Why is it so hard to say 'Thank You'?

Conchman

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I have noticed that here in the DR, when you tip, very often you don't get a 'thank you.' I just wonder why that is. In our casino, we literally had to train the staff to say 'thank you' when getting a tip. I noticed it again on the tennis court, I tip the ball boy RD$100 after a game, which should be considered a good tip, but he just doesn't get the word 'gracias' or 'thank you' out of his mouth. I have lived here 7 years and I just don't get it.
 

mountainannie

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wow

I do not think this is a "Dominican" thing at all....

i do not understand that at all...

i tip the guys from the colmado ten pesos and always get a thanks

ditto the guys from the grocery who carry the ten bags up three flights...

I always get thanked here...

perhaps they figure that you at the tennis club are richer and should tip more
? Maybe they are only living on tips? what is the deal? maybe you should ask? But you tip the waiter 100 peso on a good meal, I mean a 1000 pesos meal, right? So maybe he is comparing his tips with the waiters and figuring he is getting a bad deal......dunno...

try not tipping for a while

there is the old capitalist saw

to make the poor work harder, pay them less
to make the rich work harder, pay them more
 

ExtremeR

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Lack of family values in recent Dominican families than come from barrios (not all, just some) specially when the mother had them while been a teenager herself. Go to El Cibao or a campo and tip somebody $50 and you'll get the thank you always. One of the reasons I love El Cibao.
 
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Lack of politeness and good manners.
Not taught at school nor in most families.
Todo es merecido.

donP
I find it at all levels in my dealings here. Business and personal - executive or in the colmado.

Just not enforced as a cultural norm. It goes with the "dame" as well. After 9 years in the culture and 6 here in DR, it still irritates me as well :(

One of my clients has a sign hanging in the employee cafeteria. It says some like:

"It is easy to say: Please, thank you, at your services, have a nice day"
 

donP

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STGO. vs. SD

Go to El Cibao or a campo and tip somebody $50 and you'll get the thank you always.
Quite true.
That's why I rather shop in Santiago than in SD, people are just more polite and friendlier there.

donP
 

Malibook

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I would say that most people I have come across are polite and do say gracias but there are many who do not.
At least give me a smile and a nod.:ermm:

If I give someone a tip and don't get a gracias, I will loudly say "DE NADA!" :surprised

Sometimes when I see a friend or acquaintance and they don't say hola or como estas I will say, "HOLA, BIEN GRACIAS, Y TU?" :cheeky:
 

Lambada

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I do not think this is a "Dominican" thing at all....

i do not understand that at all...

i tip the guys from the colmado ten pesos and always get a thanks

ditto the guys from the grocery who carry the ten bags up three flights...

I always get thanked here...
Yes I mostly always get thanked too, maybe because I had a conversation with the person while they were packing up my shopping, asked about their family, remembered something they told me last week and asked about it again. In other words, I endeavour to treat the person as a person and not a function (bag packer, fuel dispenser, meal carrier etc etc).

The few who haven't thanked me in words necessarily have been young kids whom I don't really know being given a colouring book and crayons or somesuch, but........the joy and happiness is obvious in their eyes and smiles. So........I take the smile as a thank you. I would say 90% of the time it is really easy to spot the appreciation. Just because I was brought up to say thank you verbally in my culture of origin, doesn't mean I would expect this response globally.

And as a Brit. when I first lived in the US and thanked someone, it took a while to adjust to the rejoinder 'you're welcome' ;). What do you mean I'm welcome, I haven't just arrived, I've been in this place 2 hours already..... How thanks are communicated and how people then thank for the thanks :rolleyes: has to be culturally determined, surely? Watch the interviewers on CNN thanking the guest who then thanks them which in turn elicits another comment from the interviewer........whilst the poor viewer is thinking 'for heaven's sake, get on with it!'. And what's best, real heartfelt thanks, either by word, gesture or facial expression or robotic parrotting of words which someone has been taught via a script?
 

Chirimoya

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In Spanish-speaking culture the courtesy is conveyed in the phrasing and in the way the person is addressed. Although I think this applies to 'please' more than 'thank you'.

In general I find Dominicans much more courteous than people in Europe, but yes, in some situations the absence of thanks does leave me wondering.

Lambada said:
And what's best, real heartfelt thanks, either by word, gesture or facial expression or robotic parrotting of words which someone has been taught via a script?
At the same time I have a similar reaction to the phoney, passive-aggressive use of 'usted'. Is respect conveyed through grammar or by the way you actually treat a person?
 

Mariot

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At the same time I have a similar reaction to the phoney, passive-aggressive use of 'usted'. Is respect conveyed through grammar or by the way you actually treat a person?
i'm still not getting how the usted works. at first i used it with every person i didn't know, but soon realised that people generally adressed me with tu. i than realised that the usted is reserved for persons of a certain standing, along the lines of noblemen being adressed differently back in the days. but i have also observed dominicans using it with people only at times (especially older relatives). sometimes the rich tia would be adressed with an usted, and at other times with a tu. i haven't quite worked that one out yet.
 

Chirimoya

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You use an informal or formal form of address according to the person's age/status/familiarity in relation to yours, but the rules are not hard and fast.

I know families where some older relatives are addressed as "usted" and others as "t?" - usually the more relaxed, informal and less traditional characters. When Mr C gets called Don or is addressed as "usted" he asks if it is "por los a?os o por los cuartos".
 

jrhartley

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imagine if mummy hadnt insisted that you thank people for your christmas presents- you probably wouldnt be doing it either
 

Mariot

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tried to edit my former post, but took to long in writing it.
the whole thank you think made me think about my parents.
my father is from africa, while my mother is european. and they allways used to quarrel about me having to thank a relative when i recieved a gift. my father, who is a very generous guy, and allways stressed the importance of sharing, was downright disgustet by what he called "the european need to be thanked for everything". to him, expecting a thank you after making a gift was extremely shallow. in his opinion, you made gifts and shared because you wanted to, and because you felt an obligation to share what you have (especially with those who have less). it was understood that the other person was gratefull, but a person having to thank you for your kindness was belitteling.
now i'm not saying it is the same thing here, only pointing out cultural differences.
and if you think about it, depending on other peoples generosity (i.e. tips) is degrading, especially in a place where what is a fortune to the reciever of the tip, is next to nothing to the one tipping. so maybe that's where the reluctance to say thank you comes from.
in general, i find dominicans to be much more friendly than people back home. they also seem to be extremely formal in certain aspects. yet there are things that really made me mad at first. the dame is one thing, and another is the aggravating aloofness and slowness of people working in stores and the like. even in the more upscale shops, cashiers and staff at times act is if you are bothering them, when you are simply trying to pay or order something. but that's how things are working over here, so how can i expect people to fit my standards. depending on where they go, dominicans travelling will probably not be adressed as don, or get a cualquier cosa, buen provecho or siempre a su orden either.
 
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Conchman

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tried to edit my former post, but took to long in writing it.
the whole thank you think made me think about my parents.
my father is from africa, while my mother is european. and they allways used to quarrel about me having to thank a relative when i recieved a gift. my father, who is a very generous guy, and allways stressed the importance of sharing, was downright disgustet by what he called "the european need to be thanked for everything". to him, expecting a thank you after making a gift was extremely shallow. in his opinion, you made gifts and shared because you wanted to, and because you felt an obligation to share what you have (especially with those who have less). it was understood that the other person was gratefull, but a person having to thank you for your kindness was belitteling.
now i'm not saying it is the same thing here, only pointing out cultural differences.
and if you think about it, depending on other peoples generosity (i.e. tips) is degrading, especially in a place where what is a fortune to the reciever of the tip, is next to nothing to the one tipping. so maybe that's where the reluctance to say thank you comes from.
in general, i find dominicans to be much more friendly than people back home. they also seem to be extremely formal in certain aspects. yet there are things that really made me mad at first. the dame is one thing, and another is the aggravating aloofness and slowness of people working in stores and the like. even in the more upscale shops, cashiers and staff at times act is if you are bothering them, when you are simply trying to pay or order something. but that's how things are working over here, so how can i expect people to fit my standards. depending on where they go, dominicans travelling will probably not be adressed as don, or get a cualquier cosa, buen provecho or siempre a su orden either.
I think you're unto something here...good post.
 
Sep 22, 2009
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so maybe that's where the reluctance to say thank you comes from.
Point taken in your original post, however, I just don't see it as a "reluctance". I see it as absent altogether in the social educational aspect. I don't feel that parents leave it out intentionally - I just see it as simply "not present" in the curriculum so-to-speak.

Remember, "Thank you" and "Please" are not just for gifts. When someone goes out of their way to assist me in some capacity, that act is appreciated. "Thank you" is merely a vehicle for delivering on-the-spot gratitude. Over time, returning the gesture reinforces the gratitude.

And, hands down, a request should always be preceded with some sort of non-invasive vocabulary -- Not "give me". Simply unacceptable in my book.
 

london777

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Interesting thread, especially Mariot's post which throws a new light on this oft-discussed topic.
 

Chip

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I've seen this to varying degrees here too. I have given my housekeeper up to RD200 tips on payday and she has only told me thanks once. That's why I don't bother to do it a whole lot as I figure if they can't be bothered to to say thank you they don't need the money.

I do believe it is from a poor example that the parents are setting.
 

las2137

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My experiences in SD have been varied, but mostly positive. The bag boys at Nacional are wonderfully nice and polite- because I'm sure they've noticed that I give a nice tip for a job well done. The times I have given a tip to the guardia at the apt building for an out-of-routine task, I have been met with thank you and a la orden. Ditto the colamdo guys who carried my water, etc. I like to think that I treat all these people with respect and thank them.

I've also done things for wealthier Dominicans and gotten no so much as a look in the eye. I brought a birthday present to a friend's 9 year old son, and he grabbed it out of my hand and ran away, all in front of the friend. The friend just laughed and said, "Oh, kids today!"

Some of the best advice I have ever gotten was the following: Never do anything expecting to be thanked, you will almost always be disappointed. Do it because it is the right thing to do.
 

Mariot

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Point taken in your original post, however, I just don't see it as a "reluctance". I see it as absent altogether in the social educational aspect. I don't feel that parents leave it out intentionally - I just see it as simply "not present" in the curriculum so-to-speak.

Remember, "Thank you" and "Please" are not just for gifts. When someone goes out of their way to assist me in some capacity, that act is appreciated. "Thank you" is merely a vehicle for delivering on-the-spot gratitude. Over time, returning the gesture reinforces the gratitude.

And, hands down, a request should always be preceded with some sort of non-invasive vocabulary -- Not "give me". Simply unacceptable in my book.
that was my point. my father would have never tought us to say thanks. on the other hand, he used to take away from me what i didn't want to share. for example, when i had candy, and didn't compart it with others, he would get mad, take it away, and give all of it to the other kids. the same with toys. that is something my mother would have never done. as a matter of fact, i remember a lot of parents litterally fighting with other peoples kids over toys, saying "this is my sons/ daughters.... give it back", something that allways used to fluster my dad.
it all comes down to different values and social education, and once you figure that out, i guess you are better off with attributing it to just that than judging people for it. after all, you probably won't be successfull in re-educating an entire society, and who is to judge that yours is the better way to do it?

the reluctance thing was just another thought. in a society with such a great divide between rich and poor, very little upwards mobility, and ages old exploitation of the many by a very few, giving people a hundred peso is a generous tip, and yet still just crumbs of your table. so while you are going to drive off to your airconditioned condo in your yipeta, the other person is still going to have to ride the motoconcho to his or her modest hut on the other side of town. the hundred pesos won't change that, and the guy is still going to get exploited for the rest of his life. this is a society where those that can afford it are used to being served. those who can not afford it, are the ones serving. now, people are not going to thank their maids for cleaning the dishes, while at the same time whatever generous gesture they are showing their servants might probably still leave a bitter taste in the latters mouth. so maybe that is why saying thank you is not stressed in dominican social education. you could also attribute the dame thing to that. if you have servants, you are probably used to ordering them around without much curtesy, and in general, formality over here has a lot to do with social standing and hirarchy. being formal is more about subordination than mere politeness.