Q8Figures – For The Anime & Collectible Fans

Q8Figures2

20 Years back nobody had a clue what Anime was in the Middle East, nobody even knew the amount of old school gold KTV 2 was getting their hands on. Finding anime was like a game of hide and seek, you really had to look around a video store to find it, and my first exposure to it was in the early 90s at the video club in Salmiya Mariam Center. Now its mainstream and I still love it, there are a lot of great Animes out there to find. With these shows I get hooked on I look for these collectibles, and I use different suppliers from the US, UK, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Always finding unique items or items with crazy details that I love, I have about 60% of what I buy on the shelves with the other 40% in the largest storage room because I have no where to put them. Previously you have really search through Rihab to find any good items in Kuwait, and sometimes they are cheaper then the US & Ebay, but thanks to Instagram that has changed.

Q8Figures3

There are a few excellent suppliers who bring a consistent number of models and collectibles and what I love is that these guys really do love what they do. One of them is Q8 Figures, I try to buy from local suppliers as much as I can, if the difference isn’t that much I go for them, and sometimes they are honestly cheaper. You have to appreciate someone who loves his craft and Mohammed from Q8 Figures is one of those guys, he gets unique items I can’t even find on Ebay easily, they pop up every once in a while but I do always find them.

Q8Figures1

Over the past year and a half I have bought a few unique items from Q8 Figures, and just this week I picked up the Gurren Lagann, Mazinkizer SKL, and Berserk Guts (This was hard to find). I literally made space for them on the shelves, they are amazing pieces and worth waiting for them, and he keeps me checking his Instagram for more unique items. He also has a website with his current stock but to really know what he has you have to check out his Instagram account.

Link: Q8Figures
Link: Instagram

Q8Figures4

Small Businesses Stuck

Its becoming more and more difficult to open a business in Kuwait and get the right paperwork done. I remember one time taking over a year to get everything sorted with the company and we knew the right people to help out. An individual would get lost in the process between all the government entities and these people would run in your circles, I remember one time getting stuck for a month about the name of the company.

One major problem we have is that they don’t define small business and have a different rules and applications for them. They make it impossible for you to operate and very difficult to move forward. Now if you want hire labor for your company or need qualified staff you can’t hire from outside the country, you can only choose from inside of Kuwait. So you have a very limited pool of talented people that you can work with or you have a high cost to hire qualified people. And I have yet to see the government make a move on those people trading work permits and bringing people and treating them as slaves, what is sad is that a lot of these people are not educated so they don’t know who to complain to or what to do. To hire people from outside of the country you need at least 1 Million KD as the capital of the company or a government contract.

The new labor laws make it nearly impossible for a company to operate and limiting its capabilities. The main problem is that they don’t take a perspective of the businesses and choose a direction which is more efficient, I remember reading a paper of a student talking about the 10 rules which can be efficiently brought down to one rule with no exceptions so people can get their work done. But they love exceptions in Kuwait so that people can be owed favors, its really a vicious circle we are stuck in at this time.

With all that is going on it is really crushing small businesses in Kuwait and making it very difficult for them to prosper. Someone might have a good product or service but at this point there are so many hurdles that make it nearly impossible to operate a profitable business. Lately there are a lot of desert start ups and I’m happy that people are trying, there is always hope, and there are way to get your business off the ground but right now there is no real support from the government or the tools in place to help. I’m just frustrated with all this.

Orbit & Showtime Merge

Most of everyone I know has either Showtime or Orbit or both even, I know we have both because certain people want certain channels. Especially the sports channel line up, every person who watches any sport has Showtime especially the football fanatics. Now this has been a long time coming, the merger between the two biggest media providers in the Middle East and North Africa. I think its a great move, now we just have to see what the packages are going to be starting August 1st. I don’t know when they will be using one machine, which will be a lot less headache, and I know that art is shifting some of their broadcasting technology so I don’t know what that means for the line up. It will probably take some time for the technology to be unified, but I hope they find a solution for consumers to use one box and that will be one less headache.

Link: DigitalProductionME

NBK – Card & More

Recently my card was red flagged for having suspicious use, it seems my card security was compromised in Dubai. Unluckily for me, they locked my account without any notification while I took off to the states. I wasn’t aware of all this. I tried using my check card a few times while I abroad and it kept getting rejected, and calling Kuwait from abroad is a bit difficult. After calling they told me that my card was copied in Dubai somehow and unauthorized amount was taken from the account, yet I wasn’t notified. I could only withdraw after I make a phone call and waiting for them to open the account. I manage to work with that and the accept the situation.

When I came back, I went to the branch which had my new card waiting. When I went they told me it was canceled because it has been there for a month, so I have to wait about 3 days for a new one, but it wasn’t ready except after 10 days. I don’t know where these banks print their credit cards, but can’t they expedite these cards? Nobody has offered a service to print cards faster for banks?

Not having access to your money isn’t the worst of it in my opinion, changing your online login is the worst part. I logged in and I could no longer perform any online service without having to reorder an ePin and wait three days. Seriously the banks in Kuwait could not think of making this a simpler experience.

Aramex Tracking?

I have had this issue for a few months now with Aramex, its not with their service but more with their website. Right now I’m waiting for the dual wan network balancer but its still stuck in customs, it just says delayed delivery with no specifics, its probably stuck in customs so I have to follow up on it myself or I won’t be seeing it anytime soon. The funny part is that whenever I get a delivery in the mailbox in the US, it registers it but then there is no update until it is out for delivery in Kuwait, but for the UK mailbox there are updates at every point. Now they just have to fix the updates for the US mailbox, and I have to get my items out of customs or I won’t be seeing it this week.

Abyatt vs. Ace Hardware vs. Platform

Recently in Kuwait there have been many hardware stores opening, which I think is a great thing. We have lots of choice for all our hardware needs as well as a different selection. Abyatt and Platform coincidentally opened right across from each other, Ace Hardware is still a bit on their own. I’m not sure if there are any more major Hardware stores of this type that are going to open, but I am really happy with the selection available. We went in one day to all three Hardware Stores to see what the difference was in service, materials and other details.

Abyatt

  • Water Pumps and Piping
  • Gardening
  • Bathroom Items (Large Selection)
  • Bathtubs and Showers
  • Doors
  • Large Selection of Paints and Painting Equipment
  • Some Electrical
  • Price is reasonable for some items but high in others
  • Great organization
  • Lots of raw materials for building
  • Helpful staff
  • There is a rewards program and if you buy from them you do save in bulk.

Platform

  • Huge selection of tools (Car, Home, Electrical, and more)
  • Very high quality tools
  • Electrical selection is very large such as outdoor connections, cabling, and more
  • Some selection of raw materials for homes
  • Very organized
  • Extremely helpful and knowledgeable staff
  • Prices are very reasonable
  • Open 7 am to 9 pm Everyday (Fantastic)

Ace Hardware

  • Vehicle tools
  • Vehicle liquids
  • Camping equipment
  • Some garage equipment
  • Large selection of odd items such as grills, and other things
  • Reasonably priced
  • Decent Staff
  • Huge electrical selection Electrical items for every kind of converter and wiring

All of them have their positive parts, and Platform and Abyatt are similar but they also differ with their items. Ace Hardware will take a hit from them, but it still has its niche market. If you are the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) type of guy then you will love Abyatt and Platform. I’m very happy that they are both around, and their location is very accessible in Shuweikh.

Delivery Prices

envelope1.jpg

I needed to send a parcel ugrently to the UK and I thought that the surest way to get it there would be by DHL since they are based in Europe. I had three options and I was only sending an envelope with a piece of paper in it so I didn’t think the difference would be so much, but I was mistaken. The piece of paper is about half the size of A4 paper and its doesn’t weigh anything at all.

Prices:

  • DHL – 25.700 KD
  • FedEx – 13.800 KD
  • TNT – 5.000 KD

These are some varying prices, and in the US you can send next day for $10 and its about the same distance.

Dishdasha Phenomena

dsc00933.jpg

Business in Dubai is very interesting there are lots of meetings upon meetings upon meetings. Its really good how much work they get done, and the tools they have at their hands to get things done. The one thing that I did find odd is the lack of Emirates working at all these privates companies, I went to three major companies and I saw none. I was told that one major company had a group and they were group but that was it.

dsc00932.jpg

When I went to all these meetings I had a dishdasha for everyday and I had an extra one just in case of any accidents. At every building that I went to I got the weirdest looks in the world. People were staring just above their cubicles and I felt like they were staring, it was the weirdest sensation. Even my coworkers were saying that it was strange everyone was staring, its as if they haven’t seen a person in a dishdasha. It seems they don’t get too many people in a dishdasha coming by or working there. Its funny even a few people asked if I was some special person visiting, I got used to stares and just laughed it off. Still I think its a loss for Emirates not to work at so many of the good companies they have to choose from.

dsc00934.jpg

Continue reading…

Spoof Card

spoofcard.png

How fun is this, a phone calling service which spoofs your caller ID. You can call your friend and the number of the White House or Homeland Security will show up on his caller ID. This service is only available in the states, but it can be hilarious. They offer the service to be tried for free so you can see how it works for two minutes before being disconnected. They also have the feature of changing your voice real time to a different female or male voice. The funny part this is all legal, I wouldn’t mind trying this out.

I would get the number to Jack Bauer and have that show up as my caller ID, so if they call back they get Jack Bauer.

Link: SpoofCard