Archive for September, 2012

Gift opening etiquette: your opinion please

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

we've always wondered what is the gift opening etiquette in our region - sometimes we visit friends in various occasions, a birthday or a simple home visit and we bring a gift for that matter - some of our friends open the gift at once and show excitement and recognition, whilst some others simply take the gift away to open it in discretion.

we used to keep the gifts away to open them in discretion, however a few years back we changed our habit and started opening gifts as we received them - the reason why we changed is that we wanted people to open our gift in front of us, and show us the appreciation, or the disappointment for that matter, that's the only way we could understand & evaluate what people want or like.

we tried to google the subject and it seems that gift opening etiquette varies depending on the culture & the situation - like in japan, it is rude to open a gift in front of the giver as it makes the gift more important than the giver - in birthday parties, it is not practical to open the gifts in front of the giver as it can take a lot time and this can be considered boring for the people attending the event - this can also make people feel awkward if they ended up spending significantly more or less than the other parents - finally gift duplicates can be spotted immediately and put the gift giver in an awkward situation.

we were curious to know if there's anything of that sort related to the middle east culture, but it was hard to find something relevant, so what's your take on this?

A day offline. We failed big time!

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

i can't believe how technology dependent we've become! yesterday, we were supposed to celebrate mcdonald's "a day offline" initiative, shut down our computers, tvs & mobile phones to enjoy uninterrupted family time - the sad news is, we failed!

we were on track in the morning, we shut down every possible device and headed to the swimming pool - we actually had a lot fun, we played volley ball and exercised for a while - what a lovely morning, it has been two years since we went down to the pool!

however, we faced a real cahllange around noon as we were invited to attend nbk's mega draw at the avenues - as a blogger, you need your mobile phone to tweet and share photos on instagram, so we had to be online for a few hours! i liberated the phone and discovered 21 emails, 2 missed calls and 6 messages!!!

i covered the event at the avenues, then on my way back home i got a call from dad informing me that grandma is in hospital and undergoing surgery - i was actually thankful my phone was not in the vault at that time, that was an important call that i couldn't have possibly missed.

in the afternoon, i returned the phone to the vault and went offline again - the best moments were in the evening when we went out for dinner, without our mobile phones, ipods & ipads! we probably had the longest uninterrupted conversations in years and enjoyed our food without having to review the restaurant - what was ironic is watching other people around us having dinner with their... social media friends!!

amazing initiative by mcdonalds! though we failed miserably to stay offline a whole day, we really enjoyed the precious time we spent offline - we finally realize that we can't live without technology anymore, but we can live without it for a while - i guess moderation is key, nothing is more important than family.

you can visit mcdonald's "a day offline" facebook page here.

Getting high reaching new lows!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

i spotted this article in alqabas newspaper talking about the deterioration of drugs prices in kuwait - it seems that supply is great than demand which pushed the prices to drop by two third!

what was interesting is this table which i have translated to english for non-arab expats, quite an eye opener... this underground business seems to be suffering to, hurting both dealers and addicts - from one hand it has become cheaper and more accessible for the addicts, but on the other hand, the dealers profits have drastically eroded.

will the dealers quit the business if the profits continue to drop? it might just be an ideal & unexpected solution...

Interesting insights..

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

i came across this video posted on poach and though we don't like to post youtube videos, this one seems very interesting, especially for expats.

this kuwaiti young man went in disguise as an asian expat to test kuwaitis' reactions towards asian expats - in the first part of this video, he asks kuwaitis if he can use their mobile phone, and most of them declined - however, in the second part of the video, he asks them to help him use the atm machine or install a sim card in his mobile phone - it's amazing how this simple twist of request changed their reactions as most of them did actually offer help!

so lending something and offering help are two different concepts that lead to opposite feedback! never knew that!

interesting insights & very clever video.

Death perspectives!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

i read a couple of stories on arabtimes online and what struck me is how both dramatic endings left me with opposite emotional states.

the first story is about this guy who jumped from the fourth floor and crashed on the ground when he was busted fooling around with a maid - his only exit was the window, but i guess he forgot that he simply can't fly! though the story ended in death, it was kind of "light-hearted"

as for the second one, it was about this woman who went to her husband and broke the amazing news of her pregnancy, however her husband only married her for sex, so he attacked her and as a result she miscarried! that one left me with a deep feeling of anger and discomfort - imagine this lady going to her husband carrying his baby and probably the best news a man can get, only to be treated with such brutality, she lost the fruit of her loins!

funny how death can trigger so many opposite feelings..

Buuuurrrrp!!!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

we were a bit reluctant to write about this as the sultan guys must hate us now, nevertheless we love sultan center and despite everything it continues to be our number one supermarket in kuwait.

however, we have no clue why things happen to us whenever we're here... i was at the salmiya branch yesterday with my husband and as i was picking some cucumbers, this cleaning guy passes by and suddenly he decides to burp - it was not a small burp nor a discrete one, but rather a long, loud uninterrupted noisy burp coming from a very cool and serene guy sweeping the floor... it was as if he was there alone, he didn't even care if the people around him shopping for food would even be slightly annoyed!

well, i was! when i shop for food the last thing i want to hear is a long loud burp! this was disgusting.

UPDATE: apologies for posting the guy's picture, and thanks to grey for setting this right.

Because tastes are not the same

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

we've been meaning to try p.f. chang's since its opening, however we've heard from a couple of friends that it was below average and expensive, so we abstained - nevertheless, we decided this weekend that it was time we try it and see for ourselves, so we took the kids for dinner.

to our surprise, the food was above our expectations! to the exception of the horrible wanton chicken, the bad chicken noodles soup, everything else was awesome! the cashew-nut chicken, sweet & sour chicken, spring rolls, mixed noodles and duck were simply great, not as good as peacock, but we really loved the food! as for the price it was ok, we paid around 37 kd for all of the above in addition to drinks.

moral of the story, never rely on friend's tastes, try everything yourself - we're definitely going back to p.f. chang's.

Meet dino shoes!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

i was at the avenues with the family and spotted those dino shoes!! unbelievable!! i wouldn't wear them not in a million years!! what was even more surprising is the way the lady was walking, the discomfort was so apparent i am sure she was swallowing her pain just to make a statement!

Busted!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

i received this interesting email from our dear reader mary entitled "my hero" -  the story is about this american guy who basically refused to sign a contract because of an article that states "following a dispute between the contracting parties, the issue will be referred to competent courts in kuwait" - his argument was that he doesn't believe that the law can be strictly applied in a country where airport officials violate non-smoking law when they are supposed to enforce it!

well i salute this guy, he surely has a very strong point of view! however, i think he will be reconsidering his decision soon as a group of kuwaiti lawyers, also fed-up with this situation, have planned to sue the undisciplined officials like the ones busted in the picture above.

you can read more on this in arabtimes - picture courtesy of al-qabas who reported the news on september 18th.

thanks mary for the story, we sure need more heroes like this.

Brilliant idea!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

here's a csr (corporate social responsibility) idea that is different, impactful, creative and meaningful - tamanna is an organization that grants children with critical illnesses their special wishes to give them joy, strength and hope - tamanna has granted kids with more than 970 wishes at the rate of 3 per week, and 8 years old carmen who is fighting cancer, was recently granted her ipad christmas wish in a rather special way!

fantastic idea and brilliant delivery - this raises awareness for the organization as well as hope for the kids, i love it!

Once a cheater always a cheater!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

a few months back, i cheated on my wife and it felt soooooo good! yesterday, i cheated again but this time i was with my son mark, so i guess ryan knows what it feels like to be cheated on by his own brother :)

after a very long and tough day at work that stretched from 7am till 6pm, my wife asks me to take the boy to school to pick up some books, then take him to the stationary shop at city center to buy some stuff - errands were the last thing on my mind that evening, so i carefully planned my revenge..

cinnzeo has been around for quite some time but we never had the chance to try it - usually we try new stuff together, but hey, when errands are dumped on my head on such a day, then there should be a small price to pay.. so mark and i stopped by cinnzeo and tried those giant chocolate & cinnamon-apple twists that looked gorgeous! frankly, they were ok, not as good as i though they would be, but the mere fact that we were eating them in secret made them taste soooooooooo yummy!!

we headed home, and as usual, women's instincts almost gave us away! but the kid and i stuck to our story, mark even suggested i tell his mom that she can read about what we had in the morning, but that was sooo... mark! so i shot down his naive attempt to tease his mother and played the game till the end..

the beauty of the story is that the product is not that great, so wife will not ask for the usual compensation, he he.. sweet revenge!

WTH Celio’s insulting sale!?

Monday, September 17th, 2012

a dear friend of mine went shopping with her husband at celio where she spotted these swing tag t-shirts at an amazing price: short sleeves for kd 5 and kd 7.9 for the long ones - so she decided to buy one of each, but to her surprise the numbers at the cashier failed to match the price tags! the short sleeve t-shirt jumped from kd 5 to kd 7.900, almost 60% extra on the official price! she thought this must be a genuine mistake, so she pointed out the problem to the cashier - however, the latter was not the kind of woman who would back down to valid customer complaints, she refused to reconsider, armed with system data that obviously never fail!

after several attempts to convince the saleswoman that the system is not the customer's problem and that the shop has to honor the announced prices on the tags, my friend blew her typical kuwaiti steam and raised hell in an attempt to get her rights with her own hands - needless to stress, in big bold red and underlined fonts, that the manager was never present and totally unreachable! hearing the commotion, the two back-up salespeople approached the desk trying to put a lid on the situation - but these clowns were even worse than the previous bozo with their sneaky, wheeler-dealer solution! what they did is basically agreeing to the discount but not as part of the sale, they actually wrote on the receipt "customer insist for 5 kd price" as you can see above!

what a shame! what a poor, sleazy, shady, dodgy, sordid, low, immoral and distasteful way to give a customer his full rights! but she accepted the deal, you know why? she thought of us, of vengeance and pay back, letting every one know  how low they can get!

shame on you celio, you have no right to make your customers feel as if they are begging for your discounts! you can't win customer loyalty with your shady ways.. take action and rectify what you've done - this is an insult to every customer, you have no right to hurt people's feelings like this, we don't need your sale or your products!