Understanding the Dominican Mentality

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DRDone

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Sep 29, 2014
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Decided to start a thread out of this, a reply on another thread.
Many state that there is no logic in the RD, but I believe there is logic in what Dominicans do and after I understood this, I understood much of the actions committed by Dominicans. I have actually brought up my theory to Dominicans and they have all verified that it is the way they think. Very simply, Dominicans do not believe in win-win situations. They believe there must be a winner and a loser in every interaction, be it a business transaction or personal relationship (BTW, it is best not to differentiate the 2 as personal relationships especially with the opposite sex are usually seen as business deals, and Dominican business deals which mean making sure you are the loser).
If you wonder why a worker will rip you off 500 pesos one week and not do the work, forcing you to fire them, rather than earning maybe 500 pesos a week for years to come for just doing work that they have plenty of time to do and are capable of doing, this is why. If they are up 500 pesos, and you are out 500 pesos without the work being done, then they are clearly the winner and you are the loser. If they did the work and saw you were happy, they would think that they were the loser since you were acting like the winner and happy. No sense of value for value, everything is a winner and a loser. When I tried to explain that there could be win-win situations, Dominicans (and supposedly business minded Dominicans - I know that is impossible) would explain to me that by definition there cannot be 2 winners. I said what if we both made money, wouldn't that make it a win-win, and got a response of "sure you make a million and the other makes 1000 pesos".
People describe portions of this in different ways, like it is a sport for Dominicans to rip you off, or complaining that their logic does not make any sense, but if you understand that the viewpoint is just to make sure that you are a loser in the interaction and hence they would be the winner, things actually do start to make sense and there is logic behind the actions. As long as you are miserable at the end of the interaction, they feel rewarded as they won.
Now is this truly the stress free environment one first thinks it is? I found that it became very stressful as nothing would get done and you could never plan on anything getting done in any time-frame. So I guess you have to choose whether to become totally useless and not get anything done and accept it with a smile on your face - and have the great attitude of this productive society - or not and be stressed out and annoyed. If it is the latter, than it is time to leave. If it is the former, than you probably can't make it anywhere else anyway, and you fit in.
 
Oct 13, 2003
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Just make sure you leave them with no way out - no money, no nothing - unless the work is fully completed to satisfaction. If they feel they have no chance of ripping you off, you will be respected and get good service.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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Never pay in advance. Perhaps give the guy $100 pesos for lunch at most. Do not pay until the work is done the way you want it done, and make sure that the worker understands what you want precisely.

Not all Dominicans see things as you describe them. Maybe not even most, but I have no statistics.
 
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Just make sure you leave them with no way out - no money, no nothing - unless the work is fully completed to satisfaction. If they feel they have no chance of ripping you off, you will be respected and get good service.

I realize my post can come off as calous. It is not my intention, you can be nice about this, talk to them and maybe give lunch to the workmen if they complete their morning goals, but never give them any money.
 

DRDone

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Never pay in advance. Perhaps give the guy $100 pesos for lunch at most. Do not pay until the work is done the way you want it done, and make sure that the worker understands what you want precisely.

Not all Dominicans see things as you describe them. Maybe not even most, but I have no statistics.

Yes, we all understand the brilliant ways of working in the system, like not paying first, but what I am referring to is the mentality of scamming 500 pesos while giving of 10's of thousands of pesos in the future. Something that seems illogical, yet is common place. They get to brag to their friends that they scammed someone (and in my theory won), and that is what they want. This is not just to gringos, they do this to each other as well, sometimes to horrific consequences.
 

DRDone

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Sep 29, 2014
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I realize my post can come off as calous. It is not my intention, you can be nice about this, talk to them and maybe give lunch to the workmen if they complete their morning goals, but never give them any money.

I actually did find this worked with some Haitians, but never with a Dominican worker. Maybe controlled for a while, but in the end the scam came. Didn't help that all their "friends" bug anyone with a job that they are a slave.
 

barker1964

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Apr 1, 2009
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Not callous at all. Most not all Dominicans can't think past 5 minutes. For example my in-laws are of means but the way they were taught growing up shocked me. My mother in-law has a brand new 26 cubic foot fridge and I noticed every day she was going to the store. I asked my wife why and she said to purchase meat. We in most countries shop for enough food for at least a week, they shop daily. Just goes to show their mentality that they never think about tomorrow. That all or nothing attitude is entrenched in their though patterns. Hence the lack of any long term success.
 

the gorgon

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Sep 16, 2010
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Yes, we all understand the brilliant ways of working in the system, like not paying first, but what I am referring to is the mentality of scamming 500 pesos while giving of 10's of thousands of pesos in the future. Something that seems illogical, yet is common place. They get to brag to their friends that they scammed someone (and in my theory won), and that is what they want. This is not just to gringos, they do this to each other as well, sometimes to horrific consequences.

i once bought a beautiful avocado at a colmado where i did business every day. i started shopping there because my previous long time colmado owner had pulled a stunt on me, and beat me out of maybe 10 pesos on some potatoes. well, the guy was about to put it in a bag, and i got distracted by a buddy of mine, and started shooting breeze with him. needless to say, when i got home and took the avocado out the bag, it was a beaten up, shriveled old fruit, nothing like the one i had chosen. the price of avocados at that time? all of 15 pesos. so, he was prepared to lose a customer who had shopped at his place every day for 2 years, over 15 pesos.

i see this every day.
 

SKY

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Apr 11, 2004
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Why do you think all the concerts you see advertised in the street take place on or just after the 15th or 30th of the month?
 

malko

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Jan 12, 2013
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I realize my post can come off as calous. It is not my intention, you can be nice about this, talk to them and maybe give lunch to the workmen if they complete their morning goals, but never give them any money.

In my campo there is 2 way to get work ( manual, ie construction, maids......).

The first is by day. They work, u suppervise. U have to feed them ( ie, some breakfeast and lunch and water. ). Generally more or less 500 pesos a day ( 0700 to say 1700 ). Common usage would be that u pay them the last day of the week, ie saturday after the days work.

The second is to pay for a job. For example, build me a wall. The guy quotes a price, u haggle and come to an understanding ( ya tu sabe ). U pay ONLY when the job is completed. U do NOT need to feed the guy in this case. The downside is the giy may not come and work for a day or two, this is common practice ( often he has a salary job too ). The upside is ( if he is serious ) he will work unhuman hours and be extremly motivated. ( the quicker he finishes, the quicker he can move on to another job ).
I do feed the workers in this case, only when I am satisfied with the way the work is going. And of course let them know that it is a bonus they are recieving.

I now only pay by the job. The workers now know that I am a serious payer ( unlike my fellow camposinos who will take ages to pay ), but only if I am satisfied with the job. They also know I treat them with respect, which is also not the case with all employers.
Along the way I have, of course, been confronted with less than serious workers but I have quickly let them go, and the word gets around.
So, now I enjoy a win-win situation with occasional workers ( maids, construction, electricity......). I am ( more or less ) satisfied with the work, the workers get respect and their money on time.
 
Oct 13, 2003
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I actually did find this worked with some Haitians, but never with a Dominican worker. Maybe controlled for a while, but in the end the scam came. Didn't help that all their "friends" bug anyone with a job that they are a slave.

Not discounting your experience, but my limited experience is not parallel to yours in all, or even most cases. Most of the time I have had to buy items or services, I have been very fairly treated and the work was usually completed reasonably on time, allowing for 'Dominican time'.

The stuff about being a slave I have not noticed ever. Most are happy to have a job.

Maybe it has to do with different personal circumstances; I have a solid middle class Dominican family to fall back on, in an area that may be considered small town.

So far I've only had to toss out one worker, who came to have a look at the inverter. He was very rude and had to be tossed from the house. I didn't do this myself but my cousins were happy to escort him off the premises. He was later given a polite but firm talking to by the local teniente to be more polite in the future and forget about ever trying to get back at me or mine.
 

the gorgon

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Sep 16, 2010
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In my campo there is 2 way to get work ( manual, ie construction, maids......).

The first is by day. They work, u suppervise. U have to feed them ( ie, some breakfeast and lunch and water. ). Generally more or less 500 pesos a day ( 0700 to say 1700 ). Common usage would be that u pay them the last day of the week, ie saturday after the days work.

The second is to pay for a job. For example, build me a wall. The guy quotes a price, u haggle and come to an understanding ( ya tu sabe ). U pay ONLY when the job is completed. U do NOT need to feed the guy in this case. The downside is the giy may not come and work for a day or two, this is common practice ( often he has a salary job too ). The upside is ( if he is serious ) he will work unhuman hours and be extremly motivated. ( the quicker he finishes, the quicker he can move on to another job ).
I do feed the workers in this case, only when I am satisfied with the way the work is going. And of course let them know that it is a bonus they are recieving.

I now only pay by the job. The workers now know that I am a serious payer ( unlike my fellow camposinos who will take ages to pay ), but only if I am satisfied with the job. They also know I treat them with respect, which is also not the case with all employers.
Along the way I have, of course, been confronted with less than serious workers but I have quickly let them go, and the word gets around.
So, now I enjoy a win-win situation with occasional workers ( maids, construction, electricity......). I am ( more or less ) satisfied with the work, the workers get respect and their money on time.

try giving one an advance on a job and see how that turns out.
 
Oct 13, 2003
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In my campo there is 2 way to get work ( manual, ie construction, maids......).

The first is by day. They work, u suppervise. U have to feed them ( ie, some breakfeast and lunch and water. ). Generally more or less 500 pesos a day ( 0700 to say 1700 ). Common usage would be that u pay them the last day of the week, ie saturday after the days work.

The second is to pay for a job. For example, build me a wall. The guy quotes a price, u haggle and come to an understanding ( ya tu sabe ). U pay ONLY when the job is completed. U do NOT need to feed the guy in this case. The downside is the giy may not come and work for a day or two, this is common practice ( often he has a salary job too ). The upside is ( if he is serious ) he will work unhuman hours and be extremly motivated. ( the quicker he finishes, the quicker he can move on to another job ).
I do feed the workers in this case, only when I am satisfied with the way the work is going. And of course let them know that it is a bonus they are recieving.

I now only pay by the job. The workers now know that I am a serious payer ( unlike my fellow camposinos who will take ages to pay ), but only if I am satisfied with the job. They also know I treat them with respect, which is also not the case with all employers.
Along the way I have, of course, been confronted with less than serious workers but I have quickly let them go, and the word gets around.
So, now I enjoy a win-win situation with occasional workers ( maids, construction, electricity......). I am ( more or less ) satisfied with the work, the workers get respect and their money on time.

Exactly the way it works in GH too. You are serious and check the work, pay what is agreed and on time.

Everybody more or less happy.
 

amp

Bronze
Oct 5, 2010
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It is unfortunate most want the quick money instead of long term business.

I go to one Centro de Internet close to where I live, had been going there for a while.

He has a chart of his prices right in front of you when you sit down and talk with him. Black & white copies - 5 pesos.

I had him make one B&W copy for me.

"Cuanto es?"

"10 pesos"

This is the 3rd time he has overcharged me, and now he's struck out.

He lost at least RD$500 in future business from me over 5 pesos three times.
 

charlise

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Nov 1, 2012
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I also always pay by the "job". Mostly for housework, it's like; "do this, that and I'll give you so much pesos for the job"... so I don't have to check how long it takes, just if it's done, and then I pay. Plain and simple, and never got f**ked over money or stuff or whatever else....

Some of you get so complicated over so simple... Don't try to adapt them to your ways.... YOU HAVE to adapt to their way...
 
Oct 13, 2003
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I do believe that Malko and I are in a different situation than a gringo on his own. We are both married to Dominican wives and have integrated into our Dominican families in law.

So cheating us can have more consequences than cheating a single gringo on his own.
 

DRDone

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Sep 29, 2014
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I am trying to get into the philosophy of the mentality and why this occurs. Why lose a customer over 15 pesos. It is because they want the win and you to lose. It fits.

For those so integrated into society and thinking that there are more consequences cheating them than a gringo on his own.... if you only knew how much they screwed each other over - and they don't seem to care about those consequences.
 
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