Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Not-So Automatic Car Wash

I have never cleaned the inside of my car. There is almost an inch of sand in the back. There is a layer of dust about 1 cm thick on the dash, which I use to jot down Reg numbers of cars that piss me off as I drive.

I wash the outside of my car once a month. I would do it less often, but it is illegal to have a dirty car in Oman, and I think waiting a month between washed is pushing it enough. Also, I hate the car wash in my neighbourhood.

Anyway, once a month I trundle over to the "automatic" carwash and hand over 1.4 rials in exchange for a cleanish car and fifteen minutes of tedium. Following, in convenient bullet point form, is the routine we go through every time I want the car washed.

  • Arrive at Carwash, wait for carwash supervisor to notice me.
  • Ask for a quick wash, No I don't need the car hand dried.
  • Tell Supervisor that I don't need a receipt, and could he just take the money and let me go through now.
  • Supervisor pretends not to hear me.
  • Wait as supervisor finds carbon copy forms, and fills them out (in triplicate!) with the date, time, service requested, and the car's registration number.
  • Take the white and pink copies, leaving the yellow copy with Supervisor. Hand over 1.4 Rials, becasue it costs more to wash a small 4x4 than it does to wash a regular car, in an automatic car wash.
  • Wait and nod absent mindedly as supervisor circles my car pointing out all the bits that are loose, scratched, or otherwise cosmetically comprimised. Because my entire car is pretty much cosmetically comprimised, he might as well just stand back ten feet and point to the car as a whole.
  • Explain that the Wing mirrors don't fold in. They came from the factory like that. Argue about weather the Automatic car wash will rip them off with it's Category 5 hurricane Power.
  • Explain that the Automatic car wash has been engineered by people smarter than both of us, and designed to safely wash every passenger car commercially produced and sold worldwide.
  • Wait as he tapes the back wiper to the car.
  • Pull forward into the Automatic car wash Finally get my car washed.
  • Pull out of the car wash, and drive round to the drying area to hand over the pink copy of the receipt to the carwash supervisor on the other side
  • Un tape back window wiper, re attach front number plate
  • Drive home, and allow the car to dry itself.

Seriously, I have been through that car wash 64 times by my estimation, it has never taken me less than 15 minutes to getthrough an experience that should take three minutes tops. Unreal.


Alexoverseas said...

Why not just park in one of the lots peopled by very nice men who earn a little on the side washing cars (MQ, Jawharat al-Shatti,etc.)? They're happy to have your business, do a far better job, I've found, than the autowashes, and you're doing them a genuinely good turn by handing over your rial or so after you've done your shopping or had a cuppa.

Suburban said...


I am hardly ever in MQ or JAS, but I do use those guys (and others) when I get the chance. I adore the older guy at MQ, because he shows my car the Loooove.

Nice to have you commenting here!

L_Oman said...

Ha. It amazes me that it takes an attendant to help you through the auto wash here. Get a grip peeps. God, we didn't have all this hoo-ha in the states. Plop in the quarters, line the ding dang wheel up, put it into neutral and voila. I particularly liked the wind blower at the end. HA.