Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Next Generation

Really exciting day today. I woke up even earlier than usual even though it's my day off. It's Faisal's first day at Sultan's School.

We were there a little early so Faisal was the first one to arrive in his class, Early Year 1. Slowly the other parents and kids started to arrive. Except for two or three, every single family that arrived were people we know. Almost all of us, Sultan's School alumni, so it was a bit like a reunion.

I don't think I started going to school till I was about 5 years old. There was no nursery or KG in my years. Faisal is only 3 and he's already been going to playschool since he was one and a half. That's half his life. And now with the Sultan's School switching to the IB system, it's going to be Early Year 1, Early Year 2 and then 13 years of school!

Only two kids cried this morning, but the mothers were another story.

Good luck to the next generation. Class of 2023 began its journey today.

الله يحفظهم ويوفقهم ان شاء الله

Friday, August 22, 2008

Car-less

I sold the Land Cruiser. The car was boring to drive and it was a gas guzzler. But it was solid and I would have probably kept it if it wasn't for the 5000km service interval, which was driving me nuts. I drive about 600 to 800km a week, so this meant that I had to take my car for service every 7 or 8 weeks. That's crazy. Every 8 weeks, I had to go through the inconvenience of taking all my stuff out of the car, arranging for someone to pick me up from the garage, and then arranging for someone to take me back to the garage to pick it up again. It was a huge hassle. I had other issues, which I will write about when I eventually get around to writing the follow-up to my previous post.

In the past two months, I've been getting lots of inquiries out of the blue from people who want to buy the car. People stop me in parking lots to ask me if I want to sell the car. Apparently, the value of good condition used Land Cruisers has gone up since the new shape came out. Lots of people don't like the new shape and the top of the range new one now costs about 25K, so people are willing to pay higher prices for good quality used old ones. After a couple of months of getting lots of unsolicited offers, I finally decided to sell the car while it still had value higher than what I paid for it. I wasn't totally happy with it, so why keep it?

I bought the car for RO. 15K in December with 44,000km on it. Put new tires and V-Kool on it. Had it polished and detailed at ProTech. Drove it 25,000km over 8 month, and sold it for RO. 15.5K. I could have probably sold it for 16K if I looked around for a better deal but I sold it to the first person who offered.

So yeah, I'm car-less now. Driving my wife's old Volvo. So if you see a big guy driving a beat-up Volvo S40, that's me.

Looking to buy a new car. Don't know which direction to go so I'm taking my time. Should I go the "approaching mid-age crises" route and buy a sports car? A sensible executive sedan (BMW 5 series, Audi A6, Infiniti M35)? Or another gas guzzling SUV like maybe the GMC Yukon, which I absolutely love but which I have been hearing nightmares about its dealer? Or maybe, an impractical not really an SUV and not a sports car mash-up like the Infiniti FX? A monster like the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Saud Bahwan Toyota doesn't want to hear from you

Go to the Toyota Oman website and look for any link to an adress where you can email them or even a number to get in touch with them.

In the About Us section, there's a link to the Saud Bahwan group website, and there you will find a single email address for the entire group. Otherwise, in the Sales Network section, you can get the phone numbers of all their showrooms. That's it.

Conclusion: Saud Bahwan Automotive doesn't want to hear from you.

More on this later.

Customer Service

My next three or four posts are all going to be about customer service. As an introduction, I am going to partially repost something I had posted on Oman Community Blog last year:
You call a company and the person who picks up the call simply says "hello", doesn't make you think maybe you misdialed the number of got someone's house instead? Why can't they say the name of their company in their greeting?

You go to a shop or a showroom and you can't tell the sales people from the shoppers. While you're browsing someone comes up and stands next to you and hovers. How in the world are you supposed to know that this person is actually a salesperson who's there to help you and not another shopper who's stalking you?

What the hell is wrong with customer service in this country? I mean, how hard is it to put on a name tag?