#UAEPR and Sending Irrelevant Emails

160125 #UAEPR and Sending Irrelevant Emails

I have been bombarded with PR emails for the last 2 days – mostly about restaurants opening or the change of the restaurant brand in some way. My thoughts have been on the majority of these PR emails:

a) I don’t care
b) How is this relevant to my business?
c) Do they not have copywriters to review the stuff before it is sent out.
d) Address it to me and not to the “Editor”.
e) Why are they being sent to my DeCluttr Me email address.

Thankfully due to a friend who owns one of the PR firms, I found out which company provides the lists to PR firms in this city. I quickly googled and contacted them asking them to stop emailing to my DeCluttr Me addresses especially as it was not relevant content.

I got a very quick reply from the MD of the list company. His reply “I have removed Shelo9’s Cheeky Rantings from our listings of Dubai blogs in [Name of List provider]”.

I was very impressed by his very quick reply and that it was from the MD and not some minion, but eh what?? Shelo9’s Cheeky Ranting does not have any link to the DeCluttr Me email addresses (except I own it all *evil laugh*).

Just because of one # phenomenon (#needanaddress), it would seem the list provider thought it was perfectly acceptable to add my non related email address to their list without my permission and also without fully reading my latest blogs which focus on customer service (the irony!)

I know data protection is non existent in this country, but don’t these companies have a moral compass at all?? Or better still common sense?

If I can do anything today it is to provide these handy tips to these list creators and providers:

  1. First check if you have permission to add the email address to your list (this is very important).
  2. Check what the writer of the blog specialises in and if they will want to be added to a PR list; and
  3. What their business is about if you are emailing to their business.

Points 2 and 3 should also apply to the PR  firms as well. It is easy to not take ownership of the contacts as you have received the list, but check if these contacts will actually be interested in the product you are promoting.

If you are on Twitter, check out #UAEPR and see the amount of tweet complaints from tweeps like me who get bombarded with non relevant emails. You will also see PR companies using the #UAEPR to jump on the bandwagon with no understand that the hashtag was produced to take the mickey out of these same UAE PR firms.

By the way I am not grumbling about getting PR emails. I am happy to get emails relating to organizing and decluttering, and due to a new side part of DeCluttr Me, etiquette and personal grooming, but anything else is just spam invading my email box. Use your common sense and discern what the reader actually wants to read and what lists they want to be added onto. Don’t just annoy them with PR.

 

Shelina

 

 

© 2016 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

 

How #NeedanAddress Started To Help Those In Need

Plumes of smoke rise from the 63-storey Address Downtown Dubai hotel and residential block near the Burj Khalifa in Dubai

As you may have heard there was a fire on New Year’s Eve at the Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai. I had no idea as I was off Twitter until I got a message from my close friend G. She could see it all from her balcony. During the next few minutes she was sending me updates on what she could see whilst I checked Twitter and made sure people I knew were safe.

Whilst watching the scene G asked how she could alert the hotel guests that she had a spare bed if needed. She is not on Twitter or any other social media except sparingly on Facebook (if we are honest), so I suggested that I post her offer on Twitter.

160101 G offer

Her offer was posted and within a few seconds @danielmarcevans replied and then posted his offer of his available bed:

160101 Tweets on needanaddress

I suggested we create a # (we do this nearly every month with other tweeps for silly things). As normal he came up with his corker of a hashtag. The # was #NeedanAddress.
And that is how the #NeedanAddress started and blew up to epic proportions. It helped we had friends like @theregos to spread the word more for us.
The response from tweeps in Dubai and globally was astounding. Within a short while there were offers of rooms, beds, Nutella and hugs from various tweeps. Here are some of the lovely tweets!
It was great to see Dubai show that it has more to it than bling, world records and fancy cars as the global media portray constantly. There is a city of human beings with hearts, beds and kindness.
From updates during the night and on New Year’s Day, the majority of guests and residents were put up at the Atlantis hotel, but other hotels also offered rooms. There seems to have been a few guests who took up the offer of a bed from tweeps.
From a tragic incident, we were able to help a few with a hashtag. It is amazing how powerful the hashtag and social media can be and I am incredibly humbled by what happened last night.
Side note – The Address Hotel Chain have advised guests and residents of The Address Downtown Dubai to contact their hotline number +971 4 423 8870 or email:hotline@theaddress.com. Also Dubai Media Twitter account has asked the guests to contact 00971566835129 for any assistance.
Shelina

 

© 2016 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

 

The New, Improved Bu Qtair

151228 bu qtair restaurant

The New Bu Qtair

 

Bu Qtair is famous in Dubai. It has been showcased on BBC World and on Anthony Bourdain’s No Limits Show (the pre CNN series). It is so unlike anything else in Dubai and is a perfect place to take visitors from abroad to show the non-bling side of Dubai.

Set in an old corrugated iron giant shed thing, it was rough but clean (what we didn’t see wouldn’t harm us…).  The menu was limited to fish in masala (Sheri and Hamour being the main fresh fish choices) and prawns in the same masala. You got to choose the fish, kilos of prawns and then wait for an hour for it to be fried. Once ready, your name would be called and you would be given a plastic table to sit on with plastic plates, paratha, fish sauce and cabbage salad. Whilst waiting, we would sit on plastic chairs and drink a cup or two of tea and people watching.

Now that has all changed. The cabin/shed thing has disappeared.

151228 the old bu qtair site

The old spot for Bu Qtair.

 

The restaurant has moved to the opposite side of the road to a purpose built restaurant (see above). The system for ordering is the same. Queue (for bloody ages) to order fish and prawns. pay the guy, wait in the designated waiting area, get your name called, sit at a table and eat.

Whilst waiting in the order queue you will be pushed out of the way by passer-bys who want to go clean their hands in the sink. Due to non-excellent planning the sink for washing the hands is beyond the order queue. Not clever.

 

151228 The queue for food next to the hand wash

In front is the queue to order the food. Behind is the sink area to wash your hands. If you were waiting, there would be a lot of people pushing past with dirty hands to wash their hands.

 

There are seats inside but this area was overrun with customers who had ordered and were waiting for their food. The actual waiting area is outside past the purpose built dining area. A lot of customers didn’t see or understand the concept of sitting in the waiting area (which now has proper benches as well as those old plastic stools to sit on).

151228 the new kitchen

The new clean sparkly kitchen

 

 

It is not clear by the staff or the signs that all customers have to wait in the waiting area and that their name will be called out by the staff. They will then be given a table to sit on.

151228 wait for 30 mintues

It was amusing to watch the customers trying to grab tables and then being told to move off the tables for customers with food. However, it got to the point that the waiters were practically begging these people to move off the tables and facing a lot of attitude.  I stepped in twice to reassure customers that they would get a table once their food was ready.

The restaurant needs to have a poster or massive sign explaining the process for eating at the restaurant: ordering, buying drinks separately, waiting, sitting and eating. They can read the process whilst waiting in the really slow ordering queue.

151228 bu qtair food

The food was the same as normal, although our prawns were a bit cold. So (as another reviewer mentioned recently) same same, but different location.

Is it worth visiting. Absolutely. Do you need to have more patience than before. Yes.  We got there for 7ish on a Monday. After that, it was heaving with people. It might be due to the holiday season and cool weather, but it could be the norm now.

On a side note, we wandered around after eating and found a restaurant practically next door selling the same concept, called Al Fanna. The place was completely empty for some reason. It seemed to be very new and I can’t vouch for the taste of the food, but it looked exactly the same as Bu Qtair.  Maybe worth trying next time.

Enjoy if you do go visit Bu Qtair.

Shelina

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

 

Fire! Fire!! (Or the total disregard to partaking in Fire Drills)

151209 Fire! Fire!

The Fire drill just occurred in my building. This was the second time I had the glorious opportunity to witness the drill in my building. We were given one weeks notice that the drill would be happening today. I wanted to come up with a reason to not be home, but … nothing pulled me away from this!

Anyway the fire drill.

Fire drills are not taken seriously in this side of the world, until one happens and then everyone collapses into a pile of panic!

Today,  I witnessed two incidents which added fuel to the fire (see what I did there?) that we have a serious issue with health and safety in this country. 

  1. The fire evacuation point was in front of the building (in front of the restaurant) – whether this was a drill or not the evacuation point should be away from the building and definitely not in front of the restaurant! If there had been a fire, debris would have fallen on the evacuees or if there was a gas explosion from the restaurant… well I don’t want to think what could happen. 
  2. 3 men came out 20 minutes after the drill started. One was so arrogant he walked back in after asking whether it was a drill (doh!), ignoring the security guard. If there was an actual fire, and they didn’t come out someone such as the security guards or firemen could die trying to save them.  
  3. Another 2 men who do not even live in the building, came out of a flat on my floor straight after the drill had finished; when I asked them why they were in the building they said they didn’t care it was a fire drill and had work to do! They seem flabbergasted that someone would dare point out that a fire drill means that you are not allowed to be in the building. They also didn’t like it that a woman was telling them off (sexism is still rife here with certain nationalities). 

I know a lot of people do not take drills seriously and it has been a common problem for many years, but this is unacceptable and dangerous. There has to be a change in the manner that drills are taken in all the buildings whether big or small. 

I have complained to the Building management suggesting that they not give notice of the drills (like they do in the UK), as it may wake these residents up to actually take the drills seriously. They also need to change the evacuation point. Just because it is sunny doesn’t mean that the residents have to stand in the shade of the building for the drill – it’s a bloody drill!

Update 10 December 2015 – I have had a reply from the Building Management. They advised that the assembly point is as per the drawings approved by the Civil Defence. This must have been approved over 4 years ago when there were no buildings on this site. I am sure they would change the point to be away from the building if they reviewed it now. If.

With regards to the people not participating with the drill, the fire marshal is supposed to ensure everyone leaves the building and stays out (no idea how they can tell if people are still in the apartment but anyway). However as this was a drill there is no way to enforce this. I am sure that this is not the stance in Europe when there are drills.

*sigh*

What else can you suggest should be done to ensure that these drills are taken much more seriously? 

Shelina

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

 

The Hassle of Buying Water in Restaurants (Vlog #2)

water glass

 

Do you ask for local water and get overpriced water instead? How irritating is that! It keeps happening and I am not amused.

Here is my discussion about this rip off water situation.

What do you think about the rip off situation and how do you think we can stop this happening?  Let me know if in the comments box.

Thanks

Shelina

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

The Top 8 Rules for Driving in the UAE in the Fog

fog abu dhabi

Last night I drove back from the Abu Dhabi Formula One Gran Prix at Yas Marina (after marshalling for 3 days – it was awesome!) exhausted and sweaty. I just wanted to get home and sleep but as soon as I got on the Abu Dhabi – Dubai HIghway the fog enveloped all of us drivers.

The fog was so bad that it you couldn’t see a car in front of you, even if you were touching bumpers. It was so bad, you couldn’t see the lanes on the highway or any road signs even if you got close to them so there was no way to stop for a chill out moment at the services.

Of course being in the UAE that meant that people freaked out and started doing one of the following:

  1. Breaking and driving at 20kph
  2. Putting on their hazard lights
  3. Driving fast as if there was no fog
  4. Driving close to the car in front just so they could see something.

All this made a bad situation exceedingly scary. I love driving and i’m usually resilient but this fog and surrounding idiots freaked the bejeesus out of me. I had to go into the far slow lane (as it was the only lane no one else was in, except my marshal buddies).

A scary moment was seeing buses and minibuses driving their normal manner weaving through lanes, with hazard lights on and close to our bumpers. I had a coach behind me (Desert A..) weaving around me and then driving near my bumper. These bus drivers need an advanced driving test for normal and extreme weather days; they are maniacs.

Based on this frightful experience here are my top tips for the idiots who we encountered last night and the other idiots who start driving ridiculously on fog days in the Winter:

  1. Switch on your fog lights. They are usually a button, located on the left hand side next to your steering wheel.
  2. Drive slowly like 80kph but not 20kph. You might as well not drive at all if you are going to go at that speed.
  3. Keep at least 2 cars distance from the cars in front of you.
  4. DON’T PUT ON YOUR HAZARD LIGHTS AND USE THEM AS FOG LIGHTS. 
  5. Put on your hazard lights for a brief few seconds when there is a hazard in front of you. I did the quick flash twice in succession so that the numpties around me got the idea there was a hazard.
  6. Don’t freak out and suddenly swerve lanes to get off the road.
  7. If you change lanes, USE YOUR INDICATORS.
  8. Use your windscreen wipers to clean the fog/sand concoction every so often.

Luckily there were no crashes on my way home. However, there needs to be a national advertising campaign by the RTA on how to drive in fog, rain and other extreme weather scenarios. Otherwise there will be more chances of there being scary driving situations and horrific car accidents on the AD-DXB highway (such as the one below) or on other roads.

car crash

 

I have heard the Indian speaking radio stations in the UAE tell drivers to put their hazard lights on in previous years. By providing this completely incorrect and unsafe information, they are helping to create more accidents. The authorities need to explain to the media how their listeners should drive safely!

Let’s hope this post can educate a few people.

What other rules do you think we should have for driving in the extreme conditions. Let me know in the comment box.

Shelina

 

 

 

 

(All images from Google Images).

The Good, Bad and Ugly – Customer Service in Dubai

mind blown

Customer service is a continuous rant fest for us in Dubai. It’s rarely good, but mostly appalling. The Managers don’t care, the serving staff are clueless. Supposedly we can complain to the Trading Standards here but no one I know has ever had a response from them.

However, there are moments of such amazing service that it makes you feel like you are on cloud 9.

Here are four of my recent picks and how they have treated me and my friends:

THE GOOD

1. Izel Dubai, Conrad Dubai 

My friend and I went to Izel recently. The restaurant/bar is a South American fusion restaurant with a Happy Hour on Wednesday and live music.

We hadn’t booked a table beforehand but walked in and were advised by the hostess, that they could definitely give us a table. As the restaurant hadn’t opened yet, they asked us to sit on their comfortable chairs at the bar and order from the Happy Hour Menu. When the table was ready, the friendly waiter took us to the table and passed us over to our new waiter.

The food was lovely, but it was the attention of the staff that made my day. My friend had ordered a glass of wine from the knowledgeable Sommelier. He returned during our meal to check she was happy with her drink and we were happy with our meal generally. The waiter of course was attentive during the meal but left us to chat alone. We also had the Operations Manager come and introduce himself and ask if all was fine. We were not anyone featured in Ahlan or famous, just two ladies catching up. It was a nice gesture.

When we left, the hostess asked us about our experience. We did mention that the toilets were really dark and that it would be nice if we could see the toilet paper. She agreed with us and said that she would advise the management as they were renovating the restaurant during the Summer. They might not listen to our advice, but acknowledging it was nice of them.

In the lift, the Chef held the door for us and said bye when we left. Small thing but really nice.

We missed the music (which I have heard is really loud) but we had a lovely, relaxed visit to the restaurant.

2. GQ Bar – JW Mariott Marquis

A few weeks ago a group of friends and I booked a table for drinks at the GQ Bar. I had forgotten to mention we needed a smoking table when booking. Oops.

As normal I was the first to arrive, so the hostess suggested that I sit in the bar area, and then when my friends had arrived, we could move to our table. When our party arrived, we realised that we were going to be seated in the non-smoking restaurant area. We asked if it was possible to be moved to the comfy seat area in the bar. The hostess said “no problem”, shuffled the reserved areas around and fitted us four in a corner section with no hassle. During the shuffling I had mentioned to the hostess that I was disappointed by the bar men not being so hawt as expected (I had been told they would be hawt as it’s the GQ Bar!). She laughed.

Later on, I checked us in on Foursquare. Within a short while, the Acting Manager of the bar came to our table with mini drinks and asked us how our night was. Turned out that the bar’s twitter handle is linked to the Foursquare account, so they knew instantly when I had Foursquared and thanked us with the drinks. Lovely gesture. He had also talked to the hostess and asked me about my views of the bar men (my friends were embarrassed of me by then) and asked me to return in a few weeks to check the new staff who were joining :D. When we left they both said bye to us at the door.

Two weeks later I returned to the bar for a networking event. At the door, the same hostess was there and she recognised me! Little ole me! She even asked where my friends were. That night the bar man who served me was so hawt and really good at making the drinks. I told the nice hostess to inform that Manager that I was impressed :).

It sounds stupid but in this superficial, Ahlan loving, celeb wannabe town, it’s nice to be treated like someone by staff even when we are not any of the above.

Also, to have great service is such a rarity that it makes the night even more special when it is amazing.

THE BAD

bad-customer-service

3. KFC

7pm – I ordered KFC (I’m sick today, KFC is my cure – don’t judge me). They knew my normal order. I was impressed.

8.05pm – I called and asked about my food. Was told that the operator would call me back once she found out where the food was.

8.24pm – Called again. The operator said that the KFC Motor City were not answering their calls. They couldn’t find out where my food was. Told her to cancel the order and to tell the manager to call me.

8.38pm – Driver calls and says he is near my villa (I live in an apartment – the address even says Flat…).  Told him to turn around and get the Manager to call me.

8.47pm – Manager calls me. Told him of my disappointment. His response was that their internet was down and they were taking orders by telephone. I politely told him that the operational processes in the restaurant were not my problem. I ordered food the correct way, I expected food within half an hour. He kept making excuses.

There was no offer of giving me a voucher to use for next time as an apology. No offer of anything.

No profuse apologies.

Nothing.

His view was that as his operations system was down, it was my problem and I had to accept it. He said he would take my order now. I told him that I had ordered from elsewhere as I was so hungry.

The way he talked to me was sooooo arrogant that infuriated me more.

I advised him that his behaviour was unacceptable and that I would be informing all on social media. He didn’t care. That was the end of the conversation.

I won’t be ordering from them again.

Update 19 June 2014:

A KFC Manager called to apologise profusely and also confirm that the excuse about the system was actually not true. They were very angry at what happened to me and they were sincere in their apologies. As a gesture of goodwill they delivered lunch to me (and the Manager of Motory City called to check all was fine when the delivery man arrived). I will be ordering from them again. 

UGLY

inbound-marketing-wonka-meme
4. Clinton Bakery Cafe – Downtown Dubai.

Two of my lovely friends are leaving Dubai. They are having several Tweetups. This was one tweetup they set up for breakfast on Friday.

a. 3 of us entered and asked for the 6 person booth.

b. The waitress said she would have to ask the Manager if we could have booth as we couldn’t get a table unless all of our party had arrived. (I must add at this point – I had to leave after an hour and we didn’t know when exactly the rest of the party would arrive, but it would be soon).

c. Manager came to front, ignored us. Said in a nasty tone to the waitress, that we couldn’t have a table until our party arrived. At no point did he talk to us the customers, he just spoke about us to the waitress.

d. I told the waitress to just give us a table for 3 of us as I had to go. Told the Manager as well, he turned away from me.

e. Within 10 minutes 3 more people arrived. We got a booth.

f. I left.

g. My friend Khaled Akbik and his wife turned up after me. Here is his story of what happened when he entered, in his own words:

“I went a bit late to a friend’s farewell gathering this morning at Clinton Street Baking Company, Dubai. It was my first experience there and the place looked lovely and promising. I was looking forward to having a nice cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast.

My friends had already finished their breakfast when I arrived and some were still sipping on their coffees and shakes. When I called in the waiter to give him my order I was politely told that we can’t order anymore because there are others waiting for a table!! When we argued with him he called in his manager who was somewhat rude. He said there are others waiting and implied that we had exhausted our time on the table and that it would take long now for them to make a new meal, serve it and for me to take my time eating it!!

This was the first time I witness such a behaviour from a restaurant’s staff, let alone the manager, who is supposed to be accommodating to say the least.

When a restaurant puts the interest of incoming customers more than existing ones; is practically saying, you came, we served you, you paid us, now leave….we got our money from you, off to the next one.

That is not a way to run a business and needless to say, despite the apparent popularity of this restaurant, I won’t be going there ever again.”

Now yes, it was Friday, it was busy and people were waiting for the table but we had ordered a lot and still were going to order in our group. But the main issue was the Manager. I saw how he spoke to people or didn’t speak to us. He was a nasty human being.

The food was nice, but expensive for what it was. If we had been treated like humans I would go again but after being treated so appallingly, continuously by the Manager I have no desire to return until I know he has left.

The chain might be big in New York but this is not New York and you don’t treat people like this.

Update 19 June 2016 – nothing. 

This is a small pool of good and bad customer service. I could go on but it would take days to write. Where have you been that has been amazing or appalling with regards to customer service?

The continuous downfall of customer service

140221 Businessman Cover His Head With Bag

Customer service, what is that you might ask, if you live in the UAE? Don’t ask me, I am personally fed up of HSBC Middle East and Axa Gulf currently and their customer service.

My gripe with HSBC is for several reasons; most recently

a. they stopped me using my savings account as the internet banking department had not bothered to update their system with my new visa despite giving it to the bank weeks before.

b. This week they rejected a cheque as they said my signature was incorrect.

I was so incensed that I complained until they reversed the charges for a returned cheque. Ranting on Twitter resulted in all their customers complaining of the same issue; every time they wrote a cheque. A company I happened to chat to also said all customers issuing them with an HSBC cheque get rejected. Every time. We can’t all be incredibly stupid and incompetent to sign our cheques incorrectly every time. But HSBC thinks we are and will charge us for this supposed stupidity by us all.

I only had my issues sorted out as I ranted on Twitter. Their social media team straight away called me, listened to my rants and got it sorted out within a few hours. Calling HSBC customer service results in you talking to a robot in India who reads from a script and tells you that you are wrong and will have to go to a branch to sort out the issue.The other issue calling on the phone is that the line is alway crackly, which results in the customer service person hanging up on you and telling you to redial the number.   That means you have to redial and go through their millions of options before you get through to  a crackly voice again. And if you forget your personal banking number..well let’s not start on that nightmare.

With my internet banking issue, I went to the branch they told me to call internet banking. Internet banking did nothing. And don’t even bother contacting them online as they will never reply. Ever.

You might say why not change banks. I would love to but I can’t for now due to various reasons. The main reason is that my car loan is with them. If I change banks, I will have to provide them with cheques, which they will then reject. It’s not worth the hassle.  Also why should I  change? I have been a customer of theirs since I moved here. Should they not be providing their customers with great service being “the local bank” and also the second biggest in the world. Ok, I don’t have millions in the account, but I still put money in their bank for them to gain interest on. I never seemed to get this much crap with the bank in the UK.

I could complain to Central Bank about HSBC, but I fear that as the issue has been sorted they will not be interested.

The issue with AXA was due to two problems:

1. I was advised to obtain one medical insurance, which turned out to be completely useless. It was immediately cancelled by the lovely woman at the Wafi branch, when she realised the issue. I cancelled the incorrect policy in October.

2. A medical claim I made was rejected for a refund as they claimed it was a pre-condition which I had not disclosed. My doctor wrote to them to say it wasn’t a precondition. Still rejected.

c. They kept delivering other peoples cards to my address.

The cancelled policy should have been refunded within 6 weeks. After ranting again on Twitter, their social media manager seeing the complaint, called me (somehow finding my number despite me not providing it on twitter and also I am still wondering how they linked me to my twitter account….), apologised  and got a refund issued within 2 days. It took a Twitter rant to get the refund.

The claim issue has been talked about on the phone and by email. The customer service rep did a great job at stalling with responses for 5 months and when responding would copy and paste why my claim was rejected. I had promises of managers calling me to discuss the matter, but I had nothing. Notwithstanding the medical claim not being a previous condition; I had also been with AXA for 3 years with my previous company. They had made it very clear they had all my medical details so why do you have to disclose them when you renew if they know your history already. Additional administrative burden on the customer and excuse to not pay any claims.

I received an apology only from the social media manager. Nothing from the medical insurance department, until I sent them a sarcastic email asking if they received training on manners.

I have three policies with AXA but all three will be moved to other insurance companies when they expire. It may be easier and also cheaper in some cases to get cover via AXA here, but their behaviour has left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I had an issue with my property insurance a few months ago and it took 5 calls to get that sorted.

They only reason my issues were resolved (or nearly resolved) was because of social media. Conventional methods of trying to sort out the issues resulted in being completely ignored or messed about.

It gets tiring having to lose your temper all the time with companies here. I am at a loss of why so many of them treat us customers so badly. I have had no positive news from using the Ahlan Dubai initiative by the government. One manager in Zara once threw the Ahlan Dubai notice board at me, laughed and told me to call them. This was when Zara wouldn’t refund me for a dress I was returning within the time frame.  He knew he would get away with stealing my money. And he did win.

Customers are laughed at, ignored and treated like idiots. If we could have a meeting with the Ahlan Dubai people or faith that this system works, I believe we could finally start having good service from service providers and shops. But for now we will continue to have our blood pressure rise.

Note: The Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED) has an “Ahlan Dubai” helpline for complaints and suggestions, tel 600-545555 in the UAE. Or email consumerrights@dubaided.gov.ae, or visit one of their offices. Tell  me if it works for you.

If you want to complain about a bank in the UAE you can complete the online form and they call you within 24 hours of submission. The issue is resolved within a week by the bank; if not when Central Bank check up on your issue with you after a week you can tell them the bank are still not sorting out your issue.

Foodie Blog – High Tea at the Burj Al Arab

A few years ago my Mum came to cheer me up and I decided to spoil her with High Tea at the Burj Al Arab.  At that time we were seated in the main lobby. Since then my Dad has complained endlessly that he has not had the privilege of going to the Burj for High tea with me. As Dad was here to visit last week, I put right to wrong.

This time when I made the booking they offered us a seat at the Skyview Bar. Of course I couldn’t decline this kind offer. I didn’t get the obligatory email with reference number, so had to call to obtain it the day before our reservation as you cannot get into the grounds of the Burj Al Arab without this number.

Once in, we weren’t offered the Majool date you used to get on entry but were advised by pretty ladies where to go to get the Skyview Bar lift.

Once up we got to the bar, we were seated by the window (I had requested for it and thankfully got it) with a view of the Palm and the World. Dubai would have been nicer but hey we got a view.

The tea menu is no longer as expansive as it used to be and had a page of wellness teas. Firstly, yuck and second who is going to pay AED495 for wellness teas when you are stuffing your face with cakes, sandwiches and stuff.  We started off with date tea (it was ok bit datey) and I had the Jasmine Pearl tea. It was ok but after a while all the Chinese tea tastes the same to me. Maybe I’ve been spoilt for too many years drinking the expensive stuff given to us as presents from Dad’s mates. You can try as many different teas as you like during the High Tea so we tried a variety but ended up liking the English Breakfast tea in the end. You can’t change us Brits.

First course was shortbread with fruit. Buttery but not too rich and with the tartness of the fruit was a nice start to the tea.

Shortbread with fruit

Shortbread with fruit

Next up was stuffed turkey from the Chef’s carvery. Being December and nearly Christmas there was a theme of Christmasy things for the tea.  The dish was lovely and would have been nice to have more but anyway.

Turkey from the Chef Carvery

Turkey from the Chef Carvery

Next up were the sandwiches plated on a metal Burj Al Arab. All very clever. The sandwiches were:

  1. Salmon with come caviar on it. – nice
  2. Chicken tikka roll – nice
  3. Tuna mayonnaise on squid ciabtta – interesting and nice
  4. Beef sandwich – my favourite
  5. Cucumber sandwich – it’s the same wherever you eat it.
Sandwiches

Sandwiches

We were able to have more helpings of the sandwiches as they brought a giant tray with them. I had a few more of the chicken tika, beef and tuna sandwiches.

The next course was scones and pastries. The scones were accompanied by  date, passion fruit (yuck) and strawberry jam along with Devonshire Cream. I’m a purist and I was very happy with the Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Jam.

Pastries

Pastries

The cakes were mostly coffee based and ok. Nothing spectacular to write about. I find pastries in Jumeirah hotels are always a disappointment.

On the bottom row of the Burj plates were muffins, chocolate chip cookie and crème brulee. The crème brulee did not have the crisp sugar topping which Dad and I found akin to blasphemy. How can you not have the sugar crisped top!? It’s wrong. The crème was lovely but it wasn’t perfect. The cookie was nice and soft and the muffin; it’s a muffin what more can I say.

Muffins, cookie and creme brulee

Muffins, cookie and creme brulee

Whilst we were getting a sugar fix we also were offered Christmas cookies, which had some bizarre non-sensical names, which could have been German. They were nice enough especially dipped in our tea (told you we were too British).

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies

The final course was a lychee and rose sorbet. I am not a fan of lychee based products and drinks. Give me a lychee and I’m fine, anything more and I’m not amused. We also received a box of chocolates to take home. I kept that unopened to give to Mum as she wasn’t able to join us on this trip.

Chocolates and Rose and Lycee sorbet

Chocolates and Rose and Lycee sorbet

Have to say the Manager was very good (looking [sic]) at the end of the meal about trying to sort out the lack of Sirius card still from Jumeirah after all these years. Haven’t heard from Jumeirah since last week so I’m betting that after 8 years I won’t be any closer to getting rid of my temporary card. :S

All in all the food was nice and we had a good time. The staff were really friendly and patient with us and our multiple tea requests. The place was mostly full of tourists. One lady thought that wearing a see-through white top and see-through trousers was a great idea as she had a see through shawl on top. It’s never acceptable. I have no idea how she was allowed into the Burj. A family next to us decided to call Scotland and Pakistan and boast they were at the Burj for most of the tea which was piss annoying. Fine, yes you are excited but seriously?? Otherwise me and Dad had a lovely very genteel time.

Here are some photos of the Burj just to prove we were there.