Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Default Treatment (I)

An incident displaying default treatment:‎

The cogs of my bike broke, so I go to a bike repair man. He tells me how unfortunate this ‎event is, and tells me that they cost 38 L.E. First rule when dealing with repairmen here ‎in Egypt (sanay3eya) is to act cheap and so I did. I acted shocked and very disappointed ‎and then I ask him where one buys them. He responds, “You don’t buy it, I’m the one ‎who buys it but you’ve got to tell me now.” When a sanay3ee tells you this, it’s a sign ‎of malicious intent, any kind of veiling of facts or barriers put up are not a good sign. I ‎suspected that I was being ripped off and so I put it to the test. I acted very cheap as if I ‎couldn’t afford this much to see if he would waive part of his profit, so he tells me there ‎are others for 15 and 20, and then goes on to explain how prices vary. This technique ‎almost always works. If he wasn’t going to let me buy the part, I wasn’t interested, not ‎that I would know much about it, but the whole idea of banning me from buying was not ‎something I could accept.. I walked off after realizing there was a bit of dishonesty.‎

So my bike remained broken and I had to go to another bicycle repairman. He was an old ‎man who had no problems at all being grumpy. I’ll call him Grouchy Bikeman. When I ‎went to Grouchy the first time, it was almost evening and he literally shooed me away ‎telling me that he only works very early in the morning. Fair enough, I politely gave him ‎the benefit of the doubt and made up my mind to go visit him the next day. The mistake ‎here is in the manner in which I retired, which was ‘politely’, in hindsight it would have ‎been far better to be pushy and slightly rude. ‎

In any case I went early the next morning, dragging my bike, new cogs in hand. The man ‎was literally idle but told me to leave the bike and the spare part and come back in an ‎hour. I told him I would wait but he decidedly refused to work on my bike in my ‎presence. It was absurd and irrational and so I discussed it politely but to no avail. He ‎wanted to work on the bike ONLY in my absence. When I insisted that I had nowhere to ‎go for an hour so that his highness can work on my bike, he told me that he won’t fix it ‎and that I should look for another place.‎

I gave my father a call to come pick me up because I had no intention of dragging the ‎bike back. I could feel the fury in my father’s voice as he told me that he was on his way. ‎He has a problem when a service provider veils his services and your property from your ‎sight. ‎

So he came in front of the shop, screeching breaks, got out and calmly shouted at ‎Grouchy Bikerman, “Meza3al el baih el so3’ayar laih?” ‎

Now my father is a big man and his very appearance reeks of importance. The man was ‎stunned, he tried smiling but was met with a stern unmoving expression from my father. ‎Grouchy Bikerman replied something very unmemorable as he stuttered. ‎

My father said, “Mesh kefaya sahraneen fel qism tool el lail, mesa7eena badry we mza3al ‎el baih el so3’ayar laih?”‎

Grouchy Bikerman was pale with fear, he tried to put on a nervous smile and said, “He ‎just thinks I will take parts out of his bike and I was telling him not to worry.” My father ‎turns to me and says, “Etfadal enta ya Will baik, mat3atalsh nafsak, I will handle this.”‎

I’m used to my father’s tactics and I play along, Grouchy Bikerman treats his customers ‎with a little bit more respect. He apologizes and fixes the bike in the presence of its ‎owner.‎


Anonymous said...

That's an oddly funny story. Isn't it sad that in Egypt the worse you treat people the more respect you get? To earn respect you have to act important and to act important you have to be demanding and harsh.

Anonymous said...

that's exactly what i'd do!! i mean as ur father.. if only i were a "big guy"!!

Wael Eskandar said...

It really is such a challenge being nice in this country. It's a struggle between being mean and getting things done and being nice and not getting anything done.

Alluring said...

Just wanted to say Mabrouk on the blog's new appearance!

The picture on top is amazing, is it a real picture of downton or is it made up? but any how, it's really, really nice.

Wael Eskandar said...

Hey alluring, you haven't been around for some time, hope all's well and good to hear from you..

Allah yebarek feeky, I've been meaning to do something with my template for so long. The picture on the top is a real picture of a street, not downtown exactly though. Glad you like it..

How's the baby?

Forsoothsayer said...

aww! that really is very cute.