The Move From Hell-How NOT To Move House in Saudi Arabia

Apologies for being away from the blog so long. But I had a good excuse! We were finally able to move into our new place in the Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh. For the move we were planning to hire a moving company. Last time we moved the company destroyed many precious items I had brought from Finland and some things (like a huge painting) went MISSING.

So this time we searched for a moving firm we could trust not to destroy everything. A company was recommended to us that seemed really professional and even had a good website, but they would’ve charged us over 8000 riyals! For a days work I think that’s ridiculous, considering petrol is almost free and labor for such work is very cheap.

So we tried to find something we could afford and ended up using a company that seemed OK and signed the contract which included price, time frame and most importantly that any destroyed items would be reimbursed. The manager came to our house to evaluate how much stuff we had and how many men were needed.

When the moving day came, the moving crew arrived in the morning and we had hired two maids to help us pack, unpack and clean. I felt like I needed at least ten extra heads and sets of hands to be able to supervise and direct all these people

 The way the “movers” were handling and packing stuff was amazing. I mean we are talking about people who do this for a living right? You would assume they knew what they’re doing huh? Pack clothing nicely in plastic bags and other things in boxes with padding and wrapped in newspaper, labels and so on.

In reality what was going on was about six Afghani men were mercilessly throwing and stuffing random things into plastic bags and boxes as fast as they could while an Indian supervisor was leaning on walls and “managing” them. I didn’t have time to label anything despite my desperate efforts running around after the men from room to room trying to figure out what they were stuffing where.

They mixed everything together with no logic whatsoever. Like toilet bowl brushes, opened laundry detergent box, baby bath toys and uncovered toothbrushes in one bag, for example. Their idea of padding was a single sheet of newspaper placed between items, not around. No plastic wrap, bubble wrap nothing. Just a single sheet of paper. I’ve never seen anything that ridiculous in my life.

So next getting the things into the trucks. To my horror they’d shown up with open trucks that I’ve seen camels and sheep transported in.

The mindless movers had managed to pile the bags, boxes and furniture onto the trucks, in that order. Lamps were hanging out from the sides and an armchair had been placed on the top of everything, kinda like a topping on a cake. No padding or wrapping anywhere, of course. My husband had to show them how to secure the things with ropes so that we wouldn’t leave a trail of things falling out of the trucks behind us.

I took a deep breath, tired to think positive and thought with careful driving everything could still work out well. Careful driving? Who was I kidding? Did anyone ever see anything resembling careful driving in this country?

When we finally got to our destination, we realized the trucks were too tall to drive into the underground parking hall. This meant the load had to be carried from a nearby parking lot to our building and up one set of stairs. In other words the men were now forced to walk an extra 200 meters and instead of having to carry things up two sets of stairs (which would’ve been the case if the truck had been able to drive into the garage) it would now only be one. Just a minor set back, you would think. Actually, less work because of less stairs right?

Nope. This was the END OF THE WORLD. Suddenly the men became so lazy and slow, sloths would look like cheetahs next to these people. They dragged (not carried) one small bag at a time complaining about having to walk. In our apartment they tried to avoid having to take anything upstairs and kept piling the things in the foyer, blocking entrance to any other rooms. We had friends over to help supervise and carry stuff but even that wasn’t enough to make sure things got done. I swear for each one of these movers, a personal assistant was needed to ensure everything doesn’t break and that they do at least something!

The supervisor walked so slowly I could hear him coming from a mile away by the way his sandals dragged on the ground. He sounded like this: “Swoosh swoosh. Sigh. Too much heavy! Swoosh swoosh. Too much work!”

It was around 1 p.m and the supervisor was already giving up. He said “this will never finish!” Oh yeah? Well if you slouch around like a freakin SLUG it will probably not end even by the end of this year! But do your job and it just might! I saw him THROW a box into the laundry room, a good two meters across the room, upside down. He thought no one could see him but I was watching like a hawk. When I confronted him he pretended it was ‘an accident mam.’ How professional. Ugh.

After long talks and persuasion, the mover-snails finally got to moving some of the larger furniture. My husband and his friend were helping them since things were seriously not moving along fast enough. However these movers would not listen to any advice. They completely IGNORED all talk. As if we did not exist.

Our staircase is quite narrow and some larger things are difficult to get upstairs, so my husband tried to tell the men how to turn furniture around to make it fit. Instead, the men kept turning the stuff around like it was the Rubik’s cube, until finally after half an hour of talking, sweating and some shouting they figured out what my husband had told them was in fact the only way to take things up.

So after they had thrown our stuff around and finally emptied the trucks they started refusing to finish the job. WHAT? We have an agreement! We signed a contract! They said it’s too much work. Excuse me, you knew exactly how much stuff we have and said it’s no problem. Plus most of the stuff had already been brought to the new apartment. They had left the heaviest things in the previous apartment to bring for last. We told them if they don’t finish the job today no money will be paid! It was only 5 p.m and there was still plenty of hours in the day, as agreed they were supposed to work until the late hours.

Truth is they were just too darn lazy. The laziest of them all was the boss or some sort of so called supervisor/manager. His job was apparently to finish all the food and drink we provided for his crew and to sweat like hell after carrying a pillow. His job description also consisted of CONSTANT whining and sighing. And the sandal dragging, of course.

So when they got back to the old apartment, they QUIT. Just like that. In the middle of the move. Without getting paid. They QUIT. WTH? How can someone’s laziness be so profound they even forget about money? So they did all those 8h work for free? I wanted to kill them, how can this be possible?

My husband started calling around for another company and finally someone agreed. They came that evening with the promise of finishing off that night, despite it being late already. This all-Pakistani crew seemed more professional in their packing techniques, plastic and padding was actually used. I was hopeful.

Oh and a small setback at this point, my husband’s car broke down.

So when the next truck was all packed up and my husband had managed to get another car they arrived at DQ at the parking lot. And guess what?

They REFUSED to work. So our stuff (including all beds, baby stuff and food!) were in the truck. They were holding our stuff hostage! They asked for more money. My husband initially refused but when it became evident the things were going to be held ransom, he agreed to pay a small amount more because we were getting desperate at this point. No luck. The asses locked up the truck and left. Just like that.

Grrreat! Now what??

Well we all ended up sleeping on a small mattress on the floor, exhausted, in the same dirty clothes with no idea where the baby stuff was. Not the best of nights. Our cats were howling like crazy and jumping all over the place the whole night. The kidnappers were supposed to arrive 8 am the next morning because the truck was parked in the blazing sun and it contained food items. it can get close to 40c at around 10. Surprisingly there was no sign of the men, when my husband called they said “Oh we’re still sleeping, maybe around 11.” MAYBE? 11? I was already sizzling.

The hauler-pirates arrived around noon. Same scenario as with the previous crew happens: After carrying a few boxes and things they start moaning and groaning. “Too much work. Too much heavy. Too much hot“. Well why didn’t you show up in the morning you morons, of course it’s hot in the midday sun!

The boss actually told us he’s going to just drop off the things on the street and leave. No motivation, no respect. Unbelievable.

I thought I had seen it all with the previous crew but these guys were in a whole other league. Reckless is an understatement. I had to watch them every second. Possibly the height of stupidity was when they started to fill the corridor outside the apartment with our things. It looked like the gypsies were moving in. So instead of carrying the said item five more meters into the house, they blocked the corridors and left the things in the blaring sun. Some things were conveniently placed inside the neighbors foyers. Nice first impressions huh?

When we complained to the manager he said it’s better and faster this way. Really? Isn’t that double the work actually? I knew why they were doing it, they wanted to do a half-assed move. Well I was having nothing of it.

I was so annoyed, enraged and embarrassed at this point that I started to carry the things into the house myself, which I normally would without hesitation but I happen to be pregnant so it’s not exactly advisable. My husband had to stay at the truck to make sure they didn’t run away and/or destroy our things.

What really was the last straw for me was whenever one of these useless movers came around they would refuse point blank to listen to me. The men would walk past me as if I were a piece of furniture. You don’t take orders from a woman eh?! I could strangle you from your balls right now because I’m so angry so you better listen to me jerks!

One of them was a total CREEP he would stare at me with no shame even in front of my husband. No use telling him off, the staring would continue. The same guy destroyed the house by dragging our outdoor pool, which was full of mud and dust, up to the rooftop. He went through the house and staircase leaving a trail of mud all over because he was holding it the wrong way. He got a good shouting for that one but it didn’t brighten up his attitude one bit.

I asked one of them to carry a box containing food (left in the +35c sunshine in the corridor) inside to the kitchen before it gets ruined. The guy just looked at me and said with a poker face I don’t carry boxes.

WHAT? Did you just say you don’t carry boxes? Here’s a newsflash for you: You’re a MOVER. You know, the guy that carries boxes for his living? If you don’t carry boxes, what DO you do, stare at women? And then, he just ran away and I didn’t see him for a good two hours.

Many of the men just ignored me when I asked them to do something. The worst was when they just turned around and left me standing there like an idiot, and an idiot I was for even trying to get some sense into these men. They were lucky I didn’t have a rifle.

I saw another moving-hero carry a box labelled Fragile UPSIDE DOWN and then drop it on the floor. I opened it and found a broken expensive glass item inside. Showed it to him and said “you can’t carry stuff like this look what you’ve done, it’s broken.” His reply? “Mafi malom” (I don’t understand) then he laughed and left. He was lucky I did not have a bazooka on me.

The creepy mover peed in all of our bathrooms, on the floors and the rims, so disgusting. Probably on purpose. I was going bananas. Then I went up to the rooftop to check if he’d done what I asked. The a-hole had actually left everything half-way in the staircase, entirely blocking the way up. He obviously thought I wouldn’t go up and check. You’re in no luck CREEP-O, get back here right now to finish! “Mafi malom.” again. He tried to escape but I blocked him from going out of the house and forced him to carry the things in their places. He was not happy. I was furious.

So after thousands of similar scenarios that day all of the things were finally in the house. Most of the stuff was carried inside from the hallway by us. Next the moving geniuses needed to re-assemble the wardrobes and beds. They tried to run away but we took revenge and kept the supervisor hostage upstairs. The rest of the crew vanished into thin air. My husband was left to assemble everything with the supervisor who was completely clueless. That took a good three hours.

When they were leaving the manager of the company came to our house because we had complained. We showed him all the things they destroyed like one chest drawer ruined because of rough handling, the broken glasses and scratched items and guess what he has to say? More money. Oh yes, more money, for this SUPER DUPER professional, swift and personal service. More money.

NO WAY. We won’t pay you another halalah for this crap service. In fact, you should pay US for what your crew destroyed because of lack of respect, unprofessional attitude and by handling everything the wrong way! And apologize for your staff’s totally frivolous working ethics!

In the end all was OK, since we only ended up paying a very small amount for the “half-assed-move”. Things are just things and at least we are finally here. Forget these slimeballs and unprofessionalism that is flourishing in this country. I’m happy we’re in our new home now.

P.S. Two days after this chaos we managed to pull off my daughter’s 1 year birthday party ;)
P.P.S After we had emptied all the boxes we realized that all the expensive kitchen appliances had gone missing, altogether worth over 3000sar.

P.P.P.S I realized a few months after the move when things settled that the movers had also stolen some cutlery and vases.

P.P.P.P.S NEVER hire a moving company in Saudi Arabia. Ever.



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  • ربة منزلApril 12, 2012 - 1:29 am

    Oh my goodness! I have experienced moving a few times but never had to go through such a bad situation. When I was young, my father hired a moving company that packed and moved our furniture, books and clothes in a day. and we are a big family of 7 children and 2 adults.

    I guess those moving guys you hired are the kind that study their customers well and if they sense the slightest opportunity, they use it to make more money.

    Happy birthday and best wishes to your daughter and your home, sweet home.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 12, 2012 - 9:25 am

      I’m sure they studied us and because we were initially so nice and friendly to them they took advantage..

      Thanks, we’re finally beginning to settle in here :)ReplyCancel

  • SoileApril 12, 2012 - 6:56 am

    Unbelievable! I can’t believe how bloody unprofessional they were, in any other country they would be fired.

    Onnea uuteen kotiin :-)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 12, 2012 - 9:38 am

      Soile-kiitos! I doubt they would ever fire their workers here, seems like everything is ok and allowed. We told the manager also about the urine around the toilets and the mud trail and how one of them was disrespectful toward me, staring and would not listen. He didn’t say anything.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 12, 2012 - 5:15 am

    I am not trying to be disrespectful but I think that you are very disrespectful in the way in which you refer to people. Slimeballs, slugs, maids, Afghani men, Pakistani men. Perhaps this is why you have so many problems in your dealings with people. Treat people as you wish to be treated as an equal, no one is less than any one else. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar…I’m just saying.

    • LaylahApril 12, 2012 - 9:27 am

      If you don’t have sense of humor whatsoever I suggest you don’t read this blog.
      You are barking at the wrong tree Sahar.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 12, 2012 - 9:32 am

      Umm Gamar-thank you! Yes they were indeed disrespectful despite us treating them well and like the professionals we had mistaken them for. Their behavior was unbelievable and totally unacceptable.ReplyCancel

    • Umm GamarApril 12, 2012 - 8:09 am

      Really Sahar?u hv to be kidding.if i was Laylah i would give those incompetent fools much worst names.they are disgraceful n disrespectful.on top of all the chaos,she’s pregnant also(mashallah Congratulations Laylah). Uggh i despise incompetance.ReplyCancel

    • Om Lujain©April 16, 2012 - 5:56 pm

      I know Laylah PERSONALLY.. and can tell you that she is very respectful to all people equally. (I have personally seen her deal with people of different nationalities with the utmost respect).ReplyCancel

    • SFAugust 11, 2012 - 9:33 am

      hey, This is my Story, I recently shifted my house to an area besides DQ.Those pictures with the stuff lying throughout the way, this is exactly what happened with me, I would never hire those paki / punjabi assholes again. not to mention that supervisor type guy was staring at my wife too.ReplyCancel

  • miolannApril 12, 2012 - 5:47 am

    My impression was that the moving company gave a professional image in the beginning and they were treated respectfully until they showed their unprofessional attitude. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    It must be really frustrating to get anything done if the work ethics are generally like that.

    Hope everything starts to be in its place already :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 12, 2012 - 9:34 am

      Miolann-yes they seemed really professional and when the boss came to evaluate our things everything seemed fine and I overlooked so many things along the way. But when people start trashing our belongings and treating us like idiots then I have an issue.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 12, 2012 - 9:35 am

      and yes the work ethic is like this in most places.ReplyCancel

  • NoorApril 12, 2012 - 9:28 am

    Wow I am sorry you all have to go through all of this. We hired companies in the states bc they were professional and we knew they would be but here we have just always packed and moved ourselves with some help with the large things from someone my dh hires so we have not had any problems alhumudllah. Its a lot of work but after reading this it seems like LESS work actually ya Allah.

    This sounds like such a nightmare ugh I hate moving.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 3:43 pm

      Noor-you've got a really good point there! It's what I told my husband all along, we should just do everything ourselves! Unfortunately Saudis tend to have the mindset that you need to hire help for everything and he wouldn't listen :pReplyCancel

    • Om Lujain©April 16, 2012 - 5:53 pm

      This is how we do it. I pack everything myself (don’t trust the hubby).. move the things in their boxes.. and furniture and stuff by some guys my husbands friend knows. I unpack everything myself.. and believe me.. it’s much much easier. lol.. even though I was 9 months pregnant with a 3 year old and a 1 1/2 year old… my official move was 1 week after my last baby was born… and yes.. I still have loads of stuff at my father-in-laws.. lol.. gotta finish that up soon enshallah :)

      I have only done one move since I have been married, but with my mom we movies a LOT.. and I learned from her.. if you want anything done right.. just do it yourself.. lolReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 16, 2012 - 9:11 pm

      Om Lujain-how did you convince your husband this was the best thing to do? I tried telling him this all along but he wouldn’t listen. Maybe he’s just lazy :p or used to hiring ppl for everything! I’m the opposite!ReplyCancel

  • Abdullah from ArabiaApril 12, 2012 - 8:51 am

    This could be a scenario for Tash ma Tash.

    Talking about work and ethics, I wonder to what extent the ideas of Calvin about the predestination, hard work, being elected, influence the ethics through out the Protestant nations today. On other words, how many people who wake up and leave the house and work hard not only to be paid salary but also to fit the description of Calvin about the person who is elected. And I wonder whether these ideas taught to children by parents or in school? I think accordin to my understanding of the ideas of Calvin the Saudi populations will go to hell because they are wasters and lazy, 99% of them. please correct me if my understanding is wrong. ThanksReplyCancel

    • AnonymousApril 13, 2012 - 2:49 am

      Hi Abdullah, This is Annie from the US. That is an interesting thought. I’ve never heard anyone speak of learning this Calvanistic philosophy directly ie I’ve never heard anyone adhere directly to the Calvanist idea, but the idea/theology probably does affect western culture. I recently read a memoir by a Scotsman who mentioned that in Scotland “Work is love,”. Perhaps this is a descendent cultural characteristic of the original Calvinist ideology.

      Blue Abaya, I’m so sorry your move was so very miserable; however I’m very glad you didn’t shoot any of the workmen as I really enjoy your blog and you probably wouldn’t be allowed internet access in prison. I’m also glad you managed to not pay much.


    • AnonymousApril 14, 2012 - 3:02 pm

      Actually, that kind of work ethics is an intrinsic part of many western cultures that has a protestans majority (work will, basically, keep you away from sinning). It's is definitely different in many other western/european cuntries that are not protestant. It is really sad though that this is happening in Muslim countries when this is completely contrary to Islamic teachings. That just showsReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 10:02 pm

      Abdullah-None of the persons involved in the incident were Saudi remember :) But that said I wouldn't call the work ethics of some Saudis any better than these!ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousApril 15, 2012 - 1:21 pm

      Completely agree. The Calvin ideas found in Protestan Christianism have a lot to do with the work ethics of people. You can see this reflected in south Europe, with Catholic majority, how things are going. (no offense to anybody, really, I just happen to live in South Europe).
      People around here are kinda lazy (I do include myself in this group, sometimes, hehe).
      But look at theReplyCancel

  • Karen KingApril 12, 2012 - 1:23 pm

    A**holes. (I know I’m not suppose to use foul language, but this is the only thing I can say about this even.t)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 12, 2012 - 11:07 am

    How aweful! Ugh, I hate moving! Happy birthday to your sweet daughter!!! Francesca from Ottawa, CanadaReplyCancel

  • LouiseApril 12, 2012 - 4:47 pm

    Funny blog. I liked the part about the guy sweating while carrying a pillow.

    Maybe it’s time Saudi’s stop hiring labor for nothing and doing their own work. Let’s see how well (or not) they do it.

    Good luck with your new home.ReplyCancel

    • HudaApril 14, 2012 - 4:39 am

      This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyCancel

  • JeanApril 13, 2012 - 12:44 am

    I’m not sure it’s useful to be trumping up the Protestant work ethic, etc. Every culture has its share of lazy folks, fraudsters, etc.

    More to the point: What has been the moving experience of upper class to middle class Saudis when they had to relocate their household?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 3:48 pm

      Jean-I'm guessing those that can afford to pay tens of thousands of riyals just to move their stuff around have better experiences.ReplyCancel

    • flawlessvelvetApril 17, 2012 - 11:49 pm

      Don’t know about upper class, but being a middle class Saudi I can tell you that in my experience we will try to move most things ourselves with the help of our extended family. We do have to hire peoplesometimes though and you just have to grin and bear it when it comes to their unprofessionalism (or yell your guts out at them lol).ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 12, 2012 - 10:06 pm

    Abdullah from Arabia,

    We, Protestants, learn our pride from hard work ethic, from the Puritans (Christians) who escaped religious persecution in Europe and were some of the first people to move to the USA (New World) in the 1600’s. The Puritans learned it from the theology of Calvin/Martin Luther. It is the basic culture in the USA. It is taught from when you are growing up at home, church and in school. At work the same attitude is expected, too. Working hard for success and being proud of your hard work is engrained in US culture. SSBReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 3:47 pm

      Not only is it ingrained in the US culture but many other western and Asian cultures too. In Finland we take pride for being such a hardworking small nation, and just look what we have accomplished worldwide, and we are only 5 million people. Then we have countries like Pakistan and India where billions live but work ethics of most are as they are and well what is the result?

      I don&#ReplyCancel

    • RaazApril 15, 2012 - 4:20 pm


      Let me first tell you that i LOVE reading your blog! It's filled with great information! My question is, if the service over there bugs you so much why do you choose to stay in saudi arabia? Why not move to a western country that would meet your needs better?

      Also, I just want to state alot of South Asians ARE hard workers. For god sake, in the west (US) alot ofReplyCancel

    • AnonymousNovember 28, 2012 - 4:10 am

      Yes, I want to reiterate that many South Asians are hard workers. They have the highest income level of any ethnic group in the USA because they work really really hard – many of them including my husband’s family literally came to the USA with ten dollars in their pocket and slept friend’s couches to put themselves through school and work their way up at work. Straight A’s, perfect SAT scores, and Ivy league educations are the norm in that group. No one in my husband’s family would even dream of missing a day of work even if they’re ill (they are all doctors, lawyers, engineers, or high powered executives). They make me look downright lazy in comparison.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 12, 2012 - 10:10 pm

    Unbelievable moving experience. Maybe someone needs to start a website for Saudi people to post their negative and positive experiences with different Saudi company types so people can review the customer’s experience. Enough bad reviews can usually change how a company functions or they will go out of business. And, since a foreigner can’t own a business in Saudia, the Saudi who owns that company should be called out in shame for the service his moving company is hiring. SSBReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 3:41 pm

      SSB yes I wonder what the owner of the company would have to say to that! It might be just a person who is the owner on paper but in reality the companies are run by other nationalities.ReplyCancel

      • mahaOctober 26, 2016 - 11:49 am

        I think you should post then name of these two companies so all other people wouldn’t go for them. I myself am in the process of hiring a company but asked my friends and they recommended one that I am going forReplyCancel

        • Arabian LauraOctober 26, 2016 - 7:39 pm

          I just asked my husband if he remembers, he couldn’t remember either one from the top of his head. Checked our phone we have a company called arabco listed as movers. Can’t say which one it was, although both were horrid. I would hope that they would not be operating anymore if this is how they treat all their clients.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 13, 2012 - 2:40 am

    I was just stating an opinion Laylah, no need for attacks. I will not visit your blog again, I do not nor did I wish to offend, it is not nor was it ever my intention. This is not about a “class” of people. I truly believe that this is what divides us as Muslims. Astaagfir’Allah. I realize that this is not about religion, it is about a particular task as it were BUT it is about humanity, ultimately and that is my opinion as well. I want to “save” the world, forgive me.
    So I will leave you and forgive me, if you choose not to publish this, it is your right but I would not be your sister in Islam if I did not wish for you what I wish for myself. I would just remind you of our dear Prophets last Sermon and his general message to follow Quran and his Sunnah and that no man being any less than any other man.
    Salaams dear sister.

    • HudaApril 14, 2012 - 5:00 am

      Islamically there is nothing wrong with publicly exposing those who expose themselves. There are 6 instances when this is permissible: one is when you need to complain to a judge or people of authority about oppressors & transgressors and another to warn other Muslims and advise them against their evil. So really, it would have been even better if the sister named the company she used, that way no one else would bother using them.

      Besides, this is business ok, they paid these people for a service and they didn’t get their money or times worth! In Islam is this okay? It isn’t incumbent on the person who has suffered at the hands of oppressors to be silent. And this is a form of oppression… to take peoples’ money and to give them false promises and then to turn around an do that.

      Also urinating all over the place? Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Protect yourselves from urine, for most of the torment of the grave is because of it”

      Not everything is about protecting people and Islam isn’t about keeping quiet ALL THE TIME when someone hurts you. Especially when they offer a “service” to the public or they have a duty of care/responsibility towards other Muslims!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 3:55 pm

      Sahar-you really don't get me at all. Look you had an issue with me calling someone a maid. That's like having a problem with calling someone a doctor or a gardener. WHat is your problem here really?

      Also, you complained about me saying Pakistani and Afghani? So what? What if they were American and Finns? I would have mentioned that as well. Just to describe the situation. AndReplyCancel

    • AnonymousApril 14, 2012 - 3:05 pm

      Hear hear!ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousApril 14, 2012 - 3:06 pm

      @ Huda, you are completely rightReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahApril 13, 2012 - 1:16 pm

    Just can’t even believe this. You’d think for a country with so much money to spend on lavish things, they could afford to actually have good customer servie. STOLE your painting!? What!? Are you kidding me? Is that not illegal there? Is there no one who you can even complain to who will follow up with these kinds of invasions of your property?

    Just insane. This seriously makes me realize that I have to start preparing myself for this kind of crap when I move out of the USA too. I’ve been spoiled with the luxury of knowing that my things will still be there if I have a company help me move. I’ve apparently also been spoiled by the postmen who don’t steal the contents of my mail. Just can’t believe that Saudi Arabia doesn’t crack down on this stuff! That’s so wrong.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 9:42 pm

      Proud Muslimah-You'd think this richest country in the world would have a few pennies to spend on many things, such as public transport,public parks, decent roads and so forth.Good customer service?? Only for the rich and royals I guess?

      I have no idea what happened to the painting. I still kinda miss it. Either they downright stole it, or it got so destroyed they got rid of itReplyCancel

  • Faisal HajiApril 13, 2012 - 10:26 am

    For all who are ranting about how this post might be disrespectful, take your heads out of the ground (I had another word in mind, but I shall digress)! There is definitely no discrimination of classes, ethnic, and race in islam, and that all honest jobs are respected. BUT the Prophet also mentioned that whatever job one might be executing, he/she must complete it professionally! And I agree with Laylah on her amazing post, there was no disrespect in what she wrote. The workers are the ones who were disrespectful because they left her personal property in the hallways, in the sun, and tossed it around like a football. Such unprofessionalism should be brought to the general’s awareness. What was missing in the post was the name of the company!

    Oh and another thing, the company should’ve respected the contract between both parties, its highly against Allah’s laws to void a contract without all the members’ consent.

    Please be aware of what you quote when it comes to Shria and Sunna, rather than a quick judgment

    Here are some Hadiths for you:

    Narrated Hadrat Hakim bin Hizam (may Allah be pleased with him): Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said; “The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return the goods so long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they would be blessed in their transaction and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost.” (Bukhari)

    The Prophet also said: “A truthful and trustworthy merchant is associated with the prophets.“ Al-Tirmidhi

    There is much more in the Quran and hadith too, but I think my point came across.

    Thanks for another lovely post, Laylah, and may Allah bless your little daughter and give her good health and longevity.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 9:38 pm

      Faisal-Thanks for your comment! I like how you described it, throwing stuff around like a football! That's just how it was :)ReplyCancel

  • American BeduApril 14, 2012 - 12:21 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience, Laylah. We had two moves while in Riyadh and I’m thankful to say that the experience was good. My Saudi husband made all the arrangements.

    However when moving from the Kingdom, a word of advise… if English is not the native language of the movers, be sure and have helpers who watch what goes in to each box so it can be labeled in regards to contents and destination of which room. Movers may speak some English but many do not write in English.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 9:44 pm

      American Bedu-glad you had better luck with your moves!
      Or the movers may not be able to write at all :)ReplyCancel

  • HudaApril 14, 2012 - 5:03 am

    Mabrook on your pregnancy Laylah! How exciting!

    And sorry about your terrible experience. Absolutely pathetic how they could do those sorts of things and still stay in business.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 9:45 pm

      Thanks Huda and I wonder the same thing!ReplyCancel

  • Reem PhilbyApril 14, 2012 - 8:58 am

    OMG that is just terrible Laylah!! Sorry you had to go through all that crap ,, some people really need to shapen up and act professional!!

    On the bright side, congratulations on the pregnancy and happy birthday to your daughter :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 14, 2012 - 9:45 pm

      Reem-thank you!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 15, 2012 - 1:03 pm


    • AnonymousApril 15, 2012 - 1:03 pm

      Forgot to write my name, sorry.

  • MeApril 16, 2012 - 2:01 am

    I love, love, LOVE your blog! As an American who cannot imagine giving up my freedoms I must wonder with all the issues you have encountered (forced Niqab, no driving, horrid “customer service”, raw sewage, random violence by religious police, arrests for speaking with a male or not having a license, etc, etc) I must wonder why you would live in such a country. Saudi has such a horrendous track record on rights for anyone (especially women) and will not even give children back to parents when it is obvious they were kidnapped. Add to that the honor killings (when a women is raped!) and I don’t know how you, coming from such a wonderful open-minded country could stand it. Aren’t you also terrified of raising a daughter in such a country?

    I realize these are Saudi issues and not all are Islamic issues but wouldn’t you are your wonderful husband (not to mention your Saudi-Finnish princess) be happier in a country where you could at least drive to the store and buy your own milk?

    Keep posting! I love your honest views of KSA!


    • MeApril 16, 2012 - 3:10 am

      Faisal Haji,

      I love your comment! I believe in freedom completely. My religion is is very conservative in that we do not drink, smoke, wear revealing clothing and are asked to refrain from any promiscuity at all at the risk of being excommunicated but I choose to do these things.

      Not being able to simply drive my child to school, buy groceries, etc is simply beyond comprehension and this is done by certain Saudis to control women. It is a sad mark on the Islamic religion that this is done. Women have so much to contribute whether they choose a career or they stay at home full time with their children (I do not work outside the home so I can be here for our sons).

      I don’t believe there should be control but rather guidance. Someone cannot be truly pious if their decisions are made for them. I truly hope I have not offended anyone and if so I sincerely apologize. My children have friends who are Muslim and we have many neighbors who are Muslim as well. Most are Pakistani so the language barrier has kept us from talking much.

      Thanks again!


    • Faisal HajiApril 16, 2012 - 2:31 am

      It’s true that some of the things you mentioned in your comment occur in the Kingdom, many are “un-islamic” and demonstrate extreme interpretations of the Holy Book. But there is more to the Saudi Arabia than rape, niqab …. etc. It has a great desert and rich culture. I appreciate that you acknowledged that its not based on islamic laws because islam is actually a very moderate religion and is HIGHLY against extremist.

      Also, freedom is not a universal fact, instead its based on personal preferences. I live in a “free” country (Canada), but I still think that there is more freedom, in some aspects that are important to me, in my country (UAE) than here. I sometimes believe that freedom is way overrated in some aspects in many western countries and it just leads to chaos and disarray. I mean its basic laws of physics, when the control factor is completely lifted, then the system is in chaos (entropy).

      Please keep in mind that my comment is not defending the women right abuse in KSA, but its just something that came to my mind and I had the urge to share it with you.ReplyCancel

    • Faisal HajiApril 16, 2012 - 3:20 am

      I wasn’t offended at all. It was just something on my mind. Besides back women’s rights 100% and true islamic followers should to. In the Prophet’s era, women were soldiers, caregivers, mothers, doctors, and ever businesswomen. There is no excuse that women should be banned from working, driving, or living in that sense. I believe many women are afraid to talk about this in KSA and come out very defensive to make them feel better. Some might argue that Islam restricted some jobs to men and not women, actually what islam mentions was: if a job is labor intensive, them men should offer working there unless a women wants to. Islam respected the femininity and tenderness that is associated with women but didn’t limit their abilities.

      My friend lives in KSA because her husband is Saudi, and it drives me insane. She is a great neurobiologist (PhD) but her husband refuses that she works and limits her contact with the outside world. I always argue about this when secretly speaking to her. If she were my wife, I would show her off to the world and not hide her.

      Let me also say that your comment shows that you are a truely open minded person and not someone who would put one general label on a group of people. :DReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 16, 2012 - 9:24 pm

      Kathryn-well those are some valids points but also like Faisal already commented on some things are simply not true..
      Well every country has its own problems and good sides to it is all I can say. Everything is open, but if I wanted to move elsewhere it would not be to Finland, I always wanted to move abroad..Many issues there not going to get into right now, although on all statistics and polls it seems Finland is the ideal country to live in. Surely it is for many :)
      At least now that we moved to dq many issues are gone, like going to grocery store :pReplyCancel

  • MeApril 16, 2012 - 4:17 am

    Faisal Haji,

    What a lovely compliment! Thank you so much. I honestly try to be open minded with all religions. With most Muslim atrocities (as with most RELIGIOUS atrocities I should say) it comes down to culture vs Islam. I grieve for those lost in the 9/11 attack and think Al Queda and their ilk have a special place in hell reserved just for them but I think that of anyone who does anything so horrid and violent in the name of God, Allah, etc.

    Reminds me of a bumper sticker that says: Dear God, Save me from your followers! So true in so many situations!

    Laylah…Sorry that we have hijacked your comments section!!!


  • Om Lujain©April 16, 2012 - 5:47 pm

    My God.. what madness…. if I did not see all the pictures on Facebook.. I would have NEVER believed the perfect home I walked into for Lamia’s birthday party had endured such madness! lol… You and the Mr are amazing. I probably would have been in jail after murdering one or all of them :)

    I hope you feel better now after letting all that out.. lol.. will come over for a playdate with Lamia soon <3 Miss you hon! And hope you had an AMAZING birthday <3 <3 <3ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 16, 2012 - 9:19 pm

      Om Lujain-madness indeed! Thanks for your sweet words :)Miss you guys too and btw she loves the toy you got her! It’s the only toy she actually goes to play with herself, genius invention!

      My own bday was shadowed with some harassment at the grocery store, was pushing baby in her stroller but some idiots still insisted on followin me and making some disgusting sounds and gestures. In Carrefour!! HELLO!!! Get a life you loosers!Uff…

      Pls come over soon!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 17, 2012 - 6:56 pm

    Hi, Laylah, I am a European expat leaving in Riyadh. I love to pass by your blog from time to time, just to remind myself that one can take Saudi experience with humor…really, most of the time, I am just fed up with all this laziness and incompetency all around.ReplyCancel

  • flawlessvelvetApril 17, 2012 - 11:37 pm

    Your story reminded me of when we renovated our house last year. My mom is a tough woman who doesn’t take sh** from anyone… She want ballistic on the workers so many times. It’s extremely hard to find professional laborers in KSA, and the good ones cost a FORTUNE.

    P.S. I love the design of the building! Very Arabian.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 17, 2012 - 8:54 pm

    Why you did not just pack yourself everything safely and have these guys move safely packed boxes? Forgetting our Finnish root are we? :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahApril 17, 2012 - 10:39 pm

      hahahaha I packed all the most important and fragile stuff myself. They still managed to break things so..ReplyCancel

  • DanielletriniMay 19, 2012 - 6:11 pm


  • Lalalala....August 5, 2012 - 2:18 am

    mafi malom means forgive me lolReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 7, 2012 - 1:08 pm


    Well, you pay two times, once you buy cheap, and once when you buy good. Maybe the 8000,- “too expensive” was that for a reason. Or then it could have been worse.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousDecember 7, 2012 - 4:36 am

    You should have really called the police on the first movers. The police is very helpful and such people really need to feel fear over their heads to work. I know is it not really a work principle and I should not condone it, but there is no other solution.

    I once wanted to move out some old items from a room and the company that I called seemingly came, but were not let in the DQ. Then I went to the DQ police station to talk with officer in order to allow them to proceed. On calling those movers back on the phone they said to the officer they would only come back but they wanted an extra 50 SAR.

    Thus- here is the good bit: the officer was upset by them and went and brough movers himself from Umm Alhammam with his police car. They followed him with a van, charged half the price while he supervised them :)
    They worked very disciplined and fast as you can imagine and their was no hagling for further money.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahDecember 12, 2012 - 12:56 pm

      You are absolutely right and I don’t know why we didn’t think of that! If ever there is a next time we sure will.ReplyCancel

  • Abdul BasitMarch 16, 2013 - 12:48 pm

    sister laylah, i went through many pages from your blog, you were sooooo funny in this ‘house shifting’ post, i laughed a lot throughout reading this article.ReplyCancel

  • Abdul BasitMarch 16, 2013 - 1:02 pm

    oops looks like i posted multiple posts!!!!!!!!!! sorry for this if it happened.ReplyCancel

  • STApril 27, 2013 - 8:53 am

    Complete and utter dismay! **NOT**, lol … The language used in this post was very funny, but I genuinely felt sorry for you and your family Sr. Layla (trust me i can relate), been there done that many times. Being a brit and moving to riyadh lock and barrel from the UK a few months ago I was in a similar position, luckily I knew the language of the workers! and believe me if u don’t get the right ‘variety’ you better get prepared to crack that whip.

    Unfortunately, the working classes doing such work here in saudi are almost always from india or the sub continent. I’ve found some of the things you mentioned very common amongst the workers here and your right its usually down to a very strange level of laziness, personally i feel its the SAUDI complaicency displacement syndrome (SCDS) effect, you know monkey see, monkey do…

    Anyway, the secret is to find a gang of these guys that actually take some pride in their work, which is a task as hard as moving house and home in itself, after many bad experiences, from which I hope i learnt alot,I think i’ve now got a collection of relatively ‘reliable’ people whom I can call upon to carry out plumbing/electrical and leg work … If the need ever arises ‘again’ i’ll be happy to pass along any useful details! Reply back to this post and i’ll email my contact details.

    Adam GReplyCancel

  • Tina maryamJune 3, 2013 - 7:43 am

    Salaam waluakum sister,

    you blogs are hilarious ma sha Allah. I am wondering how come you and your family prefers to live in diplomatic quarters when you are able to live with the saudi citizens? :)

    i hope u r loving ur new home in sha Allah!ReplyCancel

  • LaylaJune 3, 2013 - 11:32 am

    Wa aleikum salaam! Thanks for the comment, well to answer your question, actually the diplmatic quarter is the only place in RIyadh where all nationalities can live as neighbors without boundaries. I really like the concept of that. When we lived in a private villa we had Saudi neighbors but all behind high walls and we hardly ever saw anyone..And on the compounds they don’t even allow Saudis to visit, let alone live there, so, it’s like a normal neighborhood here, like in any other country :)ReplyCancel

  • NmbOctober 22, 2013 - 4:25 pm

    Hi, I have used four winds movers many times and they were always very good. I suggest u try them next time InshallahReplyCancel

  • Best Of Blue Abaya 2012 | Blue AbayaApril 26, 2014 - 1:42 pm

    […] 2012 our dreams came true and we finally found an apartment inside the Diplomatic Quarters. Moving in was nothing short of a nightmare! Read the hilariously horrible ordeal here: […]ReplyCancel

  • TanweerSeptember 3, 2014 - 11:48 am

    I used Namma Cargo when I shifted my house couple of years ago. They are costly but have very professional staff. I didn’t go through all the pain you went through. By the end of they day we were in our new home without any efforts from our side…sometimes it is good to spend extra bucks for piece of mindReplyCancel

  • DeeNovember 5, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    I can relate. Me and my friends rented a moving company 10 months ago. We have agreed that we will only pay 800SR since our new flat is 6 blocks away. a band of 4 Pakistani and Bangladeshi men carried all the stuff plus the driver who acted like a supervisor watching over his men.

    They were all up to speed not until we have gone to our new flat. Everybody became so slow (maybe because our new flat is located on the 3rd floor) it took them 3 hrs to carry all the stuff up to our flat and re-assemble our wardrobe. while doing these men went on complaining and whining. then after, they have demanded an extra 500SR. we argued and ended up bargaining to 300SR.

    That is quite disappointing and a total waste of money. If we were not in a hurry of moving to our new place, we could’ve save at least.

    I don’t want to generalize all south asians but most of those who are working in this labor category job are the worst.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaNovember 5, 2014 - 9:13 pm

      Sounds very seems this is their tactic they use to lure the customer with a low quote, then they always start complaining, asking more money and refusing to work when they get to the new place!ReplyCancel

  • 10 Activities For Women in RiyadhDecember 19, 2014 - 3:23 am

    […] meant to post this on earlier but what stopped me was the Move From Hell which we experienced this week! Believe it or not we were sleeping on the floor in the new house, […]ReplyCancel

  • 10 Activities For Women in RiyadhDecember 19, 2014 - 3:24 am

    […] I meant to post this on earlier but what stopped me was the Move From Hell which we experienced this week! Believe it or not we were sleeping on the floor in the new house, while our beds and foods were being held hostage overnight in the moving truck by the greedy and totally unprofessional moving firm men. If you want to hear all about this moving experience with not one but two incompetent unprofessional and rude moving companies then go to this post: […]ReplyCancel

  • Salhah HamadJanuary 20, 2015 - 8:07 pm

    High expectations, high disappointments, we moved twice and passed through something like that, in the first time we learned and we applied in the second. The idea is that they move the heavy items like furniture. I believe that the work equals the low price they take. and this justifies the left out movers who escaped completing the job. They are mostly unskilled labours not professional ones. If I was in your case, I would pay 8000 to move every item right in its new place to save my time and effort, :). Good luck :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylaJanuary 25, 2015 - 3:57 pm

      Maybe next time inshallah..but just the thought of having to go through all that again makes me not want ot move ever again :)ReplyCancel

  • John SonJanuary 22, 2016 - 3:25 pm

    Thank you for share this blog . It is important blog and work is great,then to move it.ReplyCancel

  • Aisha MohamedFebruary 25, 2016 - 12:29 am

    I have never laughed so hard after a long day of work. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Asma BaigMarch 10, 2016 - 6:43 am

    I have moved quiet a few times in the recent years& have been tremendously disappointed each time. No matter how professional their website may seem, they are anything but professional. Each time I paid a little more thinking, the more you pay the better service you may receive but turns out I was wrong. Yes the men do not like taking orders from women and they look through you. Every time we move I go through the emotions- anger, frustration and the need to strangle someone.ReplyCancel

  • Saima RizwanMarch 10, 2016 - 10:23 am

    Thank you for the post.we are thinking about moving in a few months and hiring movers.i will remember to pack everything myself :)ReplyCancel

  • WafaNovember 25, 2016 - 2:52 am

    Omg l laugh so hard, you are so funny ?
    Sorry for what happened to you.
    I’m wondering if you are still here in Saudi ArabiaReplyCancel

  • MOHAMMED AMIR JAMALJanuary 4, 2018 - 4:16 pm

    I feel sorry that you had to go through this but it was a hilarious read ??.ReplyCancel

  • Dr. Amira Hayat (Aga Khan Hospital Karachi, Pakistan)May 21, 2018 - 11:13 pm

    Around the world, Packers and Movers do good job except in Saudi Arabia!
    There are two types of workers which movers utilize
    1. Labourers trained in moving furniture
    2. Labourers trained in moving building material.
    Unluckily you came across the second category.

    I had moved my luggage and furniture across multiple stations in Pakistan and I initially was faced same problem that workers destroyed every thing. However, in next turn, I came across a professional mover who very nicely packed every thing (with paper wraps, bubble traps, packing material et) and when I opened my things, not a single glass or cup was broken.ReplyCancel

  • Raheema from franceOctober 3, 2018 - 7:00 am

    Subhanallah such a terrible service im sorry you had to go through that! We moved twice here in saudi and had no issue. I was quite impressed actually at how quick and efficient they were. it was a random moving company my husband found. I did pack everything myself first but as well we dont own much here so it didn’t take long plus i cant imagine having strangers going through my stuff.
    And as well me and the kids stayed well away from the movers and never saw them really.
    Nice post!ReplyCancel

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