Kuwait vs America – Part 2

Talal Al-Ghannam

Good morning my dear and honorable brothers and sisters, and I wish you all a happy week to come. Today’s column is a continuation of a previous column written a few months back, in which I compared between behaviors of people in Kuwait to that of people in the United States.

In this article, I would like to continue comparing between life in Kuwait and the US in terms of respecting the law in all aspects of life. As for my experience in the US, during the 1980s, life then was very comfortable, and one could feel that the law was enforced on everyone without discrimination. Take queuing in the university’s cafeteria for instance – you would see the dean himself standing in line waiting for his order and be served accordingly.

On the other hand, in so many places in Kuwait, especially in restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets and even in government departments, you have to fight for your right, otherwise you will keep waiting and waiting to finish what you went there to do.

The second example is when visiting a restaurant. In America, the waiter or waitress receives people’s respect and appreciation for his or her service, and you can even thank them by their name that is written on the tag on their chests. Whereas here, I have seen with my own eyes some people yelling at restaurant workers, and never speaking politely with them. They instead make them feel as if they are forced to do their job.

I once had to go to a police station to report a missing ID. The officers and staff there called the porter ‘shareka,’ meaning a company worker. They never bothered to ask about his name, but rather insisted on addressing him as if he was the company itself.

The third issue is when you go to rent an apartment in the US – you never encounter a janitor (haris) who stipulates that he is paid an amount equal to half of the rent as commission, and expect a monthly KD 5 payment for offering nothing spectacular to the tenants. But in the US on the other hand, you would deal with certified agencies that never beg to collect unwanted fees, but honor the contract they signed with you. Building janitors here make a bundle of cash they collect from tenants every month, besides the advance fees. I wonder if the building owners know about this illegal stuff.

Another issue is commitment to appointments. In the US, once when I had to sell my car, many people called me to come and see the car. And if anything happened, they would call and apologize for not being able to come. Whereas here, the story is different. The majority of callers for the same purpose make an appointment with you, but never show up and do not apologize.

Finally, when you are at a restaurant in the US and discover the food was not OK, you will be compensated or be served another dish for free. The same thing happens when ordering a pizza, which is supposed to be delivered in less than 30 minutes, and if it arrives in 31 minutes, you get it for free. But in Kuwait, there are many cases of deliverymen who get beaten for arriving two minutes late, and many similar cases have been reported to the police.
Till the next article insha Allah

By Talal Al-Ghannam

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