21 November 2009

Spreading a Rumor

I drive on Sitra Bridge almost every day; it's old, always overcrowded, and definitely falling apart. It wasn't that unbelievable to get a broadcast Blackberry message saying the bridge actually collapsed, although I usually wait to confirm news before I spread it.

Apparently the news wasn't true since I was zooming down the bridge 30 minutes after I got that message, but still, the news (rumor) was all over Blackberry messages, Facebook, and even my not-so-connected-to-technology-aunt heard about it, and it literally spread within the day.

So how fast does it take to spread a rumor? Let's find out. Talking to my cousin who asked me whether the Sitra Bridge collapsing thing was true, we decided to set up another rumor and see how long it takes to spread. The rumor is pretty silly, actually, but it's fun to see how viral it gets. Here's what I came up with (Since we're spreading it through blackberry, it might as well be a blackberry news item) ;

Guys, BB Messenger will become subscription only! "Nov 18, 2009; John Adams, president of RIM, the company that provides the Blackberry, has noted regret about closing some of the companies services at the end of the year: "The global crunch has been harsh on our company especially past the second quarter, and unfortunately we will be dropping some of the more expensive services we currently offer for free." The first service to be dropped at the beginning of 2010 is the popular Blackberry Messenger service, which will be restricted to paying subscribers. Packages are targeted towards business subscribers with corporate packages beginning at $200 per month for every 10 units. (CNN.com)

Pushed out and sent to about 50 people on my list, and I asked my cousin to let me know when he gets the message forwarded to him from other people; that was at exactly 11:02pm. Within 1 minute two people had replied complaining about RIM and their service, and one person asking me if it was true or not. Within 5 minutes I got 3 broadcast messages, 2 other people asking me about whether it was true, one person who told me they had googled it and found nothing, and one person warning me to not send stupid forward messages again. I told the people who replied that I actually made it up as a test and to keep track and let me know if they receive any broadcast messages or replies.

By the tenth minute I had feedback from my trackers of over 20 broadcast messages sent back to them from various people, comments like "RIM should sort out their server before asking for more money", "Great i'll get back control of my life again" Hey guys you wanna get together and put the money for a subscription" and more. By half an hour judging from the people I know who had forwarded it, I estimated approx 600 people had received the message (and that's not including people I know only, who knows how many people I don't know forwarded it on).


I'm trying to keep track but it's starting to get hectic so i'll just quit. It's pretty funny how people decide to spread rumors without checking them for any credibility. Tons of rubbish out there, from the "please forward as hotmail is tracking active accounts and will delete if you don't forward", to "dunnowho will pay $1 for every person you forward this to" to everything else. Some fall close to home, obviously; I just got another message about Bershka in Kuwait having spy cameras hidden in the changing rooms and you should watch out.

People are sheep. Funky.

17 November 2009

Do you have What!?

I get tons of random SMS's every day from people. This by far is the most random (especially considering we live on a country where the temperature hits a good 50 degrees at times):

"Do you have ice skating shoes I can borrow?"

I don't even know how to start replying to that..

15 November 2009

Where's my frickin' toast?

Ever heard of the term cash cow? It's a business term about a company that's grown big over the years, and is a generator of a steady flow of income, yet has little or no chance of innovation of it's services. ie, it just sits there and grabs the money without having to do much about it.

That my friends, is Jawad. Yup, supergroup Jawad, which we all once adored and loved for bringing us everything from yummy Chili's to our old time favorite DQ, has gone down the dark path.

Apparently when you get as big as they have, you start getting greedy; well either that, or their management has changed and been replaced by the 'lecha squad'. When you start really pushing the limits of your customers tolerance to save a few hundred fils, then you know the company is starting to go down the drain.

So I walk into Grill & Chill (previously Dairy Queen) the other day and order a salad meal. Salad meal; ie, i'm not going for any of the fat stuff. Naturally, if you're trying to eat something light, you get a drink that is also light, but with Dairy Queen being who they are, all they over is over carbonated soft drinks, and those extra-sugary slushy things. One choice left; water. But noooo... Their salad meal doesn't come with water. It comes with a soft drink. "But I want water" I said. "No sir we don't offer that any more, you'll have to buy the water."

Ok, that's understandable to an extent, as pouring me a cup of sugared crap costs them less than giving me a bottle of water, but still, cheap shot. After a bit of arguing, I gave up: "Ok, can you replace the soft drink with the water and i'll pay the extra to change", to which the dude replies, "No sir you have to buy the water separate".

So let me get this straight. You won't let me replace the soft drink with water. You won't let me pay to replace the soft drink with water. You do however want me to buy the salad with the soft drink, and then go ahead and buy an extra bottle of water?

Granted it's only 300 fils extra (or whatever) for a bottle of water isn't really that much, hell, I can even buy a bottle outside for 100 fils if I really had to. The concept here is that Jawad has decided every last fils counts, and they'd rather give their customers a hassle rather than bear a little expense. Yes sure sure, financial crisis, global meltdown, inflation, bla bla. How about we start buying our food at Raju's burger and salad for 300 fils instead, and that my friends, is INCLUSIVE of water.

Anyway, this isn't the big issue. The big issue is, the other day I made the mistake of actually going back to DQ, and ordered a chicken strip basket. Now for those of you who don't know what a chicken strip basket is, it's 4 pieces of chicken, 2 pieces of toast, and some fries + sauce. One of the tastiest parts of the meal is the actual toast, slightly browned and left to crisp with a touch of melted butter spread over the texture. Mouthwatering. So I order it and:

Wait a second, where's my toast?! Where???

Oh wait, look, there it is, hiding behind the sauce.

Are you guys frickin' serious? What is this? The two pieces of toast are literally smaller than that french fry. And see that top piece of toast? What is that? You call that a piece of bread?

Are you guys for real?! Just to give you a relative example, i've put a ketchup packet next to it to show you how tiny that thing is. That's not a goddamn piece of bread, that's just plain embarrassing. You know what, my anger towards Jawad has just turned into feeling sorry for them. If you have to resort to cutting up a piece of bread into smaller pieces to serve 5 customers instead of 1, then there's just something wrong with you.

Don't believe it's the whole Jawad group? Here's an example of how they destroyed Chili's too. Enjoy!