Jamaica – So “not ready” for the world stage!

26 02 2008
Every time I start to think about writing on this topic, I quickly calm down and forget about it. However, tonight I was thinking how not ready Jamaica is to run business the way it is done on an international level. You know what makes my blood boil? All these “franchises” which have sprung up in Jamaica over the last 10-15 years. And if it’s not them, it’s the local companies who TRY to run their business like a “foreign franchise”. These types of businesses are all about standardisation. If you don’t believe me, read the “McDonalization of Society” by George Ritzer. This sociologist has it down to a tee when he discusses how these multi-national companies are more or less “cookie cutter” businesses where everything is exact leaving very little waste. Anyway, these large companies who like to sell burgers and pizzas and everything unhealthy, have scripts or some sort of hybrid script that their staff must follow….but this is not to be in Jamaica. Some of these places have staff that make you feel like you’re bothering them by simply appearing at the door. In fact I don’t think you can get a free pizza anymore in Jamaica, if your order isn’t ready within 30 minutes. I suspect it’s because they know they would have given out their entire stock free of cost. On Saturday night I ordered 2 medium pizzas for a get together and when I arrived at the pizza house only one pizza was done. I even arrived later than the time they stated the order would be ready and it still wasn’t ready. When I asked the supervisor what the problem was, she simply said “It soon ready”. Of course I protested and told her I had called 45 minutes ago and was told 20 minutes. She claimed I called 42 and 45 minutes ago….oh please!
Then the other set of people who annoy me are my cable providers. They have this so called emergency number which is never answered when I call. One Sunday morning I was without cable for 6 hours and even missed my favourite show. I started to call the emergency number from 7 am and even up to noon, nobody answered. So, I made it my point of duty to call the emergency number at 2pm to find out exactly when was considered to be emergency hours. The gentleman said that an emergency is between 9 am and 9 pm daily! Now shouldn’t I just switch providers just for that? I am still thinking carefully about it. As for my local supermarket……I keep punishing myself by shopping there frequently due to the close proximity, but I am tired of hearing cashier woes and why I must join a line where an individual has half the supermarket’s stock in their cart, when I need to cash 2 items.
Jamaica is just not ready to do business the way business is done on an international level. Our people still believe that to give service is to be servile. We know nothing about service and this is why it surprises me that this is exactly what we would like to sell and call ourselves COMPETITIVE!!



11 responses

27 02 2008

Franchises, cable companies, pizza shops, and your local supermarket, ok, not bad, but I can do better. Which businesses get away with sticking it to their customers every day? The banks of course (or at least my bank).

Just in case you disagree, let me give one small example, every time I go to my bank, I am treated to an hour long wait in line, and while I am waiting I am mocked by a big banner saying something like “Customers, thank you. You are very important to us”. To be fair, they took down the banner recently, apparently they got tired of the joke, but the point is, who else but a bank could get away with that.

27 02 2008

Stuart…thanks for the addition! I totally forgot about the banks….maybe because I have very little to do with them these days as I try to do as much as possible, electronically…even my pay is wired to my account. But yes, they are one of the biggest culprits.

27 02 2008

You are so right, but I have to agree the banks are the worst. Imagine persons being charged to make a deposit in a country where “partner” schemes and other forms of informal savings are rife. You are charged if the banks ATM system declines your debit card (their fault) and for a host of other issues. But the best one for me is this pretense that we are being competitive in anything. Do you realize that on average we are paying sometimes 50 – 100 percent more for items than obtains say in the USA. We are being ripped off and the OUR and the Fair Trading Commission are just part of the landscaping and as far as I am concerned serve no real purpose.

27 02 2008

not just jamaica think it must be most if not all of the caribbean. service just isnt something our people like to do

27 02 2008

Another pet peeve is when we locals check in to hotels on our own soil. You feel as if the staff is saying “What the hell are you doing here? Don’t you know you don’t belong here?” Like a friend of mine who checked into a hotel during Jazz in January and had to endure the grilling from a security guard….the cheek!

28 02 2008
Global Voices Online » Jamaica: Service Culture?

[…] on an international level. Our people still believe that to give service is to be servile”: Jamaican Lifestyle explains. Share […]

1 03 2008
mad bull

One time I used to cuss about the franchises, but nowadays I just accept them for what they are. The banks now! Oh my gosh! What a set of thieves! They are ripping us off! Big time!

8 03 2008

You all need me to bring my banking experience back to JA.

2 04 2008

Every time I go to visit my family in JA, the first couple of weeks i am plotting on how I need to move from San Francisco to Manchester to get away from the stress of US City living…but then magically things start to happen that make me think over this thought…and you know its not even the crime? It is the SERVICE! I am met with ATTITUDE by every single person who is suppose to be in a position of customer service. Grocery store checkout lady- attitude… Im met with rolling eyeballs ..not the standard smile and “hello how are you?” I amm use to at home. Remember i was buying some seasoning one time to bring back home and was being charged the wrong price -i was told I must go back and find the right price myself and hurry because im holding back the line. I was so taken aback I just said never mind. Customs….and ive traveled all over the world- no care what so ever is taken to keep my things in some sort of order when checking through my belongings. KFC- I never get the chicken I order. Ordering at a restaurant many times turns into a all night ordeal as it takes the wait staff an eternity to ask for my order and 2 eternities to GET my food (this of course is not the case in tourist areas or areas ive noticed where it is tailored for foreigners there for business ex. The Great House in Mandeville where service is always excellent) … I could go on and on but I think the point has been made. There are a lot of things wrong with the US , believe me but one thing it does have down is efficiency in business and customer service. I can call my cable company, electricity company, cell phone company ect. 24 hours a day and 9 out of 10 times im helped by someone who seems like they WANT to help. But beyond that it is a simple line of respect that people should have for one another- my grandmother says Jamaica was not like that when she was growing up and people had respect for one another which was shown in their treatment of each other.

4 03 2009

so sick and tired of these people who rag on their country as if there aren’t several things we should be thankful for. for starters – what the hell do these Americans put on their pizzas so they can afford to give them away for free and still turn a profit? the KFC isn’t chicken in the USA anymore because the cost of dumping beaks could be negated with a bit of genetic alteration. The US for the past 8 yrs had George W. Bush as President……hey jamaicangirl2007, if it irritates u so much go live somewhere else. we will miss u……but such is life.

4 03 2009

BTW Anya……understand what ur saying about the attitude. I’ve dealt with it my whole life. most respond well 2 – how u do….u alright? whatagwaan pretty lady? Hi……u having a good day….so why u look so? try smiling if u expect a smile, and complain to the manager next time if it bothers u so much.

Much Love

Someone who loves his country and tries to do his piece to make a difference…..cause u cyaa tell people wah fi do.
everybody knows this…………… but Usain, ‘Safa and Shelly…..d flipping boss dem u zi mi?

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