December 07, 2008

On Customer Service and Women Empowerment

Last week I installed the Christmas decoration in my Beirut house. I do the outside of the house, string it from one end to another with rope light. I’ve been doing this for the past 10 years or so, and 100 meters of this rope light usually last for about 5 years.

And so this year I was in the market for a new rope light; 100 meters of it. My old supplier had hiked the price up with 40% since last time I was there, and as I thought that was a bit steep, I went to the guy next door, who still sold it at the old price; 100 meters for $100.

Home I went with my 100 meters of rope light, installed it, and turned it on. It worked on December 1st. And on the 2nd, and on the 3rd.

On the 4th of December only 5 meters of the 100 meters worked. The other 95 meters remained dark. It sometimes happens that one-meter stretches in the rope malfunction, but the parts before and after still light up. This was a major malfunction; no electricity reached the rest. And so I dismantled my decoration, rolled it up again and went back to the store.

“Your rope light doesn’t work anymore.”
“Well, it worked when you left the store.”
“Yes, for 3 days. But now it doesn’t.”
“Well, did you hang from it?”
“No, it hangs on the roof, how I can hang from it?”
“Did someone twist it?”
“How can you twist it? It is hanging on the roof.”
“Did you pull it very hard?”
“I INSTALLED it. I did not hang from it, pull, push, twist or shove it!”
“Well, did they make a mistake when they installed it?”

And so he was, with all his might, thinking for reasons why it would be my fault rather than him selling inferior products.
Any idiot can install rope light, it does not need a rocket scientist. But when I mentioned that I was the one installing it, his face lit up. He had found the reason why his shitty, inferior and mucho cheapo crappy merchandise was not working. A WOMAN had installed it.

“Ah, that is why it is broken. You must get a specialist.”
“To install rope light?”
“It is electricity, you need an electrician.”
“Are you kidding me?”

As I was telling him that I had been installing my own lights for ten years, and never had a problem, he was plugging in my rope light and fiddled with it.

“Zapp! “, sparked my sparked rope light suddenly. The man looked shocked. Now only 2 meters worked.

“Be careful, you must have an electrician handling that stuff, very dangerous,” I remarked with sarcasm.

“Well, I am sorry, but we do not have warranty on lights. We cannot give you your money back. It was working when you left the store. And we cannot give you new lights,” he replied.
(the house is not mine. Remember,
my lights don't work anymore)
And so it goes. The warrantee lasts until you leave the door, woman!

So remember, when you buy electrical equipment, do not buy it from a place called Azzi in Bourj Hammoud where the salesman is named Simon. Especially not if you are a woman.


Simple Answer said...

I wish I could've seen his face when it sparked! Priceless!

Anonymous said...

Simon? Are you sure? In Beirut? You should have known better... Y.

Kheireddine said...

Seitske, Lebanese women send the men when a merchant refuses to take back the merchandise ;)

Kevin said...

Hey Sietske, I wonder what makes you stick around in this country anyway. I mean, clearly one can find tons of reasons to make this place quite undesirable as illustrated by your many (greatly entertaining) posts.
As a Lebanese citizen who would just like to get out of here as soon as the occasion presents itself, I am baffled by why would anyone who could be living in what would seem to be a better place on many levels would chose to stay here, in Lebanon, of all places.

Shedding some light on this would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

In Holland Sietske might end up in de zak... In Beirut she is more safe, Sint doesn't know her there.

Noura C said...

Don't you dare leave Lebanon, I love your posts!

And in response to the previous post, in Lebanon, we do not "send our men" to take care of business for us, thank you very much. I would've loved to have seen Simon try this on my Lebanese grandmother...I assure you the lights would not have been the only thing left broken in the store

Kheireddine said...

Come on, Noura, you know I was joking

outdoor christmas lights said...

In Holland Sietske might end up in de zak... In Beirut she is more safe, Sint doesn't know her there.