February 1, 2009
Ordering food, the Egyptian way and so much for going local!
Months ago, while heading to my office, the security man gave me food delivery flyers. Apparently someone in the building made a delivery and the delivery guy left more flyers for people, quite an efficient way to market for a place if you ask me.
So they were for two different subsidiaries owned by the same company. An Egyptian brand if you may; however, it sounded promising to try out!
I will refrain from using the names until I see how the story turns out, since I refuse to give my support to brands unless I am 100% sure of their quality.
So anyway, the two brands are as follows: X is for burgers, and Z is for soups, salads, and juices. I had already tried X more than once and their burger is just GOOD, and not for a too high a price especially that they didn’t start charging for delivery until recently.
Today, given my new diet plans, I decided to give the Z a try. I tried to tempt one of my coworkers to join me, but he said he felt like eating something “yeshaba3”; so I told him they were the same place from where we get our usual burgers, he said he was in for a mushroom burger.
I called them and here is how it went…
The guy (who was really friendly and polite): is it your first time to order?
Me: yes, I think I use another number, and I always called the X brand, so to save you time I can just give you all the info all over again and then you can merge them on your own…
*after giving him all the necessary information*
Me: so this is my order, cob salad, and I want to make a burger order, so how does it work, do u put me through to a colleague or I just tell you??
Him: no, you will need to hang up and call the X number
Me: oh! But it’s only one number different from yours, so I am assuming you’re in the same location, no???
Him: yes, but it’s a different concept, we offer healthy food while X offers burgers
Me: yeah I get that, but I want both orders to be delivered at the same time, since I don’t want to start eating and have my colleague watching me or the other way around!!
Him: yes, I understand, don’t worry; I will make sure they are delivered at the same time…
Me: no, I meant to say you should make sure they are delivered by the SAME person!!!!! It’s cost efficient for you, you know!!
Him: yeah of course, but… ok, I am so sorry, but the owner clearly stated that deliveries from either brands should be separate….
Me: ok, I understand it’s probably because you want to charge me for the delivery TWICE, no???
Him (really embarrassed about it): I am so sorry, owner’s order, it’s a branding thing!
Me: look, you don’t have to give me any invalid justifications, I really like your burgers and I have a good feeling about your salads, so I will assume you don’t have the authority to change the owner’s rules and let you charge me twice for the delivery, each order in a separate receipt, ok, but make sure they are delivered by the same person… and you can leave a remark in my name that this rule is rather silly, ok now??
Him (seemed to be relieved that I didn’t start a fight, and really appreciative of my calm tone of voice): ok ya fandem, ana asef geddan 3ala el ez3ag.
Me: wala yehemak!
I hung up and called the other number to order my friend’s burger….
The SAME guy: alloo
Me (pretending not to notice it was him): hi, I want to make an order please…
Him: is it Ms. MA?!
Me (pretending to be surprised): omG, it’s you again
Him (embarrassed): yes
Me (jokingly): you gotta be kidding me!! Tab khaly 7ad gheerak yerod 3ashan el manzar 7atta!!!
Him: I am so sorry, walahy owner’s orders…
Me: ok, I am even more serious now; please tell the owner that he really pissed off a customer that way…
Him: I am really really sorry!
Me: it’s ok, I am not upset with you, I just think this rule is LAME
Him: would you please log on our website and leave a comment in the customer feedback area, I know the owner checks it on daily basis but he wouldn’t listen to any of the staff unless a customer leaves a comment!
Me: ok, I guess I’ll leave a piece of mind there for him…
Him: thanks, and I am really really sorry again…
Me: it’s ok, you don’t have to keep apologizing to me!
So, I hung up, and I logged into the site. I left a brief comment to the “owner” stating that it’s more convenient to allow his agents to place orders from different subsidiaries on the same receipt since otherwise, the average customer might be more tempted to call another restaurant and make a salad order from a more familiar place since either way they will be charged for extra delivery charges!!
Now, I am really questioning the owner’s IQ! Well, not to offend, I am questioning his Business IQ! There are online stores who would not charge you for delivery if you buy from more than one subsidiary, even if the items you choose are not available in the closest store, they ship them from a different branch on their own expense for your own convenience!! And that guy is getting two orders from the same kitchen and charging you double the delivery!!! I will stop criticizing him for now; perhaps I would get a positive feedback on my note.
However, is it the kind of service Egyptians offer! I mean with the whole campaign of going local, is that the kind of treatment I should expect from local brands!! I was really thrilled that I have local alternatives for all the junk food on which I spend most of my money. Yes, the food is of good quality, but the service has its own set of flaws! And it worries me that one day; the quality will also decline just like it always declines as far as Egyptian brands are concerned.
It makes me question the whole concept of going local; most of the local brands in almost any product/service is of low quality, and those who provide half decent quality overcharge you because they are supposedly targeting the “elite”!! I always wanted to have a discussion with those brand owners and tell them something that perhaps they never considered; the “elite” do most of their shopping from Europe and North America, or at least from European and North American brands in Dubai or other Gulf countries, and if they travel regularly, it costs them a lot less than to buy half decent Egyptian brands for the same price!!
It could be the case for a lot of people who read this, or I could just be justifying my way into placing that online purchase that’s been saved on my mailbox for weeks now!
Oh, the salad was ok, but I can so make my own salad before I leave to work if I wake up half an hour earlier; so no, not so exquisite, at least not the way their burger compares to other burgers!!