Friday, July 07, 2006

Mobile and phone number

On the second day at the mall, I purchased a cell phone and a number, which was very handy from here on. Of course, things aren’t different at City Centre just because it’s not Canada, and I shopped around before I put my money on the table J Radio Shack’s prices were higher than I liked, so I went to Plug-Ins where I found the cheapest tri-band phone I wanted. The salesman told me that I should try “Car Care” for the number because it’ll take hours only instead of days if I was to buy the number from them; very nice of him, eh? Ok then… “Care Care?” I said, and the guy said: “yes Car Care, on the second floor” (Plug-Ins is on the 3rd). So I go to the second floor looking for “Car Care” which was nowhere to be found on the mall’s map. I finally stopped at a toy store and asked the ladies there. “Can you please tell me where I can find the store called Car Care, I was told it’s on the 2nd floor but I can’t find it”? One of the women said, “Yes Carrefour, go straight this way, then turn right” AAAAAAH, so it’s Carrefour, the largest store in the mall.

I go to the cell phones department of Carrefour, which is like our Wal-Mart here, and I found the same phone that Plug-Ins had for the same price (about $46CDN). As for the number, I was told that it had to be done on the first floor at a different store. So down I go to the first floor requesting a mobile number. I had to photocopy info from my passport which I did at the Information booth of the mall right outside that store, went back in the store, filled a form and purchased the phone number for about $55CDN, with a promise to have it activated in a couple of hours and will be good for a year, WOOHOO! Now, a happier Coco goes back to Carrefour to purchase the cell phone.

After this adventure and running around the mall, floor after floor, I was ready for a nice cup of coffee at Second Cup where I installed the SIM card in my new phone and started reading the instructions for the phone. All the documents in the box were in Arabic only. Although I read Arabic, it was hard to translate all the technical names from Arabic to English, and I knew at this point that I should cherish that moment of relaxation before another adventure comes my way.

After savouring the 20 minutes of peace and good coffee, I go back to Carrefour to ask for English instructions at the cell phones section.
- “Sorry Maam, this was the last phone, you are welcome to take a different phone”
- “For the same price as this one?”
After looking at the cell phones in the vitrine, the woman said:
- “There isn’t any at that price”
- “But this is the one I want and I don’t want to pay more; I need to return it”
I was told to go to the customer service booth and ask to return my purchase for refund; so I did just that.

Customer Service is right at the doors of Carrefour. The man, a local who is forbidden to smile, didn’t get what I wanted until I explained myself twice, and then he told me to go to the cell phones booth for refund. At this point, in Canada I would be cursing out loud in Arabic but this isn’t a smart idea in an Arabic country so I shushed and fumed silently on my way back to the cell phones booth. Now they tell me that the Electronics Customer Service booth is IN THE BACK of the store! Nice! I finally returned the cell phone at the Electronics Customer Service, got a paper and was asked to go to the store’s Customer Service in the front for refund. This time a woman in black served me, she too was forbidden to smile or show any emotions what so ever, and got my money back. The salesperson at Plug-Ins was happy to see me purchase the phone from there and of course I made sure the English instructions were in the box along with everything else. This was fun!

Three hours later, I had a mobile and I was reachable!

Sneak peak of what’s yet to come: Lovers in public, “Khey Dafa” (warmth!), Dusit Towers and Madinat Jumaira, Burj Al Arab, Desert Safari, Gold Souk.
Hopefully I’ll be able to add pictures to show you what I’m talking about. For some reason this simple task hasn’t been working anymore, but I’ll keep trying. Stay tuned…