Wrong Priorities/Unwise Spenders
Back when credit cards were in the exclusive domain of the rich and famous, Pinoys use of credit was limited to the “lista” at the neighorhood grocery or sari-sari store or the “bombay” 5-6 lending business if one were a market vendor. Today, a regular job can get you qualified for a credit card with a low or high credit limit, depending upon the numbers in your ITR.
Borrowing money from friends, relatives or superiors/bosses is a practice that is tolerated in Philippine society. Most the time, the money being borrowed is “bridge money”. The often repeated story is that “may parating na pera”, (we are expecting some money) but it’s not here yet, and I need to :
Purchase this “something”, (land, motor vehicle, cellphone etc) at a heavily discounted price. I don’t want to miss the opportunity so I need to borrow.
Pay the tuition fee of my a.) daughter/son, b.) niece/nephew, c.) brother/sister
Pay the overseas job placement fee of my a.) daughter/son, b.) niece/nephew, c.) brother/sister
Pay a maturing loan.
Pay hospital bills.
The list can go on but the story remains fundamentally the same : we are expecting some money.
Because of the liberal environment of credit card issuances in the Philippines, there has been a reported rise in payment defaults. I don’t have specifics but the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, I am sure has the details.
I personally know of someone who has maxed out his credit card and asked a colleague if he can use her credit card to purchase a flat screen TV. They started as friends, now they are no longer on speaking terms because the borrower can’t pay the installments payments on time, incurring additional charges on the poor cardholders account.
Many Pinoys like to borrow money but have difficulty paying back the loan. And this holds true for personal loans from relatives or friends as well as from credit card companies.
The deviant attitude towards the non-payment is similar in both cases. If its a relative or a friend, the borrower can always say, “pwede kong paki-usapan kasi kamag-anak ko naman” (I can negotiate with him anyway he is a relative, etc.) then they start being “invisible” come collection time.
If its a credit card company, they can just ignore the collection letters, change their cellphone numbers and ask their colleagues in office to tell the bill collector that they’re out on some errand.
Why do we have this problem ? There is no single answer. Perhaps, it is the Pinoy’s penchant to keep up with the Joneses.
Take the cellphone. One of my colleagues has a much superior phone than mine, his being in the 25K to 30K range and he is on prepaid. Mine’s a humble Nokia worth 7K but postpaid. I definitely earn 4 times my colleagues salary since he is rank and file. The fellow is always out of airtime load, pestering co-workers to “pasa-load” him so he can text his girlfriend. To this fellow his 25K cellphone is an “equalizer” putting him on same level as others who may drive their own car but use an inexpensive cellphone.
“Naka-kotse nga siya, mas maganda naman cellphone ko sa kanya” ( He’s got a car but I have a more expensive cellphone than he does).
Also, Pinoys do not appreciate the importance of saving money in a bank account. Majority have ATM accounts but these are corporate payroll accounts, half the time they’re empty until payday.
I personally know someone who has already borrowed money that this person has yet to earn. The 13th month pay is still months away but this fellow has already “pawned” her 13th month with their cooperative. This is a yearly occurrence. And when payment time comes in December, the person only pays half of her loan using her 13th month pay so the person is perennially in debt. It has become a vicious cycle.
Back to the “we are expecting some money” fantasy story. Sometimes this is true, money was on the way. Trouble is, when it arrives, it will be used for something else and not for debt repayment. And another fable is invented to placate the lender. The stories are endless one could write a small book of excuses.
The average Pinoy doesn’t know how to use credit. They become deadbeats of the first order.
Lines, Queues and Momentary Blindness.
Pinoys have a very weird concept of lines or queues. While people from more advanced societies understand that queueing up or falling in line means a warm body has to stand behind another warm body to form a column or a line, Pinoys have other ideas. To them, to queue up or line up (depends on which side of the Atlantic you were born or raised) means people standing five (5) abreast waiting to be attended to at a service counter with each individual thinking his/her transacton is more urgent than the rest. I’ve seen this happen a lot of times at the the immigration counter at the old NAIA-1 many years ago. Don’t know if it’s still happening today because I have stayed away from NAIA-1 for the last 9 years, preferring to use the national carrier when travelling. It is also a common occurrence at the baggage claim areas of large malls and at the Duty Free Philippines during Christmas time, people crowding the claim area ten (10) persons abreast.
And even if there was any semblance of line or queue, some Pinoys suffer from momentary blindess and jump the queue. Until someone standing in line tough and arrogant enough taps him/her gently on the shoulder and asks the person to stand in line. The usual response is
“Sorry po, di ko napansin may pila pala” (Sorry, didn’t notice there was queue) delivered in a very sheepish manner.
This happened to me at LTO four (4) months ago. I was waiting in the queue about three (3) feet away from the guy transacting on the window counter. The guy ahead was just finishing up when out of the blue this riff-raff who reeked of dried sweat mixed with carbon dioxide fumes jumped the queue. Before the SOB could shove in his documents inside the counter,
I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Pare, naka-pila kami dito”, pumila ka rin”.(We are on the queue, so you join the queue.)
The SOB grabbed his documents and moved to the end of the line.
Poor Listeners or Clumsy and Stupid Counter Crew ?
At the NLEX branch of a large american franchise burger joint some time ago, I was placing an order for a “no-pork and no-beef” item- something called extra long chicken meal (a dietary restriction but not dictated by a religion or a cult). I was very emphatic with the counter crew about my food preference,
“ini-iwasan ko ang baboy at baka” (I’m staying away from pork and beef) I told her.
The counter crew was all smiles while she punched my order on the cash register. After paying, I was given a number and told to wait at my table and a crew will deliver my order in a few minutes. The crew brought me a burger meal that had bacon with it, priced the same as my legitimate order. I sent it back. The counter crew wasn’t listening or she punched the wrong item. The store manager was very apologetic but I was in a jovial mood that day so I let the minor issue pass without having to lecture the crew on the fundamentals of customer service.
Still at the NLEX, but this time at the branch of a homegrown burger joint. My group (five of us) arrived early morning for breakfast. While the female crew was punching our individual orders, a crew from the outgoing shift standing at the customer side of the counter was talking to the female crew about something that sounded personal. The female crew was nodding at the outgoing crew and was saying, “ok, sige, akong bahala”, or words to that effect. Picture this: the counter crew was taking and punching our orders while simultaneously carrying on a private conversation with a fellow crew member from the outgoing shift. End result: We had two wrong orders. We complained to the store manager. As always, store managers of fastfood joints will appear and sound apologetic but whether the guilty crew gets sanctioned or punished is doubtful. Most they get is a friendly admonition or a wrist-slap. So they continue to get employed and cause more problems along the way.Published in