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Friday, June 27, 2003

Saudi Labor Relations.. or is it Racism?

From The Arab News:

A young Saudi cashier at a major supermarket chain on Dhabab Street created a scene on Wednesday night when he refused to move the items from an expatriate’s shopping basket onto the counter for scanning.

Instead the cashier asked the expatriate — from the Subcontinent — to do the unloading himself. The expatriate refused on the grounds that it was the duty of the cashier to place the items on the scanner.

When the cashier remained adamant, the shopping supervisor, also a non-Saudi, was called to discipline him. When his words fell on deaf ears of the Saudi cashier, a Bangladeshi employee of the supermarket came forward to do the job...

...Checking out after a 45-minute wait for some minor shopping, the Arab News correspondent suggested to the shopping supervisor, an Asian expatriate, that it would make sense to open all the counters to customers during peak hours to clear the growing queues.

He replied: “What to do? The counters have to be manned by Saudis under the new law. But they did not show up.”

These two instances provide a glimpse of Saudization at work in the supermarkets. The Saudis who have replaced the expatriates at the cash counters think it beneath their dignity to serve expatriate shoppers, especially if they happen to be from the Subcontinent.


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