Living in the UAE has taught me that logic is never to be taken for granted. Some things make a lot of sense, for example shops of the same nature have to all be in the same place. Al Ain has many perfect examples of this; there are countless mobile phone repair shops all in one place, just as all the electrical shops are within close proximity on the other side. As a time saving exercise this is splendid, plus it helps to keep the competition healthy and the prices down. But there is a flip side to this hallmark of convenience; do any of these shops sell what you might expect?
Back home in England-land – and presumably every other nation in the world with the possible exception of Chad– if you want to buy a decent lamb shank you visit your local butcher. It’s the same for clothes. If you wake up one day and fancy a new pair of jeans you head to a clothes shop that you like. You do not go into Caffe Nero’s and ask if they have something in a size 34 waist. Here in the Emirates anything is possible.
Last year at work we were organising a very big event. The work involved was epic. During the build up I needed several thousand things every minute of the day, one of those things was an electric fuel pump, which sounds simple enough. So with my associate we headed into Al Ain’s industrial area; Sanaiya. I know the area quite well so started my search for this fuel pump in the hardware stores. They are like Aladdin’s caves these places but the one thing they did not have was the very thing I needed.
I then decided to broaden my search and that next I would try the marine equipment places. Nothing. I then went into several electricians where again no one could help. We visited around 30 places and my temper was beginning to flare. Whilst stuck at another set of needless traffic lights I happened to notice a lighting shop on the other side. I still don’t know how I got drawn in but I entered and approached the desk. I asked the man if he had any idea where I could find my elusive fuel pump. Through his ill groomed moustache and 4 teeth he asked me what size I wanted.
Through all the hanging chandeliers and drive way lights, there, lined up on the floor in the bay window was a selection of fuel pumps. In a lighting shop? I asked the man why he was the only person in the world to sell such a combination of things, chandeliers and fuel pumps? He looked at me like I was an idiot. I couldn’t work out the logic. This guy runs a lighting shop, yet sells fuel pumps and not light bulbs. Regardless though, he had saved me.
Thinking about it, it was a master stroke of genius. This man had obviously been into every shop in Sanaiya and happened to notice by chance that there was a gap in the market. I think he’s on to something for sure. How many times have you been in Zara Home and suddenly realised that you need a leg of lamb? Or how many times have you been in Aldo and wanted to buy a Luger P08 so you can shoot yourself in the face? There is definitely something in this.
I don’t really have too much more to say on the matter other than you can get whatever you want over here in the UAE, but you just have to know where not to look…