Saturday, April 01, 2006

Mad at Retro

So I just woke up from a good afternoon sleep on a Friday afternoon. It was a very nice nap, I was recharged, but I found myself annoyed by something, and I had to write it down and send it out, because I wouldn’t want something like this to spoil one of my rare afternoon siestas. I’m annoyed by a place called Retro, which is just behind the Shooting Club and near Bent el Sultan café in Dokki / Mohandeseen. Now the reason I’m annoyed is fairly trivial, but it makes my blood boil. It’s a bit expensive, but we can forgive it that given that good places are hard to find and that it’s a matter of demand and supply. A place like this has its perks but the reason it pisses me off is that it disrespects me.

When in Egypt, I don’t know if everyone feels this way or not, but I certainly do, it feels like I’m being ripped off everywhere I go. It seems that the service is always crappy and that you always have to pay too much for it. It seems that every institution has its own absurd rules to make you pay money, and you have to pay and pay through and through. Maybe it’s cheaper here than elsewhere, but we also get less money than abroad, and the most annoying part is that no one tells you flat out what you need to pay. There’s ALWAYS an absurd catch.

What’s this got to do with Retro Café? I’ll tell you. There’s a minimum charge, sure, that’s a culture we’re forced to deal with in our cafés, no point saying that they don’t do that elsewhere, because over here they want to limit the number of people in an already crowded place. Of course as time goes on the place realizes it needs less customer satisfaction and more money, which it gets eventually, but that’s another point.

Anyway, so nothing wrong with minimum charge though I have my reservations, but here’s what ticks me off. When Retro said its minimum charge was 25 L.E per person - which is already over the top for someone having a juice - it also said that when paying the ‘minimum charge’ (which is the least you can pay, by definition) it said that there are taxes put on the MINUMUM #@$^* CHARGE. Now it’s not about the money really, cause 20 % to someone who can afford to go to this place is not a big deal, but what’s the damn point??? Whatever it is, I guarantee it’s a stupid point and I guarantee it’s a total rip off! It doesn’t make any sense, why would you add taxes to something that you’re not obliged to charge by law? Why other than to rip people off or cheat the government for taxes. Do you mean to convince me that all these taxes go to the government?? Of course not. They probably just tax the service you get and keep the remainder.

The whole point is that I feel ripped off. It makes no sense, and when I asked the waiter what the heck does that mean, he said everyone knows that the minimum charge is taxed. Well I’m sorry, ‘everyone knows’ is never an excuse. What does it hurt to say that our minimum charge is 29 pounds instead? It doesn’t, I just don’t understand, I feel cheated, I feel lied to, I feel disrespected because the owners of the place who made this rule clearly don’t respect their customers’ intelligence or understanding since they expect us to buy that crap of taxes on minimum charge; why don’t they just make it so that the minimum charge (as they call it) plus tax is equal to 25 ? There are so many things they can do, but they haven’t, I feel cheated.

If this is some conspiracy to make us hate taxes, then I’m sorry, it hasn’t worked with me, because I hate the place not the taxes now, because they really have no excuse. Taxes don’t have anything to do with this, they’re not obliged to pay the taxes they’re demanding of me. This seems too much like fraud and it makes me angry specially that no one was able explain it. Even if there is a point to it, like I said, it’s a stupid point.

Oh and don’t get me started on the whole deal with Pepsi cans at the end of a night where 15 people just spent 500 L.E in some places and due to the minimum charge thing the waiters come up and ask you if you want Pepsi cans to go. You take a few Pepsi cans home with you that you can buy at any shop for 2 L.E each, I really feel like telling them, keep your DAMN CANS to yourselves. That pisses me off. I really do get pissed off, maybe I’m just asking too much. What makes it worse is bad service and luckily we’re surrounded by that. I’ve almost quit going to cafés.

Well I don’t know if that means I’m a miser or that I’m cheap, but it’s a luxury I wouldn’t like to use every day of the week, maybe once in a while. I mean somehow I feel guilty spending 29 pounds for a juice while some people’s salaries are almost 5 visits to a place like Retro.

Maybe you’ll ask why not get food or something instead of spending the 29 pounds on a juice, but I’ll tell you something, cafés are just good for meeting people, and if there were better places to go or better activities to do, I’d abandon cafes. Hats off for PTP events that gives hope that some activities can still be done in Egypt.

Anyway, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for me, I mean that just annoyed me enough to rant on for all this time. There are the car keepers that just keep the cars when they don’t need keeping, there are the long distance calls that charge you for their bad lines, there are phone companies who can never admit they’re wrong. Come on people am I being paranoid here? Or am I just angry? I don’t really know, all I know is that I’m annoyed at Retro for their lame rule that insults its customers’ intelligence.


31st March 2006

If you’re reading this, you’ve either skimmed cause you got bored early, or you’ve got lots of patience. :)