AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Exploitation Frustration



Without much of a local soccer scene to speak off (unless of course we’re talking about racism), Jordanians tend to follow and relate to soccer tournaments abroad with a lot more passion (case in hand: Euro Cup, Italian League, World Cup, etc).

During large tournaments such as the Euro Cup taking place now, the entire town seems to turn into a large soccer themed party. The games are watched by every class of society, young and old. The good teams and the bad teams are the focal point of a lot of the casual conversation in offices, cab rides and waiting lines. When the games are on, society seems to forget about the horrendous rates of inflation increasing every day, their shitty jobs, and the gas prices: all that matters is the ball being kicked from European to European.

Soccer matters. It is practically the only activity that a large portion of the population rallies around, fingers crossed. Yet, it comes with a price, as the games are never screened on local tv. It comes on an AlJazeera +1 card with a price tag. For example, in our case, our receiver doesn’t come with a card slot, so in order to get access to AlJazeera +1, not only do we need to buy the card, but also buy a different satellite dish with a card-slot enabled receiver.

We considered it seriously at first, as there are at least 6 people with constant access to our tv who would like to watch the games every day. But then it was decided that instead of spending money on a receiver + satellite + card, we’ll just go watch the games we feel like watching every now and then at random places around town.

Then of course came the very unpleasant surprise taking place as “Minimum Order” and “Cover Charge”.

For example, below are the exploitation policies of some of the places we sometimes hang out at:

The Courtyard – ten jd cover charge
Salute- Five jd cover charge
Tche Tche- two jd cover charge
Champions: ten jd cover charge
Players: 15++ jd minimum charge (yes, with a ++) and a 5 jd cover charge
Books- ten jd minmum charge
Canvas- ten jd minimum charge
Prego- seven jd minimum charge
La Calle- two jd minimum charge

The only place I have called that actually didn’t have an exploitation policy was Dubliners.

I mean, it is really grade A exploitation to make use of the fact that not everyone has AlJazeera +1 to bump up the prices to a minimum of 10 jds, and even worse, a 10 jd cover charge! It makes you just feel like damn, if these guys are so open about capitalizing on such occasions, how else are they ripping us off on a daily basis?
I think I’m going to boycott the places that have high minimum charges and cover charges for good.

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11 Comments

  1. Rania

    we went to the courtyard to see a game and it was too much , plus most of my friends are germans so now we watch ARD or ZDF (hotbird )they play the games and you dont have to leave the comfort of your house .

  2. Rami

    I agree with you, we should boycott them for good, but I think we can’t since everyone is charging high minimum charges (gas is expensive these days). When I asked CheChe why they charge that much they explained that Aljazeera is very expensive for commercial subscriptions, but when I asked him how much, he said it’s 850 JD/ month which I think is not expensive.

    Anyway I watch the games on ZDF at Hotbird, it is a German open channel. Or try Pastich they charge 1.5 JD minimum charge and they got a great Argeeleh.(cherry).

  3. Ahmad Al-Sholi

    I boycotted them long time ago. But they seem to have good business anyway.

    On this same topic, I found out that many retailers face the problem of high overheads due to many communal perceptions, such as: -Italian products are the best,
    -media should be in english or slang arabic, -physical place address, -audience type… and very many aspects that when you add to the financial formula of a business, it makes it very hard to get the place running.

  4. hussein

    at Abu Nabil’s shop, our hair dresser.. you can watch all the games for free! if you were lucky; you’ll get a cup of tea or coffee.. but no Beer! sorry ;)

    any way, the antispam word was: toz!

  5. aaaakh aaaakh ya roba, aaaaaaaakh …. i am so pissed for 2 very super major reasons:

    1- Arabs have to be rich to watch football these days, unlike people in ALL other countries and continents where they can be poor and watch it. That is so sad

    2- People can’t go out these days to any decent place and have a cup of coffee. I know a lot of people who are middle-class newly weds who like to go out but even the average-looking places which don’t have anything special in them are costing too much so people stopped going out and they’re stuck in their homes to save money

  6. Another Rami

    Unfortunately, Roba, big companies are also to blame in these situations. They do not give back to the society off which they make money, and millions of it. Big companies do not have any sense of “social responsibility” in Jordan. It is sad, but true. It doesn’t cause a dent in the bottom line of major banks and telecom companies (for example) to set up big screens in different places in Jordan, or reach an agreement to sponsor (by paying Aljazeera a fee) showing the game on local Jordanian TV (which people all over Jordan can access using a bent antenna/shirt hanger). It is OK if they hammer viewers with stuff like (hathihi al-mubaraa nuqilat lakum biri3ayat flaan u 3ilintaan) every corner kick, but it is worth it for people who cannot afford subscriptions and cover-charges. A top tier company here in NY not only welcomes you into its amazing building to watch the games on big screens for free, but also provides hot dogs, burgers, football shaped cookies and beverages, all free of charge ! Now that’s what I call social responsibility, and they do it despite the fact that you can watch all games on the ESPN channels at home !!

  7. Another Rami

    Unfortunately, Roba, big companies are also to blame in these situations. They do not give back to the society off which they make money, and millions of it. Big companies do not have any sense of “social responsibility” in Jordan. It is sad, but true. It doesn’t cause a dent in the bottom line of major banks and telecom companies (for example) to set up big screens in different places in Jordan, or reach an agreement to sponsor (by paying Aljazeera a fee) showing the game on local Jordanian TV (which people all over Jordan can access using a bent antenna/shirt hanger). It is OK if they hammer viewers with stuff like (hathihi al-mubaraa nuqilat lakum biri3ayat flaan u 3ilintaan) every corner kick, but it is worth it for people who cannot afford subscriptions and cover-charges. A top tier company here in NY not only welcomes you into its amazing building to watch the games on big screens for free, but also provides hot dogs, burgers, football shaped cookies and beverages, all free of charge ! Now that’s what I call social responsibility, and they do it despite the fact that you can watch all games on the ESPN channels at home !!

  8. I think the price of Al Jazeera card is very reasonable for the average Jordanian. It is as much as a monthly bill for cigarrets and mobile phone. The analysis and coverage of Al Jazeera is top quality. They even have Arsene Wenger as an analyst. It is not like ART’s and Showtime clear robbery.

  9. CW

    for me a demonstration of social inequality this business of not showing football on public tv like before. It so shameless like hareega said all over the world you can watch football on public tv and on public screens and it really makes me very angry that something as basic and as popular as football should be made available only for people who can afford it. that sucks! Big time

  10. Daniel

    The problem is again that there’s not enough choice/competition in Amman. There are only very few places for middle class people who want to watch football while having a beer. With more competition, that will change. So far these bars like La Calle or Books have a monopoly, and they make use of it. And by the way, with the tournament coming to an end, La Calle and Books both increase their cover or minimum charge. La Calle cost us 5 JOD when watching the half finals – 5 JOD just to enter, that is! Yes, they should be boycotted.
    At least at La Bonita they don’t charge you anything. But as the sound is very bad there and as you’re not even allowed to cheer for your team (!) it sucks, too.

  11. Ha! Welcome to the cruel and ridiculous reality that we’ve been dealing with in Egypt forever!!
    I wonder how legal that is.. tickets are legal, but coercing someone into consuming at a certain amount? Tab ezzay? And if it weren’t for our fear of embarrassment in front of our peers, how would they enforce it?

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