Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Worst Delivery EVER

If you're a regular reader, you've no doubt heard many a tale of the challenges we have getting things delivered to the house - the fedex guy, the furniture delivery folks, taxis, etc. Well, here's another one and without embellishing, it really is the worst so far (really hoping the worst ever).  On to the story ...

Twas the night before Christmas ... no seriously, it was Christmas eve and we were packing up to spend the holiday in South Africa. We had dutifully eaten ourselves out of house and home in preparation so decided to order in for dinner. Now, we don't often order in - in fact, I can only remember one other time and that was another such story with Dominos that I've blogged about in the past. But, always hopeful for a positive outcome (and starving), I set out to order some food.

SIDE NOTE (but relevant to the story). We had taken our car to the mechanic earlier that day to repair a hose or bearing or something that was making a noise in the car. So, we're without a car and starving - with me so far?

I logged on to a website called Food On Click, which is perfect for me as I hate to talk on the phone and this service allows you to order your food online. I carefully choose my area and up popped the 3 restaurants that deliver to our neighborhood. Placed my order, all set, website tells me 30 minutes, great.

(30 minutes passes) Phone rings.
"Madam, you place order?"
"where you located?"
"Al Seef compound, villa E07."
"Al Seef compound?"
"yes, take Salam St to the Ministries complex exit and turn right before you get to the roundabout"
"Salam St?"
"okay, no problem"

(15 minutes pass) Phone rings.
"Where in Ministries complex?"
"Not in the Ministries complex. Take the exit and turn right before the roundabout."
"Ministries complex?"
"Not in the Ministries complex. Al Salam St, Ministries complex exit, right before the roundabout"
"You know Al Hilal Bank?"
"No, where is that?"
"Ministries complex, maam."
"Okay, that's too far. Come back towards Abu Dhabi, near the Brighton college."
"Abu Dhabi? Are you from Dubai?"
"is the villa new?"
"are you new?"
"no, I've lived here almost a year."
"maam, can you meet me at Al Hilal bank?"
"no, I don't have a car"

This went on for an hour (okay 5 minutes) and ended with "okay Madam, I coming"

(15 more minutes pass) Phone rings.
"Hello?" (different voice this time)
"Yes, I talked to the driver and the customer doesn't know where she lives."
(!!??)  "umm, I'm the customer and I do know where I live."
"Oh, sorry madam. The driver says he cannot find you."

I explain again where we're located and he says, "okay Maam, no problem"
Over the next 15 minutes, I receive probably 3 more calls from the driver, each more frustrating than the last. I'm starving and really starting to lose my patience.

(15 more minutes pass - are you counting? It's been nearly an hour now). Phone rings and I beg Brian to answer it this time as I'm no longer capable of maintaining my composure. I hear Brian repeat the same directions again and again and at one point say, "yes, I do know where I live, you must not know this area"

This continues for about another 20 minutes and the last call comes directly from the restaurant and we cancel the order. Even if the guy can find us, by this point our hot food has been riding around on the back of a scooter for almost 90 minutes. Meanwhile, I'm starving (and those of you who know me know that it's in everyone's best interest not to let me get to the starving stage) and we've got to start thinking about heading to the airport. We ultimately decide to go early and have dinner in the airport.

And then we make a pact that in the future we'll only order food from the places that have dropped flyers off at our door as we know they've at least found us once!

I really should mention that there are many very positive and successful interactions in UAE as well. It's just that, well, those stories aren't as entertaining. ;)

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