Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Quest!

It certainly didn’t start out as a “quest”,  but it’s just an example of how some times the simplest thing can end up being an entire morning of entertainment.  Really.

There are,  how shall I put this?  certain challenges here that we tend to take for granted back home.  One of those things is the otherwise simple notion of procuring a tank of propane for the BBQ.  How hard could that be?

In Canada, or at least in Ontario,  we have a host of choices.  You can do the “exchange a tank” program,  or you can choose to buy one outright,  all the while knowing that the thing is going to expire at some predetermined date down the road.  One has to check that expiry stamp.  Helps you avoid any unpleasant surprises.   There’s a story in there about a cottage rental on an island,  boating in to town with an empty tank,  only to discover that it had expired.   A metal tank of propane can start to get MIGHTY heavy after the first kilometre or so.  This I know. That was such fun.  But that’s another story.


Which, by the way, is why I prefer to take the car. 



You’ll also notice that the tanks they have here are just a tad bigger than the ones we get back home?  Well,  at least the ones I’ve been using for the last 30 years or so.  Also,  when I went to get a tank here in Austria,  I discovered that the EU had begun to mandate that suppliers of gas could only use these new types of tanks that are not only made of some sort of poly, but are also virtually indestructible.   The sides will expand and contract,  which is something that a metal canister cannot do.  That’s kind of cool,  yes?


So,  where do you find these??   Well,  not at a building supply place like OBI or Bauhaus or Baumax.   The equivalent would be Home DepotLowes and say,  Canadian Tire?  Even though there’s nothing quite like Canadian Tire anywhere in Europe,  with the exception possibly of Carrefour in Belgium and France,  and in a few other places,  but not around here. 

I’ve been around,  OK?  Trust me.


Now,  I don’t need more propane.  I have a second tank.  It’s all good.  But what I also don’t need,  is having one of these empty tanks hanging around,  since it represents a sizable deposit.

Oh,  that’s  the other thing.   When I finally found a gas station that handled these tanks,  I actually didn’t have enough cash on me to buy the thing.  Had to use my bank card. The total outlay was €85,90. 

Yes,  your eyes are fine. 

That was about two thirds more than it had been in the Netherlands,  but the thing was,  since they were still using the metal tanks in the Netherlands,  there was no need to put down the deposit.  When we moved,  I just took back my empty tank,  (and the other one that was about half full…grrr.) to the place where I had bought it.  Not a gas station,  by the way,  but a place that sells tools.   Even though we were driving down to Austria by car,  there was no flippin’ way I was lugging a half full tank of propane across two countries.  I’m just saying. 

I considered it,  because I’m cheap,  but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.  There are probably some “rules”?  And besides, if it doesn’t seem like the brightest idea,  it’s probably not the right idea.


The gas part of the transaction itself is only €32,90 for a ten kilogram tank of fuel.  Since I bought the first one in January of 2010,   (January 11th at 1:13 p.m. to be exact,  ‘cause I’ve been known to keep the odd receipt now and again…)  and it only just ran out at the end of August,  that’s really not too shabby.   That’s what?  Twenty months?


So you’ve done the math, right?  That’s a deposit of €53,00.   I think they want their tank back,  yes?


I knew I had first purchased this canister out in Handelskai (just another part of Vienna)  but first I thought I’d try out the station not too far from here where I’ve bought diesel from time to time. I wasn’t sure if I had seen tanks there or not.  No dice.   It’s not every BP station that handles these things,  which makes it even more fun

What’s that game?  Scavenger hunt?

Never mind.


So,  I just figured I’d take a drive out to Handelskai, only to arrive there to discover that the BP station where I bought the first tank was no longer a BP station.   Oh c’mon! 


So then I figured I’d have to come back here and do an internet search,   but as I was tooling along Dresdenerstraße,  with no particular place to go, (well,  except home)  I spotted another BP station!  They sold tanks!  Bazinga!  But they couldn’t take mine!   What??   The clerk said they were full.  I guess they can only take so many,  and that was it.  *sigh*

They keep the empty ones in one big metal box.  The full ones in another.  I suppose I get it.


However,  she was very kind, and offered to call another station over on Heiligenstädter Straße,  and they informed her that yes,  they had room for my tank. 

All of this is only because Bob wants to BBQ.  OK? 


So I found the next stop with no difficulties,  and realised that I had DRIVEN RIGHT PAST this particular BP station a half hour earlier,  but had not gone in there,  since it was on the other side of the street,  and I KNEW for sure that I could take my tank back to the station on Handelskai.  

All I want is my fifty-three Euros.  

And I don’t have to go pee yet. 

I’m still in the game.


So here’s the deal.   I wander into the store part of the operation,  and the guy tells me I have to take my tank back to an area behind the entrance to the Car Wash,  and the fellow back there will deal with it.  I don’t think they had quite thought out the notion of cheap buggers like me simply bringing back an empty tank for the deposit,  since the receipt he gave me was just a quarter sheet of lined paper with a couple details scribbled on it.  I should have taken a picture,  but by then the end of the quest was in sight,  and I guess I started to get a little excited.

So I took that “receipt” back in to the clerk inside,  and after studying the cash register keypad just long enough to make me nervous,  he produced my €53.  




I’m tempted to get it framed.




And now we wait for Travelling Companion to call from the gate in Turin.   It’s going to be a bit of a late night,  since her flight doesn’t come in until 2305.   That would be 11:05 p.m. for you non European types.   Gah!


I may have to take a late afternoon nap.





  1. interesting quest!!.glad you got your money back!!!

  2. I just took a 5kg tank back to the BP at Maroltingergasse (1140). The lady must have given me the deposit back for the 10kg tank, €53 cause I swear I only originally paid like €25. As I was leaving I was thinking if I should correct the mistake (which means I would have to think up the German to explain) but then I realized that this was BP.


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.