28/06/11  *** UPDATE

It happened again today morning. I called them to get a number from a landline, the girl greeted me and said all her rehearsed lines smoothly, then played the number…in Arabic! I took a deep breath and called back, got a  different lady on the line and asked her kindly for the number and to please play it in English, so the machine went “The number you have requested is…” Then the line went dead. Seriously. I give up.


I know I promised not to write until a little later, but this reoccurring event is just getting to me and I feel like I need to get the word out.


The Omantel directory. The most pathetic excuse of helpful experts I have ever come across. They make my blood boil quite literally. A minute on the phone with this silly bunch and I reach the last straw. Uff. I am convinced they are actually monkeys that have been taught to answer the phone and sadly that is the chapter their training ended on. It was not always like that, no. A while back Omantel used actual people to answer the phones- but that must have been costly and/or unreliable so they have decided to hire jungle primates instead.

Every time I call them I get flashbacks of the movie “Planet of the Apes” and that makes me smile- right up until one of them speaks.

Maybe its just me. Maybe they are mocking me. Is it because I am woman? Or is it because I am an expat? I prefer to think that it’s only because they are actually chimpanzees.

My argument is simple- if real people worked at the 1318 phone directory, I would at least get the number I needed on the 4th or 5th attempt. Sounds quite reasonable, doesn’t it?

Their welcome line used to “Omantel Salam Aleikum” but now it pretty much amounts to “Omant…slmakm…”. I then proceed with my request for “City Cinema, Dhofar Insurance, Pizza Hut Delivery” or whatever the hell else. I am usually asked to repeat the name of the company at least 3 times until they find it in the system. This is where things get real interesting…

“Please write down the number and thank you for calling Omantel” they say. Then they play the number in any of the following variations:

-“24 05….line goes dead” (Am I supposed to guess the other digits?)

– Arabic equivalent of the number I requested. Seriously. Arabic.

-or they hang up on me

I often call back frustrated asking for the number of Company X again and begging and pleading for them to say the number back to me and not play it on the machine because I just cannot take the mockery anymore. Funny, yesterday I called them and got the number in Arabic again, so I called back thinking “Hey, maybe I sounded Arab to the nice man who picked up the phone”, but it happened again with a different guy. I called back and snapped. “Give me the number in ENGLISH not ARABIC I don’t speak ARABIC”. They have me close to tears half the time.

I dare you. Call them.