Apologies for being away form the blog so long. But I had a good excuse! We were finally able to move into our new place in the Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh. For the move we were planning to hire a moving company. Last time we moved the company destroyed many precious items I had brought from Finland and some things (like a huge painting) went MISSING.
So this time we searched for a moving firm we could trust not to destroy everything. A company was recommended to us that seemed really professional and even had a good website, but they would've charged us over 8000 riyals! For a days work I think that's ridiculous, considering petrol is almost free and labor for such work is very cheap.
So we tried to find something we could afford and ended up using a company that seemed OK and signed the contract which included price, time and most importantly that any destroyed items would be reimbursed.
When the moving day came, the crew arrived in the morning and we had hired two maids to help us pack and unpack. I felt I needed at least ten extra heads and sets of hands to be able to supervise these people.
In reality what was going on was about six Afghani men were throwing random things into plastic bags and boxes as fast as they could. I did not have time to label anything and they mixed everything together with no logic whatsoever. Their idea of padding was a single sheet of newspaper placed between items, not around.
So next getting the trucks (there were two which resembled something I've seen sheep transported in) into which about 70% of our belongings had been stuffed. No padding or wrapping, of course. I took a deep breath and thought with careful driving everything could still work out well. The men needed advice from us how to tie up the things so they don't fall in the middle of the road. As if they had never in their lives had to secure anything on the trucks before.
Nope. This was the END OF THE WORLD. Suddenly the men became so lazy and slow, sloths would look like cheetahs next to these people. They dragged (not carried) one small bag at a time complaining about having to walk. In our apartment they tried to avoid having to take anything upstairs. We had friends over to help supervise and carry stuff but I swear for each one of these movers, a personal assistant is needed to ensure they don't break everything and do at least something!
The boss walked so slow I could hear when he was coming from a mile away by the way his sandals dragged on the ground. It was around 1 p.m and he was already giving up. He said this will never finish! Oh yeah? Well if you slouch around like a freakin SLUG it will probably not end this year! But do your job and it just might! I saw him THROW a box into the laundry room upside down, he thought no one could see him. When I confronted him he pretended it was an accident. How professional.
The mover-snails finally got to moving some of the larger furniture after long talks and persuasion. My husband and his friend were helping them since things were seriously not moving along fast enough. However the movers would not listen to any advice. The staircase is quite narrow and some things are difficult to get upstairs so my husband tried to tell the men how to turn furniture around to make it fit. Instead, the men didn't listen and kept turning the stuff around like it's the Rubik's cube until finally after half an hour they figured out what my husband told them was in fact the only way to take things up.
Truth is they were just too lazy. The laziest of them all was the boss or some sort of so called supervisor. His job was apparently to drink and eat all the food we provided and to sweat like hell after carrying a pillow. His job description also consisted of CONSTANT whining and sighing. And the sandal dragging, of course.
So when they got back to the old apartment, they QUIT. Just like that. In the middle of the move. Without getting paid. They QUIT. WTH? How can someone's laziness be so profound they even forget about money? So they did all those 8h work for free? I wanted to kill them.
My husband started calling around for another company and finally someone agreed. They came that evening with the promise of finishing off that night, despite it being late already. This all Pakistani crew seemed more professional in their packing techniques, plastic and padding was actually used.
Oh and a small setback at this point, my husband's car broke down.
So when the next truck was all packed up and my husband had managed to get another car they arrived at DQ. Guess what?
They REFUSED work. So our stuff (including those beds and baby foods!) were in the truck. They were holding our stuff hostage! They asked for more money. My husband initially refused but when it became evident the things were going to be held ransom, he agreed to pay a small amount more. No luck. The asses locked up the truck and left. Just like that.
Grrreat! Now what?
Well we ended up sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the same dirty clothes with no idea where the baby stuff was. Not the best of nights especially with the cats howling like crazy and jumping all over the place. The kidnappers were supposed to arrive 8 am the next morning because the truck was parked in the blazing sun and it contained food items. Husband called them in the morning. "Oh we're still sleeping, maybe around 11. MAYBE? 11? I was already sizzling.
These guys were even more reckless with our stuff. I had to watch them every second. They started to fill the corridor outside the apartment with our things. It looked like the gypsies were moving in. So instead of carrying the item five more meters into the house, they blocked the corridors for the sake of pure laziness. Even placed some things inside the neighbors foyers. Nice first impressions huh?
One of them was a total CREEP he would stare at me with no shame even in front of my husband. The same guy destroyed the house by dragging our pool which was full of mud up to the roof through the house leaving a trail of mud all over because he was holding it the wrong way. He got a good shouting for that but it didn't brighten up his attitude one bit.
WHAT? Here's a newsflash for you: You're a MOVER. You know, the guy that carries boxes for his living? If you don't carry boxes, what DO you do, stare at women? So he ran away. Many of the men just ignored me or left when I asked them to do something. They were lucky I didn't have a rifle.
I saw another moving hero carry a box labelled Fragile UPSIDE DOWN and then drop it on the floor. I opened it and found a broken expensive glass item inside. Showed it to him and said you can't carry stuff like this look what you've done, it's broken. His reply? Mafi malom (I don't understand) and he laughed and left. He was lucky I did not have a bazooka on me.
The creep peed in all of our bathrooms, on the floors and the rims, so disgusting. Probably on purpose. I was going bananas. Then I went up to the rooftop to check if he'd done what I asked. The dude had actually left everything half-way in the staircase, thought I wouldn't go up and see. You're in no luck CREEP-O, get back here right now to finish! "Mafi malom." He tried to escape but I forced him to carry the things in their places.
When they were leaving the manager came to the house. We showed him all the things they destroyed like one chest drawer ruined because of rough handling, the broken and scratched items and guess what he has to say? More money. Oh yes, more money, for this SUPER DUPER professional, swift and personal service. More money.
NO WAY. We won't pay you another halalah for this crap. In fact, you should pay us for what you destroyed by handling it wrong and apologize for your staff's totally frivolous working ethics.
In the end all was well, since we only ended up paying a very small amount for the "half-move" and things are just things and at least we are finally here. Forget these slimeballs and unprofessionalism that is flourishing in this country. I'm happy where I am.
P.S. Two days after this chaos we managed to pull off my daughter's 1 year birthday party ;)
P.P.S After we had emptied all the boxes we realized that all the expensive kitchen appliances had gone missing.