Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm sorry, I can't sell that to you

A few weeks ago, I decided we needed to buy a decent coffee maker. I had been surviving with a plunger pot, but it just wasn't doing the job and was messy to clean up, and well, I wanted something that would let me be more lazy, to tell the truth.

So, off we went to Al Wahda mall to the electronics store on the 3rd floor to look for an automatic drip coffee maker. And we found one. A really sleek red model that would do the job nicely. The challenge was, it didn't have a price listed. Things here are just like back home where the price is listed underneath the item on the shelf, not on the item itself and they use the bar code to match everything up at the register. But this model didn't have the price card on the shelf. We called over a store clerk.

"Hello. Could you tell us how much this coffee maker is please?"
"Sure ma'am." (she looks around the shelves for a while)
"There is no price here, ma'am."
"Yes, I know. Could you tell us how much it is?"
"We just got these in the store and haven't yet put the price on them, ma'am."
"Sooo, how would I buy it?"
"The price is not here yet, ma'am. It's a new item."
"Okay, are you telling me you can't sell it because it doesn't have a price listed?"
"Okay ma'am. I'll check in the back to see if we have a price."
"Okay great."

We waited about 10 minutes while she went in back and figured out the price of the item. She then came back and wrote the price on the box with a marker and we headed to the register.

At this point, you have to understand how the stores work. The woman who had helped us so far works a particular area of the store (in this case household electronics). Then, there's the person who takes the item from the store area person and walks it with you to the register (which is about 5 feet by the way). I assume this is so the store area person can rush back to help someone else. Then the 5-feet transport guy hands the item to the woman behind the register who actually rings up and bags the item.

Now, think about our situation. A new item that hasn't yet been fully logged into the system and now 3 separate employees involved in the transaction. Yep, recipe for three-stoges kind of hilarity.

The first woman handed over the item and carefully explained that they needed to use a separate bar code that was taped to the box and that the price was written on the top. I knew at that moment we were in for some confusion because 5-feet guy wasn't paying any attention, instead looking to see which register was open.

We got to the register and he handed over the box without a word. I tried to mention the bar code, but she was already trying to ring it up with the original bar code on the side of the box ... which didn't work, of course. So she calls over 5-feet guy while I again try to explain. They start talking in rapid-fire Filipino and I'm quickly ignored.

5-feet guy points out the handwritten price on the top of the box and register girl tries to scan the original bar code again. I one more time try to explain that it's a new item and she needs to use the other bar code, but to no avail.

5-feet guy now goes to track down store area girl and all three huddle at the register while she tells them exactly what I've been trying to tell them. (sigh) Thank goodness for all that efficiency! But, there is a happy ending - we walked out with a new coffeepot and paid less than we expected we'd have to, so all is well.

Waiting for the correct price .... 10 minutes
Waiting for the 3 stoges to ring up the correct price .... 10 minutes
Auto Drip Coffeemaker .... 175 dirham
Good coffee while blogging .... priceless

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