Last night I was in Seef Mall with my daughter. For anyone that doesnt know we recently had yet another mall added to our already impressive collection (all within a short distance from each other mind you) called City Center. Since this new state of the art mall opened up Seef Mall has really seen a decline in numbers. How do I know this...well simply because you can actually find a place to park your car pretty much anytime you go there now (except the weekend as Seef has the cinema and City Centers still hasnt opened theirs).
When you wander around inside its almost like a ghost town at times...City Center has definitely put a dent in Seef Malls business...so the bosses at Seef have apparently knocked their heads together and came up with a crowd puller...or at least what they thought would pull the crowds.
A Cash Grabbing Booth
Now in theory this would seem to be a good idea for getting the crowds away from City Center and back to Seef...who doesnt like a chance at free money? However, I found the crowd (such as it was) less then enthusiastic considering Bd2000 ($5000 more or less) was up for grabs (at least thats how it was promoted).
Anyhow, first off I have to point out that it was quite clearly false advertising. Supposedly there is Bd2000 in that booth...but our largest denomination of the dinar is a Bd20...and it takes quite alot of those to make Bd2000...and looking into the booth you were lucky to see maybe 10 or so...with a few Bd10 notes scattered around as well...and some Bd5's just for good measure. The majority by far of notes were Bd1 and half Bd (5oo fils) notes....and anyone with a modicum of counting skills could very clearly see there wasnt even close to Bd2000 worth of those in that booth.
Secondly, they had so many fricken rules about what you can NOT do while in the booth.
1. dont move your feet
2. dont grab for money stuck to the sides
3. use only one hand
4. dont stick money in your shirt or pockets
5. dont jump up or bend down
Oh yeah, and you have 20 seconds to grab as much as you can...one handed...not jumping or bending or using your clothes etc...just standing there and reaching out into the air to grab what you can...fun fun fun!!!
Last but not least...you have to be present when and if they call your name...no shows are disqualified. So one guy who had run off to the bathroom (we are told) lost his chance cause they werent willing to wait 5 min...oh well...you snooze you lose...or something else...lol. The ticket holder was a huge tumbling machine that had several thousand tickets in it...there were only about 50 people gathered around at show time. Im thinking it wasnt advertised well enough so that people understood the rules or something...anyhow...
The first one drawn was Bahraini lady...problems right off the bat. She was wearing hijab and duffa. Now Ive never been in a wind booth but I hear its... well...pretty windy...lol....and the air is being blown from below upwards...are you following me here...chances are neither her abaya or hijab will take kindly to such rude wind.
So she looked around hopefully...maybe wishing the Presenter would just let her go into the booth sans wind and grab what she liked for 20 secs...you think...or maybe she was thinking she wished one of her brothers or sons was with her (if she had any)...but nothing. Eventually the Presenter had a light bulb moment and asked for a volunteer to come forward and grab for the lady. She looked around somewhat embarrassed as if he was asking for someone to model underwear she planned on buying...no takers at first but eventually a British teen volunteered and everyone was happy.
My only problem with volunteering for such a project is that things can get ugly if the volunteerer (?) inadvertently breaks a rule and gets disqualified (and very likely considering how many there were)...and if they dont do a very good job grabbing...someones feelings might be hurt and a little resentment felt...understand me?...but British teen volunteered and Bahraini lady happily accepted.
She was given a run down of all the rules and stepped tenderly into the booth on top of a pile of money. It was at this point we learned that only 20 secs were given to supposedly grab Bd2000 dinars...yeah right...anyhow.
I took pics of this with my phone cam but unfortunately I cant find the wire to hook it to my computer so you have to visualize from the pic up there.
Air was turned on...money went flying (although she was standing on quite alot of it and nobody advised her to move her feet to set it free into the playing field) and she started grabbing. 20 secs flies by in..well...20 secs. Its like no time at all. Started and finished before you can really get excited about anything.
It was all over and she stepped out for the count up. A grand total of Bd21. Free money and all but the crowd was obviously not impressed. Hey...its not as easy as it looks judging by her efforts...anyhow. Bahraini lady was smiling and offered the British girl Bd5 for her efforts. Fun fun fun!!!
Next was a grown man (not sure his nationality...anyhow) and he went through the whole thing and came away with Bd32. People were expecting more from him judging by the reactions...but what can you do...its wind and its paper and its rules rules rules. I noticed he actually dropped quite a bit of money in there as it would fly from his hand while transferring from the grabbing hand...maybe thats why they dont allow pockets etc...might actually get some money that way.
All in all it wasnt nearly as exciting as Ive seen on tv etc. The crowd tried to be supportive but with only around 50 or so...it was lackluster at best. The rules were unfair and unneeded...just how much money can be grabbed in 20 secs even without those rules? Seef promoters had a good idea but didnt really do enough with it in my opinion.
If your trying to draw a crowd...let them have fun for goodness sake...enough with the rules already. Life already has enough of them for us....20 secs in a booth full of money sans rules...now thats a crowd puller.