Dear Kababji, Stop Spamming Me

I’m having a horrible experience dealing with all the SMS ads Kababji keep sending me. I used to order from them a few times a week and for yeearrssss, but since I’ve started having issues with their ads and their social media teams complete lack of communication, I’ve stopped ordering from them.

I was a huge fan of the brand but now they really piss me off and all because they refuse to stop sending me ads. To make matters worse, they’ve started sending me Subway ads (they’re owned by the same company which is Kout Food Group), so I’ve also now decided to stop having Subway which I was having around once or twice a week before they started spamming me.

I don’t understand the thinking process sometimes. Like fine, you’re sending ads out to your customers without their permission, sure, whatever, but at least when the customer gets in touch with you and asks you to stop sending them ads, you stop.

Since I’m venting, Dear ZUE, I don’t need to give you my phone number when buying poop bags. Every time I tell the cashier I don’t want to give them my number, they get so confused and don’t know what to do. They insist on a number for me to pay, and when I give them a fake number they refuse to use it. So I keep telling them to put their own numbers and then after they argue amongst each other, the staff end up using their own numbers for the order. Like why all the drama? Why do you need a my real phone number just so I can pay for a poop bag? Like, I’m a fan of the place, products and services, but you have to change this annoying policy.

Rant Over.


Scooting in the City

A couple of months ago E-Fly, the scooter-sharing service started placing some scooters near my office in the city. Having scooters you can rent and take around the city is actually really practical and now is very common in cities around the world.

When I needed to pass by the Xcite office in Al Hamra Tower to pick up the iPhone 15 Pro for review back in October, I took the scooter instead of driving. Trying to find parking in Hamra during working ours is impossible so instead, I took the scooter that was parked under my office building and rode it down the street and around the corner to Al Hamra Tower. I ended up parking on the curb across the street from Hamra, went in, picked up the iPhone and then was back again on the scooter heading back to the office. Super fast, super convenient and much cheaper than a taxi (around 300fils from Arabica Downtown to Hamra Tower).

This would be something I’d do a lot more of and I’m sure other people as well, if it wasn’t for the fact we don’t have sidewalks. Riding the scooter on the side of the road is pretty freaky. I don’t trust drivers, everyone seems to be in a hurry, and busses are extremely aggressive and the worst.

Although I was hoping to use the scooters a lot more frequently zipping up and down the city anytime I needed to go anywhere, I’ve only really used it two or three times and that sucks. Scooters are fun, they’re affordable and are so convenient. I know there is no hope of us ever getting sidewalks, but I still wanted to vent about it.


Are you getting spammed by Alshaya brands??

Is it me or is everyone else also constantly getting spammed by Alshaya brands? I don’t generally give out my phone number to businesses so I don’t get that much SMS spam, but I had to give my number to West Elm because they had to deliver my furniture and since then I haven’t been able to stop them from spamming me. I’ve tried calling them and asking to be removed, I’ve sent them messages on Instagram and I’ve even tried blocking them on my phone but nothing seems to work. I used to get a message every now and then but recently they’ve started bombarding me a lot more frequently and its become extremely annoying.

Dear Zain and other telecoms, if you offer a service where for a certain monthly fee I could block all spam messages from my phone I’d be willing to pay and so would others!


The Worst Courier I’ve Ever Dealt With!

It’s been a while since I last complained about a business, but this experience was too much not to share. A few weeks ago I ordered a new MacBook Air from I sent the MacBook to MyUS forwarding mailbox and then selected the cheapest shipping option to Kuwait because I wasn’t in a rush to get it and I’m cheap like that. MyUS ended up shipping it with a courier I hadn’t heard of before, SMSA Express. I was like fine, whatever, I wasn’t in a rush anyway.

The package took around 10 days to arrive in Kuwait, similar to how long Aramex would take so it wasn’t too bad. But that’s when I ran into a problem. The package went out for delivery last Saturday, I didn’t get a call, and there was no attempted delivery. If you check the tracking via their website, it shows that it’s out for delivery, if you use their WhatsApp service to check the tracking, it says that the receiver requested a new delivery date. So I started calling customer support:

Sunday: I called customer support who told me they’d have someone call me back regarding delivery. Nobody did.

Monday: I call customer support again and they tell me their tracking system hadn’t been updated since September 25 and that my package was showing still in Bahrain. I tried to have them explain to me how my tracking data was more current than theirs and they couldn’t.

Tuesday: I called customer support again, they don’t have a local office so I have to keep calling their Saudi number btw (thank you Skype). They tell me my package will be delivered today or tomorrow.

Wednesday: I called customer support, and they told me my package will be delivered today.

Thursday: This time when I called customer support I made a big fuss about how my package has been out for delivery for one week and they keep promising me delivery every day and how no one ever calls me. I get transferred to a manager who promises he will make sure my package will get delivered today before 3 PM.

Less than an hour later while on my way to Shuwaikh, I get a message from their driver asking me for a location. I call him up and ask him if he prefers to deliver in Kuwait City which is the original address listed, or Shuwaikh since I’ll be there. He tells me he’s delivering to Wafra 🤦🏼‍♂️. My office is in a building called Wafra Downtown Tower, so the dispatcher had read te first word, ignoring the rest of the address and decided that my package should be delivered to the area Wafra. I explain to the driver that the name of the building was Wafra, but the address was Kuwait City, he told me the office told him to deliver to Wafra and that’s where his deliveries are. So I ask him if I could come to him, he said I could and that he was in Farwaniya, so I got his location and headed there.

I get to the driver less than 15 minutes later and find out that SMSA Express use a local courier called OCS Express for their Kuwait deliveries. I finally get my package from the driver but he then asks for a payment of KD23.900 for customs. I was like it’s a laptop, there is no customs on laptops in Kuwait. So I ask the driver for an invoice and he says he doesn’t have one. Told him there was no way I was going to pay without at least an invoice. So he calls up his office and I talk to a lady and explain to her the situation. She says she will send me an invoice later, I told her I needed it first before paying, it’s a normal request. She told me it would take around 5-10mins, I was like fine I’ll wait and hung up. A few minutes later driver comes up to my window and hands me the phone. It’s the lady again, supposedly the accountant isn’t there and the driver needs to go make his rounds. I told her I’d been chasing this package for a week and I even drove all the way to Farwaniya to pick it up, I’m not leaving without the package. I hand the phone back to the driver and he goes back to his car. A few minutes later he comes to me and shows me a WhatsApp he got of a photo of the invoice. It said 23.900KD so I ask him to send me the photo and I hand him the amount cash to get my package.

After he left, I look at the invoice carefully and they charged me 20.400KD for customs. So I call the company up and talk to the lady I had spoken to earlier and explain to her that laptops don’t have customs charges so how was I being charged customs? She transfers me to another person who I assume is an accountant or manager. The guy tells me the item costs 408KD which is why there is customs on it. I told him the value doesn’t matter since it’s a laptop, and there are no customs on laptops. He says the description says there were notebooks in the box as well. I was like wtf, they’ve written notebook cuz it’s a notebook computer and if he doesn’t, believe me, I still hadn’t opened the box and he can check! I then proceed to tell him it was illegal that they were charging customs on a laptop when the government doesn’t charge customs and that I was going to report them for this. He then told me they would refund me the customs charge of 20.400KD but not the remaining charges. I told him fine and I sent them a payment link and got my refund.

So much drama for such a simple thing as a delivery. The fact that I was being charged customs when I shouldn’t have been is also super dodgy. If you ever use MyUS make sure you don’t select the cheapest delivery so you don’t end up getting your items shipped with SMSA and OCS!


Amazon and Aramex Weird Delays

Has anyone ordered from Amazon directly to Kuwait and had the item shipped with Aramex? The last few items I ordered were shipped with Aramex and I noticed an odd pattern once the package arrived to Kuwait.

Once the package arrives to Kuwait I start getting “errors”. For example, Amazon would first email me the following:

Unfortunately, ARAMEX wasn’t able to complete your delivery and needs additional information to try again. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.

and then a day later:

Unfortunately, a problem occurred during shipping and we had to cancel your delivery. The package is being returned, and we will issue a refund within 3 – 5 business days after the return is processed. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience.

The first time that happened to me I freaked out and of course, there is no way to contact Aramex. Their call center number won’t allow you to talk to a real person and so you have to send them an email. When you do email them you’ll get a generic response asking you to resend your complete address so they can deliver your package.

I learned that if you ignore all the errors both Amazon and Aramex spit out, or the email request for your address, Aramex eventually delivers your package a few days later.

I didn’t think of it much until my friend complained to me about the same issue. So, I have a theory to why this is happening.

Amazon probably has expectations from Aramex on delivery time. Because Aramex can’t meet it, they put the blame on the customer by saying the address isn’t complete. That way they no longer are the reason for the delayed delivery, the customer is. It’s bad business practice.

So I’m curious as to how often this happens, it’s happened with my last 3 deliveries, has it happened to you? Just to be clear this isn’t using Shop&Ship, this is Amazon straight to Kuwait via Aramex.

50s to 90s Complaints

Khazal Palace Altered with Concrete

The Khazal Palace (also called Alghanim Palace and Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jabir Palace) located in Dasman near the British Embassy is finally being restored after being left to crumble for decades. But, yesterday a photo surfaced showing that concrete columns were planted inside the palace as part of the reconstruction.

What does this mean?

The palace dates to 1916 and was constructed with clay, it was one of the last Persian-style archaeological building in Kuwait. Since the palace was listed as a heritage site in Kuwait, it was protected and had the highest priority for conservation. With conservation projects it is paramount to restore the building back to it’s original state using as much of the original construction material as possible. The Kuwait antiquities law states that it is prohibited to modify, alter or distort immovable monuments. By pouring concrete into the palace it means it no longer is being restored correctly and thus loses its heritage status.

To try and simplify what this all means, imagine demolishing the palace completely and then rebuilding it again using modern day materials, is it still a heritage site? No because it’s now a new building and not an old building that was saved and restored. This is basically what has happened in this case to some degree. The building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list back in 2015, but because the restoration process is being done incorrectly, it will now no longer qualify to be on the list and so will not have any of the protection that comes with that status. Similar story to what happened with the Kuwait National Assembly Building, because they constructed the curved/wavy office building on the side of the main structure, the Kuwait National Assembly Building was disqualified from ever becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Kuwait Towers on the other hand which is currently going through a restoration process (the blue discs are being restored or replaced) is abiding by the strict restoration rules. The process is also being overlooked by the Getty Foundation “Keeping it Modern” grant which the towers received in 2020 (1 of just 77 grants given worldwide):

All of the orbs possess a remarkable shimmering quality thanks to 41,000 enameled metal discs in shades of blue, green, and gray that stud their surfaces in a carefully variegated spiral pattern.

Due to more than five decades of marine climate exposure, however, some of the decorative metal discs have detached and fallen to the ground. Guided by a recent conservation management plan, the project team will conduct a technical study to identify the underlying problem behind the disc detachments and develop conservation protocols for carrying out repairs and maintenance. Because the conservation of modern architecture in Kuwait is an emerging field, the project team will collaborate with international experts and leverage the opportunity to share their research with local Kuwaiti architects, conservators, and engineers.

School trip to the Kuwait Museum – 1970

A couple of years ago I heard rumblings about the fact they were proposing to restore the building with concrete (easier/cheaper) and that many local architects were against it and wanted the restoration to be done properly. Not sure if anything can be done about it now, but at the moment it looks like Kuwait lost another important part of its landscape.

For more information, check out this post on Instagram.

Update: Just got a bit more information. The basement of the palace is the oldest basement in Kuwait, more than 100 years old. Unfortunately, it was removed completely to make way for the concrete intervention. Source


Scooter Riders are Out of Control

A couple of years back when the MOI banned scooters on the roads I was against the idea because people had no other place to ride their scooters. But, now I think the scooter riders have also gotten a bit too cocky and out of hand. The other day on my way to work I was stuck behind a lady on a scooter riding in the middle of the road. I’m fine with them riding on the side of the road, but it’s not a motorbike, they shouldn’t be occupying a full lane.

Even when they’re not occupying a full lane they’re still driving pretty dangerously. On more than one occasion I’ve come across scooters coming out of a street dangerously the wrong way as I’m about to enter it. I’ve also seen people ride their scooters on the side of the Gulf Road, not on the sidewalk, but on the actual road.

I really can’t understand the thinking process, they must know riding a scooter on the streets of Kuwait is dangerous so why not be extra careful about it, that’s what I’d do.


Shop&Ship Increasing Shipping Rates

If you’re a Shop&Ship customer you probably just got an email about the fact they will be increasing their rates starting August 15th. The odd part is… they don’t mention what the new rates are.

The new rates will be available on the Rate Calculator on our website from the above mentioned effective date.

I think that’s super weird, like you’re sending an email about your prices increasing, why not tell us what the new prices are?


Why is the Sahel App Only in Arabic?

Is the Sahel app really only in Arabic? I keep thinking there must be an English option somewhere and I just can’t find it because it doesn’t make sense that an app as important as Sahel is only in Arabic. I’m terrible at reading Arabic so I struggle to use the app, so how do people who don’t know any Arabic use it?

Update: Sahel will be coming in English.


26th Tree Removed

The other day I was walking in old Salmiya and noticed they had removed another tree, the 26th one on the street. And yes, I’ve been keeping count. Previously, 25 large trees had been removed when they turned the street into a pedestrian-only one and I posted about that here.

It was bound to happen since whoever worked on the project decided it was a good idea to bring the road right next to the tree and I guess the low-hanging branches might have been causing an issue with traffic so they removed the tree. I still don’t understand why they couldn’t have kept all the trees and integrated them into the street like the tree in the picture above?

There is still a line of trees left which I’m expecting to be removed any day now, I should probably take pictures from now so I could post before and after photos once they remove them.


Assima Parking is the Worst

Not sure how many of you have experienced the Assima parking lot but it might be the worst mall parking in Kuwait right now. It doesn’t help that the building is located on a super congested street, but I also think it has to do with how you get in and out of the parking as well. Even when there isn’t traffic, navigating the parking lot is tedious with a lack of proper signage, too many aggressive speed bumps and a layout that’s very confusing. At night the situation is made worse with the higher footfall, last week a friend of mine was stuck for over an hour just trying to get out of the parking lot and that seems to be a normal occurrence.

Supposedly this past weekend the mall was going to try something new to help reduce the parking issues but I’ve already given up attempting to even go there at night. When a friend called me asking for tips on where to park I told them to park across the street in the KIPCO parking lot and walk over, they called me later that evening when after leaving Assima telling me how ingenious that idea was because the Assima parking was so packed and chaotic.


GIG Battle Fitness Festival Aftermath

For such a big and really well-organized event, it’s sad to see the beach area trashed like that.

Banned Complaints

Recreational Activities are now Banned on the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Causeway

Another week another ban. Over the weekend there was a tragic incident on the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Causeway, a group of cyclists were riding in front of their support and safety vehicle when a car carelessly overtook the vehicle, hitting and killing a cyclist before fleeing the scene.

This was the second time a rider got killed on the bridge. In 2020 a similar accident occurred resulting in the bridge being open only to cyclists on Friday mornings. That turned out to be a temporary solution since Friday mornings reopened to cars again soon after.

Because of the death, a decision was made yesterday to ban all recreational activities on the bridge. Meaning no more cycling, running or any other form of activity anymore.

It’s a really frustrating situation. On the one hand, it is dangerous to ride bicycles on the roads in Kuwait, any road no matter how big or small. Drivers are extremely careless with most nowadays driving with their eyes down at their phones instead of the road ahead. But also, the bridge should have been built with cycling and running lanes similar to most large bridges around the world.

As expected, cyclists in Kuwait are upset with the ban and they have a right to be since there are no bike paths in Kuwait. The only place I’m aware of which is long enough and safe enough for bikes is the Gulf Road walkway, but a couple of weeks ago there were rumours that bicycles were going to be banned on that pathway due to them being “a danger” to pedestrians (Update on this below). So what options do cyclists have?

What’s worse is that the bridge has become a popular spot for illegal car races, and people still tend to dangerously park their cars on the side of the bridge to take selfies.

The whole thing is very upsetting and frustrating but I hope the authorities realize that cycling is a fast-growing sport in Kuwait and needs support.

Update: Rumors regarding the ban of bicycles on the Gulf Road pathway are not true or at least the info being shared got lost in translation. The illegal rental of bicycles is whats not allowed and only illegally rented bicycles are being impounded. Source

Complaints Information Shopping

Unlimited Shipping for 5KD a Month

So last week I posted about DesertCart and ever since that post I’ve been searching for other items I want but wouldn’t be allowed to ship with Aramex. While adding one such item to my cart, I got an option to ship for free if I agreed to become a DesertCart Plus member where for just 5KD a month I would get unlimited free shipping. That didn’t make any sense. Does that mean I could order a bowling bowl every day and not pay shipping for it? I decided to investigate things further.

Firstly, DesertCart already has a flat shipping rate of 3KD for items valued under 30KD and free shipping for items over 30KD. That alone is a great deal. But when you read the fine print on their website, (which also applies to their “unlimited free shipping” offer) you’ll see the big “but”:

We have a flat 3 delivery charge for all orders below KWD 30. If your order is KWD 30 or above, your order is delivered for free! You can see the final cost of your order after adding an item to your cart. If the item you have ordered is oversized, an extra shipping charge may apply. If your item exceeds a courier’s standard dimension or weight, they may charge an additional fee. We will communicate this with you before we charge your order.

I highlighted in bold the sentence that caught my attention so I got in touch with customer support via their live chat to get clarification on what exactly constitutes being oversized? What a frustrating and waste of time that was. Their support staff seemed to have been trained to maneuver around a straightforward answer but I kinda managed to squeeze out a number from them, 1-1.5KG. According to the first live chat operator (yup I contacted a bunch), as long as the item was below 1 to 1.5kg, they would ship it for free.

That’s actually not a bad deal, 5KD a month to ship an unlimited number of items that weigh around 1KG. But why isn’t that information on their website, why not make it clear or mention it in the fine print? I needed someone else to confirm that to me. So I got in touch with customer support a second time on a different day and no matter what I asked I couldn’t get an accurate answer from them. Instead, I was fed with the generic answer below:

We do not have the option to check if the item is considered oversized. Normally, if the item has large dimensions or is heavyweight, the international merchants apply the extra shipping charges before shipping the item.

At this point, we notify the customers if they are willing to proceed with the order by accepting the additional shipping charges or the customer can cancel the order from the order status page.

The merchant can only confirm the shipping charges once we proceed with the order.

When I highlighted to them that the “merchant” is Amazon and they don’t charge extra for heavy items, they responded to me with the following:

We are not affiliated with Amazon. Desertcart ships products from merchants around the world mainly from the UK, US, and India, and some from local UAE merchants. We cannot confirm what are items considered as oversized as the merchant can only confirm the shipping charges and not us. But in my experience, items that are 5kg is considered as heavyweight and the merchant might ask for the extra shipping cost

This is where their lack of transparency really bothered me. They ARE a storefront for Amazon and they ship the items to their warehouse (forwarding address in Delaware) before shipping to the UAE and then to Kuwait. You can copy-paste any product name no matter how it’s written on Amazon and DesertCart will pull up the exact same item, with the same photos and the same reviews. The customer support person got very defensive when I called them an Amazon storefront.

They were also still being very vague about what weight wouldn’t be eligible for free shipping and the fact you need to purchase the item, pay for it, and then be told if you would pay shipping is bad practice. So I kept at it trying to find out more, I decided to give them a call which didn’t result in anything new either since the person over the phone was also programmed to reply the exact same way. They recommended I email them which I did only to be also given a generic reply.

I really want to like these guys but they’re making it really difficult. They’ve also scored terrible on Scam Detector which doesn’t help their case either.

But, I still wanted to see how this free shipping works so I decided to order a lightweight and cheap item that I needed but wasn’t worthwhile to ship with Aramex, an adapter for my tire inflator. Even trying to order that was a horrible experience. The item on Amazon would have cost me around KD2.200 with tax and shipping to my Aramex address. The price on DesertCart was listed as KD2.900 which is slightly more but they need to make money as well plus currency conversion, etc, so that’s fine. But, when I would select the item to add it to my cart, the price would jump up to 7.5KD (check above). It kept happening over and over and not only with this item but with others as well. I can’t tell if it’s a buy-in their system (they have a ton of them) or if that’s part of their business model. I’d search and find an item I want and the price would say 3KD, when I click on it changes to 5.9KD. It was very frustrating. But after exiting the page and coming back in, and trying it out from the iPhone App and different browsers, I finally managed to click on the item and not have it triple in price. I added the adapter to my cart, chose to become a DesertCart Plus member (it’s free for the first month), and placed the order with free shipping.

We’ll see how it goes, I’ll also try and order a few more items of varying sizes to see what will pass and what will be considered “heavyweight”. I’ll post another update once everything arrives. If in fact, this all does work out, they might be a good option to ship items that Aramex won’t as well as ship items that aren’t too heavy. Let’s see.


Total Disregard to Pedestrians

Why are sidewalks so disliked in Kuwait? As a person that likes to walk to places, especially since I live in a commercial area, I find it so frustrating that I can’t walk one street down my apartment building unless I’m willing to walk through garbage bins, a sandy lot, and on the street with cars racing by. But this isn’t new, it’s always been like this and nobody cares obviously or else sidewalks would have been an important part of the urban planning. What is new is the fact there was an important and heavily used sidewalk a couple of blocks down from where I live which recently got removed. The issue is that they didn’t provide the pedestrians with an alternative sidewalk and this has now created a pretty dangerous situation.

Right outside the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre (Map), there was a sidewalk that runs from the inside road, around the museums, and then connects to the Gulf Road. It was a heavily used sidewalk because it’s the only road that connects the densely populated neighborhood with the Gulf Road while also connecting Salmiya to Shaab. But, due to construction work taking place there, they temporarily (I hope it’s temporary) removed the sidewalk to make more room for the cars. And that’s fine, except for the fact they didn’t temporarily provide an alternative route for pedestrians. So pedestrians are continuing to take that route (to get home or get to the Gulf Road), but now instead of walking on the sidewalk, they’re forced to walk on the road with cars speeding by dangerously. At night the strip is also poorly lit making it even more dangerous.

I’ve seen families walking on the road, young teens, and employees heading to or from work. I wouldn’t be surprised if there haven’t already been multiple incidents where pedestrians were hit by cars on this strip. Hopefully, someone reading this post can help sort this problem or let me know who to even complain about something like this even though I doubt they would care.