I have noticed recently that vending machines have moved on to a whole new level in Thailand. Forget the boring old cholate and jelly bean dispensers because we now have self-service gasoline pumps. They have been around for quite some time now but recently I have seen them installed outside people’s homes, presumably as another way to make a part-time buck.
The idea is that they are there for the convenience of motorcyclists who may live too far away from a gasoline station to be able to refill when they run out. A noble concept indeed for those living in outlying areas. But the majority of the vending pumps I have seen are in built up areas like Phuket where there are plenty of gasoline stations or general vendors who sell gasoline in whiskey bottles for emergencies.
I can only assume that the proliferation of these vending machines in areas where they are not necessary is because the vending machine companies are pushing sales hard. It seems haphazard and unplanned but maybe there is a bigger picture which I don’t know about.
I have no problem with the entrepreneurial spirit but wait!!
I see these machines are unguarded, unsecured, open 24/7 and are accessible to anyone.
- late night revellers who may be drunk and stop to refuel with a lighted cigarette hanging from the corner of their mouths.
- Children who can easily reach the slot and put a few coins in, then light a firework and blow themselves, their families and anyone in the near vicinity into kingdom come.
- Anyone with a mind to wreak havoc.
I saw three children between the ages of 7 and 10, a few days ago, playing with the gasoline pump on the left. One of them removed the hose from its holder and pretended to spray the others. I cringed at the thought that one of them may have had a few coins and a box of matches.
I am sure the authorities must have given considerable thought to the potential hazards when they issue licences to the vending machine companies. Surely someone must have to be licenced! This is a lethal, inflammable substance we are talking about.
Or have they either propelled themselves into the next world, hoist by their own petard or moved on to a more exciting project like –