The Learning Experience …

The Eid holidays are always when the most interesting people come out to play … This is when Muscat is full of people that one would not usually see in Muscat … very few Muscat people stay in Muscat during this time … people come out from everywhere and City Center (CC) is the main attraction (of course) and now with another CC in town we seem to have whole new breed of people coming out into the light … What seems to be surprising is that the new CC seems to be attracting a whole new type employee …

Side note: the first strange experience was at fresh fillings place in the food court (dont remember what its called exactly) .. i tried to eat there but the guy was on a mission … every time i ordered something he would tell me that i cant order it … i say “but its on the menu” .. he says “menu wrong, dont have” … finally, we settle on something that they do have … but, they dont accept card … he won .. i went to eat somewhere else…

The Early Learning Center (ELC) i think has managed to attract the weirdest of all weirdos to work at their Qurum CC (QCC) branch …These guys must have won prizes in being weird … i guess you have to be a bit wierd to work at a toy store ….

I went to ELC with one of my little ones to buy a birthday present … This is the kind of place you want to avoid if you have kids … coz its a trap … ive seen kids crying in there … beating up their parents … parents fighting with the kids … parents fighting with each other … its the perfect place to go to test your will, patience and authority with your kids … These shops are usually full of kids that are trying all the toys … and playing … and singing .. and dancing


Side note: Lately, people hosting birthday parties create lists of the presents they want for their kids at places like ELC and the people invited to the birthday party go there and choose to buy from the list (if they want) … but this way at least its a win win … the birthday people get what they want and you get not think too much about what to buy and where to go …

Now, while walking to the ELC at QC, the following series of events stared to unfold: i noticed something very odd … the guy working at this kids store was trying to get the kids to leave the store .. he was actually kicking kids out of the shop … thats not normal … is it?  I walk in and go to speak to this guy, who was by now, almost having a fist fight with a 7 year old … and i ask about the list … “list?” he said, almost shocked to hear that there is a list … “no list, no!” …
He then moves to the counter they have at the shop … he looks back and kids he was wrestling were now running away with the balloons he was protecting … he takes out a book and shows me one of the pages … “List?” he says pointing at the page …  I knew he was north african by the way he looked but i couldn’t tell which country …

OM: Yes … List…please show what items are on the list so i can buy one of them …

ELM: I dont know what is on the list …

OM: This is the list .. all the toy names and codes are here … just show me where they are …

ELM: there is another guy … he also works here … but he is not here now … he will come soon … he will show you …

OM: Laish? you show me !

ELM: Please wait …

At this stage i decide not to wait .. i have to find something to buy and move on … my little one is still happy to be at ELC soon he’ll be bored and will want to move around … and i will have to move out … i start looking around … its almost impossible to find anything … i never realized there are sooo many toys in such a small place…

After 15 minutes i decide to call the people that made the list and ask them what they wanted and where it is in the shop … after spending 10 minutes on the phone … i finally buy the present and 2 more toys for the kids … the “other guy” has still not come and now i had spend close to 25 minutes at ELC !!

Thinking of teaching this useless guy a lesson … i decide to make him wrap every thing up separately ….

OM: ok wrap everything up and i will be back …

ELM: 6ayeb t3aaal ba3d rubu3 sa3a … inshallah el 6alabiys jahzeh .. (come after 15 minutes and your order will be ready)

OM: 6alabiya? ana aish 6alib mulu5iya? ( what do you mean order?)

ELM: 6alabiya elal3ab (the toys)

OM: 6ayb … jahizli el 6alabiya … (ok… get the order ready)

Now i realized that the guy is probably covering up for someone … there is NO WAY that he is actually employed by ELC while referring to the toys in the same way that food orders are referred to … i leave him to wrap and go for a walk with the little one … I come back 15 minute later to see him still struggling to wrap the first toy … and the kids have now taken over the store … there is no word from the other guy that works there… now i start to think whether i should just take the toys and wrap them at home …

At this moment, the other guy walks into the store … FINALLY !!!  Some one to take charge of the mess… this guys was also north africa … i immediately told him that ive been here for 45 minutes and that his buddy needs help … he starts to help with the wrapping … he creates this very funky envelope to put one of the toys in … and i think to myself … “what a smart way yo wrap …. i never thought of that” …  i was actually impressed … BUT … the toy didnt fit into the envelope … so that was another 5 minutes wasted … from then the situation statred to go out of control:

  • i want to pay using the card but their machine kept rejecting it
  • i tried another card, the machine broke down
  • the kid screams: ” BABAAAAAAA 7AMMAAAAAAAAAM” (Dad, i need the toilet now)
  • i took the kid and ran to the ATM
  • came back and there was still one toy to be wrapped
  • i put the kid down and start to pay
  • The final toy is half wrapped but i take it anyway
  • my kid freezes and whispers “baba 7amaaam” (TOILET NOW!)
  • i have one hand in the air receiving my change and i could now see the liquid starting to gather in the little one’s crocs. Tiny shiny beads start to reflect the light and glimmer.
  • i take the toys and the kid down to muscat pharmacy
  • buy diaper and and some wet tissues
  • change the kid in the back of my car
  • strap em into the car seat and leave
  • this was one hour and forty five minutes later

what did I learn?

  • potty training should be conducted in a controlled environment
  • people from north africa are different
  • always carry cash
  • do your gift wrapping yourself
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