Here’s an expats experience with cashiers in Panama

“Sounds like the cashiers at every store in Panama. Rather than enter the sku numbers by hand for a product that isn’t reading at the scanner after a couple attempts, they ALL will scan the product over and over and over, stretching, wiping and molesting the bar code until maybe possibly it will scan but most usually they will let out a gigantic sigh and then finally as a last resort, reluctantly and disgustingly manually enter the number…IT'S Freaking hilarious and also very sad. What is sadder is that the head cashier is usually standing by scratching her/his head in complete cluelessness. ¬†”

I personally noticed how stupid cashiers are, not that they are Einsteins in other countries too, but they are very very low on the IQ level in Panama.

When I first got to Panama I visited a bagel hangout place in Panama City that was opened by an American & frequented by many Americans as it was near a University, so I knew there were English speaking people there.

I am next in line & needed to ask questions about some of the dishes. When it was obvious to everyone that I didn’t speak Spanish, instead of the cashier going to get someone to translate, he just stood there & stared at me. I was like WTH is going on here. I didn’t learn until almost a year later, that when they are stumped, it’s like dealing with someone who is severely brain damaged. They just stare at you as if they are lost. Not much goes on upstairs in the brains of Panamanians UNLESS they are fighting with you about their country, THEN they will be the devil incarnate.

In another incident about 2+ years later, I go to a supermarket that I normally go to that has a fonda in the back (a place where you can buy ready made food.)

Instead of them having their own credit card swiper machine, you have to go to the supermarket cashiers to pay for the food, then bring the receipt back to pick up your food. Of course this is all done the long way around so you waste time & have to be REALLY patience. Remember we are talking about “Panama Patience” here, these are like little children even though they are adult in age.

So the first time this happened the cashier didn’t know what to do. She had to get someone else to help her which of course 10-20 minutes.

The next time it took 3 of them (this is common, as I have concluded that 3 Panamanian brains equal maybe 1/2 of a North American brain, maybe a little less, depending on how intelligent that North American brain is.) Even the supervisor couldn’t figure out how to run the transaction through so I could pay. I had to wait around until they figured it out almost 30 minutes later.

If you think this story is uncommon, think again. I’ve read stories from other expats, not including the one above, & I’m sure there are TONS more that other expats never bother to talk about. Then there’s the expats who love it in Panama & they refuse to say one negative thing about Panama.

This is all fine, I don’t fault people for loving Panama, they just shouldn’t put others down when they don’t. These people who LOVE Panama often stand on their “high horse” thinking they are so much better than people who actually have a brain & can’t stand it in Panama. They then proceed to put those other people who are venting, down.

These stories are sometimes meant to release frustration from me, the writer, as I went through hell in Panama. But they are also here to educate you on what goes on here so you can decide if your personality thinks it can handle it here.

I would have loved to be warned about this blog prior to moving to Panama, but I realized only after it was too late that most expats don’t speak the truth. The ones who couldn’t stand it here ran back to where they came from & didn’t want to dredge up bad memories or just couldn’t be bothered to waste their time posting. When I left Panama, I did the same thing, I didn’t bother to post either, but I have a lot of posts I never completed that I’m slowly getting around to finishing after I escaped Panama back in 2014.

Or the expats were stuck in Panama because the move back was too expensive for them & when you live in Panama you can’t complain online, otherwise you may get sued or worse, they could hunt you down & do physical damage to you. I’ve never heard it happen before, but enough threats have been made towards me when I was living there that everyone takes head.

I mean one guy was sued so badly he was thrown in jail or run out of Panama by a HUGE bank.

And some (not all) Panamanians hate Gringos & it’s within their nature to rip them off, steal from them.

Many expats actually held back CRUCIAL information from me when I spent 1-2 months asking questions on Yahoo groups. This information would have stopped me from moving to Panama.

Like no one bothered to mention to me that the electricity & water here is horrific. You never know when it’s going to go off & you are going to be without for not 15 minutes, but for HOURS. Back in October 2012, I wrote to an expat complaining that I encountered¬†6 water outages within a 2 week period. Then they must have dumped TONS of chlorine or something in it, because after I would wash my dishes, my hands felt are itchy & dry.

If you want to live a half decent habitable life & be able to work if you work from home on your computer, you are SOL.


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