Dubai Consumer Mirror

Monday, March 09, 2009

The HOFF is in town

Don't be shocked if you see the HOFF standing in line behind you for his latte in Mercato Mall.. because he was in checking out Mall of the Emirates over the weekend.

Drama Queens

There is a handful of friends on my facebook that one can safely describe, thgouth their status updates and news feeds, as a bit melodramatic. Frankly speaking, I do not mind the occasional oh-maaa-god-i-am-like-so-whatevaaa status updates. We all have our moments.

But this one particular person -whom we shall name Debby- takes 'drama' to a whole new multi-dimensional level. I took a snapshot of some all her status updates in the past few weeks.

[Debby Downer] is sad that poor [son] is sooo under the weather :((
Mar 5
[Debby Downer] would LOVE to relax on the beach ALONE no kids allowed.
Feb 28
[Debby Downer] is missing her whole [city] experience :(.
Feb 27
[Debby Downer] needs to catch the momentum once again, after recovering from 104 fever, followed by throat infection and now dealing with a very painful pink eye !!!
Feb 22
[Debby Downer] is totally not looking forward to tomorrow :(.
Feb 21
[Debby Downer] is very sick in bed with an incredibly high fever of over 104.
Feb 18
[Debby Downer] is feeling a huge loss. (Ed note: Guess what was the "huge loss"? the better half is going away on business travel!)
Feb 2
[Debby Downer] is wondering how ?
Jan 23
[Debby Downer] is soooo disappointed with stupid dish network and having to watch a cut up episode via antena of greys, a really intense episode of greys, umph umph umph.
Jan 18
[Debby Downer] is beyond exhausted.

It is said, if you want happiness, surround yourself with happy people...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Syrian and Egyptian expats at the bottom of the food chain

According to this, highest paid expats in the UAE are (in order):
Americans, Brits, SAfricans and Canadians

In the Arabic version of this story though, the report claims that the least paid are expatriates from: India, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt and Philippines

As an Arab, I am not surprised to see Syrians and Egyptians amongst the lowest paid in the UAE.

To start with Syrians, and with the exception of college educated and high skilled professions; like doctors and engineers, most younger Syrians flock to the GCC to score 5 years GCC residency. According to Syrian laws, a 5 year work residency in the GCC qualifies military drafts-to-be to be exempted from a the compulsory service in the Syrian Army. That, plus a $US 10,000/- government fee.

Sadly, most employers here know this and use it to force Syrian job seekers much lower wages than market standards. You'd be shocked to know how much some of these kids are willing to accept just to stamp a GCC visa and dodge the 2 year gig in the Syrian army.

As for Egyptians; I would say 2 main factors. 1) In the past few years, and with the help of a much talked about and an un-official restriction on bringing in more low-paid workers from the SubCon and Asia to the UAE. As a result, many construction companies shifted to the Egyptian market for cheap, low waged and relatively better skilled construction workers.

Many of them found their way here and are paid about $300 per month on average .

The other factor I would say is mainly functional. Egypt is known to host more talented and better trained in hospitality and food business skills. In Egypt, you have some of the best tourism/hospitality colleges. And the training they get in Egypt's tourist spots, make Egyptians even more attractive to hotels and restaurant operators here in the GCC.

However, and in case you didn’t know, restaurant workers (runners, waiters ..etc) and non-management hotel staff (front desk, waiters, housekeeping) are some of the most poorly paid jobs in the UAE. KFC, Pizza Hut ... etc). Don’t believe me, ask any Arab who works there.

Nontheless, maybe I should ask some of the Syrians and Egyptians I know/work with to take the survey in 2010; who knows, it might alter the scales a bit…

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Parking Pricks

I think I've said enough already about these poeple.
Its your turn now ...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Planned Price Cuts in the UAE

The UAE government will push cutting 1/3 of your basic food shopping tag in March and hoping for 1/2 of it in April; according to a report by Arabian Business today.

Run by the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) until Mar. 31, the move comes just weeks after the Ministry of Economy said it was working to cut food prices by 50 percent by April this year.

Until now, and talking from the field, i have NOT seen anything but announcements and promises by the so called Consumer Protection Department.

Last week, I bought a baby formula (Progress Gold #4) from one pharmacy (Al Falah Modern Pharmacy) . I paid Dhs 62/-. I needed another one which I found at another pharmacy a couple of blocks down the road, but for Dhs 52/-.

Whatever CPD is doing or supposed to be doing, well.. they ain't doing enough of it...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Blog Interviewer

I was recently interviewed by the Blog Interviewer... Check it out here