I have mentioned this before in my Twitter/Plurk feeds and in my podcast, but, I thought I would be safe just having a shower at a Shell Truckstop last night. I forgot to take into account the Coles (parent company) mission statement : “Cheap and Nasty”.
Shell Truckstops used to be fairly competitive with other truckstops in Western Australia. A truck driver could get fuel, a meal, a shower and a small “truckies lounge/area” was set aside with a tv so you could catch up on the news or the weather and kill some time.
When Coles (as in Coles Supermarkets) bought the retail outlets from Shell a few years ago they stripped out the kitchens, the truckies areas and the tv’s and modelled the whole operation on their supermarkets. In essence, in an effort to maximise profits, they removed everything a truck driver thousands of kilometers from home relies on. Service declined, the only food was hot pies or sandwiches made in another state and frozen until put out for sale. Without exception, every Shell I have visited has got dirtier, more rundown and more depressing since the Coles buyout.
To top it off, last night I couldn’t even get a simple shower from the Port Hedland Shell Truckstop because they didn’t even have running hot water. I’m curious to see if the maintenance budget contains enough funds to fix/replace the water heater or if this is part of the long term plan to cut the expenses and increase the profit margin for Coles.
Coles, you suck! It’s BP, Caltex, Ampol or the bloody water hole down the road for me in future.