Time is money. That’s the mantra in the United States, and maybe elsewhere but I can’t speak first hand of that. It couldn’t be further from the truth here in the Philippines.

For the most part, time has no value here. At least that’s how the consumers and tax payers are treated.

I’ve spent way too much time lately in government agencies and banks, and I’ve got to tell you that it ranks right up there with some of the least favorite things I’ve ever had to do. The incessant games the government agencies play with requirements and paperwork is demeaning but that’s not even my point. Once you’ve managed to meet “that day’s” requirements, you will wait hours to get to your first window. And wait again to the second window. How many windows will there be, well no one can really answer that, but there is a good chance once you get to one, they will be on break.

Banks are the pinnacle but a least it’s more clear where you need to line up there. In many banks, you just take a number and watch mindlessly as the time passes with seeming no one leaving the tellers. Of course once your number or you get close, all the tellers seem to have found other work they need to do, and no customers are served for awhile.

But it doesn’t matter, as even though I am their customer and the reason they are in business, my time has no value to them. They assume it has no value to me, either. At least they act that way.

I realize the filipino people are completely accustomed to this, expect it, and are usually not offended by it. It’s the way it is, and I should learn to adapt. You know what? I can adapt, but what really bothers me is that the filipino people accept this and allow themselves to be treated so poorly. That’s what really irks me.

I know I can’t change anything here, and I’d be a fool to try. I don’t see why the filipino people can’t expect more of their agencies and businesses.

I’ve never used a fixer, and the government is really trying to abolish them. I see, now, how useful that can really be. If I can pay a small fee and have someone take care of a bureaucratic matter for me, why wouldn’t I do that? I’d even pay a small fee in the bank, if there were a line that I could get through in less than hours when it was full. But most filipinos would probably not do so, as their time means next to nothing to them, and those few extra peso mean everything.

There are exceptions of course. If you go into a large department store you will find hundreds of employees to wait on you. Most are very friendly, and occasionally some of them are helpful. That’s not a given either, but your chances are better there.

I know what I’ve got to do to keep my sanity, and that’s to avoid as many agencies and banks as possible. The banks I can’t avoid completely, but I can limit and like anything here, get there early as people that aren’t working get up late around here. That will help.

Here’s hoping that I’m done with any government dealings for awhile. There’s only so much of that, that I can handle.

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