Monday, June 20, 2005

Retail Therapy # 2

A very peculiar aspect about the shopping is the fact that the shops open from 9am to 12 noon, then close until 5pm and then open again until 10 or 11pm. On Fridays and during Ramadan, most of the shops are closed all day, and only open after 6 or 7 pm. This sounds exotic and actually was, the first time we tried it, but when we only got out of the shop after midnight and still had to load all the shopping bags into a "pocket rocket" and then lug it in relays up to the 14th floor and then pack it all away - suddenly it was a lot less fun!!

We are still battling with being too polite. Nobody here seems to grasp the concept of queues. Queues here are one person deep and 3000 wide. Disembodied arms will reach under, over and around you to plonk their purchases down on the counter. The sales assistant will then immediately ring up whatever is in front of her. Next, the arm will squeeze past you again, clutching payment and grabbing the parcel. All this time, we are left with a dazed look on our faces, waiting patiently and politely to be served. It took us a few such experiences to learn that polite people end up going on pension before they get served, so now I stand with arms akimbo (on my hips), challenging anyone to try and get their puny arms around ME. The meek shall definitely not inherit anything in this part of the world!!

Women are often served first in shops, no matter how many men have been standing for how long in the queue before you. I find this very awkward and embarrassing, and have tried to insist that "He was here before me". This concept is completely lost on the sales people (and the waiting men, by the way) and they will inevitably part like Moses' Red Sea to let you get to the front.

So, to sum it up - the women are too rude and the men are too polite. There is never a happy medium!!

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