Friday, August 6, 2010

Patience is definitely a virtue

Chris Says:

I think I'm experiencing some cultural differences (or maybe its just the people we've interacted with) when it comes to speed of service. I don't know if that's even the right way to describe it - but here is an example:

Before sharing the story - this is NOT a "put down" or in any way a slam on the great people of Honduras - and certainly not on Cristiana (I think she's more frustrated than I am). This is simply a reflection about what I've experienced.

Day 1 (July 6th) - after arriving in Tegus, seeing the apartment, and going to get some groceries - we head over to a Tigo station by El Dorado (strip mall on Blvd Morazan pretty close to our place). We purchase a cheap cell phone just to get us by and have a communication mechanism until we get Blackberries later on. The whole process took about 20 minutes - very quick, I was impressed!

Day 7 - Ask Cristiana about getting Blackberries with an international data plan (at least for me so I could have it for work at PFG). She say's she has a guy that the school works with, etc and will get us more information soon. Later, I figure out that I actually don't HAVE to have this.

A few days later she gets us some info and I think we decided we would wait until all of us got back from vacation to go get everything figured out. (Cristiana and her family took a vacation the same week we did).

7/26 - back from vacation, first day of work for me and we start asking about getting the Blackberries again. Cristiana calls our contact but can't reach him. Asks that he give her a call back, etc.

7/28 - Cristiana was still waiting on a call back from her contact, we discussed how important it was for my work. She does more calling around and....by 7/29 or 30 she finds out that we can get the Blackberry from anyone...but at about 4 or 5 times the cost - at that point, I had folks from my team covering my on-call for me, so didn't have to worry about getting the BB immediately. We decided we could wait a couple more days - Cristiana had made contact with another person from Tigo and they would work with us the week of 8/2 since the first guy wasn't being reliable.

8/2 - From my memory, I think Cristiana gets confirmation from the new lady that she would have the blackberries by end of day Friday at the latest - more likely Wednesday.

8/4 - Wednesday comes and goes and we set an appointment up to get everything configured Friday, 8/6 at 3pm.

8/6, 2:30 - I head over to the Tigo station (1 of the million that are on Blvd. Morazan), to make sure that I can meet Kristen and Cristiana in plenty of time. Arrive at the station about 5 minutes later....decide to look around the strip mall for awhile since I hadn't been at this particular commercial establishment before. 3pm comes and goes, no sign of Kristen or Cristiana.....getting concerned that I might be at the wrong Tigo station. But, I'm sure I'm at the right one....walk up and down the blvd. to make sure I don't see another Tigo station somewhere. Nope, I'm at the right one. Of course, I don't have a cell phone so there is no way to contact Kristen or for her to contact me. To make matters a little more frustrating, the pay phones about every 2 blocks aren't able to call to cell phones in Honduras for some reason. About 3:45 I decide to head back to the apartment. Worst case scenario, Kristen got the phone and configured it for herself.....and being the tech guru that I am...I figure I can probably get things configured for my account if need be.

4:10 - Get home. Kristen says they never went to the Tigo place cause whoever was supposed to call Cristiana never did.

All in all, this is still not the end of the world for me - just a little frustrating. Cristiana is definitely not happy....like I said, I think she's more frustrated than I - and she has to get her class stuff ready on top of all the work she is doing for us and the other international teachers that have arrived.....she is definitely a ROCK STAR!

So, I think the biggest difference I've noticed is that in the States - I didn't ever have this much trouble getting a company to call me back, etc. If you want to spend money in the States....the company is happy to take it from you and most times...tries to do everything they can to get you to spend money. In Honduras though, I've noticed a difference.....especially in our interaction with Tigo.

One other thing I've noticed, outside of our interaction with Tigo is that if you're waiting at a counter and someone behind the counter is looking up something for you or doing something for you - and someone else gets their attention - the customer service rep (or whoever) may completely stop doing what they were doing for you and work on the other customer's needs. Some stores have figured out how to avoid this and many places actually have the 'ted ticket system' where you pull a number from the number dispenser thingy and they call out numbers for whoever is next up.....that way, they take care of you and aren't distracted by other customer's needs.

On a very positive note - I found a sweet liquor store. Has lots of wine and an AWESOME rum selection. All very cheap! The most impressive part was that there were only a few bottles of Bacardi, almost everything else was something that I couldn't get in the States. They even had Appleton....which is a less expensive version of the Appleton Estates you can get in the States. I'm definitely excited about all the different Cuba Libre (Rum and Coke) I can make down here. So for all of you in Honduras or Central America - what's the best kind of local (or Central American) rum? I want to drink something I can't get in the States - please comment!

So, patience is a virue....and if you've read all of this, thanks for being patient and reading my blog post!

3 comments:

  1. Great story. I feel so bad that Pip didn't have water. I think he's going to hate me the next time I see him!
    Ginny

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  2. the best tum in central America..and possible the WORLD ...is Zacapa Centenario...altough I do think it would be a sacrilege to add Coke to it..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Zacapa_Centenario

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