Sunday, March 6, 2011

Letters from Egypt: Revolutionary Deals and Steals

Taken Thursday on my way to Nasr City

A revolution is like Black Friday, known as the Friday after Thanksgiving that is a US retailer’s biggest dream. On that day, American shops extend opening hours (often opening around 4 am) and see the largest figures produced for the entire year based on customers coming out en masse to kick off the holiday season.

So maybe Egypt’s revolution isn’t just like Black Friday. Hours have decreased because of curfew (the end of life as we know it – who knew I was still a teenager living under my parents’ roof) and the shelves are less packed; nonetheless, there are some deals and steals going on (more steals than deals though as the population continues to spin out of control).

One of my favorite restaurants, Fuego’s Sushi Bar & Grill, has introduced a 20% discount as a revolutionary congratulations. Unfortunately, their clientele was mostly foreign and in case you haven’t heard the news, many were evacuated and have yet to return – in addition to those that will never return per company relocation. I wonder how difficult it will be for local international schools to recruit teachers for the next school year, but I digress. According to a GM at the restaurant, revenue has decreased substantially. Although there has been an uptick recently after this offer, the restaurant is still down approximately 35% in sales compared to pre-revolution days. However, who can beat 20% off on an already SLAMMIN all you can eat sushi dinner on Sundays?

Today I got a text message that said:

“Due to the incredible success of the Revolution Burger Meal Promotion, The Burger Kitchen now offers a brand new Revolution Chicken Meal for only 10LE.”

A boutique near my apartment has a sign in the window for 70% off. I think it’s safe to say that store isn’t going to be around much longer (not to mention all the tops were already 350LE and ugly – I think 70% off on most of the items still doesn’t cut it).


And what’s even better is that employers are now using the revolution as an excuse to only pay their staff half a month’s wages.

So, put your big girl panties on and prepare for this whopper:

It’s understandable if your staff didn’t work for two weeks to deduct that time from the salary. Moving out of Cairo and let’s look at Hurghada, a resort city on the Red Sea that depends heavily on tourism. One of the major clubs there denied payment to all of its employees – foreign and Egyptian. A friend living in the area said, “You let them use that as an excuse one month without complaining, [then] there’s no reason for them to change!” In a separate industry not related to tourism, my friend is also facing a boss that wants to only pay his staff half a month’s wages.

The club (sorry, can’t release the name) paid its employees only half their salaries for two months in a row simply saying they couldn’t afford it because of the catastrophic decline in tourism. The owner said, “No tourists so no money to pay.” Then the club owner’s wife posted on her Facebook details about their evacuation to neighboring Sharm el-Sheikh via a PRIVATE LEAR JET. Since she was obviously dumb enough to post that on her Facebook, I’m assuming that she’s dumb enough to have employees of the club on her friend list.

That is a bonefied steal my friends. As in get out while you can because they’re going to rob you blind.

Another steal was seen today by a friend driving down Zahraa road:

A group of six men were stopping cars attempting to get the driver to smell their “perfume.” As crime rate has increased, alerts are high. I think it’s also safe to assume that might be another steal in the making and perfume isn’t necessarily what you’re going to smell, but some weird Egyptian homemade remedy of Knock You Out and Jack Your Car.

Taken in Metro market today AND it's real...REAL SCARY


  1. wow...I cant believe some people..
    How many staff were only paid 1/2 their salaries?
    How did they get home? Did they have to pay?:S Nice that all those people have worked hard and kept you going- only to be slapped in the face at the last minute...Im all right jack!

    Sounds a bit like the time when a certain club cut salaries as they said there was no money coming in - and if they did not they would have to lose an employee(egyptian)...then showed off the brand new porsche on FB...Its not the same people by any chance is it? :s

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