16 things we’ve all picked up at the petrol station

Microwavable hamburger? Yep. Emergency birthday card? Those too. And we still can’t stop ourselves, says Stuart Heritage

Image: Tinker Street/Zach Driftwood/G
  1. Bad sunglasses. This is all part of the romance of driving. You leave when it’s cloudy, get blinded by the sun, stop to buy some shades and arrive looking like a half-melted waxwork of someone from The Matrix.
  2.  A packet of instantly disappointing sweets. You wanted Haribo, but they’ve only got some suspicious-looking jelly worms that taste of nothing and were made on an industrial estate around the corner.
  3. Paracetamol, albeit by a brand you don’t recognise, containing dangerous levels of caffeine.
  4. A sort of LED thing, maybe a fan or something, with an attachment that you plug into the cigarette lighter. You bought it five years ago, and you’ve forgotten what it’s for, but it has a suction cup on it so it must be useful.
  5. A packet of chocolate-filled doughnuts. Nobody knows when they were made, nobody knows where they came from, but they were on the counter when you got there and you’re only human.
  6. An own-brand pasty, containing such an embarrassingly small amount of filling that it would be more accurate to describe it as a pastry balloon.
  7. An emergency birthday card, chosen from a very limited range, which explains why your father is getting a ‘Happy anniversary darling’ card from you this year.
  8. A tube of Pringles that you thought you could safely eat while driving your car at 60mph. Never again.
  9. More screen wash than you could ever use in a lifetime, sold in a bottle expressly designed to leak all over the inside of your
  10. A microwavable hamburger, often bought very late at night and cooked for you frombehind bulletproof glass by a petrol station employee who hates you. Bonus points if it’s still frozen in the middle.
  11. An ice scraper in a furry mitt that is genuinely about as much use on a frosty morning as a wet fish.
  12. Pop Its. You are two hours into a five-hour trip. Your children promise that a novelty Pop It is the only thing that will stop them complaining about the journey. You cave and buy one. It doesn’t work.
  13. An A-Z. Because in 2021, who would want to navigate across the country in any other way?
  14. A bag of firewood. Actually, this one is a lie. Nobody in the history of petrol stations has ever bought a bag of firewood from a petrol station. This is why there are always so many of them on the forecourt.
  15. A full week’s worth of food shopping that you decided to buy while your car was holding up a pump, then made the checkout assistant bag up for you, to the obvious fury of everyone else who just wanted to quickly pay for their fuel.
  16. Petrol? Maybe… I don’t know about this one, it sounds like a bit of a stretch.