Monday, August 30, 2010

Excuse me! I'm a VIP and Need Service NOW!

During Ramadan night time shopping the other day I ran into this rather irritating phenomenon of Very Important People aka unbelievably impatient Saudi women. Unfortunately typical in Saudi-Arabia. I hate it when some people disrespect others especially based on nationality, imagining themselves superior and treating them in a very demeaning way.

These VIP's are women that can be found continuously shouting "excuse me" in high pitched demanding voices to waiters, shop assistants, cashiers, or whoever they want service from. Seems like they have not heard of such things as "patience" "courtesy" or "respect". These women behave like they are the only people in the world.

Everything has to happen NOW. Immediately. Pronto. YALLA!

Waiting in line is also an unknown concept to them. What line? There is other people here?

The poor victims are usually Filipinos, Indians or other Asian nationalities trying their best to please the demanding Saudi women.

These hopelessly impatient women might not know any other word of English but rest assured will master "excuse me" from early childhood by which they will call all "servants".
Usually the VIP women will be wearing niqab. That way she remains anonymous which enables her to act like a spoiled kid in public. No one will recognize her, after all.

Last night I was at the food court of the shopping mall, it was closing time around 2 am. Because of the gender segregation even the counters of the food stands are divided by screens. The place I wanted to order food from was packed with VIPs shouting in a chorus on the women's side.

The male side was empty so I decided to order from there. The friendly Filipino guy came and took my order, all the while the women continued their aimless racket. He was running around like crazy doing his best trying to get the important women served. I felt sorry for him, he was sweating but he still managed to keep calm and smiling.

Perhaps the women didn't realize that pizza doesn't actually cook any faster however many times they shout excuse me to the guy making it.

What just topped off my irritatation was when they all stuffed themselves next to me in the men's section trying to push themselves into the front as if I wasn't even standing there. The shouting continued and the Filipino worker ran faster.

Then a little girl VIP started shouting to the guy in a very disrespectful tone hurry, hurry! The mother was standing right next to her and didn't say a thing. So I told the girl, the poor guy is doing his best. It's not nice to shout at him because he can't make the food any faster. We must all wait in line.
Her reply: But I've been waiting at least FIVE minutes!

FYI Pizza nor any other type of food does not cook in less than five minutes, unless you want yours raw of course.

Thats all. Just had to let it out.


Andi said...

Even as a man i have experienced the same. One could think the saudi women would hold theirselfs back, if they encounter some foreign man standing at the checkout counter...
I even experienced that these women try to push me away to get to the counter. And i thought touching a male not being their man etc would be "haram" for them. *Sigh*

Layla said...

Hi Andi and welcome to my blog!

Wow, didn't realize they would do that to men too, I mean physically push them aside from a que..I wonder would they push Saudi men??

WhiteOrchid said...

Ah yes, I really don't get why they have to push and shove to get to the front. Besides, I've never really seen women stand in a queue in Saudi. Have you noticed how the men send their wives over to the cashier to pay for their stuff, while they stand by and watch? It can get very frustrating!

Elizabeth said...

salam alaykum Laylah, just found ur blog y'day ;). These behaviours are driving me crazy too (and the phenomenon of not being able to form a line - especially by women here ;) and I cannot stop myself and always blow up ;) - it is simply shame for Muslims and Islam. We should be the best of people. As my Saudi husband says: "Arabs were the worst of people and Islam made us the best. So who are Arabs without Islam?"...

Lissaana said...

Hi Laylah!
OMG---thankfully, I am almost 6 feet tall, so I tower over these rude, obnoxious women. Plus, I look at them when they try and cut in line and say that I was here first. I have actually shoved their money away, and put my hands on their shoulders and moved them, when I was almost served second instead of first after waiting in line at ikea!! They may be pushy, but these gals do not like confrontation at all. Once you start talking to them, move their hands out of your way, and start to make a fuss, they back down!! Public scenes with an amazon are not on the agenda it seems!! lol

DB said...

Hi Laylah,

Finnish people certainly know how to wait in line but feeling superior to other nationalities happens here too. Have you never taken a cruise to Tallin? The first time I did I was so shocked by the behaviour of some of the Finnish people towards the Estonian serving staff at restaurants and stores. They were complaining loudly and rudely that there is no regular beer in the Medieval restaurant which only serves mead. Complaining that service is too slow at an extremely busy restaurant and saying they should have gone to McDonald. I was shocked because I have never seen Finnish people speak to serving staff that way in Finland before. In fact when service is poor in Finland Finnish people will say nothing to the offensive party but rather wait until they leave to mumble under their breaths and complain. My Finnish husband was feeling very embarrassed and hurt the entire day because we observed many such instances plus drunken behaviour. But that is another story.

Unfortunately feeling superior to foreign service personnel is worldwide. Only difference is it's more entrenched and extreme with some nationalities than others.

Layla said...

Hi DB, Oh yes I know those cruise ships to Tallin!
They are horrible and I try to avoid them at any cost.
I think the Finns on those boats behave like that because a) they are pissed out of there minds and b)most of them are so called "junttis" who are impolite to all foreigners and c)they don't care because they are on holiday.
But sure it can have something to do with the feeling of superiority as well.

So I think thats a pretty isolated case of this specific behavior. But good point anyways!
I'm not sure if I will ever take my husband on those boats because of the same feeling I guess your husband had when you were there..

Anonymous said...

Hi Laylah,

I was just reading some of your old posts and this post hit home. I think you're right about the attitudes of some arabic women. I am not generalising but I think a small fraction of them do a disservice to their country with their attitude.

I had an experience in a flight from abu dhabi to manchester where I sat in front of an arabic women, and I dont think she is saudi, she was in abaya and was travelling with her daughther. When the food was served, she complained that my seat was pushed too far back for her comfort, so the stewardess requested that I pull my seat forward. It wasn't reclining so far back out of ordinary, but I have no problem with the request as I did not want to cause her discomfit. After the meal, wanting to recline my seat a little to rest, she immedietely scolded me in arabic, saying something, but I said, you have your chair reclined and I am uncomfortable since my chair was in a position prepared for landing. She gave me a stare, and scolded me some more. That was rude, and is it because I am Asian that she has no respect for me?
Another time was while I am in Haram, I accidently run into a woman while I was walking in the mosque. I apologised profusely bowing my head to her but the abaya-clad woman scolded me like there is no tomorrow, and in front of the Kabbah to boot! I just continue apologising as I was in the holy city and my aim was to do ibadah.
These two incidents opened my eyes a little and made me think. Is it because some people think their race is superior that they dont hesitate to treat others like 2nd class citizens?


Cielo said...

Hi Laylah! I Love your blog! I can relate to most of your experiences and observations since I am also a foreigner (Filipino) married to a wonderful Saudi guy. Now, I am not just a follower of your blog but a big fan of yours :-) Best Regards!

Unknown said...

Hi All Welcome In Saudi
I'm a Saudi Lady I can really see what you mean with this action , there is a lot of Saudi Women and men thinks there are the only people in the world and they have the idea of (do it now) , I'm fighting to stand on my feet giving no body my turn in any kind of queues
It is my right to stand and take my turn
Believe me we have many cultures and models here in Saudi
I will love to make you to see our good nice side the one who respect the queue
I really enjoyed reading your blog
Best Regard

Layla said...

Salaam Walaa and thanks for your comment! It's always so nice to hear from Saudi ladies, I know there are many others like you out there but unfortunately you are the minority! Hopefully the next generation will be ore courteous :)