Bribes And Pay Offs, How-to?

Gregg

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Apr 26, 2004
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How do you know how much to pay? I am well travelled yet still do not have a good, intuitive understanding. We usually just overpay as a tourist and move on. This approach will kill us if we move to the DR. I do find this unknown to be a real source of stress while out and about.

I have noticed many derisive comments on fools over-bribing/tipping (e.g. the angry fellow who paid $100 USD to a cop). Someone please tell me how to determine the amount to pay. Some tips or strategies? I usually play nice and try to bargain down a bit. Kinda' useless if they start way too high.

It strikes me that this knowledge is too closely guarded as some way of separating the pros from the amateur travellers. Nothing worse than every expate laughing at you for overpaying yet always providing some cryptic response on how better to do it.

And please, don't talk about just blending in. I am a fair-skinned Gringo and will always look that way.
 

Robert

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Gregg said:
How do you know how much to pay? I am well travelled yet still do not have a good, intuitive understanding. We usually just overpay as a tourist and move on. This approach will kill us if we move to the DR. I do find this unknown to be a real source of stress while out and about.

I have noticed many derisive comments on fools over-bribing/tipping (e.g. the angry fellow who paid $100 USD to a cop). Someone please tell me how to determine the amount to pay. Some tips or strategies? I usually play nice and try to bargain down a bit. Kinda' useless if they start way too high.

It strikes me that this knowledge is too closely guarded as some way of separating the pros from the amateur travellers. Nothing worse than every expate laughing at you for overpaying yet always providing some cryptic response on how better to do it.

And please, don't talk about just blending in. I am a fair-skinned Gringo and will always look that way.
I haven't paid a bribe to a cop in 5-6 years. In fact the last time I was stopped was about 5-6 years ago. What makes you think your going to get stopped? What makes you think this is common practice?
What are the rules of engagement? Use your common sense, stick to the law.
 

Gregg

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Apr 26, 2004
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Perhaps I have read too much of your excellent site's archives and have formed the wrong opinion. I am surprised by your terse response.

Let's just say that there is more of grey area here for me and I am ignorant. I was not contemplating breaking any laws (intentionally).

I am just looking for some guidelines. To say that I won't encounter corruption, bribery or "tipping" is not realistic in the DR or Canada for that matter. Just trying to be less of a sheep.

So, any guidelines you can offer?
 

Robert

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Gregg said:
Perhaps I have read too much of your excellent site's archives and have formed the wrong opinion. I am surprised by your terse response.

Let's just say that there is more of grey area here for me and I am ignorant. I was not contemplating breaking any laws (intentionally).

I am just looking for some guidelines. To say that I won't encounter corruption, bribery or "tipping" is not realistic in the DR or Canada for that matter. Just trying to be less of a sheep.

So, any guidelines you can offer?
Always carry a copy of you license or cedula. Never give a cop your real ID!
Act stupid, never get angry, smile lots and play as if your a tourist.

Everything else is common sense and adapting to the situation.
 

BushBaby

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Jan 1, 2002
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Robert said:
I haven't paid a bribe to a cop in 5-6 years. In fact the last time I was stopped was about 5-6 years ago. What makes you think your going to get stopped? What makes you think this is common practice?
What are the rules of engagement? Use your common sense, stick to the law.
Come on Robert - that is a bit dismissive for what is seen to be a fairly regular occurence here in the DR!! I think the question revolved around things that were "within the law" but required some form of assistance to get ligitimate & legal things processed that much more smoothly. We are all aware that some form of "EASING" of the process of getting things done in a timely fashion DOES go on & the questioner IS asking for our considered opinion! We have ALL done it & most of us have got some form of a 'feeling' for the negotiation process, let's pass a bit of it on to a serious questioner!

I agree that paying traffic cops is NOT a good idea - likely to put you into more trouble than getting you off & moving again. When you hit THAT problem, the answer is to smile & suggest a visit to the Consulate or Embassy of your home country to establish the RIGHT level of 'Propina'! I have suggested to one authoritive person who tried to "scam" me for a little handout, that we pop back into the office & ask his BOSS what the right level of 'Propina' would be for the task he was performing - that got me processed VERY quickly AND no propina was paid!!

NON AMET cops on the other hand, are just trying it on & should be clapped on the back, smiled at & treated as a friend who has just made a joke. THEN, if you feel some form of concern for his plight, you can pass over RD $20 or RD $30 IF YOU FEEL THAT WAY INCLINED. It is not going to cause you serious problem if you DON'T hand over money - it might just take you a bit longer to get into that parking space or clear that part of traffic congestion!!

With AUTHORITARIANISM (is there such a word??), it s good to go along with the general conversation & take your time to establish just WHAT is being asked for. A handover right at the beginning of negotiations is a sure ringer that you have got money & are prepared to be hoodwinked out of it!! I always have my money in small denominations in seperate pockets - if I find that RD $20 is not getting me the way I want to go, I 'Find' another RD $20 or RD $50 in another pocket!! If they think they have exhausted your supply of "effectivo", they will let things go & the processing advances much more quickly!!

A similar ploy is used with shopping. Shopping for things other than food & general household commodities, is a L O N G drawn out process here. You look around to get a feeling of the general price, look for those giving discounts at any particular time, & THEN start negotiations!!! Tell the vendor about a competitor who is charging a damn sight less than him(her) down the street & lower the price by 10% or 15%. If you don't get it at that or near to it, walk out & go down the street & repeat the process!! Keep going until YOU have established the best price, & IF it is suitable to you, .... then buy!! If there is no competitor selling the same product in the same town, use an alternative town (this indicates that you LIVE here & know your way around!!) & if THAT fails, set a starting price at 30% less that what you are prepared to pay & start off at that. As in the example with the local policeman you wanted to 'ease' you through a traffic jam or into a restricted parking space, find some extra RD $ in another pocket or in your wife's handbag until you find an acceptable price to you both!

Tourists (& Ex-Pats living here) who are in a hurry to conclude business, generally pay over the top!! The Dominican culture is slow & easy and in friendship, use it to your advantage & take your time. No Dominican will ever sell you something he is not making a profit on, you just have to work out what his lowest "Profit Margin" will be!! It is amazing how when you walk away from his shop/stall, his "Profit Margin" will reduce to your benefit. However, don't agree to the first ammendment to price that he makes (even if you like it) start low again & work up!!

To answer your question Gregg - there IS no formular - just a long drawn out process of two friends finding a common price for what ONE wants to sell & the OTHER wants to buy!!

Hope this helps & happy shopping (if you have the time for it!!). - Grahame.
 

Gregg

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Apr 26, 2004
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Thanks Grahame,

That was very informative and the type of advice I was looking for. These type of issues seem to come up in just about every thread I have reviewed and, perhaps, is so obvious to others in the forum that my question seemed pretty lame.

The last few months have given me a much better perspective on what immigrants must face coming to Canada. I could only imagine the wide range of conflicting advice that my group of friends would offer a newcomer.
 
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With the flow and slow

Grogg, I'll keep it way simple for you. Carry dollar bills with you. If a cop stops you give him one dollar, say te dara buena suerte (it will give you good luck) , smile, pat on the back and drive away. The most important thing is to flow. Don't get nervous, you're not a criminal or Mr. Softie, just slowly say this and flow with it.

DR folks hold mystical properties to a crisp 1 dollar bill. It goes beyond the inflationary haven it has. DR folks will keep the dollar bill for good luck as it meaning something more, maybe their eventual ticket to the promised land (nueva yol).

Most of my foreign friends attest to its validity.

As far as gov't transactions take some dominican you can trust and who knows the process. Many here can either help you personally or direct you in the right way.

Of course Bushbaby's advice is great. Methinks he's slicker than many dominicans. Hey Bush how did you get so slick?
 
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Robert

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BushBaby said:
Come on Robert - that is a bit dismissive for what is seen to be a fairly regular occurence here in the DR!! I think the question revolved around things that were "within the law" but required some form of assistance to get ligitimate & legal things processed that much more smoothly.
I was talking just about cops. Everything else I regard as a tip :)

Great post Grahame, very informative!
 

CyaBye3015

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Onions&carrots said:
Grogg, I'll keep it way simple for you. Carry dollar bills with you. If a cop stops you give him one dollar, say te dara buena suerte (it will give you good luck) , smile, pat on the back and drive away. The most important thing is to flow. Don't get nervous, you're not a criminal or Mr. Softie, just slowly say this and flow with it.

DR folks hold mystical properties to a crisp 1 dollar bill. It goes beyond the inflationary haven it has. DR folks will keep the dollar bill for good luck as it meaning something more, maybe their eventual ticket to the promised land (nueva yol).

Most of my foreign friends attest to its validity.

As far as gov't transactions take some dominican you can trust and who knows the process. Many here can either help you personally or direct you in the right way.

Of course Bushbaby's advice is great. Methinks he's slicker than many dominicans. Hey Bush how did you get so slick?

GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY! this is Onions&carrots answer to everything!!
Screw that,,,,, that simply perpetuates the problem,,,,, stand up, be a man and say "F" you.
 

AZB

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Jan 2, 2002
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CyaBye3015 said:
GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY! this is Onions&carrots answer to everything!!
Screw that,,,,, that simply perpetuates the problem,,,,, stand up, be a man and say "F" you.
Yeah, you do just that and see where you end up.
very smart, this is not hoboken new jersey.
 

jerryme

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Feb 1, 2004
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I have been pulled over twice by the PNs and bothe times i said " no speakie espanol" and both times they let me go.
 

Lambada

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CyaBye3015 said:
GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY! this is Onions&carrots answer to everything!!
Screw that,,,,, that simply perpetuates the problem,,,,, stand up, be a man and say "F" you.
And if they don't want to.......what then?
Why be aggressive when you could be charming? (You could, couldn't you?)
 
Mar 21, 2002
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CyaBye3015 said:
GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY! this is Onions&carrots answer to everything!!
Screw that,,,,, that simply perpetuates the problem,,,,, stand up, be a man and say "F" you.
I don't have to give anything in my woods because they know me. In other parts where they don't know me they do very fast. For the rest of those not connected or foreign give them a crispy one dollar bill. Si te toca un guardia bien bruto they'll crack your head with a gun butt either at the site or at el destacamento. This ain't Kansas, Toto.
 

Criss Colon

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"cyabye" your total ignorance of the Dominican psyche is showing!!!

Telling the police to "Phuck Off" is the one and only thing that will lead to trouble! Act stupid,act ignorant,say you left your money in your other pants,"I'll catch you next time",are all ways to avoid problems! If I actually ren a red,or even a yellow light,I am quick to offer 100 pesos.If it purely a "Shake Down " stop(haven't been stopped for several years!)50 pesos will do it!Depends on your frame of mind and "level" of proficiency in "Dominican"!I will give you my advice,"If you have an accident ,and your vehicle can move,leave the scene at once.Let them find you if they want to!Doubtful!!!
I stop by the two local police stations where I do most of my driving.Naco at the Olimpic Stadium,and one other.I give a case of beer at Christmas,a baked good when I have something,and 100 pesos to the policia at certain intersections I cross daily! Better to "Grease the wheel" in advance!CC