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08 January 2007



You leave us hanging - where are the Carpet Dogs?


Yes friends, I do know what you are talking about. Let me tell about the waitresses in Georgia. Mind you, some waitresses are the nicest of people willing to actually bring your order without making it seem that you are causing them no end of aggravation because you actually wanted to eat.

Here is the Georgian Waitress Code of Ethics

1. Who cares is you are on a tight schedule and want to get out of the restaurant in under three hours.

2. I am not obligated to be nice to you especially if your Armenian, Azeri or better lookiing than I am.

3. If your boyfriend looks rich, I will chat him up in front of you.

4. It is the customers fault if the staff does not have enough change in the till. This is a hard and fast rule don't forget it.
5. So your order is wrong, SO WHAT.

6. Anyone seen trying to be nice will be broken of that habit as soon as possible.

Ladies, I am not asking you to like me. I am just asking for the minimum standard of curtesy. I am nice to you. I am clean. I try to behave in a manner that won't offend. Having worked retail, I know its not easy to deal with thousands of customers a day. You like Aerosvit are no longer guarenteed a job. Despite what the tourist industry tells you, more Georgians that they care to admit are extremely rude to foreigners. They make fun of the ones who can't speak Georgian. Folks, customer service school might be appropriate. The one thing that I think should be discussed is the fact that there is socially permissible corruption. It is okay to double your prices for foreigners. They can afford it and Americans have a money tree in their backyards. No we dont. Here is the talk among the foreigners who have been cheated. They find that being asked to pay exhorbitant prices on a daily basis is wearing and does not make them want to come back to Georgia. It gives the place a reputation of a thieves haven and tarnishes the reputation of those who practice honesty every day. And there are many. I have met them and have received kindness from them. They are the ones who should be mentioned but unfortunately the dishonest are for more prevalent.


Ahh UM Air (Ukrainian Medditerranean Airlines). Such a 'woe'-nderful airline. Not only do you get to fly on a 1989 DC9 with Spanish signage inside (luckily I know what a salida is). But at 2am when you're about to board a hop from Almaty to Astana, then back to Kyiv, you're told you have to pay money because they made a mistake on your ticket.

But this is after they have issued you a boarding pass. So, while sitting in customs listening to your name being paged, thinking "I have a boarding pass. I have so dodged that bullet", the ticket-dyevushka chases you down, accompanied by an interpreter whose two languages do not include english, with some Kazakh passport control goons in pursuit. She drags you back through passport control, where you have to surrender your passport, and tells you to pay $100 US dollars to put a 2cm by 5mm sticker on your ticket.

But! No one knows where you have to pay the money. They finally find you a KACA in the remotest corner of the airport who will indeed accept your money, but despite very prominent signage to the contrary, she won't take any credit cards, or US dollars (oh that was one funny screaming match).

Then your flight is delayed by four hours, and for some reason your flight path to Kyiv from Astana, which are on practically the same latitudinal position, diverts south over Georgia, the Caucasus and the Black Sea and takes seven hours instead of four.

At least they gave us beer for breakfast.


Ahhh all my bad flight experiences seem so banal now.


"The 7 Principles of Highly Effective Post-Soviet Management: Lying, Cheating and Stealing" in action!


Might I ask what the upshot was of the letter to Aerosvit? Full and generous compensation, we won't do it again??

On second thoughts .....


That is the funniest comment that has ever been posted on this blog, Viola.


And UM Air was banned from the European Union for safety deficincies.

Sorry about Aerosvit. Most post-Soviet airlines, unfortunately, have abysmal ground handling; hold outs from the Soviet era. I've had rude staff at Aeroflot (who, in the air, I think are awesome), they seem to be the norm on the ground at KBP for AeroSvit and Ukraine International.


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