Is It Really More Fun in the Philippines?
(Last updated 18 March 2017)
- 0.1 Paradise This Is Not
- 0.2 If You Are Uptight About Service, Stay Home
- 0.3 In The USA, Generally, Things Work. In the Philippines? Not So Much.
- 0.4 As Yakov Smirnoff is fond fo saying, “What a Country!”
- 0.5 Thankful For The Post Office?
- 0.6 It Wasn’t Always That Way
- 0.7 Everything Can’t Just Be Focused On “Fun”
- 0.8 Our Trips To The Pueblo, Colorado Post Office
- 0.9 OMG we all had a good laugh.
- 0.10 It’s Not Infrastructure That’s Lacking, It’s The “Give a Shit” Factor
- 0.11 So Does My Car Have Running Boards Now?
- 0.12 How About Small, Independent Businessmen Then?
- 0.13 I Bet You Know What the Answer Was
- 0.14 Happens all the time, folks, all the time.
- 0.15 And Why Not Just Give In And Find Them Myself?
- 0.16 So, Is It More Fun In The Philippines?
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I guess the answer to that question revolves a lot around your conception of just what ‘fun’ really is.
Recently I was emailing a friend regarding some of the trial and tribulations another online friend had been going through as he tried to get settled in after his recent move to the Philippines.
Paradise This Is Not
My newly arrived friend has had a lot of irritations, false starts and annoyances to deal with. many (he admits) are self-induced because, in his own words, he expects a 15 minute job to actually take 15 minutes.
Well if you are in a similar frame of mind, you better think twice about moving to the Philippines … because that just is not like to happen very often.
If You Are Uptight About Service, Stay Home
I am fortunate that I don’t suffer from hypertension
(actually I do now, a little bit. Fortunately it’s easily controlled with a daily maintenance drug, which costs one fifth the price drug stores charge in the USA),
ulcers and many of the typical ‘type A’ disease issues that many guys my age do … but I certainly can be impatient enough to make things annoying on a regular basis.
Yes indeed adjustment can be a big problem.
Hell I still suffer adjustment difficulties from time to time. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted to say “I’m moving back to the States” when I was ‘adrift” (on my own without wifely supervision) in Colorado for three weeks.
In The USA, Generally, Things Work. In the Philippines? Not So Much.
You know what I thought was ‘coolest’ on this trip?
The almost ubiquitous use of ATM machines that give cash back, especially self checkout lanes, with just the push of a button, ‘whoosh’ cash pops out along with your receipt.
Cash back. Wonderful convenience. I and I’m talking paying with my own debit card here, it was all my money, not cfedit card debt. The idea that I should be able to put my hands on my own money without travelling to the bank, waiting in line and suffering the Spanish Inquisition … it’s quite a concept … access to your own money.
As Yakov Smirnoff is fond fo saying, “What a Country!”
You would have laughed when Ian and I went to one of the many clean, spacious, well equipped post offices to get envelopes and boxes to mail some family stuff that I had taken in my luggage to mail for my dear wife.
Noe of course, those of you who are actually following along here will probably wonder about somehting. Why wouldn’t I just mail them here in the Philippines?
Ah, well that would be another post of a different color. I’ve written before about how insanely lucky Americans are to have the good old USPS (The Post Office).
Thankful For The Post Office?
I know, I know, people whine and bitch about costs to mail a letter, lines at the post office counter, late mail delivery, being forced to tie up their dog … you name it and people will find a way to bitch about it in connection with the post office.
But seriously, you who still live under the umbrella of the USPS are so, so lucky.
Here in the Philippines we have “PhilPost”. It’s a sad imitation, believe me.
In fact you will see your local PhilPost delivery person very rarely, because the mail is so unreliable that businesses won’t use it to send their bills, as just one example.
How do business’s send out their bills then? Well there are thousands of “bill rendering” services (yeah, me too, I think of smelly factories boiling beef fat when I hear “rendering”, but if you look it up, one of the legitimate definitions is “ and that’s what these “rendering” companies do, they hire guys on motorcycles to cover whole cities at a time stuffing bills into people’s mailboxes to notify them of payment due. “
Now it’s pretty interesting (or is it tragic) that private companies can be set up and operate fleets of motorcycle dispatch riders to deliver bills (and obviously, make a profit) while the government corporation charged with delivering the mail just sits around, covered with dust, getting weaker by the years that go by.
It Wasn’t Always That Way
The sad part of the story is not that the “Philippines is a poor country” and never had a chance to build an infrastructure.
That’s a totally bogus excuse. back in the “bad old days” when the Philippines was a commonwealth of the USA, we built an amazing postal service, along with a lot of other infrastructure.
When Philippine independence came along, it is as if the Philippines threw the baby out with the bath water, in their urge to eliminate all traces of the US occupation, most of what the USA built was just left to rust, rot and ruin.
Everything Can’t Just Be Focused On “Fun”
It’s pretty hopeless, actually … it’s not going to change … hence my overstuffed bags carried to the USA to use a ‘real’ post office.
Our Trips To The Pueblo, Colorado Post Office
Anyway my son and I walked into one of the many post office branches in Pueblo
(OBTW, did I mention there is a huge parking lot right at the door? Amazing)
where I selected several mailing envelopes, a small Overseas priority mail box from the self-service racks and then started out the door.
My son thought I was drunk or spaced out I guess, he said, “Dad, where are you going, you haven’t paid for that stuff”.
“Pay? I responded, “Aren’t you a taxpayer? This is provided for us through the generosity of Uncle Sam.”
A few days later we went back to the post office to have the completed packages weighed and mailed.
After the very courteous and help fully counter clerk lady
(she must have spent 10 minutes explaining to me my different options and costs in sending one of the packages to Australia),
a total postage due amount was reached and I swiped my ATM card in the reader.
But the familiar “Cash back” buttons didn’t appear on the screen. The clerk saw my look of puzzlement and said, “The USPS doesn’t give cash back on ATM cards, sorry”.
“What”? “You mean as an American taxpayer I can’t come to the post office and get paid cash to mail letters”?
OMG we all had a good laugh.
Actually, getting those packages mailed really was fun.
You know I think I laughed more and had more fun with people in stores and such in those three weeks in Colorado than I do in a year here in the Philippines. Frankly, it’s much more fun in the USA 😉
It’s Not Infrastructure That’s Lacking, It’s The “Give a Shit” Factor
People whose job it is to render service and whose income often depends upon making the sale just seem to prefer “not” making the sale and sending you on your way.
When I bought my car in the Philippines, my wife wanted me to buy some add-on running boards.
The car is an AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle) and it sits a bit high … which is a great advantage in driving through floods .. a very frequent occurrence here, but a real nuisance, especially for older folks to climb into.
So Does My Car Have Running Boards Now?
Well it’s been more than 10 years now and the running boards never got purchased for one reason or another.
The dealer will be happy to sell me a pair ‘all in’ (tax and installation included) for P15,000, but I am sure I can do better. And besides, he doesn’t keep them in stock anyway, and can’t be bothered to tell me when they might come in if I order them. “Out of stock, sir” is the standard, “get rid of the pesky customer” response.
Never mind that the business certainly could make a nice little profit on selling and installing the little aluminum steps, it’s “More Fun” just to say, “Out Of Stock” and send me on my way, P15,000 richer.
How About Small, Independent Businessmen Then?
Yesterday the car had a minor issue to deal with so I sent our driver/assistant to a local repair shop we have used of then get the little rattle fixed.
Since he was going to the shop I instructed the driver to ask the mechanic to give me a price for ordering in a set of running boards and installing them.
The mechanic does relatively cheap work and has been fair with us in his dealings so I figured he might as well have a decent big-ticket item to make a little profit on before Christmas. And I also know he’s a very hard-working, 7 day a week local businessman, so why not give him some profitable work?
I Bet You Know What the Answer Was
“Oh I don’t sell them, tell your boss to go find them on his own.”
As my old fiend Mr. Spock has been known to say from time to time, “Does not compute, Jim.”
Here’s a local guy, independent businessman, wife and family to feed, gets a request to make up a price for something definitely “high ticket” in today’s market, and he knows the car belongs to a “rich kano”, and he can’t even be bothered to find a set of factory-style running boards for me and charge me for the service. I just don’t see the “fun” in that.
Happens all the time, folks, all the time.
A couple of years back I had the car in a local body shop and asked them to price me a set of running boards, installed.
The answer? The same. “Go find them yourself”. Grrrr.
And Why Not Just Give In And Find Them Myself?
Aha, no, not biting on that bait ay more. This happened to me way too many times my first few years here.
If you, the customer, go to a supplier and buy a product for a tradesman to use it’s virtually a guarantee that when you bring it back to the job, it will be wrong … wrong length, brackets won’t fit, needed to be stranded wire if it is solid wire or else needed to be solid wire if it’s stranded … on and on and on. (and did you realize it’s virtually impossible to get a refund if you accidentally purchase the wrong thing? Many stores are strictly “all sales are final”.
Been there, done that, wanted to buy the T-shirt but it was out of stock.
So, Is It More Fun In The Philippines?
The Philippines can be a very hard place to spend your money. Frustrating at times. If spending money is fun, it is surely not “more fun in the Philippines”. Are you sure you are up to it?
Your thoughts on Is It Really More Fun in the Philippines?