No matter where in the world you go, things work differently than in other places. I guess that everyplace has it’s own little nuances. The Philippines is certainly no exception either, as sometimes it seems that nearly everything is different here!
One of the things that I find quite different here is the way that a lot of businesses operate. Many stores here are closed during the lunch hour. Oh, the big malls and such are generally open through the noon hour, but it’s the smaller “Mom & Pop” type places that you find closing down for lunch.
I find this interesting because many of these places really need the business revenue, and they are the type of places where people would certainly shop during lunchtime. For example, one type of place that is really bad about this is small computer stores. Even bigger computer stores, if they are not in malls, often close down for lunch time. Now, it would seem to me that lunch would be prime business time for such a business. The kind of people who can afford to buy a computer are office workers and such, the very people who are off during the lunch hour. It would seem that they are most likely to go shop for a computer while they are on their lunch break!
I am writing this article on Monday morning. This morning, I went to Blugre Coffee Shop here in Davao for my regular Monday morning get-together for LiP readers. When I pulled up, I was surprised that the parking area was empty, it us usually hard to get parking there. I parked my car, and was just getting out when I noticed that the coffee shop was dark! Sign on the front door – “Closed until 1 PM.” Whoops! You see, today is Araw ng Davao, a big festival in Davao. The schools are closed so that the kids can enjoy the festival. Wouldn’t it seem like something like a coffee shop would get booming business today, with lots of folks off work? But, they were closed, so I had to just cancel out on the get-together for today. I felt bad about it, because people might make a special trip to see me at Blugre, but I had no idea that they would be closed.
It just seems like many businesses here in the Philippines are not so eager to serve the public, and more interested in just enjoying themselves. I have a lot of experience working in many kinds of businesses that serve the public. It has always been holidays, lunch hours and such when my co-workers and I had to make an extra effort to serve customers, get them the help they need quickly so that they could get back to doing their work.
I will say this. In the 9 years I have lived in the Philippines, fewer businesses are closing up during these times when they really should be open. So, it does seem that things are improving.
For anybody who came to see me Monday at Blugre and found the place closed, I am very sorry for the inconvenience. Don’t worry, though, if Blugre is open, I will be there on schedule, so come back and see me next time!