x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Gold star for customer service

Twice Cantina Laredo in Khalidiya Mall was out of beef brisket, so we e-mailed the headquarters in Dallas detailing our plight and promptly received a reply.

On two occasions we tried to order the brisket tacos from Cantina Laredo in Khalidiya Mall, only to be told the kitchen was out of beef brisket. We were offered "chicken brisket" tacos, but that is essentially just chicken breast tacos. We e-mailed the restaurant's corporate headquarters in Dallas detailing our plight, to which we received this reply a day later: "The brisket turns out to be a very popular item in the region which has resulted in the shortage. An extra supply is on the way and should be arriving any day. We will let you know once they have restocked." Just over a week later, we got a message from Ehab Warda, the operations manager for Cantina Laredo in the UAE. "I'm pleased to inform you that Cantina Laredo now has beef brisket back on its menu and therefore it would be my pleasure to invite you for a brisket meal." Well done, Cantina Laredo. As for the brisket, it was everything we could have hoped for.

www.notalwaysright.com Therapeutic prose for anyone who has worked in customer service, The Customer Is Not Always Right blog offers user-submitted anecdotes about interacting with capitalism's reality-challenged consumers. While we're not sure all the entries are real, they are entertaining nevertheless. A favourite: the electronics customer who tried to plug his PlayStation 3 into a microwave, and then was upset when it didn't function. His response: "But it has a screen. Why wouldn't it work?"

Save money by forming an Aramex pool with friends. It costs Dh130 to set up an account for their brilliant Shop&Ship service, in which you receive an American and British postal "address", meaning you can make purchases from US and UK websites and have Aramex forward them to you in the UAE. Deliveries start at Dh143 and rarely increase in price unless the package is heavy or the goods cost more than $200. Thus, instead of paying the full delivery rate for just a single book, magazine or pair of shoes, you can wait until all the items you and your pool ordered arrive at Aramex and share the cost of forwarding the package. Plus, if you miss the delivery and have to go to the Aramex office (in Abu Dhabi and Dubai) to collect your stuff, you can also split the price of a cab.

What I tried: Rodial's Glamtox Peel, Dh350 for 50ml, at Boutique 1. What I expected: To look 10 years younger in 10 minutes, of course. And for my thighs to be firmer than they were before, and my bank account also miraculously increased. OK, seriously, I didn't expect much. I have had enough experience with beauty products to know that nothing without a scalpel can give you a facelift in 10 minutes. The blurb on the tube says this mask "reduces fine lines and fades age spots". It claims to prevent the "formation of fine lines by stimulating the skin's natural collagen". What I found: I had to take my glasses off to read the instructions, which of course made me feel 10 years older in less than 10 seconds. I had cleansed my face as instructed and was ready to plaster the gunk on my face. I took one last look in the mirror at my old face, which was in dire need of help, having been woken up at 5am three mornings in a row. The cream has a reassuringly clinical but rather lovely smell. It goes on smoothly. The idea is to let it dry and then rub it off with your fingertips. This I did, having spent 10 minutes lying on my bed waiting for the miracle mask to take effect. It came off in small sand-like grains. I washed the remainder off and hey presto - the new me! Or was it? The final verdict: This mask does not give you an instant facelift, but that is not to say it is a waste of money. It does actually make your skin glow, which is probably due to the exfoliating effect of rubbing it off. And you are instructed to use it once a week: I've used it for two weeks now, so maybe in a few weeks' time I will see more of a dramatic result. Having said that, anything that smells nice and lets you lie down for 10 minutes is all right with me, even if my fine lines are still as fine as they were 10 minutes ago. Helena Frith Powell