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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Why it pays to complain to Companies (even in #Kuwait!)

A lot of people will tell you, complaining gets you no where.

Companies have and continue to wrong customers since the beginning of time.

Most companies manage to get away with it because the customer fails in their civil duty to report such wrong doings and accepts the status quo as inevitable.

I am here to tell you that this is complete and utter poppy-cock.

David vs Goliath

For just as David slew Goliath, so to can you slay the demon that is corporate identity. For we have been empowered with a very awe-striking weapon – our gabs and the internet.

Picture if you will the following scenario 40 or so years ago; a customer buys a plane ticket and is unable to use it, the terms and conditions read non-refundable. In order to complain, said customer would have to give up their precious time to stand in line and file a formal complaint, wasting pain-staking hours in a queue that leads to no-where.

The never ending queue

The never ending queue

Not any more, and never again!

The internet has provided us with a very fast and direct way to target our complaints; emails!

The following are a few  ACTUAL scenarios that occurred to me (personally):

1) I was travelling back home to survive my then-fiance (now loving wife) for new years, at the luggage carousel I saw what appeared to be my luggage however it was horribly misshapen, with metallic wires protruding from where the frame should be. I called up customer service and after being given the loop around demanded the email of the regional manager (which the employee provided, albeit incorrectly at first). They informed me I should have spoken to someone at the airport itself, however since I didn’t, and still made a lot of noise about it, they agreed to pay me for the broken luggage (and commandeer it as well).

Case closed. Match, set & Point. 1:0

2) Same airline as above, through no fault of my own (ok maybe it was PARTIALLY my fault) I arrived at the airport counter 5 minutes after closing, literally 5 minutes and was denied boarding. Made noise, no response yet.

Case ongoing. Probable lost cause. 1:1

3) New airline; purchased ticket to go to neighboring GCC country on their 5-star airline. At check-in, I am informed that my job title as per my residency does not permit me visa-on-arrival (my title happened to be in the middle of two accepted titles, one above and one below- they accepted sales manager and sales associate, I was designated as sales executive at the time even though I had nothing to do with sales but that is another tale for another time), so I was asked to leave. I sent an email to them, and their initial response was “read terms and conditions”, “non-refundable”, “sorry” and quote-unqoute tough luck. They would only refund me the tax amount which was less than 10% of the ticket price. Of course I kept at it, refusing to give up, email after email after email until finally, they relented! And I was given a credit of the EXACT amount I paid to use during a years time to fly.

Case closed. Match, set and point! 2:1

Qatar Airways

4) I purchased ANOTHER TICKET (this has DEFINITELY not been my favorite year for flying!) and mistakenly mixed up the arrival and departure airports through a famous booking agent in Dubai. I booked the ticket during Ramadan at 10PM and subsequently sent an email requesting to cancel it at 9AM (i.e. 11 hours later). Their response, we will deduct two fees; our cancellation fee (which was equivalent to 25% of the ticket price) as well as the airline cancellation fee (20% of ticket price) leaving me with a measly 55% of the ticket price. Again they cited terms and conditions, but I hit them with best practices as the world famous online booking agent (EXPEDIA!) allow for free cancellation within 24 hours of booking. The emails dragged along, and I spoke to one “manager” on the phone who refused to entertain my request (George something-or-other from some EU country, if you are reading this, IN YOUR FACE!) however, finally, as a “gesture of goodwill” and most likely to shut me up, I was allowed to waive their cancellation fee and receive a good chunk of my money back.

Tripsta

 

Case closed. Match, set and point! 3:1!!

So yes, online complaints DO receive proper attention (with a proven success record of 75%).

What have you got to lose? Exercise your right to speak and rise up against the corporate Machine!

A quick Google search will pinpoint which emails to correspond to, and from there just keep hitting back.

Every policy has an exception.

Learn that.

Of course if all else fails make a blog post and slam the non-responders (within the proper confines of the law and not being derogatory in any way!)

Kuwait City of the Dead

Once upon a time, Kuwait City was all of Kuwait, apparently. Years ago, it was both the center of business as well as the living quarters of Kuwait. Soor St. which runs the length of Kuwait city from the Jahra Roundabout (aka Sheraton Roundabout) all the way to Route 30 (Fahaheel Express) was in fact a wall (as the name suggests, soor).

Only when you are presented with an aerial view of Kuwait City from the heart of Kuwait City do you notice the burgeoning presence of several Cemeteries all around (I count two from my office window).

KCity

 

Although macabre, it is sobering (as some discussions with managers whose offices overlook these vast expanses of land has yielded) to see that to the earth we shall return, no matter how high up we climb in this life.

The question is; are these plots still operational? Why have they not been relocated? Land cost in the city must be skyrocketing, and the grounds appear undisturbed for quite some time, save for donut tire-tracks (unbelievable, I know).

One explanation is that one of these plots (or several) are the resting places of the former Amir’s of Kuwait (although I am aware that the late Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah was buried near the 6th Ring Road).

To end this post, we use an original quote:

We are born of this earth,

and to this earth we shall return,

so how can earning a living,

be mankind’s greatest concern?

@NBKPage Titanium card no longer covers valet parking

A product that is offered to customers under a certain set of pretenses should seek to inform said customers of any changes to these pretenses.

Credit cards. Money you do not own that you spend in order to supplement your income. The notion of using a credit card was far removed from my business mind during my studies as I knew the risks associated with it – interest, inability to pay off debt, compounding interest, likelihood of theft etc. it was only when I realized that it can be used abroad during travels as a safer way of paying that I finally succumbed to the credit monster.

Plus, the perks! Free access to airport lounges being the top seller.

NBKs card also had the luxury of valet parking at Marina Mall, which I took full advantage of. However, what time you save in finding a parking spot is wasted in waiting for your car to come to you. But that is not the gist of this post.

The problem arose when one fine day of visiting Marina Mall and handing over my car to the valet, I was surprised when collecting it that the credit card no longer offered valet parking. The service had been discontinued, and I was uniformed.

When I called customer service, all they said was, yes, the valet service has been discontinued. Please check our website for any changes.

The bank should offer a weekly newsletter to customers that would inform them of any such changes to their cards.

How I tore my pants on the way to my new Job

Adding a touch of humor to your lives; read up on the following TRUE story of a most harrowing first day on a new job!

As with all new beginnings, a sharp image is always desired in order to make the proper first impression. As I was starting a new job (yesterday), it seemed imperative to get the image right.

The day started off normally enough, hopes of doing early morning exercise dashed upon the ground of reality and of finding comfort in the deep, warm trenches of the blanket in bed.

When it came time to “Suit up!” (as Barney likes to say) I was surprised that my first choice of suit was not a good fit. At first I believed I had mistakenly taken my father’s suit, but as it turns out, it was mine from a whole ago (and is now in need of  a slimming).

The second suit fit perfectly (a little too perfectly as you shall soon find out). After the wife took the glorious first day of new job pics, I headed on down to the car. Upon entering and placing my derriere on the leather seat, I was greeted with a strange noise which at first was attributed to sitting on a flyer from the many ads placed in newspapers etc. It seemed strangely peculiar as I do not currently subscribe to any printed newspapers, nor do I have any in my car! It was a welcomed distraction from the truth.

I had torn through the seat of my pants.

An obvious wardrobe malfunction had occurred which necessitated another change, lest the change be to my career for showing up in such a distasteful state.

As the saying goes, things can only go up from here! And indeed they did.

I had a tremendous first day at work, where I learned that the employees have access to a gym after office hours (which ends at 4)!

How I almost lost a toe on the Gulf Road of Kuwait

Darkness and sharp, unseen objects are a nasty, nasty mix.

What started off as a time tested relaxing run down the Gulf Road almost took a turn for the absolute worst when a freak accident happened that shed light (pun intended) on a very important issue: lighting and runners.

It started off normally; my wife’s prescription glasses were ready for pick-up. The shop is in Salmiya. We live in Hawally. I jumped at the opportunity to inject a run into my life and offered to pick it up on foot.

Distance to shop: 5K down the 4th Ring Road.

For the return however, I hoped to add a bit of scenery by running down the Gulf road, something I have done more times than I can count – at every imaginable hour. However, for the first time ever, as I approached the traffic light near the football pitch/ Maidan Hawally, I noticed that the street lights were switched off.

I continued running, not giving it much thought, listening to my music and trying to be faster (and failing).

It was then that I felt a sudden, sharp pain between my toes.

My right foot had unknowingly landed on a metal spike protruding from the curb; a left over from a light box for street advertising.

Fortunately, my foot placement had the gargantuan spike land in between my 3rd & 4th toes, grazing the top of the shoe but not damaging it.

The damage can be seen here:

20140907_204150

20140907_204158

20140907_204217

20140907_204221

20140909_175339

20140909_175343

 

The spike perforated through the sole of the shoe, the insole and my sock (yes that is dried blood).

I was able to hobble back home, total distance: 12KM.

A cautionary tale for runners everywhere; watch where you step!

The Return of Rush Hour to Kuwait – Drivers be Happy!

Whether you are a parent, an employee or a student in university, chances are you will be up and at it early. Now, school is back in session, and what that means is the end of clear roads and blue skies (well, humid skies) for the 9~5 junkies who despite remaining in Kuwait over the Summer got to experience a form of vacation in that we could get to and from work faster without the presence of schools and their gridlocks.

Traffic

Rush hour is back with avengeance in Kuwait; during this highly irritating time it is extremely important to remember that allowing others to pass will NOT make you late for work. Be courteous, be kind, be polite, smile and allow others to merge in from side roads. In the end, it is something we all have to deal with, but doing so with a smile on your face will definitely help you get through the early morning commute faster and with a more positive attitude as opposed to cursing every being in existence that crosses your path.

Remember, do onto others as you would have them do onto you. And trust me; a**holes will always exist, every single day. The best way to beat em is to do something nice for a stranger, it will quickly relieve the fiery tension knotting in your stomach as a result of their a**holiness. Stay safe & jam out to your favorite tunes to relieve the stress too!

 

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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