Why haven’t the roads still been fixed??

Post by Mark

Does anyone have any insider information as to why none of the rain-damaged roads have been fixed yet? A lot of the roads look like the picture above which is usually how the roads look like just before being resurfaced, but I’ve never seen so many roads looking like that and for this long.

The road in the picture above at least is flat, there are some roads that are covered in potholes and bumps. Yesterday I noticed two very large potholes opened up on the Gulf Road, potholes large enough to cause flat tires or damage wheels.

Something is definitely up, my guess is the government is looking for a new contractor since the last one did such a terrible job.

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Are all telecoms messed up?

Post by Mark

I’ve got a Viva line and a friend called me last week and told me that when she called me Arabic music started playing. I never signed up to the ringback tone service so I called up Viva and told them what was happening and to turn it off. Fast forward to this morning and a friend calls me up and tells me the Quran started playing when he called me so he thought he had the wrong number. So I called up Viva up and told them to turn off the ringback tone again and also asked how it got activated in the first place? The call center guy told me Viva activated the Islamic ringback tone as part of their 10 year anniversary. So I got in touch with Viva on Twitter and this is what they had to say:

So basically, on their 10 year anniversary, they decided to activate a paid service on all their customers’ phone lines without informing them. On their 10 year anniversary as a gift to me, they activated a service I didn’t ask for without telling me. How much more unprofessional can you get?

Usually, I would have dropped them as a telecom provider instantly and moved my number to another one but I don’t think the other providers are any better.

I had a second number with Zain I wasn’t using but was keeping for nostalgic reasons. It was my first mobile phone number which I got back in 1995 when I was still in high school. Every month I would log in to the Zain website and settle my bill which was around 2KD. A few months ago I logged in and noticed on top of my usual monthly bill for my number, I had 500 fils to pay for a second number I hadn’t owned in five years.

When I was married, my wife’s number was under my name, then when I got a divorce 5 years ago, we shifted the number to her name. She spent over 3 years paying the bills and then around 2 years ago, she closed her line and moved out of the country for good. For some unknown reason, Zain decided to bill me 500 fils randomly out of the blue 5 years after the number stopped belonging to me and 2 years after my ex wife had closed it. I could easily have just paid it since it was just 500 fils, but it was more about the principle. I went to a Zain branch to figure out how this happened but they couldn’t figure it out so I just paid the 500 fils and closed my account with them and lost my high school number in the process.

I guess Ooredoo is the only telecom I haven’t tried but can’t imagine them being any better.

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Road Surface Degradation

Post by Mark

Can an engineer with experience in this field explain to me and my readers why our roads got ruined after the rain last week? In Lebanon and London, for example, it rains a lot but the roads survive, how come they didn’t in Kuwait after just a weekend of rain?

Also, why did some roads survive and some not? You can see that clearly on the Gulf Road where you would be driving and the road is perfectly fine but then get to one area where the whole top surface had disintegrated.

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Dear Carriage,

Post by Mark

Can you please remove the super annoying video that plays every time I launch your app? Your app now shuts off my music and podcasts whenever I open it, and the fact that I have to wait 6+ seconds for the video to finish before the app starts loading is even more annoying.

Thank you!

Update: Carriage just informed me they’ll be removing the video next week!

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4Sale Fixing the Housekeepers Category

Post by Mark

Last week I posted about how the housekeepers category on the popular 4Sale website bothered me since they were basically allowing housekeepers to be sold like slaves (check the picture above). Someone at 4Sale definitely reads my blog since that same night they started cleaning up the housekeepers category. They removed all the posts where housekeepers were being sold in and introduced a new set of rules. When you now visit the housekeepers category on their website you get the popup below:

Roughly translated, the pop up says the following:

Dear customers, in accordance with the instructions from the cybercrime unit at the Ministry of Interior, please take into consideration the following points when posting advertisements in the housekeepers category:

– avoid posting pictures of the housekeepers or copies of their official documents
– avoid using the word maid and instead describe them as domestic workers
– you’re not allowed to mention their religion, skin color or price
– you’re not allowed to use the word for sale

Actually, now that I think about it, it’s possible that someone from the cybercrime unit actually reads my blog and not 4Sale. In any case, I still think more can be done by 4Sale. While browsing through the category I found a few posts that violated the new rules, but I personally think the whole category needs to be shut down anyway.

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How a domestic worker escaped captivity in Kuwait

Post by Mark

A reader sent me a link to an article on FRANCE 24 Observers website on a domestic worker’s experience in Kuwait. The worker was held against her will by her employer and was sexually abused for several months. In the end, she got rescued and you can now read about her ordeal [Here]

Since we are on the subject of domestic workers, can I say how much the housekeepers category on the Q8 4Sale website bothers me? I really like the website but this category basically allows domestic workers to be sold off like household goods.. [Link]

Note: I hid the faces not 4Sale.

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No Cameras Allowed on Green Island

Post by Mark

A few days ago I went to Green Island with my new camera to take some pictures and was stopped on the way in. I had already purchased my entry ticket (1KD btw) and as I was walking in they spotted my camera and told me I couldn’t bring it in. I told them I had a camera on my phone as well but they were ok with that, but that I just couldn’t bring my camera in. I was like ok fine, I went back to the ticket window to return my ticket and get a refund, but I guess that would have been too much of a hassle for the guy because he asked me if I just wanted to take pictures? I told him yes so he then let me in with my camera.

I have no idea why they would be anti-photography, Green Island is a desolate place that has nothing going for it other than it being an interesting place to take some photos. So weird.

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The Emergency Lane Tragedy

Post by Mark

I’ve been complaining about the emergency lane rules ever since they were announced a few years ago. I think they’re just too complicated and didn’t make sense, either convert the emergency lane into a regular lane or keep it as it is.

Does anybody here actually know what are the hours you’re allowed to use the emergency lane in?

a) 6AM to 10PM
b) 6AM to 10PM only in case of traffic congestion
c) 6:30AM to 9AM into the city and 12:30PM to 3:30PM out of the city
d) 6AM to 9AM and 12:30PM to 3:30PM
e) None of the above

I actually don’t know the answer since I’ve posted all the above previously on the blog. Maybe none of the above are right since the timings could have changed and I wouldn’t know.

Recently the sister in law of a friend of mine got into an accident. I’ve met her a few times since she helped out on the blog a few years ago, a super nice person. She was on the highway with her 4-month-old daughter and nanny when she felt something was wrong in the car, so she pulled into the emergency lane and stopped. A car speeding in the emergency lane (max speed is meant to be 45km) crashed into her car killing her daughter and sending her and the nanny to the hospital. Such a horrific incident.

This sometimes it’s an emergency lane and sometimes it’s not is just a confusing and stupid mess. Either convert the lane to a regular lane or leave it an emergency lane. I don’t understand why they’re being so timid. This accident has caused an outcry in the media and hopefully, they’re going to solve this before any more lives are lost.

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Habitat Museum Not Being Maintained?

Post by Mark

I’m a big fan of the Habitat Museum at Al Shaheed Park but now not so sure. I was there over the weekend and it looked so sad. One part of the ceiling looks to have leaked near where the glass floor is with the sea creatures so there are plastic sheets covering part of the area where that happened, and then none of the 3D projectors were working. So you now have this large room with plain white empty tables but nothing projected onto them.

From what I understood from the employee is they’ve been like this for a while and they’re just waiting on the company that built the space to fix them. Hopefully, the issues get sorted soon since the weather is going to start getting cooler and the park will be busy again.

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Customer Service Over Instagram

Post by Mark

Last night I was at The Avenues and decided to pass by the newly opened Pick. When I got there I walked up to the tiny 2 person line behind the cashier and waited for my turn. While waiting, I noticed a long queue on the left side of the place lined up behind another cashier. I realized it might be a one-line queue for two cashiers and that I might have been cutting the line. Or maybe the other people didn’t realize there was a second cashier?

I decided to leave Pick because the situation was confusing, but decided to message them on Instagram just out of curiosity to see if it was actually two separate lines, or one line with two cashiers. My exchange with them was so good I felt it was worth posting about.

Firstly, someone saw my DM right away, they then quickly responded to my question and were apologetic and admitted the situation was actually confusing. The whole conversation was so friendly and sincere, they made me an even bigger fan of the brand.

The situation made me realize again how amazing social media has become for communicating with brands, especially when you have a problem. I’ve DM’d brands a ton of times either to complain, give feedback, ask questions or even to try and cut through lines at clubs (Thank you @the.garten). Other than my internet provider I no longer contact brands any other way. When I had an issue with AVIS in the US I tried calling them on the phone and after spending an hour either on hold or trying to navigate their robotic call center, I decided to tweet them. I ended up getting a response back on twitter in less than 5 minutes! In Kuwait it’s been no different, other than the local Ikea and Jeep dealer (still waiting for a response guys), my experience with customer service on instagram has been pretty good so far. I love it.

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