Give it to me straight!

I was walking all around Hamra this morning trying to find a place that would take a passport picture for me.  At 8:30am, most of them were still closed..but just looking made me realize how many Printing/Photo shops there are in Hamra alone!  Combined, there must be about 50!

After going into Malik bookstore on Bliss, only to be told that they don’t do passport photos, I was redirected to Doculand.

Doculand Hamra

Doculand Hamra

I had heard about Doculand before..I happen to be friends with a lot of graphic designers, and it seems that Doculand is their second home.  Anyway, I was really surprised at how large the place was and how many people they employ.

I arrived at about 9:00am and asked them to take my passport photo hoping that it would only take a few minutes, and that I would be on my way to work at about 9:05..I mean it was early, and I was one of the only people in there.  How long could it possibly take to print a few passport photos?

Doculand Hamra

Inside Doculand

Well, after I took my photo, I waited at the “Place Order Here” counter, to reinforce the fact that I was in a rush..but instead, the sales person told me to “please sit down!” aka (get out of my face you stupid American woman. lol), I did just that, and another 5 minutes later he came by to offer me “nescafe, espresso, water?” to which I politely declined.

Time was quickly passing, and I still didn’t have my pictures!..I looked at my watch,.it was 9:20am..I was definitely going to be late to work.  I walked up to the lady at the counter and asked if it was going to be much longer.  She told me that they were having problems getting the photos to upload.  She couldn’t tell me how long it was going to take.

Long story short, I ended up leaving Doculand at 9:25 without my photos.  Was it wrong of me to a be a bit frustrated that no one told me that there was a problem, and that it would be a while?  People have places to go, things to do, babies to kiss!

I face that problem a lot in Lebanon.  You know, the lack of straight forwardness.  I feel as if many Lebanese people will do whatever it takes (keep you waiting, serve you Nescafe, espresso, tea, and water, or even resort to telling you a story) just to take your attention away from the fact that there is a problem, and that whatever you need/ordered is taking waayyyyyy longer than it should, and may end up severely inconveniencing  you.

Like, if the people at Doculand had told me that there was a problem, and that it was going to take a while, I would have left my name and number at 9:05am, instead of 9:20am..and would have saved myself getting in trouble with HR for being late!!

Sorry.  This has turned into a rant, and I told myself I wouldn’t do too many of those on this blog.  I guess I just wish people would be a bit more straightforward.. that’s all..hmmff.



Filed under life in Lebanon

21 responses to “Give it to me straight!

  1. Oh yes you are Straightforward…
    *remembers* “Excuse me but i think we ordered a pitcher and THIS is not a PITCHER”
    Man! haha
    We love the Dannii!!

  2. yes its a double edged sword… on the one hand you feel like its inefficient, and on the other you notice its a very hospitable way to treat you. if someone is really willing to do whatever it takes to avoid having to tell you no, its a kind of great customer service. its very cultural I think. western attitudes are much more efficient and laying all the cards on the table and getting things done in the optimum way. eastern attitudes are more focused on making sure everyone is gelling together and feeling at ease. i suppose thats why a lot of these meditation, energy channelling and chakra / qi methodologies come from the east not the west.
    Im currently using a rose quartz, an amethyst a piece of aventurine and a piece of red jasper by the way to start on focusing my energies. just thought i would let you know! meditating with them really works.

    • This is Beirut

      Rose quartz, aventurine, red jasper. Noted. lol..ur something else Miss @alextohme! But you made a very great point! It is cultural indeed..I suppose there are some things that aren’t easy for me to adjust to..I’m not as easy going as I once thought!

      • patrick

        I’ve been living here my whole life and I still haven’t adjusted to this kind of behavior.

        I suppose it kind of a Stockholm syndrome for us to be treated this way and be able to call all the lying “great customer service”.

  3. Well try this for perspective:

    We were 4 people to order in one of the best restaurants here in Ghana. 30 minutes later, AFTER the food has arrived for 3 of us, the waiter tells the fourth: Sorry, we’re out of Pasta Pesto, would you like to order something else?

    Whenever we tell that story, we remind ourselves that something like this can never happen in Lebanon.

    • patrick

      > something like this can never happen in Lebanon.

      never ever 😉

      I quote “Another half an hour. More arguing, and a full two hours after our initial order, my food shows up. It was revolting beyond words. I fully expected the meat to push aside the bread and start mooing. It wasn’t rare, it was alive. We ordered our bill in disgust. A hundred dollars for 4 soggy, crappy burgers”

      • This is Beirut

        Yeah, I was about to say, Mustapha, that type of thing happens all the time! I mean ALL OF THE TIME.

        And I need to ask Nasri why he still paid for the burgers after everything he went through! I would have refused!

  4. Next time there’s a great little place on Sadat Street, between Hamra and City Cafe… Just a small place with no fuss and you get it done in no time :-))

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention On being straightforward. | This is Beirut --

  6. Sam

    I’ve never been to Doculand and got out of there in less than 20 – 30 minutes even if I’m just there to print out a few papers. They have a lot of equipment which keep crashing and their employees keep fooling around instead of actually helping the customers. Last time I didn’t even bother waiting at the counter. I barged in and printed my copies myself!

  7. Henri

    Don’t over analyze things, lady. 🙂
    The reason why you wait is that they’re incompetent.
    The reason why they don’t tell you the problem is that they don’t want to look incompetent.

    The problem in Lebanon is that of incompetence across the board. They say they know, they may think they know, but they find out they don’t know and are really good at hiding it with words.

  8. Salim

    The major problem in all this is not the wait in itself, it is the lack of communication that these people showed.
    Had they just informed you it would take longer than expected and they had a problem with the upload you would have been able to manage your time.
    Unfortunately, this is way too current in Lebanon. I have been waiting for a repairman for my washing machine for 8 days. I called them repeatedly over the last week and every time it would be the same reply: “we will call you back and inform you when the person is coming”. I had to make a fuss on Monday about it to finally discover that the missing piece for the machine was out of stock!
    Guys just say what is wrong don’t leave us hanging there frustrated!

  9. I hear you girl and it’s better to rant than to bottle it up. I always find myself getting stuck in these kind of instances too and I always wonder if it’s because I don’t speak ‘Lebanese’ or I’m too nice or people are just too incompetent because it happens way too often to me.

    I was at the Mcdonalds drive-thru last night and the guy who took my order pressured me into buying not one, but two orders of the new cheese bites to help him win a competition, so I did it feeling happy that I helped this kid out only to get annoyed after pulling up to the next window because I had to wait for 15 minutes while they cooked them:-/ They were good though;)

  10. Nader

    You know, at the end of this ordeal, I sincerely hope you had the chance to kiss that baby you wanted to kiss :*

    Say cheese! 😀

  11. Hey Dany!
    I forwarded your post to the HR. Hopefully, they will take your criticism into consideration 🙂

  12. Rant away my dear, rant away!

  13. Rant away my dear, rant away!

  14. Wow! You really sparked a wild-fire with that post. I’m just next door here in Nablus, Palestine, and I’ve certainly ran into this same situations many a times, mos def. I’m sure it cultural, and our over-politeness and “need not to piss off any natives” that makes these times of situations appear and feel even more awkward then they really are.
    I get a shwarma at least thrice a week and get passed over by occasionally and have to wait an extra 10 minutes, because I was asked to wait for some “strange” reason. It’s personal, but not personal, I guess.

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