Thursday, December 16, 2010

Trust in Business

The other evening, my husband and I went out just to walk around at a small local mall here in Jeddah. I like to look at the traditional long dresses that many women wear here, so we went into one of the small dress shops in the mall so I could take a look. Many of the traditional dresses are embroidered, or embellished with beading.

I found three that I liked - and you've heard me complain about this before - but generally there are no dressing rooms here for women to try on clothing.

I've been given many excuses for why there are no dressing rooms for women in clothing shops here in this country, ranging from the problem with women shoplifting clothing by just putting it on underneath their big black abayas, to the potential problem of men sales clerks molesting women who are undressed in the dressing rooms. FYI - there ARE no women sales clerks allowed in Saudi Arabia - don't get me started! Suffice it to say that this country is big on "prevention" when it comes to the matter of women and sex, no matter how remote the possibility of whatever it is that might occur.

Anyway, back to my story... I guess business was rather slow that night, so I figure that this shopkeeper was anxious to make a sale.

What he did next almost floored me.

He took the three dresses off the hangers, folded them nicely and put them in a bag for me. In Arabic he told my husband, "Take the dresses home and let your wife try them on. Keep what she likes and bring back what she doesn't want. Then you just pay me for what you keep."

He took no money.
He didn't ask for my husband's name or phone number.
He didn't make a note of the merchandise that we walked out of the store with.
He didn't request that we bring the money or the items back by any particular date.

I'm still shocked.

Would a scenario like this ever happen where YOU live?

(NOTE: The dresses shown in this post are from Artizara.com)

32 comments:

  1. How nice of him :)

    At the bakery we go to sometimes when we don't have enough money or forgot our wallet they let us go without paying and just tell us to come back some time.

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  2. When I worked in Saudi 20 years ago for Bhs we did have changing rooms, though no female assistants even in the lingerie section.
    We were told by the 'prevention of vice team' to close them.....

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  3. Hello
    it happened to me before :)
    no problems the salesman or the owner will judge a person from his appearance.
    Also this method wins customers.
    Mohammed. (KSA)

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  4. hmmm with a total stranger no, that IS a lot of trust. I remember once i bought something but I was $10 short. The lady looked at me and said I trust you'll bring it tomorrow? and let me take the item.

    Did y'all take the items then? And do you plan to return them?

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  5. Good Lord, this would never happen here in Canada! Here, especially before Christmas, clerks stare and look paranoid so that you won`t steal from their store. For if you do, they get the blame for it and often have to pay for missing items.

    Francesca from Canada

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  6. Wow, these dresses are gorgeous!!! I would have bought them on the spot. Here in Hawaii, we call them "muumuu."

    I wish you had mentioned what type of fabric they were made of and how much they cost in US dollars.

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  7. Actually this is very common act and it happens to my sisters all the time. They take the cloth and try them at home and later they bring them back if they do not fit :o).

    There are places that has women fitting rooms like some shops at Badrya Plaza.

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  8. Would that happen where I live? NO WAY!!! lol If it did, the customer would probably be accused of shoplifting and the clerk would be fired :p

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  9. How Lovely. It would happen where I live, most probably, but it's Oman so no surprise there. Those dresses are very pretty too.
    I enjoy your blog and have been reading for many moths but this is the first time I have commented.
    Kind regards

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  10. wow! That's awesome. That would definitely never happen here in Florida. I can't wait to hear the follow up. Let us know which one you choose.

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  11. WHOAAAAAAAAAAAA you should be happy about that one he was really nice and trusted your husband. I wish someone would let me try on clothes. I am still looking for jeans 2 years later bc I have no idea what my size is here grrr.

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  12. That is just beautiful. Great to hear.

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  13. Wow! That's amazing and awesome! I do like the trust going on. I can't see that happening where I'm at in southwestern US.

    Did you like the dresses?

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  14. Never. But I do have a small neighborhood grocery that will run a tab for the regulars.

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  15. this incident will never happen in my country...

    i went to dublin few years back for sis graduation..we were out for dinner at the Arab Restaurant..we r the only muslim whereby all d rest are westerners..the worker collect d money from the other customers before surrendered their food, but for us he said, 'muslim pay later, eat first'..

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  16. Hi Susie,Wow,that clerk was really kind! Would this happen where I live?
    Well, my dh wouldn't be caught dead shopping with me LOL. Bass Pro or Cabelas maybe....and there are no stores around here with beautiful long embroidered dresses.
    It's so cold here now if you can get out and go somewhere its with big heavy coats scarves and sweaters on!

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  17. No a shop keeper would not let me leave with cloths unpaid for, although I don't shop where the owner is checking me out either....this reminds me of a 80's TV movie with Jacyln Smith (remember her from Charlies Angels?) anyway in the movie she was married to a rich man in society, she would take home designer dresses (Halston) and have a tailor copy them, then return the dresses and still be dressed to the 9's for her husbands parties!!
    Funny memory... :)
    Love the dresses shown they are beautiful.

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  18. It probably would not happen to that degree. A small shop where the owner knows who you are might let you take things home on trial. It seems like that happened to me once but I can't remember the details. Maybe it was bolts of material for curtains.

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  19. I once rented a tiller from a guy nearby. When I picked it up he told me it was $20 per hour. It was Saturday and he was closed on Sunday. I looked at him and asked how he would know how many hours I used it. He said, "You're gonna tell me." I overpaid him for that one

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  20. The shopkeepers when we were in Iran didn't worry about us returning goods, because they were astonishingly (appallingly?) good at guessing our sizes. There were fitting rooms, but everything fit. It's tougher, I know, in Saudi because abayas are much less revealing than manteaus. I never had the courage to try to buy a bra there.
    When we were in Saudi Arabia -2008-2009, my husband lost his wallet in a parking lot outside a Panda. We were frantic - his iqama was in it, and a few other documents. An hour later, and after evening prayers, we finally tracked it down in the store office. Not only was his iqama there, so were all of his credit cards, $1000 USD, and 4000 SAR. That's real money anyplace you go, and I knew workers when we were there who somehow "lived" on 400 SAR a month. Every penny was there, and no reward was accepted.
    When we were there, I felt we were generally treated with courtesy, honesty, and even generosity. We met many great people and made lifelong friends. I have fond memories of the place and could have stayed longer, except for missing our daughter, who was in the USA attending university.
    I know you haven't always had an easy time of it, but you are good at keeping your chin up, at least in print. I totally relate to the challenge of an aging middle eastern husband! (sometimes I wonder who the heck I am married to (!) and wonder who is going to get to senility first.)
    Anyway, good luck to you, and happy holidays.

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  21. most definitely NOT!! :) its nice when something like that floors you.. especially when in the first place it would have been such a problem :) masha'Allah. I like the purple one :)

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  22. نــــــــــاصـــــــــــــرDec 18, 2010, 6:50:00 PM

    http://news1.ghananation.com/latest-news/62896-ghanaian-saudi-princess-kicked-out-of-restaurant%E2%80%9D.html

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  23. How wonderful! This has happened many times when I was travelling, but not recently... Although in certain shops where I'm known, they let me pay the next time. Love those dresses, by the way.

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  24. I must say those dresses are really beautiful! I wish we could wear those at the streets in the west without looking weird cause they are really pretty!

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  25. Yes, it happens here in our own small market town in Eastern England, probably because the shop owners know us (at least by sight). It's how a business should be run -on trust. I always think that a shopkeeper who trusts others is probably a trustworthy person, and the reverse is almost certainly true.

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  26. A Canadian ReaderDec 21, 2010, 5:46:00 AM

    Francesca--I do think this happens in Canada, but certainly not in the big chain stores. I am absolutely positive that in my neighbourhood (here in Canada's largest city), shopkeepers that I patronize on a regular basis would have no trouble letting me take something on spec.

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  27. that would never happen here in california...
    but when we lived in Lebanon...i always used to take what i needed from the market and fruit stand when my husband wasnt around, then my husband would pay them when he got home.

    but this store owner went above and beyond!

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  28. Have to agree with a Canadian Reader. I have a few times run short of cash or their debit machines were not working and they assured me I could pay them when I could. And I did of course.

    A great benefit of shopping outside the Big Box stores and getting to know and supporting your neighbors.

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  29. Yes that's happened to me quite a bit here actually. I've heard from friends about how they are just given the clothes they like and are asked to either bring it back or pay for it in a few days.
    My aunt was once waslking in balad when her sandal broke, and one of the men on the street who shine shoes offered to fix it, but she didn't have any money, so he told her that he is there every day, and that she can come whenever she has the time and pay him for fixing her shoe.

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  30. I told my sister about this when she came out to visit me this year and she didn't believe me until we went to a jewellers and she couldn't make her mind up which ring she wanted.

    The jeweller said take then both and wear then to see which one you prefer. She couldn't do that but she did take one to try. She felt really guilty for the 2 days trial and didn't feel happy till she'd paid him. The cost was over £1,000. This just would not have happend in the UK !

    The trust is something else and not just that the hospitality is 2nd to none. Freshly brewed coffee at every visit and honest friendly chat !

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  31. I told my sister about this when she came out to visit me this year and she didn't believe me until we went to a jewellers and she couldn't make her mind up which ring she wanted.

    The jeweller said take then both and wear then to see which one you prefer. She couldn't do that but she did take one to try. She felt really guilty for the 2 days trial and didn't feel happy till she'd paid him. The cost was over £1,000. This just would not have happend in the UK !

    The trust is something else and not just that the hospitality is 2nd to none. Freshly brewed coffee at every visit and honest friendly chat !

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