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!!

16 comments:

rasha said...

ana mozbahella men the guys politeness!!!
( shofty mozbahella de :P )
la2 begad, I'm so not used to that and that alone blurred any other silliness away.
I think local brands have done so well compared to the junk International brands deliver.
Examples: Cook D. has the greatest grilled sea food sandwich in Egypt.
Mo'. has the best kebda eskandarani sandwich in Cairo ( since it's best in Alex tab3an tab3an and in case u wonder: abou ghareeb, elebrahemeya Yummy chili hot :D )
Burgers, I'll take ur word for brand X and will try it at the soonest but so far Hardees is the best junkie around.
Shawerma soori ba2a tehbel oo keda kolena 3arfeen en ay ma7al esmo abou kaza kaza soori howa as good as ay ma7al tani esmo abou kaza kaza soori bardo:d heheh...
and the One
The only
the amazing
the astonishing unique sandwich of all time:
fool and falafel...felfela!
bas, kolo yeroo7 yetghada ba2a.

insomniac said...

maho because the guy was that polite, ma7abetsh arazel we alghy el order... we kaman besara7a i was about to bite my own arm off men el goo3...

bossy, moshkelet the egyptian branding in general, food we gheeroh en they get cocky when they are well recognized as "good brands", either quality wise or prices wise!!!

Cook D. has the slowest delivery on earth!! and junk food tastes like garbage when it's cold, so there are incidents when the fries is too wet and cold, and the bread is just suffering from all the mayonnaise seeping through it.... from time to time, when receiving the proper amount of tongue lashing Cook D. lives up to its not-so-standard standards :))

Mo' ba2a is bad most of the time... and it's kebda beteb2a betshed we "meshaghata"... so i never eat it gheer men alex, and even that, mama managed to gross me out of eating it... u must fix that and take me to that guy in ebrahimeya!

hardee's is my favorite among the non egyptian junk brands, bas kol mara i have to threaten the guy that i will not receive the order if the curly fries is not hot enough, every single time!!!! bas they do have half decent burgers (X's a7san bekteer), and good chicken salad (the best quantity/quality/price package)...

abu zza3bola da gably food poison marra so i will keep my mouth shut... but i don't like how greasy shawerma is, i usually open up the sandwich and remove all the white icky stuff (dehn)... i feel disgusting doing that to those who watch me, but i can throw up if dehn gets in my mouth!!

never ate @ felfela's, khodeeny!!

we bema enena benetkalem fe akl... best pizzeria is by all means THOMAS!!! too freakin' greasy but worth every extra kilo u gain eating it :)))

Rasha said...

I pick the eckies out too :D
Alex rocks baby...forgot to metion a7la falafel ma7sheya fel 3aaaaaalam at a certain guy in miami.
will falfelek oo alexilek bardo :D
now about thomas, didn't try it yet...keda 3aleeki wa7ed X burger and wa7ed Thomas midium...mesh Thomas nafso tab3an, i ....well, u know what i mean :D
Forgot ba2a 7agteen men zekrayat elgam3a alba2essa:
bema eny men atfal cairo uni. elmosharadeen, SABRY and el3andaleeb ( da afal khalas, beta3 koshary ) akhado menny sha2a 3omry...although i don't like koshary awi...ya3ni marteen felsana 7elw awi awi.
emta 7at2akalini at both at the same time??? etsarafi!!!

insomniac said...

ya salam ya rasha, geety fe gamal ya3ne....

khalas, neroo7 thomas sawa fe share3 masr 7elwan, we we7na henak netlob order men X!!! aw nefoot 3ala X nakhod el burger we netla3 3ala thomas... i did something like that yesterday, why do u think i feel so guilty that i am eating salad!!

The.I.inside said...

Unfortunately you are correct in all you said. Egyptian Brands tends to get cocky once they make a name to themselves, sometimes by raising the price and most times by lowering the quality. Egyptians are plagued with the urge to gain money NOW, by doing little scams then by gaining money Later by building a name.
I was told that we are part of the problem , as consumers, because we shouldn't let $h!t like this fly.

Ice Queer said...

Lol u should never do this again when u've reader curious as hell(yes, me, goz2 men takweeni lol), am dieing here 2 know the X&Z names!
But since u said masr-helwan st in one of ur replies so I guess u r from the Maadi scene, so X is burger joint? =D

insomniac said...

I,

of course the customer is part of the problem... in an efficient economic system, the customer would have more leverage as to force the business owner to live up to their expectations... however, our economic system maloosh zayy, kol wa7ed ma3 nafsoh!!!

i remember the call center manager from mobinil once telling me ok ya fandem 7awely khatek vodafone madam mesh 3agbaky our service... he literally told me that knowing my name and realizing that i am the daughter of the business owner of that business group!!! if it were up to me that day, i would have withdrawn all my father's business, but of course my dad said en mokhy soghayar and that i should have taken the discussion that far....

when i am dissatisfied i stop using the product or service and find and alternative and i spread the word... but sometimes i can afford the alternatives, while others can't... i am a very picky customer and i tend to give ppl all sorts of crap when i am unhappy with the level of quality... mesh 3arfa a3mel eh tany!

insomniac said...

IQ

lol, u must be kidding me, i can't say who they are because i would be marketing for them.......

i will only market for them if i get a favorable feedback and perhaps a subtle apology for the inconvenience caused, after all they do have my contacts (i am sooooo tenka that way)

just to ease your mind, or perhaps make you even more curious... no not burger joint... and it doesn't have to do with me being a maadi resident, i said i ordered from work ;) the whole masr/7elwan has to do with both rasha's logistics as well as mine and our time schedule ;))) so keep guessing baby (LOL, i am so enjoying this now)

Ice Queer said...

I HATE you! lol =P

insomniac said...

like i said, enjoying....

blohahahahahaaaaaaaaa

Juka said...

Lucille's??

Anyways, my advise is if it arrives cold or faulty in any way send it back and refuse to pay.

In your case I would have asked to speak to the manager.

Back when I worked in Maadi we used to eat Spectra daily, we had a problem with an order once. Our boss called the manager and gives him a peice of her mind. Then for a week we don't order. Come Thursday they call and ask if we'd like the usual. She feeling sorry for them says yes. They've been like clockwork ever since, and we got complimentary oreo madnesses.

So I'm not contesting that service is only good in Egypt when you demand it, so lets demand it. I'm just saying lets give those local chains a fighting chance and not just dismiss them cause they are local.

insomniac said...

hahaha, no not lucille's... lucille's is as ancient as maadi, not a new brand :) and it offers the same product range as chili's (shayfa, i do my homework ahoh)

i do the same kind of "demanding proper service" and i usually get it... but of course i have to fight my way through, and it's not always rewarding...

Marwa Rakha said...

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/02/02/egypt-local-reflections-on-going-local/

SaRaH said...

LOL typical mentality leh to charge 2a2l lama momken to charge aktar :) You just made me laugh till my teeth showed :)

insomniac said...

thanks Marwa, flattered :)


ya Sarah, they can charge more when they offer more!!! laken da esteghlal!!! we kaman esteghlal be ghabawa, the same guy answered the other phone... ya3ne mota2amer wahbal (mesh asdy the guy, asdy the concept)

yalla shar el balleya!

SaRaH said...

know what u mean was laughing my ass off today men koter el balawee 8)