The fan in my car went on the blink this week and driving around Fujairah without the AC is a sweaty and most uncomfortable experience.
After getting a recommendation I drove to an Auto Electrical Workshop and Car AC shop and told them that my car had a problem (‘mushkila’).
A bevy of Bangladeshi auto electricians worked on the car for over an hour and replaced a wire in the fuse box that had melted.
When the bonnet was finally closed I said to the mechanic with my best Bengali inflection: ‘Dam kôto?’ (How much?)
He took me inside and repeated my query to the boss. The owner looked at me quizzically and then asked with a smile, “How much do you want to pay?”
I told him that this was the first time I’d ever been asked that question then he mentioned something about me being a ‘new customer’.
Was the businessman inviting me to pay something small as a goodwill gesture, to ensure my return and in the hope that I would tell my friends that this is a terrific business?
Was this a well-used practice that normally results in expats giving much more than the usual service fee?
I insisted that he set the amount because car parts had been used and he must have a regular hourly rate at which he charges.
He came up with a good price and we parted as friends but I was left pondering the meaning of this practice in my ongoing cultural education.
This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page upon which many more articles and links are posted than on this blog.
Image: Business Card Collage: “and in the hope that I would tell my friends that this is a terrific business?” I am a satisfied customer.
Details: Karim Auto Electrical Workshop & Car AC Rep.
(09) 2222178, Near Al Badi, Industrial Area Rd 1. Fujairah.
View Karim Auto Electricians in a larger map