Today’s venting is brought to you by Careem

Careem is Uber’s competition. Think of them like Lyft, in the states. 

Well today, same stuff happens with Uber mind you, I ordered one to pick me up at the local Safeway–which is called Tamimis here.

Please keep in mind it’s 106f, 41c, or AKA REALLY HOT, and merely waiting inside by the entrance is still uncomfortably hot (wearing my lovely abaya doesn’t help) and so when the car pulls up one would expect a little help. Especially when you see your customer (regardless of gender) holding a lot of bags. 

But my driver didn’t get out. Didn’t attempt to even ask me if I needed assistance. Which let’s be honest having someone offer to help is half the battle. You don’t have to take the offer of help, but will be grateful that the person asked. That is part of customer service after all. 

Now, some may say “Hope, maybe they don’t ask because you’re a woman and he is a man.” And there could be some merit to that theory. If not for the fact that men have gotten out of their cars before. Granted, it was mostly non-Saudis. But it’s happened. So, that shows that it’s not a gender thing. 

I will add that customer service pretty much took a nose dive when the law to have just about all drivers be Saudi. Rarely, will a Saudi man get out of his car to help me. I heard the same from other women too. Sometimes they pull up and barely acknowledge you. Too busy on their smartphones or on a call. 
Whenever a Saudi did pay attention and offer to help I was in such shock that I’d compliment him A LOT. I made sure to give him a high rating and add positive feedback to the app.  

Unfortunately, they are far and few between.  At least with my experience.  And that of many teachers I know. 

And that is why I was a tad bit upset today. I’m roasting in this August heat and have my hands full of bags and the driver can’t even, at least, open the door for me. Even after I was sarcastic with “No, I don’t need you to help me.” Which looking back could have been taken as literal, if he didn’t know much English. 

And maybe that’s why he didn’t offer to help when I got out either. 

But by that point I was toooooooo hot to say anything.  Seriously, I felt like I was melting. I just wanted to get back to my air conditioned apartment. Although I will make a comment when I rate him on the app.

Please note, I don’t complain just to complain.  I make my comments to help them know that they can do some things to be better with customer satisfaction. Same when I ride in a car and the seatbelt is not there.  As in missing altogether.  If I don’t tell them about it how will they rectify the problem.  A problem that could cause serious damage if there was an accident.  

Sometimes I feel like most of us don’t see the point of saying anything, of complaining.  Why? Because it’s not worth it. Why? Because we don’t believe it will change anything.  Or maybe we don’t want to be seen as complainers. I think I used to be like that. Big time. 

And maybe moving to Saudi played a huge part of  that. Not because I want or expect them to be like us Americans. Which I can see people thinking that way. I’ve wondered it myself.  Like am I trying to push the West on Saudis? 🤔

But as the years went on I continued to pay attention.  I would read and hear about how Saudi WANTS to be a world competitor. In all things. They want to be better with customer service.  Better in many things. They look to the West, as well as places like the Emirates, on how to improve. I think that is cool too. 

That doesn’t mean taking away from their culture and traditions. Just means stepping up their game in how they are doing in the service industry.  

And unless people tell them how they are doing, good or bad, it won’t happen. Or it will, but a much slower pace. 

So, maybe, or at least how I justify my need to give comments–good or bad–, this is my way of doing my part.  

Perhaps it will also help the next Careem or Uber customer with having the driver give or offer help at all times, most especially in the sweltering heat of summer. 

I sure hope so. 

P.S. Note: I have not found a country that is perfect with customer service. Maybe Iceland. Or Turkey.  And I have learned to take time to make complaints as well as compliments. When they are warranted.  I really do feel feedback is neccessary in order to improve. And I believe the best companies out there feel the same. You’re not going to stay at the top if you start losing customers.  😉

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