Fuelling our needs

Highly organised staff at Jempson's cope with the fuel 'crisis'

You have to hand it to them, love ’em or not, Jempson’s always seem able to rise to the challenge and cope with whatever is thrown at them. The recent fuel catastrophe has hit us all hard, partly self-generated by our insatiable appetite for ignoring advice. and panic buying which has only exacerbated the problem further. First it was loo rolls when shops were stripped of supplies within hours of the word ‘shortage’ finding its way into the public domain then onto social media sites, ‘Del Boy’ wanabees started selling their stockpiles to make a few quid and the problem continued until common sense (and replacement supplies arriving in the shops) prevailed.

A shortage of HGV drivers seems to be the root cause of the latest shortage of tanker drivers able to supply our filling stations but with some drivers now being enticed with salaries approaching that of our prime minister it seems things will get better in the short term for all of us.

Having no fuel does focus the mind, for those who need to get from A to B to do their job it is very serious if they can’t get there, the knock-on effect for supply chains and services is huge but for others who are not at the mercy of getting somewhere by a deadline, travelling daily to do their job or provide a service, it makes us realise that many of the journeys we make are sometimes on a whim, not necessary and many are avoidable. Less trips of course means less fuel which gives more opportunity to those who need it more than others.

Traffic around the Jempson’s perimeter as cars wait their turn for fuel.

But, we Brits are not like that, we love to queue, the queues are longer because we make them longer, then we blame the retailers for not being able to cope!

Retailers from every sector have had to rethink their businesses regularly, given all that has been going on with Brexit, and the Covid pandemic, the ability to think on your feet should now form part of many employee requirements as nothing stays the same for long it seems.

“Adaptation” is the buzz word, stand still and you wont survive, go the extra mile and people will remember you when we come out the other side of all this.

Looking at my fuel gauge the other day, which was on the red line, I decided to bite the bullet and go in search of fuel, you couldn’t get anywhere near Skinners on the roundabout so I headed to Tenterden, big mistake! No petrol at CB Motors, nothing at the garage at St Michaels, no fuel at Sandhurst so I decided to call it a day and head back towards Rye. Finding fuel is a bit of a lottery, I may have go to the garages between deliveries and I run on diesel which seems to be running out quicker than petrol at some filling stations but I decided to try Jempson’s at Peasmarsh, bingo, they were open and they had petrol and diesel.

Staff in hi-viz jackets met we motorists at the mini roundabout on the approach to the store, for fuel we joined the left hand queue but if you wanted the store you were directed to the car park where there was plenty of parking, the system was reversed as we exited. Simple, effective and well organised with those who were entitled, given priority over the rest of us.

If you use Instagram you will find regular updates from Jempson’s on #jempsonsstores and for example tonight, as I write this, October 1, “the petrol station will open at 11pm and trade through the night till early morning. ALL GRADES (unleaded and diesel) will be available. £35 minimum spend for vehicles. Exemptions Motorcycles”

Before anyone asks, NO, I am not being paid to advertise Jempson’s, NO this is not an advertorial for them, NO, Jempson’s have not written into Rye News asking us to write about them, I have written this article to voice my personal opinion by sharing my own recent experience which I hope in turn may help others.

Image Credits: Nick Forman .


  1. Jempson’s at Peasmarsh have been absolutely magnificent throughout the fuel shortages, dealing with huge numbers of people with cheerfulness and patience. They have ensured that priority has been given to medical workers, carers, those with disabilities and organisations like us – they have enabled us to carry on with all our services: getting pupils to and from school, running the Dial-a-Ride and the 326 Rye Town bus services. Between Saturday 25th September and Friday 8th October I have fuelled there 13 times (average fill of 50 litres). I am so grateful (complete understatement!) for their support.


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