Consulate rage

Went to the British Consulate two days ago to collect Zara’s birth certificate and got a bit annoyed because the outsourced security guards haven’t been taught basic English phrases.

I have no problem with outsourced security guards, but it’s not fair to put them on the gate of the British Consulate without teaching them how to interact with people in clear English.

The Nepali gentlemen who stopped me outside the consulate said ‘what you want?’. I replied that I was there to eat breakfast with the ambassador and was waved along – what is the point of stopping people outside the consulate, who are clearly going to the consulate, grunting at them to ask where they are going and then waving them on whatever response they give?

The African lady at the security counter, where I needed to sign in, kept telling me ‘you have come forward’. I had no idea what she meant. It turns out she was asking ‘you have come for what’.

I had come to visit the consulate.

I wasn’t being intentionally difficult. I have nothing against outsourced security personnel from G4S from other countries working at the British Embassy.

I just think it’s unfair to place them at the entrance of a British diplomatic establishment and not train them to communicate in the language of that establishment. It makes life hard for them and for visitors and it makes a terrible impression.

When I got to the waiting room it was packed, so I decided to come back another day and make sure I got there at 0800 sharp, when it’s collections only.

I arrived this morning to be told by the security guard that the consulate is shut all day ‘for a training course’. A small A4 piece of paper in a window informed visitors of this fact – no doubt it was there when I visited two days ago, but the sign is completely out of sight.

Closed for a whole day? No forewarning? No possibility of splitting the training course over two days and running a shift to cover the essential services people are relying on? Apparently not.

Perhaps there is some info on the website? No, there isn’t. Just a ‘mission statement’ that appears to have been written by the security guards –

‘We also help British citizens in the UAE and to Emiratis and expatriates living in the UAE wishing to travel and do business with the United Kingdom.’

What illiterate idiot wrote this and then published it on the website of the British Embassy?

The lady who processed the birth certificate application earlier this month was pleasant and efficient, but also morbidly obese, with ears covered in piercings and dressed extremely casually.

This all makes me irritated. A bit of effort would make a much better impression.

I am cross today.


4 Responses to “Consulate rage”

  1. lovemyarts Says:

    Plenty of other similar unprofessional and irritating things around in UAE ! 😦

  2. Michelle Says:

    I think you should write them a letter.

    • christophersaul Says:

      I did – it came back with an ‘out of office’ reply that had a link to their office hours. Clicking on the link took me to the British Embassy… In Tunis!

  3. Gary Ward Says:

    I lived for 20 years in Switzerland and was amazed by the total arrogance and rudeness of the staff at the British Consulate in Geneva. A Polish lady wrote to a Geneva newspaper complaining about how badly she had been treated at the Consulate. I replied, explaining to her that this was not racism. The staff there were equally rude and unpleasant to Brits.

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