La Wlooo!!!…Customer Service in Lebanon

Hello ladies and gents! I’m back . . .

Did you miss me?

After two years of writing nonstop, I figured I’d give you all a nice short break from my ranting while I got my creative juices flowing again.

. . . Which brings me to today’s topic: Customer service in Lebanon – the epitome of unprofessionalism. Picture a farm, or a jungle – nay, a vegetable market! Fact is, I do not want to insult animals by comparing them to these horrible, wretched people.
Since I’m against physical violence, I decided that the next best thing to hitting – let’s say – my internet provider, on the head, with a hammer, many times, till he’s unconscious, would be to . . . *drumroll*  . . . write about it.

To those of you who beg to differ, and say that Lebanon is the hub of professionalism (and good manners), let me enlighten you with some personal experiences.

The Internet (Un)Provider 

My work directly involves the internet. No internet = no work = unemployment = one very Despicable Me. Obviously, no day will be complete without a one or two-hour “Internet Down Syndrome.” So, I call my fat, hairy, stinky and extremely rude internet provider to explain to him that there’s no internet connection. If I’m lucky, his phone is on and he answers me, shouting, with a mouthful of food. Not only does he insinuate that I’m an incompetent liar, but he refuses to check anything from his end while demanding that I check if I accidentally “ripped a cable out” – yes, because it’s my hobby to randomly jump on the router and rip out wires with my teeth. Mind you, I call this imbecile every other day to complain about the connection. Of course, his answer is always, “Nope, no problem,” until it dawns on his obese head 30 minutes later that there is, indeed, a problem. At this point, I always try calling him back to rub it in his face that I was right and he was wrong; but the over-sized, cowardly beast never picks up because his pathetic ego doesn’t allow him to say, “You were right. I am sorry,” as well as, “I am fat, lazy, rude and useless,” and not to forget, “Thank you for still contributing to my salary so I can continue eating like a pig.”

The Telecom Provider Customer Service Representative

If you live in Lebanon, I am sure that you face at least one problem per month with your cell phone’s network coverage, 3G or bill. This is basically part of my monthly routine. The bigger problem is when I choose to call customer service. After 55 attempts at dialing “111,” I am put on hold for a few minutes until the following happens:

Me: Hello, I have a problem with my Blackberry service.
Ms. Comatose: Do you hold a regular line?”
Me: Yes
Ms. Comatose: Do you have the Blackberry Service?
Me: I just told you I have a problem with my Blackberry service, so what do you think?
Ms. Comatose: What’s your number?
I give her my number
Ms. Comatose: Please hold.
After 5 minutes
Ms. Comatose: Could you please give me your number again?
Me: Pardon? What were you doing for the past five minutes then?
Ms. Comatose: I was trying to solve your problem.
Me: Do I sound like an idiot to you?
Ms. Comatose: Madame, madame, please madame, feena nrou2 shwey? 3am jarrib se3dik.

So I shut the line and dial again, only to be answered by some guy on speed.

Mr. Robot: Allo Madame sorry nattartik ma3ki Mustapha kif fiyye se3dik shu meshkeltik tfaddali please ta ekhedmik w thank you 3an jdid la intizarik ma3na 3al khat.

I feel so dizzy I shut the line. The guy probably had at least 30 cups of coffee and was about to start chewing on his receiver as he hopped on one leg and tapped on his head.

I call again . . .

Me:  Hello, I have a problem with my blackberry service. I would like to know why I am charged with 90 extra megabytes this month when I barely used it.
Inspector Clouseau: What is your name? Birthday? Address? ID number? Secret code? (Eye color? Hair color? Shoe size? Favorite food?)

It’s nerve-wracking; and at this point, it’s just not freakin’ worth it anymore. Well played telecom companies, well played!

The Mean Flight Attendant

You want to see bad attitude at its finest? Observe a Lebanese flight attendant. It’s shameful how much the majority of these women do not want to work. They just want to travel for free! You can strain a muscle as you’re trying to call her over, but she won’t come.

It seems that while training for their “tough” jobs, these wannabe divas learn the following:

1)      Not to smile because it’s trashy, but to be snobby instead because it is classy.

2)      Mastering the art of avoiding eye contact with the passenger so that they don’t have to look after them.

3)      Maintaining facial expressions that look like they are smelling wild cat feces all the time. If you’re extra special, they’ll give you what looks like a forced semi-smile (or more like a monkey’s anus expanding while giving birth).

4)      Saying the following sentence to impatient (possibly rude) passengers, in a very squeaky voice, “Soorrrrrrryyyy? I am not your waitress. I do not work for you. Yiiiiii??”

5)      Insisting on only speaking to passengers in Arabic . . . even if the passenger is a non-Arab that doesn’t understand one word of Arabic.

The Clothing Store Salesgirl

Or should I say, Sherlock Holmes. The way most of them shadow me and watch me with their beady eyes makes me feel that I’m wanted by Interpol. Last I checked, I do not look like a thief; and if I ever were to steal something, it definitely wouldn’t be a t-shirt!
When you do need their help though, they let out a brief “pppffff,” short enough to remain discreet, yet long enough to express to you how rude you are for interrupting their gum-chewing and gossiping session.

The Valet Parking Dude

I hate them all; each and every one (except for two or three). Every week I discover a new dent in my car – two guesses as to who did it! Not only do they shamelessly steal my coins – every time – but they make sure to fart in my car seconds before delivering it to me. Am I the only person this happens to? Do you know what it feels like to be sitting in a stinky car, on the same stinky seat that some stranger farted on, inhaling toxic fumes that were released from that stranger’s butt? Do they bother opening the window? No. Not to mention that they always switch the radio frequency to some weird zouzou Arabic music station. I also always notice how warm the lid of the engine is and how much lower the fuel gauge is . . . it makes me wonder if they drove all over Beirut in it, farting to their hearts’ desire while listening to “Tirashrash” on full blast.


The Restaurant Delivery Service

Diners and fast food joints are the best. It starts when the lady answers the phone and puts me on hold for 8 minutes, after which she asks me for my phone number. This is followed by her narrating my full home address to me; confirming my name, area name, street name, building name and floor number as I respond with, “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yessss. YES!!!!” I then tell her that I’d like my burger without tomatoes and my salad without cucumbers . . . and a diet Coke. She responds with, “So that’ll be a burger without cucumbers, a salad without tomatoes, and a diet . . . . what?” I resist the urge to snap at her because she has the competency of a 2 year old and the memory of a fish . . . not to mention that there are NO cucumbers in the burger. I repeat the order and wait for 45 minutes to receive my food with none of the modifications that I asked her to make. At this point, I’m hungrier and angrier than a bear. I call her back to scold her. She apologizes. She sends back a delivery guy with my correct order. He arrives an hour and a half later. Of course at this point, I’d already eaten what she sent me in the first place. I try to explain that to the delivery boy. He judges me with his eyes and I can feel him thinking, “You pig. You just wasted two hours of my life.” Of course when they do get the order right the first time, the delivery boy makes sure to spill the sauces, ice cream and French fries in the bag before handing the mess over to me. Amen.

In brief, so many people in Lebanon simply do not want to work. Their laziness comes second to nothing. In the case that one of these tremendously lazy people finds an employer stupid enough to hire them, they bring their disgustingly lethargic and obnoxious attitudes with them to work.

This, ladies and gents, is unacceptable professional conduct. I’m guessing these people I’m referring to do not understand the meaning of “unacceptable,” “professional,” or “conduct,” let alone use them together in the same sentence.

That being said, why don’t you share your lovely horror stories with me? After all, misery loves company – n’est-ce pas?

“Chaos, panic, and disorder–my job is done here.”