This is how we roll up in dis here floral shack...
There are several types of businesses that are really common in Kuwait: Florists, chocolate shops, bakeries. Seems like there is at least one of those within walking distance to anyone's home all over Kuwait. LOTS of competition. Lots of reasons to provide better service and quality than the other guy.
Frustrating days in Kuwait happen to all of us. You roll with the punches: Bob and weave; stick and move. Get used to it. Sometimes I have "those days" like today when the service is so horrifically bad that you just sit there, staring out to space, shaking your head back and forth and repeating your mantra in a trance, 'Oh my God! Oh my God!' over and over and over again. (Somebody hand me the Panadol and keep it comin'.)
Granted, I know it is florists busiest day of the year. There are going to be problems, but there are easier ways to solve them than rudeness or by just thinking that glitches will go away.
Au Nom de la Rose: In my opinion, hands down the most beautiful roses in Kuwait. There just isn't any other florist like it. Slaperella often gets me flowers from the store in Bidaa, so when we made a Valentine's Day flower pact, I went to Au Nom to have flowers delivered to her and The Romanian. I went in on Saturday. Coincidentally, Slaps came over Saturday evening and said, "Did you order my flowers from Au Nom?" Turns out, "Manager" at Au Nom called both Slaps and Romanian to inform them (thus blowing whatever surprise The Romanian had and potentially one for Slaps as she didn't know about "the pact") that they would be receiving flowers on Valentines day; and what were their exact addresses?
Oh my God!
Today, by 2pm, neither of my friends had received their flowers. I called. I called. I called. (He never called me even though I repeatedly told him if there was a problem to call me. Again, I know it is a very busy day.) I spoke to manager dude probably a dozen times. He told me that he had been calling "the guy, but that he wasn't answering." I'm like, 'What guy?' So he went into a discussion about his driver. Slaps finally received her bouquet sometime in the afternoon. Romanian wasn't so lucky. It still hadn't reached her by the evening. I called manager dude again and he had more employee excuses and oh, could I tell him what I wanted on the card (the one that I wrote while I was in the store, you mean?). 'So, you are telling me that you lost it, right?' "Yes maam." I don't care how pretty their flowers are. I'm just never going to order from them again. It would be less frustrating to build my own greenhouse and grow my own roses.
Simultaneous to these Nom dramas, I was having another florist drama.
Chic Roses Florist, Salmiya. Case study in what NOT to do to your customers. Some guy called me and asked me where I was in the morning and (difficult to convey by the written word) in quite an aggressive tone. (Are we dating? Do I KNOW you? How did you get my number? why do you want to know where I am?) What do you mean, "where am I?" (Inaudible babbling....) ... florist. Oh, okay. I get it. Someone is sending me flowers. Cool (but I'm kind of pissed off and happy at the same time). I tell dude I am in Dajeej. Four times he doesn't understand that word, "Dajeej". Finally I mention something about Farwaniya. (Lightbulb moment.) "We don't deliver to Dajeej. You can come here." Ooooooooh noooooooo I can't. You are in the service industry: Serve.
I love getting flowers. I am very grateful. Dude is pissing me off. I have no idea who they are from (again, grateful for getting them).
He's arguing with me (the customer). I am telling him how bad it is for him to argue with me (the customer). He insists that "I told the lady who made order we take it to Rumaithiya." Dead silence on the phone. 'Hello. Hel-loooooo, are you there?' Dead silence on the phone. (I later figured out that he must have stopped the conversation when Madame, the owner, walked in.) I finally get him to speak again and he's arguing with me again about how he is not coming to Dajeej. I ask him if he's stupid because what he's doing is bad for his business. (Stupid for business arguing with customers who have the potential to give you more money in the future. Get it?) Dead silence. 'Hello. Hel-loooooo, are you there?' Dead silence on the phone. I hang up. (Then I Googled the number to find out the name of the shop because I never did quite get it.)
I ask someone who speaks Arabic to call them back and give them my home address. She does. She said that the Kuwaiti shop owner got on the phone and was very upset because I had called her guy, "Stupid." Yeah, so now THEY are upset?
Sooooo, I call back with the intention of explaining to the shop owner. She went off on me and wouldn't let me speak. She spoke over me, "I was there! I heard the conversation!" (You heard half of the conversation - what dude was saying and dead silences when you probably thought I was talking to him.) Honey, do you feel better now that you've chastised me? Apparently, the customer is wrong and you (as a business owner) should voice your displeasure by 1) Arguing with them and 2) telling them that they are wrong (because hey - everybody knows that that is just damn good business practice, right?). Yeah, like YOU are really going to get repeat orders from me and all of my friends. Thar ya go. That is GREAT. I just said, "Look, just send the flowers to my home and I will never do business with you again. How's that?" She agreed and seemed happy with it. Done. I'm not losing money; what do I care?
After all that, in all seriousness, I was scared of them. If they went off that way on customers, and they knew my address.... not a good scenario. (Give me your money, I hate you! attitude. Also known as "sell and go to Hell") I didn't want the flowers. Keep them.
So, I receive an SMS to ask me if I had received the flowers. Ah, now I know. The Romanian! She and her son had ordered them from Chic the night before. She and her son both thought that the guy in the shop was (her words) "... stupid. We spoke to them in English and Arabic (her son is a 23 yr old Kuwaiti) and he still didn't understand what we were saying."
She called the shop and they promised to deliver the flowers (this was around 6:30ish). They said they were on their way to deliver to my house. She SMSed me at around 7:30 and asked if I had received them yet. Nope. She called the shop. They said they had called and called me and I didn't answer (nope. not true.). The Romanian got into her car and went to the shop, walked past the customers, past the owner, and into the room with the coolers and asked where her flowers were (in Arabic). She said the shop owner was very apologetic (probably because she was speaking Kuwaiti/Bedu Arabic which is always a shock), but by that point, it was too late (puhleeze). Romanian grabbed the bunch and brought them over to me herself.
Thanks girl, they're gorgeous.You know, whatever else is happening in your life, your girlfriends always come through for you; even if they have to fight for it!
Case study for positive floral delivery service:
Yesterday (short notice) I ordered a bouquet to be sent from Slaps, Rom, and I to be sent to one of our Kuwaiti friends (Corvette Girl) who we love. I ordered from Q8flowers. Good ole Q8flowers NEVER lets you down. They are like the US postal service of floral arrangement delivery in Kuwait. They'll get them there no matter what AND they take KNET, Visa, and Mastercard online. They call you if there is a problem (yes, even on Valentine's Day). Q8flowers, you guys rock and I am a devoted loyal customer that will go back every time. I had a few glitches with them during busy times and they made it right. That's all it takes. Thanks for getting them there on time.
Thanks, Q8flowers, for also delivering the bigass bouquet of red roses to ME - in the morning, with a smile and a nice word. Thanks for not ruining the surprise by calling me 2 days in advance. I am so appreciative that I would like to send you flowers, but alas, you are obviously the only place in town that I would trust to do a good job!