MAC Agonies

I am a MAC makeup fan. Have been since my early 20’s and I guess I will continue to be one as they have my skin colour shade, good products and I am too lazy to change brand.

However, during the last 10 years living in the UAE, being served at a MAC store or counter has been beyond excruciatingly painful.

Talking to friends, acquaintances and even a manager from a major department store, everyone dislikes going to MAC in the UAE. If they can postpone buying their makeup until they fly out of the country they will.

I am an easy customer for the MAC ladies. I buy the same waterproof liquid eyeliner every 2 months and any waterproof mascara which is black and in stock. In addition I will use my 6 empty containers to get a new Odyssey Lipstick every 2 months. They don’t even have to use the till to process the free lipstick. Asking them to give me my free lipstick in exchange for recycling my containers is the most awful thing to ask the MAC ladies . They will tut, scowl and puff around getting that folder out for me to sign.

Occasionally I go off script. When I have been in London or other countries, I have asked the assistants to randomly choose me a new lipstick or eyeshadow colour to be my new favourite. They always choose amazing shades which I use for ages (Odyssey lipstick came into my life when I asked a lady in MAC London to choose a colour for me). I tried this request a few times in the UAE stores – the response would  usually be “I don’t know what you like, you should choose the colour”. Yep – [sigh]

Most of you ladies may be reading the above thinking, hey that’s normal here. However I recently saw incompetence of such high proportions that I have had to vent in this blog today.

I have been using this tinted foundation for a few years. It’s light, matches my skin colour and covers the blemishes.

Studio moisture tint

I ran out in July. As I wasn’t leaving the country until mid August, I braced myself and went to the MAC store in Mall of Emirates. The store was empty, there was no one there but me. The MAC lady would not serve me until I went and stood next to her (very closely). I showed her the above picture and gave her my colour. The response was as follows:

MAC – “We don’t have this in stock”.

Me – “Can you check your cupboards just in case”

MAC – [Scowl and tut] – “OK” [rummages in one cupboard]
“No it’s out of stock”

Me – “When will you get more in stock?”

MAC – “I don’t know. We get shipments every day.”

Me – “Can you take my details, order the colour and let me know when it arrives so I can collect it”.

MAC – “No. We don’t know what will arrive”.

Me – [sigh]. “OK thanks bye.”

The same situation happened in FOUR out of FIVE other MAC stores. In the Mercato store, the lady asked me for my details (I didn’t suggest it to her as I had lost the will to live so was surprised by the initiative taken) and told me she would call me as soon as it arrived. She was exceptionally helpful. But I never got a call.

I did complain about the attitude at the Mall of Emirates branch to someone not from MAC. A MAC Manager called a few days later but I was just about to watch a movie. I asked her to call me back. She never did.

Anyway I finally gave up until I went to Terminal 3 Dubai Airport in mid August (so 6 weeks later). At the airport, it may be busy, but I always seem to be served (most probably as I know what I want and I ask, pay and leave). I didn’t have much hope for getting my foundation but thought I would ask.

Me – “Hi do you have this foundation [shows photo]

MAC lady – “It’s been discontinued”

Me – “How long ago?”

MAC lady – “About 3 months ago. There are 2 new alternatives. This one (see below) is the closest to what you had and a similar price”.

Prep and Prime BB

Me – “Perfect, I will get that in my colour”

MAC lady – [tests the colour on my hand, finds the foundation and organises for me to pay for it].

Tell me, how did all those other MAC Ladies not know that this item had been discontinued for 1-2 months when I went to see them? Do they not have product updates? Staff meetings? Do they not think it’s weird if one major product (which a lot of my friends use so it can’t be a rare item) has stopped appearing in their store?? Why did it require me to go to the airport to get some clarification on my foundation and get something for me to slap on my face?!!??!

It shouldn’t be an ordeal to get a product. I am a loyal fan (you can see by the number of empty containers I have at home for recycling). But even if i was not a loyal fan all of us should be treated properly as customers. This is a global brand and they must have the same training globally – I would assume.

To put this more into context – when I went back to the UK, I went to the MAC in Selfridges in London. This is one of the most busiest MAC’s I have seen in my travels globally. Usually it is so busy I don’t bother going to the stand and go to Carnaby Street, but I thought as I was there I would brave the crowds. I got served by newbie girl, who needed help from her manager, but who served me quickly. I had smiles from 3 other assistants whilst I was waiting for my products and the lady at the till had a proper conversation with me!! That is 5 assistants at MAC being nice to me. It would be a miracle if even one smiled at me in any of the UAE branches. Plus I got the products I wanted without any attitude and a proper explanation about them.

I have luckily stocked up for a few months to ensure that I do not have to purchase anything from the UAE branches for long time. But I shouldn’t have to do that. I should be able to go into this global brand store and be served properly with knowledgeable assistants who do not give attitude to the customer.

If you have any suggestions on how we can start being treated as customers (paying as well) in their stores, please leave a comment. If you are MAC please please please can you train your staff here to be nice to the customers?

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.

Using Public Transport in Dubai (vlog #6)

Metro Gold Class Entrance

My lovely car was with the car garage for 2 days so I recently had to use public transport. As the petrol prices have gone up in the UAE, the Ministry of Transport has told us to make the most of the public transport. So I did…

Here is my vlog on using the public transport – Careem private taxi, tram, metro, bus (well tried to use the bus) and taxi.

Using the public transport would be great, if you could access it and there was help from the RTA Dubai on using it.

I did complain to RTA and was advised they would look into my complaint. With regards to the bus stop, they told me the bus stop number I had to go to (with no directions), complained again, then they said the road where the bust stop was  and finally gave more directions. Pointless telling me when I was home where the bus stop was. I got more information from the JVC Facebook group on the location of the bus stop (one member gave me a map with an arrow pointing the location of the bus stop!).

The RTA said they would also consider my complaints about lack of air conditioned shelters at the Mall of Emirates main bus stop. I have heard nothing since from them.

What experience have you had using the public transport in Dubai. Is it a better experience for you?
 
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 Ordeal Of Going to the Cinema

Baby 3D Glasses Watching Film On TV, Children Eating Popcorn

I love movies. I love going to the cinema. I love watching art house and blockbuster movies. I love the whole movie watching experience (especially back in the UK).

I just don’t love going to the cinema in the UAE.

In 2005 when I first came here, the problem with going to the cinema was the censoring of movies. The censors would cut the movies so badly that you could see the rips from the scissors on the film. The films would make no sense. The violence would remain but everything else would be cut. Supposedly violence is fine.

Then it progressed to people talking on the phone during the movie – to their families in other countries or mates in the mall waiting for them . Why they couldn’t talk to them outside the cinema screen was always a mystery for me and other cinema goers. And it always has to be loud. On their bloody Nokias!

The recent issue has been with babies and kids. For some reason it is perfectly acceptable for babies and kids under 10 to watch movies which are classified PG13, PG15 and 18+. Yes, that’s right we have had babies screaming at their top of their lungs during an 18+ movie.

I recently complained to one of the cinema chains and have been having daily phone calls with them arguing that these movies are not meant for under 10 year olds or under 17 years old if it is an 18+! . Their argument is that if it has PG on it, and parents take them to the movie, they can watch a PG13 or PG15 movie. It does not matter if there is violence, sexual connotations or rude words in the movie. They are being escorted into the cinema with an adult so they can see the movie.

The cinema chain have told me to complain to the cinema ushers if I have a concern in future during the movie, which means I should disturb the people sitting near me, get up, complain and miss part of the movie. Awesome. So it’s either suffer watching movies

Maybe I am getting old, and admittedly there was no PG12 and PG15 until I was in my teens, but these movies are NOT meant for kids. They are meant for teenagers and adults. Kids should be watching Disney, Pixar and Minon movies.

My bigger concern is allowing babies (under 1) into the cinema. The movies are too loud for us grown adults let alone babies. It cannot be healthy for their ears and no wonder they are screaming if they are hearing the Avengers kill the badies at millions of decibels??? My argument with specific cinema chain was that they should be allowing adults with babies to buy the tickets let alone into the screenings, but I was advised that it was permitted by higher authorities!

I have no idea who the higher authorities are, but if you work for them or do know who they may be, can the issue of allowing kids into the cinema to watch movies not meant for their age be raised?  What is the point of cinema classification if kids of all ages can enter the screening?

Update: As wisely pointed out by some readers, there should be a complete ban on children going to late night/midnight screenings. The children want to sleep and instead are being forced to stay awake and cannot sleep due to the loudness of the movie. Parents should have common sense and be more responsible, but cinemas should put their foot down as well.

Please use #UAECinema to spread the word about this issue in the cinemas here!

Let’s try and make some positive changes to our cinema going experience.

Shelina

Weekend Break to Kish Island in Iran (Vlog #3)

150403 Lamb chops at best restaurant on island

The best lambchops on the Island

Last month my good mate G and I went to Kish Island, Iran for the weekend (she wanted a cool new stamp in her new passport!).

We have visited most of the Middle East at some point over the years, so our choice was limited. However, we found that we could see Iran without a visa, as Kish Island is a freezone, and the flight is only 1 hour from Dubai.  We flew on Kish Air which is scary! The plane is old and seems like it should be in the scrapyard but it got us to and from Iran in one piece!

We had seen that you had to cover up as a woman to go to Iran, so we decided to buy new abayas. Wearing our abayas (with simple leggings or jeans and a top on underneath) all weekend was the best thing ever. Our suitcase has never been so light and it was so easy to get dressed every day! However, we were more covered up than most of the women on the island! As you can see from the vlog i finally mastered how to wear the shayla on my head as well without it falling off too often!

The first day we saw the area around our hotel and also went on a free tour (provided by our hotel) around the island. The tour included a trip to see a Greek ship that went aground by the island (it’s a windy tourist destination!) and an underground cave which was supposed to be a new town!

A part of the underground cave

A part of the underground cave

We ate well on day 1 going to two good restaurants and eating lots of kebabs and rice (with butter on it). The lamb chops in the picture above are the best on the island…supposedly and we can confirm they were amazing plus the singing men were not bad either.

As we had seen the island on day 1, we decided to go to the ladies beach. On this beach we saw more nakedness than you would see in a nudist beach in France but without comfortable sunloungers! Also there were several security women happy to touch us up to make sure we werent smuggling our cameras or phones onto the beach. As my life is on my phone it was a pretty boring 3 hours on the beach. G was happy reading her paperback book!

Talking of life on the phone, nearly everyone had a Samsung or Iphone in their hands (embargo pfft) but unless you have vpn on your phone there was no way to access Facebook or Twitter (however you would get Facebook notifications – so annoying). Whatsapp worked fine which was good and they had wifi in certain areas of the hotel and in cafes.

Anyway here is Kish Island with a bit of commentary by me!

Enjoy!

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).

2013 – bye bye

Image

2013 sucked in many ways with tension, stress and other things but it’s also been great as I started Decluttr Me, moved into my lovely apartment, went on lots of holidays in the Middle East, became spot free and got Oreo.

Still no man in my life who doesn’t irritate the hell out of me but I’m sure one day one man will turn up who is not a freakazoid.

Thanks if you were involved in the goods times, you have been blocked if you were involved in the bad times. Roll on 2014.

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.