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Parking & car wash

June 13, 2009

Washing cars is big here. In our apartment building, we have a basement parking area and there is a man who washes our car regularly for 100 dirhams ($27.00) per month. This is probably high, but it’s convenient. At work, there are also grounds workers who wash cars for the staff to earn extra money. At shopping malls, there are often men equipped with buckets and rags in the parking lots waiting to wash your car while you shop. It is rare to see a dirty car here and when I see one I wonder how hasn’t it gotten washed somewhere along the line?

I explain all this to set up my story. We went to a restaurant that is Western style and a major Western expatriate hang out. The car wash guys that hang out around it have a unique way of getting your business. You have to pay for parking at a (solar powered) parking meter. It takes coins and special cards. It is 1 dirham for an hour and, for some unexplainable reason, 5 dirhams for 2 hours. The car wash guy sees you drive up and heads you off at the parking meter. He has a card and offers to use it to get your parking slip for you and then you pay him the 1 or 5 dirhams. He also hits you up for a car wash and since he was so nice to help you with the parking meter, you feel obligated to pay for an unneeded car wash. Apparently, his parking card gives him a little discount on the parking fee, so you pay him the full amount and he makes a little off of that as well as the car wash fee. It’s not a full blown scam where you get cheated…

HOWEVER…

This time the man who wanted to pay for our parking and wash our car was very persistent. Daddybird did not want to play his game, just wanted to pay for parking and go about our business. He told him “I’ve got it” which probably doesn’t translate in Globish. The man fussed for a while trying to pay for our parking. Then walked away. THEN came back and tried a second time pushing in to put his card in the parking meter slot even though Daddybird was putting coins in the slot. Daddybird found this so annoying he raised his voice and said “NO!” This, apparently was understandable and the little man went away disappointed.

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