Friday, April 24, 2009

My local shops...

Not sure if I have desribed the local shops...

I guess its important to know that when you move into an area, that you have all the facilities that you would want nearby. In Sydney, you generally have a big shopping mall (i.e. a Westfield) and then in each and every suburb you have a little set of shops or the like.

Well, in Dubai where shopping is a national pastime, they don't do things by halves. To put my suburb or estate into context, we're a good 20min drive from the heart of "New Dubai" which is the southern coast of Dubai City (or Old Dubai) and its at New Dubai that the new modern shopping centres are built... Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Marina Mall and my closest Ibn Battuta. So, its good to know that I am 20mins away from 4 mega malls.

But in between my estate (the Green Community) and the malls is not a series of suburbs and public transport... no, you have Emirates Road (the truck transport road that runs the lenght of the country) and miles and miles of dusty desert... not really desert, more like "badlands" if you are a reader of fantasy fiction... the dread plains of Mordor for example (minus the swamps). The landscape is quite lunar...

So then you have the Green Community, which is a little oasis in the desert and we have all this luxury accommodation and pools for us to live in. But we also have a shopping centre that is by no means massive, but it is airconditioned, has escalators and has pretty much everything you need.

There was though one thing missing and now it has been delivered... yes, tonight the Green Community Shops celebrated the opening of a McDonalds. Yes, I have a Mickey-Dee's within 10mins walk from me... and it is 15 metres away from a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream store as well... temptation city! Tonight, through the crowds of mostly teenagers, I had a Big Mac meal... Burger King has a bit of a monopoly over McDonalds in restaurants on the side of highways so it is quite unusual to have a McDonalds here over a Burger King but I don't mind as I have always preffered McDonalds to Burger King / Hungry Jacks.

I was served also tonight by I think the most enthusiastic teenage server I have ever seen in a McDonalds. In Australia, you usually get a disinterested girl chewing gum with "I *heart* Johnno" written in biro on her arm but tonight I had a guy of Phillipino descent wearing a name badge that was shiny new. I was a bit surprised his name was "Glen" but nevertheless, he greeted me as I came through the door. "GOOD EVENING SIR! CAN I HELP YOU!!" he literally shouted at me and I was a bit surprised.

I gave him my order of a Big Mac meal and some nuggets and before I knew it a chip man delivered my chips, a guy on the drink machine had my coke down on the tray and the nuggets popped out all within 30secs. I had to wait I reckon another 15 seconds (massive I know!) before my Big Mac was on the tray. These were all done by other staff whilst my server took my money and gave me change. Yes, they had a crew of 3-4 people working in the serving area but not actually serving. So different from the indifferent girl in Sydney who drags her feet going from the burgers, to the fries, to the drink machine, to the nuggets, to the sauce, to the counter to collect the cash.

I wonder if it will last though? Were all new McDonalds like this and at some point the shiny name badges wear off and the staff numbers drop and Enthusiastic Glen is replaced by Depressing Melissa? Somehow, knowing the Dubai style of customer service, I dont think so!

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