Slavery at its prime

I can never forget this day.

It was the first time I rent a car in Canada. I was running low on gas. I pass by the Gas Station. I waited there for half a minute before I realized "oh I have to fill gas on my own".

See, that's the problem when you live in the middle East and in the gulf for too long. You have people that are employed with the silliest job description ever. I walked to one of the restrooms in a 5 star hotel the other day and there was this guy who all he does is just hand you a dry towel to dry your hands after you are done. What amazed me is there was this local guy who shouted at him "the towels are not warm enough".

How about the guy at the gym? He sits by the stairs and monitors the people who use the treadmills. As soon as one of the runners is done, he runs with his cleaning tools to wipe out all traces of sweat and germ on treadmills. As much as I appreciate the high level standards of hygiene that the gyms abides by, it amazes me the silliness to hire a guy just for this.

So overall, how do you handle such a situation? I believed that as long as they are content with what they do and I don't abuse them, then we'd be ok.

I don't think so. Wait till you hear about my tea boy.

When I first joined the new department (around 7 months ago), the teaboy approached me and asked me if he could serve me anything. I told him that I'll make his life easy since I don't drink tea or coffee. I only drink water. On the 2nd day, he served me my water. Along with the service came an envelope saying "monthly contribution". Ok, fine. That's weird. It is like asking for tip in advance. I don't mind tipping as long as it is from my heart not being forced upon me. Anyway, I chipped in. In the following day, he served me water at room temperature which I don't like. I prefer cold water instead. So he said, he doesn't have cold water. That pissed me off, but I let it slide. Few days later, I asked for water at 3 p.m. and he shrugged his shoulders saying :"sorry, sir. I already did the dishes". What the? So if you do the dishes, you never serve others. Ok fine. Nevertheless, I kept tipping him although I don't feel he was doing his basic duties. Few months later, I went for 3 week training outside the office. During that month, I only went to the office for just 2 days. On the 2nd day, he gave me the "tipping envelope". I was furious that I wanted to piss him off. I just put one riyal in the envelope just to anticipate his reaction. As I expected, he came back to me complaining that I might have mistaken by tipping only one riyal. I couldn't help it. I lost my temper and exploded at him. Since that day, we no longer communicate and whenever I need water, I go to his kitchen and fill my own bottle without his help.

The other day I went to the cafeteria for lunch. I saw the teaboy having lunch with one of the senior managers. I was impressed that he actually bought him lunch. Later I realized that he makes the tea boy carry his bag all the way to the office. I can't believe how some people can convince themselves of abusing poor people like that.

On the other side of the spectrum, my sister came to me one day expressing her frustration:

"Hamza, I am very annoyed with the way you treat our maid."


"she keeps complaining that you never acknowledge her presence. You always arrange your bed. You always prepare your own food. You never let her do anything"

":S :S :S"

"like today. You came from work. You stayed in your room for 45 minutes. When she went to her room, you went and prepared your food. Why not just ask her..?

"but…I wasn't avoiding her. I was just in my room trying different knots with my ties. I am bored of the "Windsor" Knot. I was practicing the "St Andrew", "Victoria" and "Cavendish" knots.



Next day, I went to her and actually requested something for the first time in 7 months. "Could you iron this shirt for me?" She said "sure" with a big smile on her face.


KJ said...

Your teaboy just cracks me up! I can never hear enough stories of him on chat LOL!

The maid is different my friend. See, she works exclusively for YOU. If you don't use her, she would feel inadequate and that her job is at risk. Remember that people feel worthy when they work.

Kinano said...

LOOOL @ teaboy!

KJ: So do you feel worthy?! :P

Anonymous said...

but hiring people for silly things creates a job where none existed before, makes life easier, distributes wealth and improves the economy.

Think about this: how come they find people for such silly low paid work? answer: becuase poverty exists and its better than begging

Ali Dahmash said...

Hamza, I never ask anyone at work to do the coffee, I dont trust the hygene. I also never asked the maid for a galss of water while sitting on my ass at home, that is just too much. I lived in the IS by myself for 4 years and I was never lazy like the system we have in the Arab world. The local in the bathroom should be sent to McDonalds and do some labor work, allah yerham aboo elli matt min el bard wil 3fan!

Mohammad said...


eshda3wa said...

bs u know hamza

everywhere in the world fee these ppl doing things ur perfectly capable of doing on ur own

in the mid east its more widely spread

oo in the rest of the world its reserved for a certain class of ppl

in the states u have a guy at HOOTERS whos sole purpose is to press the thingy that ejects soap into your hands :)

asoom said...

slavery is forced labor, I don't think this counts.

With regards to someone handing you a towerl in the bathroom, that's actually a regular occurence in the US in clubs, concert, and live theater venues.

Hamza said...

KJ - I think I should start the teaboy comic series.


loolt - I totally agree with you as long as ppl don't abuse them (not like the guy in the washing room who complained that the towels weren't warm enough)

Ali - exactly. Living abroad by myself taught me to become self-independent and that's why when I heard through my sister that the maid was complaining, I was shocked.

Zaher - lol. id7ak ad mabedak. I'll give you all the entertainment you need. Just get me my DAMNED SHIRT..grrr

eshda3wa - just to press the soap? that's just pathetic. Doesn't he get bored?

asoom - then the problem is with me. I just don't like ppl who watch me while I wash my hands.

Anonymous said...

The most absurd one that I've heard of so far was having a "toilet manager".

But the pressing the soap guy and treadmill boy - woah!

And isn't there the electronic towel thingy? They really need to employ a person to do that? I just cannot digest this.

Anonymous said...

teaboy here too? LOL!