The reason for accruing so much overtime was the fact, that right before and after opening we were unbelievable busy. First we had to get everything ready, then race weekend, after that 4 days of public holidays, grand opening etc. But let’s start at the beginning.
The last week of October, a group of people from Ferrari (who I already meet in July when I was in Maranello) arrived to help us getting the stores ready. Even though it was an almost impossible task to get everything ready in time for our intended opening on October 27th, we somehow managed to do it. But then on the morning of the 27th the Sheikh of Ras al-Khaimah died and public mourning was announced for a whole week. Therefore the opening of Ferrari World was postponed to the 4th of November. Nobody from us really minded, since there was still so much to do and we were all grateful for this additional week
On the 4th of November we then finally opened for the public, but it was meant as an inauguration period leading up to the grand opening on the 30th of November, which took place this week. This event was for 2000 invited guests only and everybody that night was VVIP (Sheiks, royals, celebrities etc.)
Just one week after opening, race weekend reached Abu Dhabi and it was just crazy. Our store was “attacked” each day by 5000 people and at the end of the night there were literally only hangers left hanging in the store we had to get a night shift in to take care of the “damage” that was done to it. And as if race weekend was not enough to handle, right after that we had to deal with the four Eid holidays (Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca) People went crazy again, but it was a totally different crowd. During race weekend we had the super-rich people in, they didn’t care about the prices of the products they just bought it without thinking about it twice. But then during Eid we had a lot of big families (Pakistanis, Indians etc.) and they were only there to look, touch and to take pictures. During those busy days we made a lot of money, but we most probably also lost a lot, due to theft. We are understaffed as it is and we just couldn’t handle the amount of people that come to our store. The merchandise department consists of 48 at this moment, but we are hoping that we can get at least 8 more people. Overall I think we have a good group of people. Of course you always have some that are better, more motivated and work harder that the rest, but what we have is what we got and we have to deal with it.
This explains how I was able to build up so much overtime. Working a 16 hour day became kind of normal during those days. This week we had 3 public holidays again, National Day (for two days) and Islamic New Year. We not only have the world’s largest Ferrari Store when it comes to the merchandise department, we also have the Past & Present Store (which is more like a toy store) three Sales Carts, strategically located within the park, that sell a small selection of merchandise. Next to that we also have four photo outlets. Some of them selling snap shot pictures that were taken while guest enjoyed one of our rides, others are selling pictures taken by rowing photographers. We four assistant mangers are all in charge of one of those areas. Darryn is in charge of the big store, George deals with the photo business, Crisanta takes care of the Sales Carts and I’m in charge of the Past & Present. I’m ok with that division; I’m just not sure why some get a job I can do from home over the phone without even coming in, but well, that’s what it is. Like I already said about our front line colleagues, some are doing a better job, are more committed and work harder than others. The same is true when looking at us four assistant managers
Here in Abu Dhabi, it’s hard to believe that it’s almost Christmas. Not only because of the weather, (we still have around 25 degrees on a daily basis) but also because there is no “Weihnachtsmarkt”, “Lebkuchen” and all those things that make up the pre Christmas season. One thing I will definitely not miss this year is the cold weather, the ice and snow, luckily we will have those pleasant temperatures for a while before it becomes unbearable again, especially June/July/August.
One last thing I want to share with you is that my annual leave got approved Even though it’s still over four month to go, it’s something to look forward to. I will be off 45 in a row and luckily Eva and I were able to almost get the same period off. We are flying back home on the 21st of April, spend a week at home and then our plan is to fly to our favorite country again (Chicago and Las Vegas for sure, maybe also in Orlando. Nothing is sure yet, we still have a couple of month to plan it all out) After that we are spending another week in Germany, maybe with a quick visit to NL before we will fly back to Abu Dhabi on the 25th of May.
That’s it for today, now I will enjoy the rest of my off days. (I’m off three days in a row) Nothing special planned for the rest of today, just going to Abu Dhabi downtown to run some errands. Tomorrow we will go to Dubai with Joan, Wayne’s wife (our maintenance director) to do some shopping and then on Tuesday it’s time to bake some Christmas cookies.
Hope you are all doing ok, would love to get an update on how you are doing. Take care and I will talk to you soon again.
P.S.: Some of you asked me for my mailing address. I’m already looking forward receiving your mail
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Merchandise Department (Sabine Keil)
P.O. Box 128717
Abu Dhabi, UAE
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16 January 2011
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United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi
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