Shopping Drama in Aisle 3

From trying to stay one step ahead of the killer floor cleaning machine, to being baffled at price discrepancies, shopping is always a grand adventure in Dubai.

First, let’s cover the basics. Check out some of these products with Arabic writing! I still get so excited when I see this stuff in stores. 🙂

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Laughing Cow cheese

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When Micah wore diapers! :D

When Micah wore diapers! 😀

How cute is this? It says "Nappy Cream" :)
How cute is this? It says “Nappy Cream” 🙂

In terms of price differences from the US to Dubai, here are a few prices from various shopping trips:

  • 20-pack of Slow Melt Popsicles – 27.95 AED about $7.63
  • Small bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos (at home, they cost 99 cents) – 2.00 AED about $0.54
  • Box of Duncan Hines brownie mix – 12.95 AED about $3.53
  • 6-pack of Coca Cola – 9.00 AED about $2.45
  • Can of Tesco pinto beans – 4.95 AED about $1.35
  • Pack of tortillas – 14.95 AED about $3.66
  • Can of refried beans – 6.95 AED about $1.89
  • Coffeemate French Vanilla creamer – 20 AED about $5.45

These prices are from places like the French ‘hypermarket’ Carrefour located at Mall of the Emirates. Carrefour is like a huge Super Wal-Mart. They sell everything from groceries to furniture to clothing to toys to electronics.  Some of these prices are also from an Australian supermarket called Choithram’s. We live in walking distance from a Choithram’s, so we do a lot of our shopping there. It’s a much smaller location, so we pick up only the basics from there. I would compare that atmosphere to Ralph’s! For our big grocery shopping trips, we go to Carrefour, Géant at Ibn Battuta Mall, or the very fancy, and adorably named, Spinney’s. If I had to choose my favorite place to shop for groceries it would be anywhere but Carrefour. 😀 It’s always so crowded!

Here are some more scenes from a shopping trip to Carrefour.

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They have a person there who drives around all day on this floor cleaning mobile. He owns the aisles, so you better move out of his way cause he honks until you move! Behind the little car, you can see the floor squeegee that wipes up all of the soap and water that he leaves behind. This just adds another layer of annoyance to my typical Carrefour shopping experience. It’s very rare for me to have a good time when I shop there. And I LOVE grocery shopping. -_-

Up close and personal with the floor cleaner!
Up close and personal with the floor cleaner!
at Carrefour, you have to purchase your cigarettes from a separate shopping area.
at Carrefour, you have to purchase your cigarettes from a separate shopping area.
Shopping at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates
Shopping at Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates

On another Debbie Downer note, I have to say that my biggest pet peeve about shopping in Dubai (maybe even about living in Dubai in general) is that the price tags are wrong way too many times! And back in California, if the price tag is wrong, then the customer is always right and receives the price marked on the tag. Store employees always try to keep customers happy. However, over here, cashiers just brush me off when I show them the prices ring up wrong and are more expensive.

Like today I bought a lotion gift set and it rang up 10 dirhams more than it should have. When I told the cashier, she just shrugged, “Oh, just ignore that, Madame.” And she peeled the sticker off in front of me. Um, no, I’m NOT going to ignore that you’re charging me more for something that clearly has a different price! (╹◡╹)凸

A few months ago, I walked out of a Sephora because I was so angry that they treated me like I was stupid when I tried to explain that they were charging me over $20 more for a mascara. The price tag was clearly marked, and they rang it up wrong and argued with ME about it!  ಠ_ಠ Ridiculous!

I’m not trying to be a snobby shopper, but I think if the cashiers at least tried to show some sort of apologetic attitude, then I’d be more understanding. Yeah, everyone makes mistakes! I understand that people work long hours and are tired. Things happen and prices get marked wrong. But don’t look at me like I’m an idiot when I point out a mistake and then don’t even try to double-check your end to see if it was the store’s mistake! Ugh, that kind of customer service just drives me crazy!

I haven’t had a good Dubai blog rant, and I think I’m still riled up from my experience today when I bought my lotion set.

All in all, nothing has happened yet that has made me want to swear off of shopping in Dubai forever. The malls are amazing, and most of the people there are very helpful to us. There is nothing like the shopping experiences in Dubai, and I’m looking forward to buying lots of things for our family and friends to bring home with us next month! 😀

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