Common Sense in the Philippines: The Missing Link

Common sense, is defined as “sound judgment derived from experience rather than study” Common sense has always come fairly easily to me. Maybe it was how I was raised or made to think by situations I was in. I really don’t know. I always considered common sense as the quickest way to get from point A to point B without conflict. Crossing the street doesn’t mean to me going to the corner and waiting for the street light to turn in my favor. For me it means crossing when there are no cars coming or there is an available and low risk time and place to do it.

Following is a perfect example of the lack of common sense as it exists in the Philippines. It is one of literally hundreds you will experience if you stay here on a permanent basis. It will be a reality for you every single day of your time here!!!! Just be prepared!!!

Just the other day a friend of mine was in a store and found something to buy. She had it in hand and went to the register to pay, but alas the register person was nowhere to be found. She waited a minute and then asked a sales person where the register person was and he said “she went out”. My friend asked how long until she comes back and he said he didn’t know. So she waited a little while longer hoping the cashier would return shortly all the while the sales clerk is right there with her.Finally my friend said she really needed to pay for her purchase and if he the salesperson could look for her, call her, get her or something so she could pay and he immediately said yes maam and went out the door and got the register girl who was just around the corner of the door the entire time LOL.

Common sense would have dictated that as soon as my friend asked about paying, he would have gone outside the door and immediately got the register person. Another example was the other day another friend of mine went to a private golf club to play. He used his GPS to get there.

The GPS had him going to a gated subdivision which he might have thought was the entrance to the club itself. So he arrives at the gate and the guard asks him his business upon which he answers that he is going to the golf club. The guard says that it was a private road for subdivision tenants and members of the golf club and he could not pass. My friends says that he is going to the golf club membership office to talk to them about becoming a member and he needs to get there and if the guard could call the office. The guard say he can’t do that and again says the road is private.

My friend then says (and is now getting agitated) so how am I to get there and the guard replies I don’t know sir. Now this back and forth goes on for like fifteen minutes and is going absolutely nowhere!!! Finally my friend is really livid and about to go postal and yells at the Guard “So you are telling me that there is no way I can get to the fucking golf course” to which the Guard replies well sir if you go back to the turnabout and follow it that way (he points the direction) it will take you to the St. XYZ subdivision and from there you can just follow the marked signs to the golf club. Amazing right. I mean Common Sense would have dictated that the guard way back in the very beginning when my friend first arrived would have told him this. It was later confirmed by the golf club GM that this is a reoccuring issue. You would think that they would just put a sign up at the private subdivision with directions on just how to get to the club so something like what happened to my friend is avoided.

Funny enough when someone does become a member of the golf club they have the option to buy a 250P car sticker that will allow them access to the golf club through the Private Road he initially went to LOL Well to be blunt, both of these situations are perfect yet VERY COMMON examples of the kind of brainless thought process that exists in the MAJORITY on the the Philippines so be prepared. Be patient or again risk losing your patience, getting angry and possible going postal because this will be the rule rather than the exception as long as you stay in the Philippines. Over time you will learn just take really deep breadths often when faced with these situations LOL

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  1. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

    I get tired of literally having to dissect every single part of a thought for people here. It’s not an English problem as some may think. Its like you mention a lack of common sense.

    I have been dealing with this for years and years and you do have to learn to shove deep down in that very wide and incredibly vast pit specifically made by your subconscious for living in the Philippines. I thought that such a pit would at least allow me some peace. Sadly that’s just not the case. I SWEAR its getting worse too. Everything here is slipping further into a state of being lost forever. Good riddance then, because no one here is every going to make a change.

  2. Profile gravatar of Maamsir

    One typical transaction with a Pinoy cashier in Dubai.

    She tells me the amount and then asks me whether I have a loyalty card for that store, I say no, and then she pays me my change. As she hands over the change, I ask for one more item displayed next to the counter and pay for it.

    Any guesses as to what happens next?

    Yes, you are right, she asks me again after mentioning the amount whether I have a loyalty card.
    I had not left the counter and was evidently the same person, yet she has to ask me whether I have a loyalty card, because she was told to so after every “transacshione”

    1. Profile gravatar of Eric

      LIke I’ve commented before – what stops me from going postal here is equating everyone I come in contact with here to a 5th grader or less. Before I get too pissed I ask myself how one of my younger kids would bag groceries, direct traffic, cross the street, or drive. 10 times out of 10 my blood pressure quickly drops and I move on about my day. It really works

      1. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

        Had to do some grocery shopping today, and took this advice with me. It works, really. In fact it even makes it humorous when I would normally be wanting to slap people silly. So thanks for the new approach.

        1. Profile gravatar of Maamsir

          I have tried this approach bit it only works sometimes, for e.g. if you are dealing with a 22 year old cashier who is petite you can try imagining her to be a 5th grader and smile it off
          But consider the guy in filofail’s “Steak sauce” post. A manager in his 30’s or 40’s who behaves like that; trust me it is far harder to stay cool even if you try to imagine him as a 5th grader

  3. Profile gravatar of JackTheBlack

    It’s virtually impossible to get any information in here when you need it and without trying to read others mind. Even so called more educated persons cannot process more than one thing at a time.

    When I ask my attorney to give all requirements for thing X she cannot, so I get them one by one even matter is something trivial she has done dozens of times.

    But I have figured out something where pinoys would be great. They would probably be the best missile shield there can be. I base my theory on fact that no matter whether you drive car or walk the one at front of you always senses your move and blocks your way. Dunno if they’re heat seekers, or what’s their superpower but they really excel on that.

    1. Profile gravatar of Spartacus_killingus

      They can apparently read each others minds, leaving me at a disadvantage. 90% of the time, if I’m with a Filipino or group of them doing something, or meeting others, no one will talk yet somehow they all know whats going on and that the other people are “probably” on their way.
      “That’s just great, how do you know that they are officially on their way, how is that confirmed? They will just blue screen.

      Goes for literally everything else, up to and including walking in a mall and being blocked no matter what direction you try to move.

  4. Profile gravatar of understandingphilippines
    understandingphilippines Post author

    you all hit it right on the head with your replies. Scary that most all of us have similar reactions and thoughts to events that occur in our lives here no matter how many experiences we have they all have similar patterns hahahahaha

  5. Profile gravatar of TheD

    Having worked in stores all my life, common sense would have dictated that if there is only one cashier and they need to leave the floor, they are not to do so unless someone else can cover. If in a rare situation they do need to, they would keep the door open and keep poking their head out to see if anyone needed to be served so they could come out and immediately apologize to the customer for them having to wait.

    As for GPS, forget about it! A great example is that there are two streets near me. Lets call them street A and street B. In the middle of street A is a junction where it meets street B. There is a fence right across the junction. So half of street A and half of street B is in one subdivision and the other half of street A and B is in another subdivision. There is no gate to get through. Two completely separate subdivisions with the same two street names in both!

    Naturally Google earth or any logical GPS map would have no idea that it was configured this way.

    Shit, even searching online for a specific type of business is hard enough as they are not listed. When they are listed, its the wrong number!