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View Diary: In celebration of America - 10 Things we do well... (69 comments)

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  •  Not to be a spoilsport here, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExpatGirl, BlackGriffen, unfangus

    I don't find American customer service very good at all.  First, if you have to telephone a company -- nowadays of almost any size -- you inevitably get tangled up in a computer menu "tree" or whatever the hell they call those frickin' mazes, which are made worse when you have to take your phone away from your ear in order to touch the proper square on your smart phone.  Actually navigating your way through to the point that you find an actual human being to speak to is often too much for me to manage, so I wind up hanging up in utter frustration.  On the other hand, if you go to a store of the "big box" variety, I find it's almost as frustrating to deal with the people behind the customer service desk as it is the phone menu because the twenty two year olds working there often don't know any more about what you want than you do.  And if you have to ask a technical question, well, you'd better be in a small, non-chain establishment because that's the only kind of place I ever seem to find anyone who knows what the fuck they're talking about.  

    As strange as it may seem to anyone who has no experience with the Arab Gulf, I find many, many things far more convenient and easier to deal with here than in the US.  For example, when i go to a filling station, I get full service every time because self-service pumps don't exist.  They also clean windshields and windows and check oil and water and windshield washer fluids.  

    Or if I decide I need a new shirt or trousers, I find a fabric store where I buy exactly the kind of material I want and take that together with the shirt or trousers I want copies of to a tailor down the street from my apartment.  A couple weeks later I go back and pick up the finished product.  Cost?  Under $10 for a shirt and about 12 for a pair of trousers.  

    Another great convenience is the way shopping centers and supermarkets are run.  When I drive into the parking garage of my local shopping center, if I choose, I can have my car washed in its parking spot while I go inside because there are young guys with carts with all the necessary cleaning equipment.  Cost?  About $4.  Once inside the supermarket, if I need spices, let's say, I can buy them in small bottles like you do in the west OR I can go to the main spice section where I can buy just about everything imaginable in whatever I amount I want because they're all sold by weight.  Since there are large numbers of South Asians, SE Asians, and East Africans here, not to mention Europeans of various varieties, North AND South Americans, Australians and Kiwis as well, you can find just about every kind of spice and condiment you can imagine.  And that's not even talking about the fruit and veg sections where I can buy anything from rambutans to key limes and from Peckham pears to Jonathan apples.  But there's also excellent local produce as well, which is also very cheap (I pay about 70 cents a kilo - 2.2 pounds - for fresh tomatoes, for example).  We're moving back to the US next month.  I'm NOT looking forward to what masquerades as "convenience" over there.  

    -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

    by GulfExpat on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 08:17:01 AM PDT

    •  A dark side to that service... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      Those people giving you the wonderful service may well be getting horrible pay, working 12 hours/day, 6 days/week and unable to return home because the boss grabbed their passport.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 09:24:54 AM PDT

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      •  I'm not sure it's much worse for these guys (0+ / 0-)

        here than it is for people working in retail in the US.  At least Oman's Labor Law requires employers to give their laborers accommodation, food, public holidays, and access to the national health care system.  They also get a ticket home every two years as well.  Come to think of it, I'd say they've probably got a better deal than many of their American counterparts have.  

        -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

        by GulfExpat on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 10:28:45 AM PDT

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        •  I was thinking Dubai, Kuwait and KSA. (0+ / 0-)

          It is hard to believe, though, that the labor required to make a shirt, plus equipment maintenance and tools, comes to a mere $10 without seriously screwing over the person doing the sewing.  

          "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

          by Yamaneko2 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 11:17:46 AM PDT

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    •  Oh, is today Independence Day in the Gulf, too? nt (0+ / 0-)

      A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

      by edg on Thu Jul 04, 2013 at 10:22:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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