Displeasure as Endeavour becomes un-staffed

A new way to pay: Traralgon Endeavor petrol station has gone self-serve, with no more store or staff to serve customers. Photograph supplied



IF you frequently drive into Traralgon on the Princes Highway, chances are you’ve stopped at the Endeavour (formally BP) petrol station.

You fill up, head into the store, say hello to the friendly face serving you, pay for your fuel and walk out.

Those days of human interaction are gone, as the company has opted to install pre-pay terminals with the station becoming un-staffed since Tuesday, November 21.

The Express reached out to Endeavour Petroleum to uncover the reason behind the dramatic change.

Ross Gilberthorpe, the marketing manager at Endeavour Petroleum, said the company was struggling to find the right balance to maintain an efficient business model.

“We found that ever since the road works happened, the site has had very little foot traffic,” he said.

“If we want to provide a petrol price that is competitive in the market place we can’t have a site that’s losing money.”

Instead of closing outright, Mr Gilberthorpe said the transition into a self-serve station “is the best thing (the company) can do for our community”.

No staff cuts were made, as all employees were given the option to transfer to another Endeavour petrol station. With stations in Newborough, Morwell and Sale, workers could decide to remain in the region.

Mr Gilberthorpe explained that shutting the shopfront would not occur in smaller country towns with less competition.

Traralgon is so ‘over-pumped’ according to Endeavour’s findings.

With such a competitive marketplace for petrol, the transition into a self-serve model was a challenging yet necessary decision to make for the company.

As the site stands, Mr Gilberthorpe explained the company was quite limited in its uses. There is no parking access, and it limits its ability to host a successful ‘duck over’ shopfront.

The shopfront will not go to waste or be reduced to rubble as management decides a future for the site.

A few ideas have floated around, including an office space for local administration.

The company is considering installing vending machines down the line if demand for convenient food comes back at the site.

Mr Gilberthorpe attended the Traralgon site on November 20 and said he received mixed feedback from local customers.

He said that the majority of those he talked to said the new machines were easy to use, while he had a few people who admitted they had no clue how to operate the pay station.

Not everyone is happy with the store’s transformation, with many customers taking to Facebook to express their concerns about the site becoming unmanned.

On the Traralgon 3844 Community Group page, one user posted a photo with the new pre-pay terminals, which sparked much debate.

“Well, that’s me done. No staff, no go,” one Facebook user wrote.

Another user wrote, “I most definitely won’t be getting any fuel from there again. As this means less staff to serve the fuel to. We need more jobs in the Valley, not less”.

A recent national Retail Doctor Group study found that most customers (around 70 per cent) preferred human interaction at the checkouts.

For Traralgon customers who desire human interaction at the petrol station checkout, perhaps the Endeavour is not your best bet.

But if you’re among the technology-savvy group, are particularly time-poor and are looking for convenience, the self-serve stations at this Traralgon site might suit you.