The Culture Of Distrust?

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Posted

This might be a long post, so sorry in advance.

 

I like to consider myself as an observer, and the longer I live here the more questions I have. I am also curious about "root" causes. What happened in the past to influence current behavior.

 

Would love to find an objective anthropology book that addresses why it seems (to me) that as a culture the Filipinos as a whole trust almost no one. Here is what I observed yesterday at Pure Gold.

 

We were buying a fan. The wife picked out the one she wanted and the sales assistant brought out one in a box. He then opened the box, counted the parts against the inventory, plugged it in to show us that it worked, repackaged it, then gave us a receipt to show to the cashier so (I assumed) we wouldn't have to lug the box around (I had a cart all ready with me) or was there another reason for this "customer service?"

 

When we got to the check out and handed our receipt over and our fan was brought to the counter. Again the box was opened and checked for completeness and then a supervisor was summoned to verify that all pieces were there and to annotate that we purchased the item on a note pad. (while we were waiting I observed several employees going in and out of the shopping area, each time they were patted down (very cursory) by a security guard. I saw one worker "leave" the secure area walk 10 feet past the guard, pick up and item in full view of the guard but was still patted down returning to the secure area.) Naturally once we finished our purchase and were leaving the store we had to show our receipt to the security guard at the exit and have it stamped.

 

Now when I first visited the Philippines 20 years ago, I was astounded! "what customer service" They check and make sure all my stuff is intact and in working order before I leave the store just so that if there is a problem I would not have to bring it back!. And I don't have to carry it around with me, but can continue shopping! Or is there a deeper reason.

 

Are these repeated checks to insure that a "Customer" doesn't take the fan home, and bring it back later saying its not all there and demand a new one? (now I know this happens in the states I know, but I believe retailers just consider it as part of the cost of doing business).

 

As I go about my day to day life here, I notice many other little indications of "paranoia"? (that might be the wrong word). Such as:

 

1. Count your change before leaving counter. I have seen that in the states also, but not at almost every bank and major retail establishment. (Are clerks that mathematically challenged that you cant trust them to make change, or is it "HEY! you short changed me")

2. "Sir, I receive XXXX amount of peso" when you are at almost every restaurant. Is it good customer service? Or at some point in the past there was a rash of "HEY I gave you 1000 pesos! I you gave me change for 500!"

3. Now in 2013 my hometown of San Diego California was ranked as the 2nd safest city in America. But even in that safe haven there are certain areas in town where people put bars on their windows as a precaution. However here in the Philippines if you drive through Ayala Alabang, one of the most exclusive areas in the country you will see bars on most of the windows there.

 

These are just a few examples off the top of my head, I am sure we can come up with others.

 

The QUESTION IS what is the root cause of this?

 

Is it desperation caused by poverty?

Is it a throw back to 300 years of Spanish colonialism where anything the Master left laying around was fair game?

Is it resentment to 100 years (almost) of American occupation?

Is it due to 4 years of ruthless Japanese domination where the only way to survive was to raid supply dumps, hide your crops and lie to those in authority?

Is it due to the 10 years of martial law, where informers were thought to be lurking around every corner?

 

There must be something in the cultural make up that unless a person is closely related by blood, marriage or clan they are not really trusted.

 

I would really love to understand what makes the average Filipino click

 

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Posted

Me too hahaha

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I would really love to understand what makes the average Filipino click

 

 I think even the Filipinos would like to know that at times. :rolleyes:

 

JP :tiphat:  :morning1:

 

Morning all. :morning1:  Ignorance is no excuse I forgot before. My bad.

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As an addition I will say, My Wife is CPA and was for some 8 years in Internal Audit ( that is the Spy Division) of the Negros Electric Coop

believe me, they trust absolutely no one from the Board Directors down to the Cleaners. 

At one time I seem to remember, the then GM even tabled a motion to introduce a permit to leave your Workstation to go somewhere that was not in their own department. ie C/R or pantry (Kitchen)  :no:  it did not get passed, as being too far intrusive and total against a good working Practice but it was motioned. I know that this is carried out in stores and such but Offices, come on!

 

JP :tiphat:

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A lot of it is employee - customer dishonesty.  For example, I went to Lee Plaza groceries for a bag of coffee.  The employees will not grind it or allow me to grind it until it is paid for.  So I go through the line and pay and then go back.  "Sir"   "just wait a while"

 

I am impatient so I tell them I have to go get my coffee ground.  A security guard chases me down and follows.  The male clerk grinds the coffee while the security guard and one female clerk watch intently.  They make a big deal out of sealing the bag with a big glob of tape and sealing the plastic bag with the receipt attached.

 

The only thing that makes sense to me is they are all watching to make sure nothing is put into that bag except coffee.  Perhaps people have been putting other items in with the ground coffee and walking out with them???

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They make a big deal out of sealing the bag with a big glob of tape and sealing the plastic bag with the receipt attached.

 

Exactly, when first exposed to it I thought it was just customer service gone wild, but after observing for a couple of years I started to wonder.

 

 

A lot of it is employee - customer dishonesty.

 

Agreed, but where does it come from? In a predominantly catholic country, with heaven and hell and all that? Is it a learned behavior? Someone, somewhere, sometime must be telling little kids, "its ok to take the candy bar and put it in your pocket at the check out line Son" ((((Man my butt still hurts when my dad saw me do that when I was a kid))))

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sometime must be telling little kids, "its ok to take the candy bar and put it in your pocket at the check out line Son"

 

In a way, they are.  Everyone here knows that if you really want something you just take it or do it.  It is better to ask forgiveness than permission, basic Catholic philosophy.

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Posted

I would really love to understand what makes the average Filipino click

When you guys can find an explanation about this matter, please let me know.  There are a number of factors but I really don't know.  And I'm Filipino.

 

Respectfully -- Jake

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Posted (edited)

I hope that all westerners abide by a moral code, even if some Filipino's do not. But again, some Filipino's are honest.

 

You have to be alert  not to get caught in the short change routine. But remember some Filipino customer's might reverse that back on the cashier by claiming to have left a larger note. The cashier floats the note on top of her register until the transaction is completed. Now sometimes you get undercharged, usually a simple math error, you must immediately tell the vendor their mistake and make the correction, a pay up the difference, just as you would expect them to pay up the mistake against you. The cashier will be liable for any mistake.

 

HOWEVER: The short change routine did not originate in the Philippines, remember the movie "The Grifters" with John Cusack.

 

There in Kingsford Smith Airport Sydney, the guy working the counter at a restaurant where there is no waiter. You are the only customer and he pretends to be very, very busy....while he takes your order he assesses if you are Aussie or not. If he sees you are not Aussie (me American with an American accent, wife Sri Lankan), he will work the scam. Two coffees and you hand him a $20, he goes into his very busy routine and matter of factly puts your change on the counter in front of you then jumps back to his busy, busy routine. You count the change a mixture of coins and notes and find out it's only change of a a $10, so you call him. At this point he has no defense, so he listens to your complaint. He will go to the register, make no attempt to locate your $20, he already mixed it in. He makes no comment, but he goes to the printer and runs the paper forward, and he makes some kind of notation. He coolly. again without comment, opens the register, getting out your correct change. Of course it will not go against him, the transaction is now correct, but he no longer has a free $10 to get out later.

Edited by chris49
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Posted

I can offer no explanation - most Filipinos whom I know are perfectly honest - but let me add some more examples of this behaviour.

There seems to be an assumption that any document is a fake until proved otherwise.

The multiple forms of "ID" needed for any transaction.

I work in London; my Chief Accountant is a Filipino, trained at SGV, but has lived in the UK for decades, and he exhibits the same mistrust of anything and everyone!

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