I know that we will soon need wheelbarrows full of cash to buy the liquid gold that is automotive fuel, but should it really be that difficult to buy the stuff?

I say this because I was in West London the other day and there was a great big sign on the fuel pump that politely asked me to report to the cashier before filling up. After queuing up to ask they said OK. I then asked why I was being asked to do this. Apparently it was their policy. However, I noticed that others were pulling in and filling up without popping in to say hello.

I was hardly in the badlands, as detached residences were just around the corner from the fast food and nail bar, hell-hole high street. I suppose they are relying on nice middle class people to do the decent thing, whilst they can harangue a hoodie in his boom-boxed Corsa via the Tannoy.

I do remember in the States, more than 20 years ago, being expected to pre-pay before I filled my Buick Century, which I found odd but understandable in the land of the freely-carried firearm.

So I just wondered whether you now have to pre-pay, report to bored members of staff for approval or even leave your first born as collateral before you are allowed to brim the tank these days?