Dubai Consumer Mirror

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The psudo-local expats syndrom

Many of you will hate me for this, but i am going to let it out anyways.

Why is it that many Arab expats in the GCC, once they get a job in a government body, they get on the most condescending-patronizing-pompous attitude? And that alter-ego persona is only summoned like a vengeful mammoth when they are needed by other expats? Is it an inferiority complex? Do they get so abused due to the fact they are non-nationals in a national organisation, so they unleash this power trip on us, their fellow Arab compatriots?

Usually, you'd hear stories about notional public servants being A-holes to their customers. And I can't deny i haven't had my share of those. But I am not exaggerating when I say, whenever there an expat on the other line/side of the counter - anything that can go wrong, goes wrong.

One very striking example was my experience with Etisalat: I am sure you remember my problem with this incumbent Telco. I was offline for over 6 months before I got a phone line and ADSL.

For my application, I was asked to followup on Etisalat's 101 customer service number.

Of course, every time I had to narrate a brief situation background to why I am without a service all this time; in addition to my personal detail such as telephone number, name, address ...etc.

Whenever I get a UAE national on the phone, he (or she) would usually do the impossible to find out the status of the application, call up all the different department - engineering, operations or whoever... They would never let me hang up before I receive an answer that's satisfying enough.

But when i get an Arab expat on the phone, Oh dear God.

All of a sudden, I receive answers like: "I can't retrieve any information from the system.", "You shouldn't call this number. You need to dial XXX", or "I don't know when they will fix it. Call tomorrow"

One particular Arab expat agent was either extremely stupid or "being ANAL" was an integral component of her DNA map.

Here is why:

Me: Hello, I'd like to followup on a phone line application please. I have the phone number I applied for.
Annoying Arab Expat Female Agent: I need the application number
Me: I don't really have the application number, but you should be able to get it from the telephone number I applied for.
AAEFA: No I can't
Me: Pardon me, but I've called many time before and your colleagues never asked me for an application number.
AAEFA: One minute
(heard a long sigh in the background and abrupt striking on keyboard)
AAEFA: Whats the number.
(I give her the number)
AAEFA: Who's name does the number belong to?
(I give her my name)
AAEFA: No, that's not the name.
Me: It is, I've been calling twice a week for the past 3 months. Agents retrieve my name, my home address and everything.
AAEFA: But the number is not in your name
Me: It should be. That's the number I applied for. How come your colleagues always get my info out of it?
AAEFA: The application is in your name. But the telephone number is still in the previous onwers' name because its not installed for you yet.
Me: (total silence)

Seriously, why does Etisalat employ such imbecile buffoons?

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  • because the market is saturated with buffoons :)

    By Blogger inmotion, at August 10, 2007 at 1:09 AM  

  • Etisalat employs such imbeciles because it's the only way they can reduce their offensively high profits down to just 3.73 billion DHS (2007).

    By Blogger BuJ, at August 10, 2007 at 3:44 AM  

  • Try calling Emirates Bank from Australia to request another online service.

    After going through the press this button, press that button, enter your ATM card number for identification and the "please hold, all our operators are busy" message, the phone goes dead 4 times before I even get to talk to someone - 20 expensive minutes.

    Finally get through and, after talking to 5 people, I do get a helpful person who says all the right things.

    Problem is, I'm still waiting for them to activate the extra service afer 5 days.

    Sigh..looks like there's another load of expensive calls coming up!

    By Blogger nzm, at August 10, 2007 at 5:58 AM  

  • I called them every day to get my internet line. And I am in SHJ not DXB so "supposedly" there should be less orders since anyone who can possibly live in SHJ has already lived there.

    I got my line in 2 months.

    Do you want my suggestion? When you call 101, go for the English. They almost always come out Filipino and they are incredibly helpful and can stay online with you for weeks.

    By Blogger KJ, at August 10, 2007 at 11:23 AM  

  • Hehehee thanks for the laugh. Great start to the day!

    By Blogger Impala Lily, at August 10, 2007 at 1:05 PM  

  • Hi Mory :)
    My experience with 101 was also unpleasant, but at the end, it was concluded nicely...
    When my E-vision connection went wobbly, and since the 8005500 help line of E-vision has been relinquished long time ago, I then had to call 101...I kept calling them for a week, waiting on the line for an Arabic speaking technical support person to take my call, it was very distressing...eventually, I decided to press the bottom for (general enquiries) and state my case to whoever earthling that comes in my face. I must acknowledge that the Arabic speaking person(sounded Jordanian) that answered my call was very very patient and accommodating, he first had to put up with my mouthful, (I admit, I was angry and few words popped up), he cordially took all the details and told me that a technician would call on Saturday (it was Thursday) to fix the problem...

    and so it was...

    That was a singular experience though, I am sure that besides this nice and professional guy, there are multitude of A-holes...

    P.S.: it is good to have you back full-swing!

    By Blogger DUBAI JAZZ, at August 10, 2007 at 3:43 PM  

  • I agree with kj. I've always had very good *service* from etisalat, both on the phone and service calls to my villa. Now the rates are a matter for another post..

    By Anonymous unJane, at August 11, 2007 at 7:29 AM  

  • Inmotion - totally agree :)

    Bj - but i thought imbeciles cost companies more money :)

    nzm - don't get me started on bank call centres...

    KJ/unjane - I did notice that .. the point of my post was to rant about Arab expats working there and acting like they own the company. At first, i thought it was just coincidence, then its becoming to be the norm; every single time I get an expat on the line, things don’t seem to work out or get done.

    It got so bad to the point if I call and get a fellow arab expat on the other line, I end the call and try again hoping for either a local or an english speaking one.

    impala - you'r most welcome :)

    By Blogger moryarti, at August 15, 2007 at 1:33 AM  

  • how do you know over the phone if they are local or arab expat

    If I'm not mistaken, your wife works for a gov dept?

    By Blogger Harsha, at August 18, 2007 at 1:39 AM  

  • An Indian friend of mine can tell which part of India any Indian he is talking to. He said he can easily tell from from the dialect, language and sometimes looks of the person.

    Its the same with Arabs. You have to be an Arab to be able to distinguish different Arab accents/dialects. Obviously you are not, so its natural for you so assume and view Arabic from various parts of the middle east is all the same to you.

    They are not. They are very distinctive

    By Blogger moryarti, at August 18, 2007 at 9:37 AM  

  • I very well realise that. Being living in Dubai all my life, I too can make out the difference. But you cant always be sure. Being an Indian born and brought up in Dubai, I can equally differentiate among the Arabs and the Subcons.

    By Blogger Harsha, at August 24, 2007 at 1:48 AM  

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