Sunday, December 12, 2004

just a thought...

As I pull up at the pump in Saar petrol station, wind the window down, switch the engine off, a young Bahraini man in his early twenties approaches the window. “5 dinar jayyid lo sama7t” I say. He nods, wiping the pouring sweat from around his face, he looks like he is about to faint. I want to ask him if he is ok, but decide not to.He removes the cover, places the pump in the tank, tabs in a few numbers and moves to the next customer in the car pulling up behind. I close the window to keep the heat out. Its an awkward few minutes as the car starts heating up inside, “its hot enough in here now, how must they be able to bear standing in the heat outside, breathing these fumes all day long”, I think to myself.

Toxic gases plus soaring temperatures don't make the best working environments around. A pang of pity, then guilt, rush through me. I give him the money, I want to tip him or tell him to keep the change, but I’m too afraid he will take offence. I switch the engine on, and zoom out of there as the AC slowly cools the car down again. Surely, this isn’t healthy, those fumes are probably carcinogenic. Could this be private sector exploitation?

They tell me Bahrainis are too arrogant to take menial jobs, are lazy, and the 30,000 unemployed are just bums waiting for a public sector job.

Posted by BB @ 12/12/2004 08:14:00 PM

Read or Post a Comment

You're not suppose to tip? My husband told me that, but I thought he was just being cheap. I guess I owe him an apology. Is that a general rule?

Posted by Blogger sume @ 12/13/2004 08:32:00 AM #

Tipping is very uncommon, and anyone you tip will be absolutely flabbergasted. Especially coming from a member of the opposite sex.

Last night I pulled up to the gas station, and I don't know if reading this post made me more aware of it, but the only people working there were two white teenagers. In major metro areas in the US, gas stations are near exclusively owned and operated by minorities. I can't remember the last time I was at a gas station within 20 miles of the city that was fully staffed by caucasian Americans. Maybe all the movie theatre jobs were all taken up....

Posted by Blogger Desert Island Boy @ 12/13/2004 04:44:00 PM #

Thanks, I'll remember not to tip.

All the gas stations but two in my area are owned and operated by minorities. We also rarely see caucasians building houses, those jobs are taken up by the hispanic community except, of course the foreman positions. The bag boys at the grocery store, however are mostly caucasian. Don't ask me.

Posted by Blogger sume @ 12/13/2004 05:24:00 PM #

At the end of the day they are just hard-working men trying to earn a hard-living. I would tell them to keep the change, but like DIB said, coming from the opposite sex might seem humiliating. Otherwise, guys do leave their change. They earn 120BD thats around $400. I'm sure they get paid alot more in the US?

This sector of low-skilled work is completely Bahrainised. Im sure this is due to some sort of law, otherwise there are truck-loads of indians who are prepared to do the same job for 80BD.

I don't understand why we can't just get off our own bums and do it ourselves. Those that want others to fill their tanks because their too afraid their makeup will get ruined, can pay a premium. The money these petrol stations save, can be re-invested somewhere else, like expanding other facilities the gas station can washes or in most European countries, which will also generate more income and more employment.

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 12/13/2004 09:17:00 PM #

because ppl are willing to do such jobs for 80bd or whatever.. the whole job market gets thrown into a jumble..... there should be a price floor set and a price ceiling fixed..... and u're left within a range..... i really don't understand why.... some employers go for cheap labor these days.... guess they don't understand that... its not gonna be chaep after all when the dude whos getting paid 80bd or whateva.. runs off after frustrating hrs of work.... or is a free visa dude..... and the govt. decideds to pick him up one day or he 'mysteriously' fades into the shadows - never to be heard of again...... wonder how the employer will get another hand to work for him again or rather.... the realization of what cheap labor can do to a business will finally hit him or her for that matter......
oh well my 2 cents on that/.///

Posted by Blogger Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) @ 12/14/2004 04:15:00 AM #

120BD per month? That's less than two and half massages down the Ritz Carlton in your currency Bahrania.

Posted by Blogger Scorpio @ 12/14/2004 08:23:00 PM #

LOL.... scorpio at the winding up again & the taunting comments of spas & massages begin once again for Bahrania.... :-D

Posted by Blogger Angelo Embuldeniya (Strav) @ 12/14/2004 11:55:00 PM #

Do you live in Bahrain, Bahrania?

The reason i'm asking is that (1) ALL Bahrainis know very well that those striving Bahrainis are not to be tipped, (2) it's NOT hot at all these days in the country, unless this is an old true story and (3) the job is not completely taken over by Bahrainis. As a matter of fact, Yemenis are occupying most of the new Gas stations in the country.

Besides, may i ask what kind of a car will need "BD5 Jayyid"? I'm just curiuos a bit.

But you're absolutely right; it's a damn tough job and i dedicate all the respect to whoever work in such a job.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 12/15/2004 03:22:00 PM #

lool...i was wondering how long it wud take for all three questions to pop up :) i feel relieved knowing someone was skeptical enough to pick them up though...especially the one about the jayyid:) keep 'em coming

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 12/15/2004 04:38:00 PM #

I was wondering about the heat, but I figured this could have happened in August. 5 Dinar could possibly keep a Hummer going, but who's going to put Jayyid in a Hummer? But at the same time, this past year it would cost me $25 to fill up my 12.5 gallon tank in a mid size car (thats BD10 to the rest of y'all), so it's not all that far fetched.

I used the station on the road between Juffair and Umm Al Hassan, it was across from the Palace Inn Hotel, and I believe it was run by an Persian guy. Things you don't really think about until someone brings it up.

So what's the dealio? You pulling our leg?

Posted by Blogger Desert Island Boy @ 12/15/2004 06:54:00 PM #

Yeah, good point. Why didn't I think of that?

Bahrania, you live in South Kensington, possibly the most expensive part of the most expensive city in the world - daddy must be absolutely loaded and if you're driving round in a pickup truck that takes jayyid, you're either:

a) a dead eyed deadbeat
b) a self important bullshit merchant talking out of your woman-of-the-people friend-of-the-common-man arse.

Either of which fits in with the profile of an Islamist activist, which you are as well.

Posted by Blogger Scorpio @ 12/15/2004 09:19:00 PM #

woow i'm flattered... *blush* can I put that on my CV?

DIB: honey, it ain't no Hummer, lets just say, I change my car more than I change my underwear, basically whatever dead-beat car key falls in my lap I take, never gave the jayyid or mumtaz much thought though. I always thought jayyid was unleaded...and mumtaz premium unleaded... my cousin is gonna kill me when he finds out, lets just hope he's not reading this.

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 12/15/2004 09:50:00 PM #

I'm not saying that the situation isn't plausible. It very well could be.

I even entertained the notion that you could have been trying to introduce the western concept of tipping to the indigenous people of Bahrain. But the British aren't really known for their tipping, I always thought it was an American thing.

I'll say this much in your defense. Regardless of your political preferences, you don't think or write like a radical islamist.....


Oh, and if it'll help you sleep any better, you could consider tanking up at night, when it is

a- much cooler
b- less likely for petrol to evaporate into those toxic fumes that you're concerned about

Posted by Blogger Desert Island Boy @ 12/15/2004 11:46:00 PM #

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 12/16/2004 12:04:00 AM #

(sorry that anonymous post was me by mistake)

loool..thanks for the tip DIB...I wasn't talking about the here and now. I was re-living a 'thought'. Yes, I was thinking more in the context of mid-August, mid-day, 50 degrees celsius :) When humidity hits you like a punch in the gut, let alone doing 5-hour shifts!!!

Damn, I have to work harder at the radical islamist image....u trying to tell me I haven't convinced you already???

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