Dubai Consumer Mirror

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

7 Rules For a Flawless Food Ordering Experience in Dubai

Yes, ordering food by phone in Dubai can get really wrong .. order arriving late, arriving wrong or missing items, the guy doesn't have change..etc.

However, over the years, I have learned a thing or two about ordering food that can make things much smoother... and I'll be sharing some of those tips with you:

1. Don't be a smart ass
For the 5 minutes you will need to make the phone order, drop your Shakespearian English and take off your grammar cop hat. You are talking to someone who didn't have a father who wasted a fortune -big enough to feed an entire African village for 10 years-, to send his spoiled brat to an ivory league business school in Europe or the US.

Speak in simple English, talk clearly, not loudly, they are not deaf.

Put it this way, if English is YOUR first language, then the phone order guy's English is FAR better than your [Arabic/Hindi/Urdu/Tagalog] well ever be.

2. Smile!
A friend who works as a radio presenter once told me that they are always asked to SMILE when they are on AIR. People can, believe it or not, hear your smile. And looking at the number of assholes the phone orders guys have to deal with everyday, trust me, your call will be like a breath of fresh air.

3. Get personal
Start the conversation with a "How are you, today?" Ask for the phone guy's name and use it in your sentences. Tell the phone guy something about your day or how hungry you are and can't wait to eat the food you are about to order from his joint. You'd be surprised with the response you'll get.

One trick i do is that I note down the name of the phone guy of every restaurant on its respective menu. And yes, I have a "menus folder". Mind you, that only works with small restaurants that do not use maga call centres like KFC, Hardeez and the rest of the 'Americana' cartel.

4. Take a chill pill
Never call if or when you are angry or agitated. Negative vibes travel thru the phone lines and the order phone guy may feel that you are not happy with the whole ordering experience; which may or may not be true. Nevertheless, a happy phone order agent will prioritize your order and make sure you get your correct delivery and before anyone else.

It is also recommended not to call if you are bored, horny or

5. Decide before you call
If you don't have a "menus folder" already, start on making one right now. Write down your order, especially if it was a large one or requires multiple modifications. There is nothing more annoying than putting the phone guy on hold while your wife cant make up her mind on whether she wants regular or curly fries.

And not having a menu is not a good excuse anymore, most proper restaurants have websites.

6. Ask for advice, even if you don't need it
Working the phones and asking people whether they prefer their chicken "original" or "spicy" can be soul crushing over time. Be that person who makes the order phone folks feel that their knowledge is relevant and valuable.

Ask what would they recommend as a meal size for the number of people you are ordering for, or ask for their own favorite item on the menu or anything they'd recommend. Acknowledge and thank them for their advice.

This will make the phone order agent feel good about his/her job, hence you're order will get the attention it deserves.

7. The last Tip
Phone guy is happy, he tells delivery boy to take extra care of your order and make it quick. Now, its is your turn to take it home with a generous tip.

Those biker boys literally risk their lives to get your double cheese burger in time. And if you think i am exaggerating, trying riding a delivery bike on Sh. Zayed road with all these Landcruiser Lunatics.

In my case, the tip is the standard 10 percent of the total bill. I usually throw in a 5-er if its extra hot or humid out there.

Also, drivers typically cover the same geographies and DO REMEMBER houses that tip well. In most cases, houses that tip well, get the first stops when drivers have multiple runs to do.

There you have it, 7 different ways of simply 'being nice'.

I know you guys might know more .. leave them in your comments and help spread the love.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Top 10 Most Annoying Twitter Users in the UAE

Yeah, blogging is dead (or is dying anyways) and instant updates and microblogging is the big thing now. Everyone wants you to make your point in 140 characters or less.

If you have something you really really want to discuss at length, then yeah .. maybe I'll look at your blog later when i decided to clear out my RSS reader...

ANYHOO... i've been "observing" this twitter business for a good couple of years now. And yes, there are days when I just put down my phone and stop looking at my twitter app for the rest of the entire day, simply because it gets soo ANNOYING.

And here are top 10 most annoying UAE Twitter types in the UAE:

The Overshare-er:
08:00 "yaaaawn... just woke up *stretch*"
08:05 "I just pooped"
08:10 "having breaki.. nomnomnom check it out: http://twitpic.D1sGusTing"
08:20 "what should I wear? choices choices..."
08:22 "Ok, I am wearing a blue top, beige bottoms"
08:24 "Completely changed my mind. Beige top, blue bottoms.. yaay"
08:41 "Can't find my keys, WTF"
08:42 "Found my keys, they were in my hand. lol, #FAIL"
08:50 "I love my Toyota Prius"
09:00 "Twaffic report; SZR is not blocked.. what happened?"
09:37 "Just got to work, no parking #HateMyJob"
09:39 "Have to park in paid zone .. #RTA #FAIL"
10:o0 "boss is here, he stinks, no deodorant. Oh wait, thats me. ROTFL. #FAIL"

So on and so forth... you get the picture, vividly

The Hypocrite-er
Disclaimer: these tweets below really took place: They were slightly altered to protect the true identity of the douche bags that tweeted them:

"OMG, on my way to work on SZR and this guy is like talking on the phone while driving. WTH"
(Yeah, because texting/tweeting while driving is less dangerous you dumb moron)

"I hate the fact that we have to work on Sundays in this country. #FAIL"
(I don't see you complaining about having Fridays off you double-faced-dweeb)


The Serial RT-er
People who ReTweet (RT) everything and anything they see. They sometimes RT without even reading what they RT. One word for you: *Unfollow*

These guys are a special species. Mainly girls with a severe case of a disease commonly known as LackOfSelfConfiditus. And here are the major symptoms:

- Birthday celebrations usually last for 4 to 6 weeks, 2 to 3 weeks before and after.
- Create Hashtags about themselves. I suggest #AttentionWhore.
- Seldom a day pass without posting a pick of herself with that "I am doable" pose
- Has a special folder called 'Twitter Display Photos' that is updated almost daily
- Tweets about her entire evening upcoming itinerary because..well you know..
- A deep believer that the day she falls sick must be declared as a national holiday
- Usually claims that everyone in the office hates her because she is hot n' all the guys want to do her. Where in reality, no knows she exists.

The Promoter-er
Usually hold usernames like @BrandNameMiddlEast or @Company_UAE or something lame like that. They do nothing but spam their users with their boring company news, special offers, retweet EVERYTHING or ANYTHING that mentions their boring company news or special offers.

I don't entirely mind that one, but I'd prefer if they (1) do it moderately and (2) treat followers as human beings and interact with them as such, not as "unsegmented target market".

Though I must admit, there are very few exceptions... Oh well, moving on

The Self.Proclaimed.Social.Media.Guru-er
An alarmingly growing breed and my personally most hated one in the bunch. Funny thing is, the ones i actually consider as true social media experts, never say so publicly.

These "gurus" walk around thinking they are some kind of celebrities. They rarely follow back other twitter users because, well, who is interested in mortals.

Thankfully, i don't follow any of them and but I had the miss-fortune of listening to some of them talk in a couple of events.

I asked a couple of well connected people about those Guru's REAL background and found out that most of the so-called "gurus" are people who lost their original jobs or weren't good in what they were trained to do originally and decided to become "social media experts" ...

Yes yes... I really need someone to teach me how to update my facebook page, jackass.

The Sir-ask-a-lot
This type treats Twitter as a source of money and information. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, BUT only when you give something in return and not treat your followers as your personal secretaries.

Sample tweets:
"Does anyone know has the number to Dubai Taxi? TIA"
"Someone knows the telephone of headhunters? TIA"
"Can someone Google the telephone number for DEWA and send it to me? TIA" <- I swear this tweet happened

I rest my case...

The Sir-I-beg-a-lot
Usually related and sometimes carries the title Sir-ask-a-lot as well. Now these guys will do anything to get free stuff and discounts from everyone, regardless to how absurd their requests are.

Sample tweets:
"Can someone bake me a cake and send it to me for free? in return, i'll tweet about eating it.."
"Can someone drop me everyday from Ajman to Jabal Ali? I'll follow you on twitter in return"
"I am looking for a someone to design a website for free. I'll include your name in the 'about section'"

What a leech.... grow some dignity for f#$%'s sake.

The multi-account-synchronize-er
Yes, great idea to sync your Facebook, Tweetdeck, Foursquare, Gawalla, Buzz, Youtube and blog all together... Because, really, I can't have enough of the 3 twitter accounts you post on already.

The moan-whine-whinge-er
Yes, wipe that smug off your face. You know exactly who i am talking about. Not a day will pass without him/her having to moan about, in random order:

Etisalat <- Ok, that one is justified
Taxi driver body oder
Not having a boyfriend/girlfriend
Annoying blogs that talk about annoying twitter types..

These folks have turned moaning, whining and whinging into a national ... ops, sorry, i mean, an EXPAT sport.

THERE, now you have it .. my own top 10 list of the most annoying twitter types in the UAE. Anymore that I should have included?