Friday, June 16, 2006

Fixed Prices???

One of the things that you have to get used to here in the Philippines, is the need to bargain over everything. This can be both exciting and frustrating. A simple trike ride to the church can vary in price depending on who is driving, so negotiations must take place ahead of time. As I have been told....there is no such thing as a "Fixed Price" in the Philippines. Fixed price is the term that is used for a non-negotiable price. Well, we found that to be true in an interesting way...

We were heading back from a visit, riding the motorcycles. Rev. G. and I, he was leading, and when we got to the red light district, he opted to avoid that street, the infamous Fields Avenue, (amen) and went forward to take the highway that goes through what was formerly known as Clark Air Force Base. Now the street he was about to turn on, is four lanes, at one time it was two lanes in each direction, but at this particular time, it was four lanes in one direction, (it has since changed again to two directions) well, he made a turn down the wrong way, and that particular day, the police were not in the donut shops. They waved us over and began issuing tickets. Now, corruption and graft are rampant here, and it sometimes seems that their purpose is to get some more donut money rather than enforce the law, but one thing they know, you have got to make sure these people are going to pay the ticket, so they take your drivers license right there on the spot, and make you pick it up within three days when you pay the ticket.

So within the next couple of days we were on our way to the police office to pay the tickets. Now, we have two ladies that attend our church that worked somewhere on the base, there are over 30,000 people that work on the base, and we frankly, didn't know where they worked. We were about to find out...As we walked into the office, "Hello Pastor! How are you? What are you doing here?" we sheepishly pulled out our colored slips of paper. "Oh, Come with me." She escorted us into the Chief's office, and lo and behold, there was the other sister. She was the Chief's secretary. We explained our business, we really just wanted to pay the fine recover our licenses and go. She, on her own accord, began to text the officer that wrote the ticket and bargain over the ticket. Meanwhile, the chief came in and we were introduced. He began to say, "Well I really can't help you, it wouldn't be good for me to interevene on their tickets." Remember, we were not asking him to, we just wanted to pay and go, but as we talked, it seemed he took a liking to us. His tone changed and he began to give us pointers. He said, when the officer is still writing the ticket, you can bargain with him about how much the ticket will be. If you do get pulled over again, just tell them that you are a friend of the chief! In the background, the lady is still texting to the officer and managed to bargain the ticket down to about $2 for one and $6 for the other. Truly, there are NO fixed prices in the Philippines!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rev. Devonshire, for taking the time to share your great adventures! I so enjoy coming to your site and do so everyday! Thanks again! sm