May 13, 2008

Starbucks VS Tsch Tsch

Last night after a nice dinner with my friend we decided to go at 10:30 Pm to check the new Tsch Tsch cafe in Swifieh, I don't usually go these kind of places but I thought of checking it out, my mood was into smoking an Arghellieh. We drove 20 min and we were excited to try the new place, but, it never happen.

As soon as we got in, the waiter asked us: Where are you going?
I answered with surprise: we are here and we need a table.
The waiter replied: It's not allowed.
I said: why, are you closing?
The waiter answered: no, it's only for Families.
I argued: what do you mean by families.
The waiter answered: you need to bring girls.
I answered: who do you think we are?

And we left, pissed off and I am still pissed off and that's why I am writing about it here.

I can argue and argue about it and say a million reasons for this sexiest, discriminated, unprofessional, (what other words can I use...I am so pissed) ok..unfriendly behavior but it didn't seem that the waiter was hungry enough to let us in.

Me and my friend Rami are in our 30's, a good looking handsome guys, he lived outside this country like I did, traveled the world and explored different cultures, decided to come back to our home country to celebrate it with our families and participate in it's development. We wanted to celebrate a local coffee, like our grandfathers did, then we end up being kicked out from it, and it happened also in other places too, just because we didn't have a company from the other sex.

We wanted to enjoy our bachelor life, but we left pissed off from the Hospitality of this Jordanian branded coffee house that we decided to abandon forever.

So we end up going to the other coffee house besides Tsche Tsche, which was Starbucks.

Oops, Starbucks! Yes, a nice clean smoke free place were they welcome you with smiles, and never ask you to leave, they sell the best coffee and offer the best environment, locally and internationally. You can bring your laptop there or sit on a table for hours without any interruptions, and they don't look at your pocket while you are enjoying their service.

I am not promoting for Starbucks, they don't need it from me anyway, but this is a comparison between us and the others. Between an equality culture VS sexiest cultures, quality vs no quality, healthy Vs unhealthy, between too services and too countries.

Finally, I will keep enjoying my cup of coffee at starbucks because our countries can't produce something like Starbucks.

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Boycott Restuarants in Amman

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Rambling Hal said...

You have every right to be furious - even I'm angry at this and I'm a girl! I just believe that when people encourage this kind of behaviour - ya3ni when they make it a rule not to allow single men to go to public places like malls, restaurants and coffee shops - then they are basically TELLING these guys that they are the 'evil' part of the society, and the guys start acting that way just to live up to expectations. What if two brothers were heading to the mall to buy, for example, a birthday gift for their mom? Or maybe they just needed some new shirts for work? The security guard isn't going to let them in just because they are two single guys on their own. What the hell? What are they supposed to do?

If you're going to a coffee shop with some friends, what the HELL do they expect you to go there to do? Check out girls and cause fights? I'm assuming people go to a coffee shop to drink coffee. I don't understand HOW they think in this country.

And then there are so so so many people who are constantly talking about how we should boycott Starbucks and how Starbucks is the evil company that is killing us all, and frankly, it's the best place to hang out in this city, and their couches are VERY comfortable :)

Fa just wanted to let you know I understand!!! (hehehehe, what a long comment....)

Anonymous said...

I hear you :)

Anonymous said...

My wife just read this post in your blog and showed it to me...
I am jordanian, she is spanish we are living in spain for 2 years and before that in the UK for 7 years... Now I FAILED to to find an explanation or a justification for this discrimination!! I just felt ashamed, and retreated...
I just wonder where does the law stand regarding this discrimination? Sometimes I just think I might never settle down in my own country of origin..

Amman Voice said...

Can't find the reasons behind this social behaviour in this country. If it's a punishment to all the young men then we shall not be sexiest and descriminate. If it's a social control then we might argue by comparing the two different social control systems: Punishment Vs Therapy.

Unfortuntaly, this social bahaviour is threatining our youth.

Anonymous said...

I almost fully agree with you, and deeply hear your agony. Yes, it is sexiest, discriminated, unprofessional behavior, embedded in our society, and just reflected in this coffee shop, among many others.

However, I am deeply troubled by your alternative for many reasons. First, choosing Starbucks is just an escape from reality. You are not making a change by going there. I would suggest that you go through the mess, argue and argue and argue, and hopefully a crack will happen, even though after a painful experience. It is this incremental effort that has to make a change in our society. Second, please let us not advocate for Starbucks, a global giant that is eating local businesses all over the world. In NYC and SF, each corner has a Starbucks, after pushing out small businesses, esp. with their good prices because of economies of scale and because of their media. Also, please do not forget that the money you pay to Starbucks is being thought of to go to the IDF. Have we lost our faith in the Palestinian cause to pay money that goes to support the Israeli army.

I have to admit that I grab a Starbucks frap from time to time while in the US, because I know that myself boycotting it there will not make a different. But I totally believe that you, and myself, and our friends, and their cycles, can make a difference in getting Starbucks out of Amman.

I would suggest that we all advocate for a local Starbucks, a place of nice design, good coffee, smoke free, and sexiest free. But also a place where our dollars go to our local businesses. I saw such a model in Dubai, where even the whole branding is similar to Starbucks. Cups and Kilos might be a comparable experience that we may consider supporting.

I usually do not reply to blogs, but I could not agree with you more on everything, expect for Starbucks, on which I could not disagree with you more.

Anonymous said...

Let me here agree and disagree too:

The comparison that I tried to make is to show different cultures, and different services, and not for advocating for Starbucks.

I don't think that a Local brewing coffee does exist at this moment as an alternative to Starbucks, so will you comrpmise your cup of coffee for another less quality, unfriendly, etc.. alternative?

I doubt

Starbucks didn't succeed due to the scale of economy or price, from my opinion it succeed due to 2 main factors: Quality of the product " best Coffee" and "the environment". Moreover, I disagree with your statement that Starbucks have a competitive advantage over the price, it's expensive.

As for supporting local businesses. Well, Amman is full of foreign businesses, go to any Mall and you will see 99% of the shops are not local! Starbcuks might be a good healthy example to learn how to make a succesful healthy business that we need to learn from.

And yes, I hope one day we will have a local Starbucks.

Finally, and this is an important critical point. There are some voices here in Amman and the arabic world to boycott Starbucks claiming that he support the IDF.

I can't see a proof that they do so. An article was being circulated here in Amman that Starbcuks support Israel. Shultz is a Jew, and he might support the Jews, like any Muslim support the muslims, and christian supports christians. Like google, Facebook. Or any american who pays taxes, or any person who deals with the US!!!!

For Shultz, Is he trully a Zionest? Who knows, it might be a conspiracy theory!

Let me tell you what I saw in NY, and you probably saw that and it's in the picture:
Starbucks have a donations campaign to support the hungrey people in the 3rd world countries posting a picture of a young girl in Swmallia wearing HIJAB and you see the picture at all starbucks shops in NY. Do you think any company in the west have the guts to donate for a Muslim Girl wearing Hijab. Even we arabs won't do that anymore!

And for closing Starbuks in Amman, do you know that last year Starbucks Abdoun Sales was the highest in the region, and the team was awarded by Shultz himself in Dubai?

Anonymous said...

Hello again....

I have no evidence about Starbucks supporting the IDF. About Starbucks being pro-zionist, I do not have an evidence either even though the net is full of websites about the subject, but I do not want to quote from sources that I do not know, and this is why I said “is thought of to be”, rather than “is”. But I really encourage you to so some googling about schultz and to see and decide if you want to believe if he is a Zionist or not. I myself can not make a decision.

Does he have the right to be a Zionist? is Zionism comparable to Muslims preference for Muslims and Christians for Christians? Absolutely not. Neither Muslims nor Christians are calling for a state of their own religion that will be created by exiling its people from their land as Zionists did.

I am afraid that I disagree with you about is your tone about foreign businesses in Amman.

It is true, 99% of stores in Mecca mall are foreign. This is a pity that should not give us more excuses to encourage more foreign products in our markets. Why do not we look at Syria, Turkey and all the east Asian tigers in the way they promoted their own industries and pushed many foreign businesses out to replace them with national one. I am not asking you to go buy Jordanian jeans. I myself do not do this. But please let us (including myself) not give ourselves more excuses to defeat our local economy. My second point is that you are more pessimistic than reality, because you went to Mecca mall and did not go to places in East Amman, where probably local products are more dominant. So the situation for me is not as bad.

And I fully agree, Starbucks is expensive, or at least not less expensive than any other coffee place. However, and because of economies of scale they have been able to get more margins, and for the same cost they probably could get better designer, nicer furniture, higher salaries, etc… Does not the competing local coffee house deserve our support so that it does not vanish like other hundreds all over the world!!!

Thanks for the info about Starbucks Abdoun sales, this is very new to me, but really sad!!!

Ali Dahmash said...

To make this story even worse, and after I stopped going to such places single with "couples only" policy, some places even asked me how many girls am i brining. so if we are 3 guys with 1 girl "u cant", if you are 2 girls with 3 or 4 girls you cant.
so ladies and genetelmen, some places in amman will ask for a female for each male, what a bumer for single men and women in this country! No wonder I never boycoutt places such as Starbucks. never will

Anonymous said...

I am yet to read something as shallow as your article. Firstly, where is the respect for culture, tradition and diversity. Why is it problematic that there are family areas? Amman is full of coffee houses, some just for men, others for lovers, and some for families. For years women had nowhere to go out. The reason Jordan will never be like the West is because of the small-mindedness of its citizens who fail to see beyond their small lives. When so much is going on in your neighbouring countries, i find your concerns trivial and pathetic.

Furthermore, it is a well known fact that starbucks supports the State of Israel and therefore indirectly the IDF. But i suppose that doesn't matter, so long as you get your coffee.

Ali Dahmash said...

Anymous, I dont see any attack on our values and cultures when a place like Che Che is available for all. I go there alot and all I see is young women with their dates or girl friends and many vieled women holding hands with other guys, so what culture is currently being preserved?
Jordan is not Saudi Arabia (Thank God) and all places should be avaialble for everyone, wither you were a single guy or a 35 year old married guy going out with your male friends, or a bunch of youg women going out.
As for Starbucks, yes I love their smoke free policy, at the end it is a person's judgement to go there or not.

Anonymous said...

i am fully aware that Jordan is not Saudi Arabia, i have been to both and i am fully aware of the differences. My point, which you failed to get, is that it is perfectly normal in Jordan and other countrie to have areas for families. It is reasonable for families to go out and not have to expose children to what young adults get up to. Furthermore, if you know anything about Europe, you would know that in most clubs in Europe, a group of men can not enter without women. The reasoning behind this is simple, research shows that unaccompnaied men are more likely to cause problems, get into fights and/or create problems with girls. It is normal.

My shock was more due to the fact that with all the problems in the Middle East, someone calls for the boycott of an Arab owned Arab run business in favour of an American Israeli multinational corporation.

I think this is indicative of the fundamental problem in the ME. People are intrinsically selfish and they are not willing to forego anything for the greater good.
If there is doubt as to whether something funs the IDF, that should be enough to deter people from frequenting it. All over Europe people boycott it for that reason, and yet in Jordan, where the LARGEST displaced Palestinians reside, Jordanians are not willig to make such a small sacrifice.

There are many larger issues worthy of being addressed in Jordan, not just the Palestinian problem. It would do the JOrdanian youth some good to try to change things, not just where one has a coffee. I maintain what i said. These concerns are trivial.

Amman Voice said...


We have to understand that we shouldn't discriminate against any ethnicity or religion. We were tought that anything jewish is wrong, a conspiracy, and we have to fight it. We were tought to be judgemental and make everything political or idiological without reasoning.

Starbucks was an example, it's not about they support the IDF or not, it's a concpet, a phenomena. Think about this as a business model, and a pehenomina. Live with it, think, and learn.

I respect your view and you have a point, it's just we think about things in different angles. Let me ask you: If you are a Muslim won't you support muslims? if you are a christian: Won't you support christians? same think with Jews. A jew will support the Jews too, and they do support each other more than the rest.

On the other hand, if a Jew support ZIONISM then we need to BOYCOT, and RESIST.

There is no proof that Starbucks does support the IDF. I know they won't, if they do they won't even declair it, the world will be against them, and it won't be good for their business. So, if they do it will be for sure behind the scene...DAAAH.. everybody in the worlds does support Israel! Even our leaders...Why Starbucks???

Starbucks is becoming a symbol of: America, Capitalism, and entrepreneurship. Maybe you wanna be fighting against these symbols!!!

What I know about Starbucks is that it's a good business model, healthy, socialy responsible business, multi cultural,it taste good, it's not more expensive, like you said than any other coffee brands.