Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Customer Service

Since many Eastern European countries joined the EU, thousands of Eastern Europeans have come to the UK to try and find better paid jobs and to improve their lives especially Polish people, now everywhere in London you find shops that sell Polish food even main supermarkets are beginning to stock on Polish delicacies. Where ever you go now in London and other cities you are served by Eastern Europeans, some of them do not speak good English but what most of them share in common is that they are hard working, polite and respectful people that do actually serve you with a smile, something that is almost extinct in London these days. a couple of years ago I watched in the news a demonstration consisting of white, Asian & black British people demonstrating against the new immigrants coming to this country taking over their jobs, it was funny yet strange to see different colour communities come together for a change, within short years the Eastern Europeans have established themselves and taken over many businesses like plumbing, maintenance, building & decorating ..etc... how can anyone blame them? costumer service in this country was becoming really bad, you know you would be conned by cowboys if you had a blocked toilets or needed to paint & redecorate your home yet there was not much that you could do about it, now there are so many people that do it for a lot less and with a smile, few months ago a Bulgarian couple did some maintenance in my house, they were very polite did their job in record time did not waste their time taking tea breaks and I am sure their charges were very reasonable.
This past weekend I had 2 bad customer service experiences, the first one was in a corner shop run by Asians, I walk in straight to the counter, the lady working there is reading a newspaper, I stood there for a while waiting for her to look at me, she didn't, I said excuse, she looked at me, I said do you have so&so? she shook her head as to say no and went back to reading her newspaper without saying a word, I told her off and walked out the shop, funnily enough only then did she open her mouth and swore at me :o)
On Sunday I went to Curry's to look at simple cheap MP3 players, they were all on a low isle and attached to a security wire, I bent down and started looking at them, after a while I noticed someone was standing next to me, I looked up and it was the store detective watching me, I said all right? he said yes, few minutes later he was still there starring at me, I felt so uncomfortable, I stood up and said to him, look they are attached to a wire so even if I wanted to steal them it wont be possible, he said no sir I didn't mean blah blah blah, I told him that I was trying to buy something but he put me off by treating me as if I was shoplifter, I told him to go and perhaps keep an eye on people much younger than me that might be there to shoplift and I left the shop, again this man was from an ethnic minority, don't get me wrong many non whites in London are decent, the Turks and the Lebanese for example would serve you and treat you like a king.
So I am not surprised and in fact pleased to be served and looked after by Polish and other Eastern Europeans as I get value for money and respect which is in short supply here.

The children as I have mentioned before have been going to the Qatari Arabic school every Saturday, 2 weeks ago they had tests to check on their progress, my children used to go to English/Arabic full time school so they did have some back ground in Arabic & Islamic studies. My 8 year old daughter who is in Year2, Aida got 98% success rate in her assessment (MashAllah) on the other hand my prolific talker 6 year old son Amir who is in Year1 got 52% which is hardly worth celebrating :o) I told him that this was not good enough and that he needs to work harder, I know it can not be easy for kids brought up abroad as they have to live with 2 languages but it has to be done. anyway last week Amir had another assessment, so after they came back home I had this conversation with him:
Me: Amir how was your day? did you do well?
Amir: yes baba, Miss (teacher) was very pleased with me and said that I am the kindest student in the class.
Me: MashaAllah that is wonderful, I am proud of you, what else?
Amir: Miss said that I am nice and polite to everyone and very helpful.
Me: that's very well Amir but what about your assessment, how did that go?
Amir (after a short pause): Miss said that I am better than before.
Me: that is good but what rate did you get?
Amir (again after a short pause): I got 53%!!
Wow I feel like celebrating, he has improved by 1 % Allah bless him :o)


Anonymous said...


Rabi yahfatha, but don't worry he is still small, but if you send him to Libya in the summers it might help him.

AngloLibyan said...

thanks anonymous, my family go to Libya every 2 years, last time both kids came back fluent in Libyan :o)

DaMoon said...

Thanks for sharing AngloLibyan; I do too hate it when I get bad customer service...my worst experience was in Regatta; the most beautiful sea view restaurant with a lovely design yet the waiters looked like bunch of idiots running around!
Mashallah 3li Aida rabe ewafg-ha akter o akter ya rabb….ama elsanfoor Amir 3asool hehe I loved the conversation you had with him; it is tough to learn Arabic but I am sure he’ll get there; my fiancée has a problem too when it comes to reading, writing in Arabic I think he never practiced enough!

cofman said...

Great kids ya Anglo
but I don’t wish to cause any controversy, I honestly don’t know why a child in UK should be taught Arabic
Unless, of course, in year 2030 he may want to live in Baghdad
Chinese is better

AngloLibyan said...

thanks for your kind comment DaMoon, very nice of you :o)

cofman, Chinese! you are funny :o)
it is important for them to learn Arabic, this will make Islamic studies easier plus they can communicate with their family and others when they go to Libya, we do not know the future but maybe one day inshaAllah we go back to live in Libya where they can hopefully feel part of the people there, thanks cofman.

Safia speaks said...

Haha, my husband is used to be followed by store detectives all the time, and he is sooo law abiding.
There is an old shoping joke here in Copenhagen, though I dunno how much the shop owners are laughing at it.

A group of Arab young men enter a shop, and at once the shop keeper and the store detectives are following them around, keeping a close eye on them at all times.
Meanwhile their Danish girlfriends enter the shop and are stealing everything!!

What racism does for the economy...!

Be gentle on Amir, he will learn Arabic eventually. But it´s hard when in the ghurba, because of all the other languages. Important is that he receives the basics. The rest is easy once needed.

cofman said...

personally, I find it incompatible with the way I live to influence my kids the way parents do in the middle east – it is simply out of tune
if I had a child who asked for my advice I’d say: learn Hebrew

AngloLibyan said...

Safia, I am glad I am not the only law abiding suspecious looking man :o)
this joke sounds real to me, probably simillar things happen and thank you for the advise.

cofman, im not sure what to say! but it is your choice and I can only wish you the best :o)
I would not necessarrily influence my kids to be exactly like people in the middle east, i think my kids are lucky to belong and get the best of both worlds, east & west.

white african said...

aaaaaaaaaaw mashallah your son is adorable anglo, how cute is that.

i once got a really bad mark on my arabic exam and when my dad told me of i told his it was better than me getting an even lower grade, to which he could only laugh at.

arabic is really important and it brilliant to be bi-lingual, i'm glad my parents made me go to arabic school, and my father made sure that we spoke arabic at home.

if i could i would also learn chinese, how cool would that be,

Suliman said...

Hey, Anglo, send that boy to diplomat school. He's got the spin talent and he is ready!

mani said...


mashallah ya anglo rabbe yo7fodhomlek.. I am so proud of your efforts at making sure they are bi-lingual and learn arabic too, especially for someone who has been here 27 years.. your a minority :).. watch for the angel amir he sounds like me when i was young and im still having diffulty with grades and i can talk for england (im sure you noticed lol ) diplomat school?? hmm.. there they'd just teach him sophistry and rhetoric.. I guess weve got enough liars in the world.. as for polish and ethnic minorities at work.. I figured that the best summation is found in a libyan proverb:

"el maal el sayeb wel fasad.. y3allem el 7'enba wel ksad"

AngloLibyan said...

whiteafrican, you are a good example for my children, I wish inshaAllah that they grow up to be bi-lingual good Muslims just like you and thank you for your kind comment.

Suliman, my son (as mani said) can talk for England, im sure he would be accepted in diplomat school :o)

mani you have a blog and didnt tell me??
thank you for the nice comment and i wish you the best, you are a good man.

mani said...


No thank you anglo walahe mashallah Im really impressed with the effort you put in. i wished I could do the same but university is tedious. I can hardly find the time to write in my blog bas inshallah ill do my best... you know I just remebered something funny a friend of mine told me in Libya.

He said.."you know... Tripoli is not a city.. its just a big village.. like the universities here are not universities.. they are just big secondary schools".. and we had a discussion about that and I was smitten by the accuracy of his statement..

what u think? ;)

Lebeeya said...

lol, Amir is adorable!

When I was younger I could only understand arabic but not speak it. After all that Sunday school I went to now my arabic is much better than my english.

So If there was hope with me, there is defenitly hope with Amir :)

AngloLibyan said...

mani, im not really familliar with Libya or Unis here :o)
it has been a long time, so I will leave it up to you to decide.

lebeeya, my kids can understand Arabic (mainly Libyan Arabic) but like you they can not speak much but hat is improving, thank you for your encouragement.

mani said...

oh ive decided long ago.. he just put it into words hehehe.. its true.. the underlying function of a city is it's civil society.. and theres hardly any to speak of in Libya. State authority and privalged positions in companies are very superficial and empty of substance. Th attitudes that our american friend in ur article talked about are not features of a city.. just features of a disorganised system of tribal and familial loyalties.. Libya has yet to move from the phase of the village to the phase of the City..

As for universities.. its shameful.. I was there last summer and Christmas.. the students there DOWNLOAD ESSAYS FROM OTHER ARAB UNIVERSITIES and students AND PRINT THEM... all they do is add their names in the footnotes.. i thought this was one case.. but it seems like thats what the majority do.. and what kind of university stops at 3.pm anyway for everyone to go home?? Plus when u go and find out half of tripoli is there old and young looking for a hormone release through flirting and blatant harrassment. Universities in Libya are like what Chris Rock calls "Discos with Books"..

yeah... thats what I think .. lel2asaf

AngloLibyan said...

you put it so well mani, it is so unfortunate but it seems its the reality in Libya.

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