Vientiane Petrol Station Owner Issues Apology for Coffee Confusion

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PTT Petrol station in That Luang amid the fuel crisis.
PTT Petrol station in That Luang, Vientiane Capital amid the fuel crisis.

The franchisee of a PTT petrol station in That Luang, Vientiane Capital, has publicly apologized for forcing customers to purchase coffee prior to being allowed to buy fuel.

The incident came to light yesterday when customers began posting complaints to social media about the coffee purchase requirement before filling up at the pumps.

A fuel crisis that began this week brought about by the plummeting local currency has left motorists queueing for hours for small amounts of fuel.

One customer at the PTT That Luang petrol station posted a sign held by a staff member at the fuel pump to social media, which read, “Customers must purchase a beverage worth LAK 100,000 from Amazon Cafe and will then be allowed to purchase fuel worth LAK 100,000.

The owner of the petrol station initially denied the claims, issuing a statement to the media saying that the posts on social media were “untrue” and were the actions of bad actors attempting to tarnish her reputation and that of her business.

However, overwhelming evidence from the public posted to social media, including the opinion of a local law firm, has led to a public apology from the owner.

“I must make the sincerest apology to society for this misunderstanding. I will accept all complaints from the public and communicate this to our employees,” she said in a video released yesterday evening.

“Our petrol station is open for business as usual today without any conditions for the purchase of fuel,” she added.

The ongoing fuel crisis shows no end in sight, with the government holding an emergency meeting yesterday to try to find ways to stabilize the plummeting local currency.

As a short-term solution, commercial banks have been asked to free up foreign currency for a select number of fuel importers over the next few days, using proceeds from the sale of natural resources and mining operations.

The country, which now sources fuel from Thailand and Vietnam, will then seek new avenues, including a proposal to purchase cheap oil from Russia.