Is it really "island time" or is it rudeness?
I'd like to hear some feedback. I have sent emails and calls out to realtors, attorneys, and other business people pertaining to our move. A few in particular have taken over a week to get back to me. and some don't respond to my emails or calls at all. I know internet can be shady in some areas on the island but c'mon.....a week?
Granted, I can be impatient at times and am still in speed mode living in the states, but would you say this is "island time" with people just being soooo laid back, or is it rudeness? I am trying not to jump to conclusions but wow......
It is island time and it depends why you are calling these people. Many people get burnt out constantly answering newcomers questions Who Are Not On Island. Many have been burnt out by doing a lot of work for newcomers that never come and they never get paid.
If you are trying to get hired from stateside, it's prolly not going to happen. If you are trying to rent before you come, many landlords will not take you seriously till you are here.
Other then that its island time and you will have to get used to being frustrated. Always be polite and friendly! But always be Persistent. Do not wait for people to call you back if you are serious about your move here.
It gets easier after a while, but you do learn to carry a book or computer of some type with you everywhere on island because everything moves slow and better to be prepared to wait. Slower pace of life is NOT always a good thing.
A lot of the 'business' here in the islands takes place face to face - emails and phonecalls, especially from offisland are not often a high priority unless you have already established a personal relationship - having a 10 digit call back number - [not a local call] - may mean long distance charges and is a detriment even if you are on the island - also it is Carnival this week and a lot of businesses and most Govt. offices are closed or running at low manpower.
Island time is slower in every case and responding to requests from offisland is commonly well down on the 'To Do' list.
I called information to get a phone number this afternoon and no one answered! 😉
It is island time. Which I find to be rude. But when in Rome. You won't change it so you'll have to decide if you can live with it if you move here.
It could be any number of things. Many people don't have a back-up so if their computer or internet is down, they can't respond until it gets fixed. Many people don't check their messages, because they feel if it's important, the person will call back or they'll see them eventually somewhere on the island. Many people are small, maybe one-person operations, and they just can't do everything as much as they'd like to.
To them it's not rude - whatever the reason it, makes perfectly good sense to them, and they don't think it's a big deal.
Also, many people here go off-island every now and then, so they might not even be here to answer e-mails or return messages.
Those who stay here long-term learn to adjust.
Luckily island time is endemic here and depending on how you express your dissatisfaction about it-- it may stretch out even longer - I am inclined to go even slower when the eye rolling and steam starts boiling out of someone who comes on as a 'we don't do it that way in the states' customer - someone who doesn't start with a pleasant "Good Morning" but blurts out their staccato pushy statements - That is what I personally find rude , not island time, which I find relaxing and well suited to a slower , and less competitive lifestyle. Many people here go well out of their way to help, when the customer explains the problem in a polite and personal way - the people behind them in line who have to wait might find this rude and get irritated but the ones who recognize this individual level of service as a way of life get their problems solved just fine -- on island time. Where are you rushing off to and why anyway? It is something to consider if you want to live here - and the airport is open each day - on island time there too.
We live here, and our friendly phone messages and emails are frequently ignored, even from doctors' and dentists' offices, even when the gist of our message is, "We want to give you money." It's island time. It's best to call back later and talk to a live human. On the plus side, anybody who moves here, opens a business, and runs it with a stateside mentality, can do well.
also, carnival was this week too
Excellent points made here. I would add two things: there is an art to getting what you need courteously and in a timely fashion. Mastering that talent is part of what separates those who succeed here from those who do not. Second, the popular notion that "opening and running a business with a stateside mentality will be successful" is born out of wishful thinking on many of our parts, but it is demonstrably false. We can all name businesses which have tried that at their peril.
I said that anybody who runs a business with a stateside mentality "can do well" not "will do well." Whom would you do business with? The guy who returns your phone calls, shows up on time, and does the work well, or the guy on island time?
Bob I wasn't singling you out, it's a common and understandable sentiment. The problem in the scenario you offered is that in most business sectors on the island no one embodies all the criteria you mentioned. The guy who does the job well will almost never be the one who returns phone calls or who shows up on time.
Maybe it's time for a new Realtor - we always respond same day and hubby has even gotten up at 3am to call a customer who was in Europe as it was the most convenient time for him.
Pia - Realtor on St John 🙂
The guy who does the job well will almost never be the one who returns phone calls or who shows up on time.
This has not been my experience. Quite the contrary. The trades-person who is most irresponsible with returning phone calls and showing up is usually the person who is least skilled (except, perhaps in his/her own mind).
Most ,not all "locals" enjoy having power over the white customers..... so please take a number and sit jo ass down." I'M on my break"
Most ,not all "locals" enjoy having power over the white customers..... so please take a number and sit jo ass down." I'M on my break"
That is absolutely a distorted statement.
Ummmm....yeah, I have a hard time believing anything anyone tells me negative about the locals. White, black, purple, or green....we ALL equally loving, nasty, friendly, happy, sad, silly, violent, helpful......etc. We are human, and I believe equally the same.
Why did you start the thread and ask the question, when you have a hard time believing anything anyone tells you negatives about locals.:S
It's not about color, it's about whether you were born here or are a transplant. Good news is you can win people over, not all of them but enough. But just like it's the responsibility of the person Entering the room to say Good Day, it's your responsibility to win locals over. Not saying it's right or wrong but if you don't like it, don't come.
The we are all human crap isn't going to cut it here.
As a Realtor, I often receive voice messages that are so garbled or incomplete that it isn't possible to return the call. Listening to the message over and over can sometimes help sort out a few missing phrases or numbers, but some are too damaged to decipher. This could be one part of the reason you don't get calls back on voice messages. Try to leave your number slowly and carefully at least two different times during your message to give the recipient the best chance at capturing all the digits.
Most incoming calls show up as Blocked or Unknown, so if the message isn't clear to hear when it gets to the part with the phone number, it all too often means I'm missing a number or two and can't call back. Some people ask for a return call but don't even attempt to leave their number. Some never even leave a name, but simply start in with Hello and their request and then hang up. If they don't call back, there is no possibility of ever connecting.
I am on St. Croix and get messages asking about rental properties I might have on STT or STJ. I try to let those callers know I only handle properties on STX, but sometimes it's not possible to return their call for one of the previous reasons.
Emails are more likely to be received and should receive a response... eventually! A couple things other than Island Time or Holiday Shutdowns/Vacations or Complete Lack of Interest or General Discourtesy that could legitimately be behind a slow response include:
1) Sometimes a message goes to Junk Mail. With so many of us checking our email via iPhones these days, we miss anything in the Junk Mail folder until we get a message that requires a complicated enough response that we log into email on a computer to reply. Then we check Junk Mail and might find a message that has been languishing a few days. I know this has happened to me a few times, so I'll throw it out there as a possibility. Other times someone sends me a message on this website instead of via email, but if I don't log in here for a few days I won't know about the message until I do.
2) Did your message include enough info for the person to understand the reason you made contact? Was the contact info you included correct? Typos happen.
3) Many people change the email carrier they use, but don't always update every single place their old email address was listed. For example if you try to reach someone via their old vipowernet.net email addy and they've switched to gmail or hotmail or yahoo, etc., they didn't get your message. You might also have mistyped their email addy in the original message and it could be out there in cyberspace not sure where to go. It happens.
There could be all sorts of reasons someone hasn't responded, some more valid/excusable than others. Some people are bad at customer service. Some people cherry pick the business messages they respond to (although in this economy this boggles my mind!) Some people don't respond to messages from off-island. Some people are dealing with a personal event that has them putting business on the back burner (vacation, tragedy, holiday, whatever). The list goes on...
PS: Be sure to check your own Junk Mail folder to see if someone might have responded but been routed to the black hole of email!
Best of luck with finding the right people to assist you with your questions and needs. The people are out there. At times it does take a lot of persistence to find them. Once you do, you're golden.
In my experience, finding good service providers takes a bit of trial and error, as well as helpful recommendations from people who have already done that legwork. For example, we found an excellent mechanic and a great contractor via recommendations from others we know, but also have struggled sometimes to find other providers when we didn't know anyone to ask for help. Sometimes it just takes time and persistence to eventually get in touch with someone who a) wants your business, b) understands that most people like to have their inquiries answered, and c) actually shows up and does what you're paying them to do.
Of course, it's always helpful to be nice. That's always favored over "demanding."
Either way it is rude and unprofessional and the next time folks complain about the economy......well you reap what you sow.
(That said I am only referring to those you speak of, not everyone is like that but there are plenty for sure).
I've been biting my lip about this thread, but then I decided, what the heck....to those of you that live here: you and I both know what is considered rude and what is not...like walking up to someone at the bank or grocery store or whatever and saying something like "Hi", or "How ya doin'?" before the conversation starts...that is considered rude here...Just a different culture. To those in the States, it is considered rude if you do NOT say that. Here, you must say "Good morning/afternoon/evening/night" to start a conversation, anything else is rude. So, that being said, there are just differences in our culture here that you do not notice because you don't live here. They are not being rude...to us it's not rude. To YOU it may be, but here, this is SOP (standard operating procedure). It has nothing to do with one's race or gender...we just have a different way of doing things here and we do them because that's the way it's always been done, and the way it always WILL be done...assimilate or move back to the States! Just like the old saying "When in Rome..."
Once again, I'll have to disagree about the whole good morning, good afternoon, etc. thing. I DO say it most of the time, but find that if I don't (for whatever reason) , I'm treated the same. I have seen people "correct" others who just start a conversation, which I personally find to be rude, if it's an adult. So often the good morning greeting is simply ignored. I bet 8 out of 10 times when I say good afternoon to a checker at Kmart or Plaza, I don't get an answer...nothing, but when I say hello to the checkers at Food Town, ALWAYS a pleasant greeting in return. Heck, they even speak first, and sometimes it's "Hi, how are you today?".
Call me silly, but really it should be (and I believe is) all in "how" you acknowledge someone, with a smile and pleasant greeting, no matter what the actual words are. Lots of times, in response, you'll hear just "OK", and that's fine, too.
Using the Kmart checkers as an example isn't really the best, though, because most of them are just "out there" somewhere and seem to not even be aware of your presence while checking you out.
Oh...and Alexandra is right on about the phone numbers, etc. I often cannnot return a call because I simply can't make out the name/number. I also even say on my website that sometimes it goes to junk mail.....try from another email, or call, if you don't get a response. I honestly forget to check the junk box daily.
Question.....Is it considered rude or culture when locals won't look you in the eye when you speak to them....???*-)