World of Conveniences, or Not

Two days ago I successfully registered my car with the Abu Dhabi traffic department. What’s the big deal, you ask? Right, not a big deal but I was not even there to do it. I had used the services of my insurance company to register my vehicle for me. I spent my time in the office working on important tasks while the company sent someone from Dubai to register my vehicle. I had made an appointment with my insurance company and had all the paperwork ready to give to the driver. He called me to confirm the location and showed up on time. The company also followed up with me separately ensuring the driver had got there.

Once the driver arrived, I gave him the documents, they key and money required to complete the registration. He came back about three hours later with the car renewed for another year. Wonderful!

Normally the registration process is not complicated and I have done it myself in the past, I wanted to highlight how in the UAE there are some conveniences that go a long way in making you feel “important.” We can measure these conveniences in terms of money or time, but they are there for you to avail.

Living in the heart of a city has its advantages and this is probably the case for most cities of the world. In the UAE, however, we take this advantage to a whole new height.

We are all familiar with food home delivery, especially pizza deliveries. Now imagine a homemaker preparing lunch or dinner for the family and an important ingredient is not there at home. No problem. Just call the local super market and they will deliver it to you, even if it is only one item. This is what you get when you live within reach of shops. Need to take of laundry, just call the local cleaner and they will pick up the laundry and deliver it back to you after completing the job.

Many conveniences here are a result of the economy and the people required to be a part of it. The expatriate workforce here is tremendously important to running the economy. The same workforce is both providing the conveniences and also taking advantage of them. The inexpensive labor here means there are more people sharing the same job and they are going to do the same job for less money.

Where have you seen the grocery bagger take the cart to the car and place the bags in the trunk for you? I don’t know of many places. It happens here and the people are accustomed to it. It is not uncommon to see vehicles stopped just outside the super market and someone brings can of soda to the driver. It is no wonder the UAE ranks right up there when it comes to diseases, such as diabetes.

All these conveniences do affect the lifestyle here.

On the other side, the same inexpensive workforce means you do not get a level of customer service you expect to get in other areas. When it comes to getting service from one of the two telecommunications provider, Etisalat in this case, best of luck to you. Yesterday I had to call the local cable operator, a part of Etisalat, and complained about some channels. I first struggled with the IVR and when finally did connect with an agent, it was a frustrating experience. I must have repeated myself three times each time we exchanged question and answer. In the end, my complaint was recorded and I was promised that someone would contact me within two days. So I wait. Let’s see.

There is another Etisalat incident that I could recount, perhaps another time.

Is the world of convenience limited to super markets and dry cleaners, or ironically insurance companies?

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