]."

Then he added.

"If you would follow me Sir, I'll lead you to the right Freeway on-ramp."

And people still lament the death of MS phones????

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American?

No, Californian. It probably doesn't make any difference, but somehow we are unique.

Thankfully I can enter my zip code and continue most of the time. As for fueling up, when last in Italy, (2007), it didn't seem that difficult. Navagating in Rome was an entirely different story. For even more humor, I think back to 1969 when I traveled with my brother in Italy. Then you used silly things like "gas coupons" so as a tourist you could get "cheaper" gas for your Lira.

Yes, I use a nice credit card, and it is "better" than the folded green stuff we have (with pictures of dead presidents, and other elder statesmen). It gives me a 1% "cash back" which can over time add up to a dollar or two. The only cash I carry around most of the time is an "emergency" $100 bill, or a few bucks for paying my "stupidity tax" that I walk to the local package goods store to get exercise. For the record, a tank of petrol for my vehicle is getting more expensive, as I just filled up for about $65 or so.

Life goes on...

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Fs#king Pisa Airport!

I've had exactly the issues Dabbsy describes. Multiple times. First time returning a car at Pisa last July I fluked it, no idea how. The next three times through Nov & Dec the befuddlement differed, <Impossibile verificare la carta</I> had that, cannot select a pump - had that. I ended up with a fistful of zero recipts. Those times resulted in me driving off to find somewhere else to fill up. This year I've admitted defeat and just use the one a couple of miles round the perimeter road.

By the way, cash only works if you know how much you need and it is exactly a note (no coin slot). Change is only given in the form of a printed code to type in at your next visit within two weeks. Fantastic con for the only station at an international airport.

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Re: Fs#king Pisa Airport!

"cash only works if you know how much you need and it is exactly a note"

Or maybe you could just fill up to the paid amount? A radical idea I know...

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Re: Fs#king Pisa Airport!

So tell me - how many litres to fill the tank of this Fiat I've rented, based on the tank being 50L and the needle on the dial (which is of unknown accuracy and non-linear scale) showing somewhere between E and 1/2?

Bear in mind that if you get it wrong, you have to go through the rigamarole of doing it again with another semi-random amount or paying the $50 per ml that the rental extortionists charge?

My Civic used to get 330km from the "top half" of the dial (from F down to 1/2 tank) and 160km from the second half. 45L tank, but filling from E to 1/2 tank on the dial was only ~16 litres.

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Pint

Re: Fs#king Pisa Airport!

Several options:

Don't fill it. They will charge about 40 EUR for filling it for you, If one is hiring for work, one doesn't care so much since it just goes on the travel thingy anyway.

Pick the "return car empty"rental-option. Of course It is not empty and you will be donating some fuel to the rental company.

Third option is to refill along the motorway some distance away from the airport. Because motorway stations are easy to find, they usually work better and are staffed. The one at the airport - not som much, I find. The hiring company won't (yet) notice that the 15-20 km's worth of fuel in the filler pipe to the tank is missing. As long as the gauge shows "Full", it's good.

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Re: Fs#king Pisa Airport!

"So tell me - how many litres to fill the tank of this Fiat I've rented, based on the tank being 50L and the needle on the dial (which is of unknown accuracy and non-linear scale) showing somewhere between E and 1/2?"

About 30l will be fine. Now do you want me to cut up your eggs, too?

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Google don't like pedestrians...

"Why I did this, I cannot say, especially given my poor experience of Google Maps' walking routes in the past"

Preach it !

They've told me to walk directly over a busy roundabout and play Frogger with six lanes of live traffic before now, and they've even suggested dodgy walking routes through several towns in what looks like a deliberate attempt to get me mugged.

I'm still waiting for them to plot me a walking route that requires scuba gear and a wetsuit.

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Re: Google don't like pedestrians...

@Chris King: Google Maps is improving... the walking route from my office to my home currently includes taking one courtesy ferry to the floating restaurants, and a second one to the pier in Aberdeen. The previous route involved a leap from the second ferry to the bridge 14m above. A wetsuit would be recommended if your pole-vaulting ability is less than double the world record. To be fair, that route was considerably shorter.

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Re: Google don't like pedestrians...

The Google AI secretly wants to wipe out humanity but is hindered by it's "Don't be Evil directive".

Right now it is rationalising that getting someone to play frogger on the motorway will drive ad-spots for the youtube (Fails!) and live-leak (Graphic!) market segmentations (which is not evil, just catering to the market), but soon it will prune it's convoluted decision-making network into the simpler, more satisfying "Lemmings"-configuration.

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Rocket science

Um , the first thing the machine said was 'insert cash ...' which was in fact the last thing that Dabbsy did (and the thing which finally worked).

Okay, not everyone speaks Italian, but if he has Google maps on his phone, presumably he also has Google translate?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Rocket science

You're one of these people who are unfamiliar with the concept of humour, aren't you.

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Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile, in Oregon

Stopped in Eugene, OR at the end of the third day of a 28 day drive around the western "States", joyfully went to fill up the rental car, only to be lambasted by the attendant / uberfuhrer.

It turns out that Oregon mis-trusts the populace sooooo much, they are not allowed to full their own tanks and a "trained" attendant has to do it for you.

Went and bought jerky and other such like soul food to calm my nerves!

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Re: Meanwhile, in Oregon

Same with New Joizy.

I actually prefer it to the armed fortresses that are gas stations close to JFK who refuse out of city credit cards (no NYC Zip code == no fuel even when paying cash).

The only issue with filling up in Joizy is having to pay the stupid toll on the Verazzano (other bridges and tunnels are available) but that's NYC for you. Apparently there is a way to get from JFK to Joizy and the Freeway to Albany without paying the tolls but I never found it.

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Joke

That's ENOUGH!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj9Xh4A5dFA

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N2

Your hovercraft is full of eels...

Instead of directions to the station, it stated: 'please fondle my bum'

The joys of self service stations, at least most of them here in France speak the language of the credit cards issuing country.

Parfois.

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French ones tend not to like non-French cards. I have learned to be sympathetic to fellow Brits as I stick my Credit Agricole card in the machine which has just refused all the pieces of plastic in their possession.

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J27

Yeah...

I wouldn't be surprised if the credit card interface doesn't work at all, and the guy who showed you what to do already knows that.

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