I really didn’t understand this at first, but I’ve finally come to the conclusion that most Panamanians are very very immature. This is probably why nothing works well in this country, because most immature people have no desire to improve themselves. Immature people generally don’t care about others & they have little to no conscious, something that is very true about Panamanians.
Note: (I have to say there is a small percentage of very nice Panamanians here, how mature they are I don’t know, since maturity & kindness aren’t always synonymous with one another). There are some that will help you cross the street with your bags, the odd one will give you a seat in the bus, I had one translate a list for me into Spanish, another walked me around the corner to where I needed to go, etc. I do have to note that these are fleeting instances, not people who get to know me & then show acts of kindness. I’m not discounting their acts, they meant a lot to me at the time & I think very highly of them. My point is, they are fleeting. So my bottom line is, I do NOT want to make it seem like all Panamanians are immature, but I’m finding that unfortunately a lot of them are. I can only go by the people I come across in businesses, landlords, even the expats here I find to be very immature (bullies are immature are they not?) The exceptions are just that, the minority.
Also I want to be clear that I’m NOT just talking about the lower class, I’m even talking about lawyers & other professionals too.
Here are some examples of how I find Panamanians to be very immature:
- They blame me for their mistakes. Only once or twice has a company ever admitted they were wrong & taken responsibility for their mistake. This also happened in Costa Rica if you read my other post about what happened with the hotel who screwed up.Back when I was buying Oferta Simple offers, there was one for a hair package. This included a color, cut, treatment, etc. I specifically phoned up & ended up speaking to the owner (didn’t know it at the time) & told him I was ready to buy the Oferta, but I needed to know if he had less toxic more “all natural” hair color. He said YES, so I purchased right away.
Fast forward a few months later, I am ready to book the appointment & I start getting different stories from staff saying NO, they don’t have all natural hair color, another one says yes they do & this went on & on (unfortunately this misinformation is also so disturbingly typical in Panama). So finally I say I want to speak to THAT man who told me you have all natural hair color. I spoke to him & the next thing I know the guy is telling ME I have to pay $10-15 more for the all natural color (it’s never 100% all natural, I don’t even think Aveda’s is). He then tells me at least it’s not that much, but he doesn’t know what my money situation is like, it was in fact very stressful for me to have to dole out that money at that time, especially when I wasn’t expecting it.
That’s when I said NO, I’m NOT paying more, why didn’t you tell me this on the phone when I first spoke to you. That’s when he started blaming me for NOT asking him LOL
This is all part & parcel of the problem with most Panamanians. I find them to be have little to no common sense or intelligence (maybe this is why they feel the need to steal all the time) which makes running their business next to near impossible in an efficient stream lined manner.Obviously the customer should NEVER have to ask if something costs more. We don’t read people’s minds, it’s the job of the staff or business owner to tell US if there is an extra cost, especially when I had been on the phone with him asking this very question. It’s clear he didn’t even know there was an extra charge. An owner who doesn’t know his own company.
But my point is, this is just an example of how immature they are. To be mature you’d have to admit your mistake & they just won’t do it. The most I got out of him was “sorry there must have been a miscommunication.” LOL, no, there was no miscommunication, you didn’t do your job properly & so now you are blaming the customer & expecting them to pay you more. He should have eaten the cost, but of course that won’t ever happen in Panama.
Based on what he said to me, it’s clear they don’t even understand it’s THEIR responsibility to inform the customer of these types of things. Only a person who has very little to no common sense or intelligence would say something stupid like that because logically how can a customer know something is more expensive unless you tell them.
About 2 weeks after this incident, an expat was stating that NO, Panamanians don’t take responsibility for their actions. If they drop a glass on the floor, they won’t apologize, they will blame the glass.
This explains why that kid who moved me that one time didn’t apologize when he knocked over my office tray & broke it, or when he slammed on the breaks & I went flying into the dashboard hurting myself & why he didn’t apologize or ask me if I’m okay.
- Cable & Wireless (they are now on my shit list after what they did to me) lied & told me that I owed them $7 & change. Even after I brought them proof that they were wrong & I was right, they didn’t care, all they wanted to do was stand their ground & continue saying I owed them money. And if you are wondering if this attitude was from just one person, no it wasn’t. I encountered this terrible immature behavior at 2 different Cable & Wireless locations with 3-4 different people.Again, this just shows me how stupid they are. Most people would try to figure out what the problem is & try to correct it. Not Cable & Wireless, they just want to take my money & they will robotically repeat the same thing over & over again. They couldn’t even provide proof to back why they were taking my money.
- I find Panamanians don’t ever do what they say they are going to do. It’s not just about showing up late, they constantly lie or tell you what THEY think you want to hear instead of just being honest & saying NO, I can’t do XYZ. For this reason it’s very hard to trust a Panamanian. It’s a well known fact they could say everything is fine today & then tomorrow they will just ignore you.This doesn’t just happen with acquaintances or friends, this happens with almost all businesses.
I’ve had businesses book appointments with me then fail to show up & then say the appointment was never booked. That happened twice with the same water heater installation company. I’ve had it happen with the company who sold me my fridge.
I’ve had a supervisor at Casa Gala lie on the phone, say he will get me a tank of gas because his driver didn’t show up with the stove so the gas company didn’t provide gas (no stove & they won’t hook it up) & I had no food to eat.
Later on the guy disappeared so he didn’t have to provide the gas, then lied saying he never stated that. Gasa Galla is a terrible company. They actually took everything away refusing to make good on their screw up. Then they tried to avoid giving me my money back making me wait over an hour to get the money. I finally had to start yelling which is when they sent me to another location to get the money.
They lost not only that sale, but all my other business as well.
Lying is a sign of immaturity & weakness. Panamanians lie all the time unfortunately.
- Panamanians hang up the phone on you. At first I thought it was just the lower working class, but I’ve had Realtors, lawyers & teachers with degrees hang up the phone on me & it happens ALL the time. I’ve called several businesses & they too hang up the phone on me not once, but 3 times in a row. And at first I thought it was ONLY because I don’t speak fluent Spanish, but this computer guy once hung up the phone on a Colombian driver I had hired when I got her to call him. A clerk at Novey called the water installation company & they hung up the phone on him.Cableonda hires some of the most immature people around. A supervisor who I once spoke to at their head office – Pedro who speaks English started to ignore my e-mails. Then a month or two later I called him. I got only 2 words out of my mouth & he hung up the phone on me & then when I called back, he ignored me.
- They want everything easy. Hey, I want life to be easy too, but I realize that you have to generally work at things to get them done. If it isn’t easy for them, they give up in a flash. Children tend to give up very easily unless they are sharp, are mature for their age & want to solve the problem. Also to be clear, we aren’t talking about complicated things here.If you think they are motivated by making money, forget it. I don’t know how many times a Panamanian taxi driver would drive off or not even stop for me or other potential passengers & his taxi is completely empty.Someone told me that a guy needed a mover & when he approached a guy with a van who was moving someone else he said NO!!!
- They laugh at the customer. I’ve been laughed at many times by Cableonda staff, Cable & Wireless staff, etc. They will do it right in front of your face too.
- They won’t call someone in another office if you ask them. The other day Marie went to the Cableonda location at Westland Mall. She asked them to call Brenda Marshall or Moises & they refused. They didn’t even try or try to accommodate us in any other way, just flat out refused like little children.
- Another Cableonda example (you won’t believe this one) … I called the main switchboard for their head office. The receptionist wouldn’t transfer me to the person I asked for – Brenda Marshall. Instead, she kept transferring me to tech support which is NOT what I wanted. I called back 5 times & each time she would transfer me to tech support. After the 3rd time she stopped answering the phone, she just opened the line & immediately transferred me to tech support knowing it was me.I’ve NEVER EVER in my entire life dealt with such an immature person at a company & I have dealt with hundreds of staff in numerous companies all over the US & Canada. The odd ones were immature, but Panamanians win the trophy for the most immature behavior.
- While everyone who supports bad behavior “claims” this is just the culture, in my opinion it’s a sign of immature behavior.
I’m talking about the blasting of music.
I’m NOT talking about having their music loud, I’m talking about it being SO LOUD, that you can’t listen to your own music, you can’t sleep, you can’t watch TV, you can’t talk on the phone or even work. Right now it’s almost 3 am & I can’t go to sleep since someone outside keeps raising the music near my bedroom.
Finding a quiet area in Panama to live is a challenge. One expat said it took him 3 years to find a complex where they set down rules that there will be NO blasting of music & if they want to have a party, they have to do it in the complex’s designated rec room area that’s away from all the houses. Now that’s a mature way to handle things. Unfortunately this is not how most neighborhoods are.
It’s no different then when you raise a teenager who has no concern for anyone else’s feelings, only his/her own, so they blast the music & refuse to respect others. The difference is, these people are in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s & even sometimes 50’s & they still don’t respect others. On one hand if they weren’t ever taught respect, this is probably one of the reasons for this behavior. How an entire country is not taught respect is beyond me.
Also to be clear, we aren’t talking about doing this ONLY on New Year’s Eve, in some areas this goes on every weekend & sometimes during the week or even during the day during the week.
I’ll post about the music issues in another post.
As I encounter more examples (not the small ones, but ones that are really shocking), I’ll list them here. I know that had I known a lot of the things I’m listing in my blog, I never would have picked Panama as a country to move to. Unfortunately the expats were too busy bullying or talking down to me to explain these crucial things one needs to know to determine if they can handle these personality traits.