Sunday, 8 July 2007

Fast Company

Sharjah’s bottled gas companies still ply their trade, operating an instant callout service with their rickety orange trucks laden with rusty yellow 100lb bombs. They took a huge hit when SEWA, the acronymically amusing Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority decided to pipe gas to the Emirate’s houses. Some of us diehards still prefer to pay the bottled gas prices rather than the wickedly expensive cost of the piped stuff. So the bottled gas companies still slip their gaudy stickers under the door and I still keep them.

The newest one arrived this weekend and I was struck by the company’s name as I added their sticker to the back of the storeroom door alongside the others that have been pasted up there over the years. A few years ago we had ‘Fast Gas’, a company whose promise was ‘Fast Delivery’. Seems like fair enough positioning to me. Then we had ‘Super Fast Gas’ who differentiated themselves with ‘Neat and Clean Cylinders’. That obviously didn’t resonate so well, because the new lot have gone back to promising ‘Quick Delivery’. But the new name caught me: neatly trumping all before them, the new kids on the block are called ‘Fast and Fast’.

You can see ‘em sitting there over a chai panjesari, older brother Akbar smoking an evil-smelling fag: ‘Good to be calling it Fast and one more thing, but what thing? Fast and good? Fast and clean? Fast and well filling?’

And then Iftikar, the bright one, suddenly banging the table: ‘What else to do? We shall be calling it Fast and FAST! That will be bloody showing them!’

I’m waiting for the next lot. My bet is they’ll be called ‘Fast and Fastest’…

And then the gas runs out halfway through cooking dinner last night. So I put in a call to Fast and Fast. I swear to God, they’re at the house within ten minutes. I can’t believe it: the first time this year I’ve been truly delighted at a service and it’s a damn local gas company. And then I see the bloke and I start laughing. It’s the same man as used to come from Superfast Gas. And, just because I was curious and asked him, yes he used to run Fast Gas before that.

Fast Company indeed…

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