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Tico time

What can people tell us about this phrase?
I've been told that things get done on "Tico Time" if that means monyada or tomorrow there. May be a problem with buildings - homes being done on time.
What do you guys think of those?
Ginnyp

GinnyP :

What can people tell us about this phrase?
I've been told that things get done on "Tico Time" if that means monyada or tomorrow there. May be a problem with buildings - homes being done on time.
What do you guys think of those?
Ginnyp

Hola Ginny,

Yes, Tico time is something that you HAVE to get used to.  It's a different culture than North America.  It may drive you nuts at first, but; it's one of the many, many, many things that you'll have to adjust to.  If YOU don't adjust or cannot adjust, you will end up one of the majority that return to their home country.

It's not necessarily a bad thing.  Why not be more relaxed and simply get where you're going when you get there.  Why do we have that "being on time" mentality?  Most Gringos that come down here come to retire.  Maybe it's time to simply learn to relax and not always be so concerned with time.

I have someone working on my house now - finishing my upstairs bathroom.  He works from "about" 7:00 until "about" 4:00.  I am very used to that.  I pay by the hour and he's paid only for when he's here.  Last week I actually had to tell him to slow down - he's doing tiling work for me.  I explained that I'd rather he went slower and did more precise work.  In most cases with people that I've hired, it's is not that they are lazy, it's just the way the culture is.  You simply relax, take your time and not worry about being somewhere at an exact time.

If you have a house built, unless you are acting as the contractor yourself and are in total control, the house will not be completed on the date you are given.  It's that simple.    :proud

I had another guy that was suppose to install a handrail on my stairs on Saturday.  It's now Monday morning and he hasn't shown up yet or even called.  I'm assuming at this point that he may not be showing up at all.   :mad:   Yes, it's frustrating.  If he showed up to do the work now, which could happen,  I simply would tell him he didn't bother to call so the work is gone.  And no, I will never use that guy again.  I know now to expect these things and choose to ignore it and just find someone else that will complete the work.  If someone says that they'll get it done mañana, then accept that.  If they don't bother to show up, you find someone else. 

The main point here is that "we" as expats entering another country or culture need to or should be the ones to adjust to their culture, not vice versa.   :/

- Expat Dave

I think that the phrase Tico time describes the general culture more so than just being late for an appointment.  It could mean that something gets done a half-hour later, a day later, a month later, or, as is more common, not done at all!   In my experience, Ticos like low-hanging fruit, and Gringos are easy targets.   

I had a washer that needed fixing.  A workman came that was highly recommended.  He charged me $50 to come and diagnose the problem.  Having diagnosed the problem, I paid him and arranged for him to fix it the following week.   After repeated calls, I never heard from him again.  Why do all that work when you can soak a Gringo for $50 for doing nothing! I ended up buying a new washer (and dishwasher as well because it had the same problem!)  If you do manage to get something fixed, it will usually be done half-assed and will require further work.  Getting him to come back and fix it properly will be much more difficult. 

If this seems like something you could tolerate, then you might be a good candidate for moving to CR.  Once you're past the honeymoon period, these are things you have to deal with day to day, and not speaking Spanish will make it much harder.

thewizz :

I had a washer that needed fixing.  A workman came that was highly recommended.  He charged me $50 to come and diagnose the problem.  Having diagnosed the problem, I paid him and arranged for him to fix it the following week.   After repeated calls, I never heard from him again.  Why do all that work when you can soak a Gringo for $50 for doing nothing! I ended up buying a new washer (and dishwasher as well because it had the same problem!)  If you do manage to get something fixed, it will usually be done half-assed and will require further work.  Getting him to come back and fix it properly will be much more difficult.  .

The flip side to this... I had a repair guy come out last week to fix my dryer.  I've used him before and he's always been very inexpensive and did good work.  After taking the dryer apart, he told me I needed a new part of some kind.  He called a few days later and said the part was too expensive and I should just replace the dryer.  I asked him what I owed him and he said, "Nothing, I didn't do anything."

Lesson I've learned the hard way and as the Wizz experienced, you do not pay for anything in advance here.  If they want payment up front, find someone else to do the work.

- Expat Davee

Thanks
I thought this was the answer, that I'd hear.
I will do as Dave said if they want payment up front it's a no go. And find a reliable person to do the work what ever that will be needed.
I'm really looking forward to meeting you all at some point in the near further
As I've said before, my husband will be there next week (1st week of July)to see more then what we saw when we were there this past April then we'll be there in August to see even more. I hope we can all meet up somewhere, till then tks again for your tips and suggestions they really do help!

If you ever get near the Puriscal area drop me a note and my wife and I would be glad to meet up with either or both of you.

You are going about this possible move the right way! Asking the right questions, and not worrying if you can get the right shampoo.... :lol:

Making multiple trips can only help. Too many potential residents seem to rely on other peoples experiences....and boy, can they differ.

kohlerias :

You are going about this possible move the right way! Asking the right questions, and not worrying if you can get the right shampoo.... :lol:

Making multiple trips can only help. Too many potential residents seem to rely on other peoples experiences....and boy, can they differ.

Absolutely agree!   :top:

This is longer than I expected but oh well...

Tico Time... Yes, Ticos are not always reliable.
But let me first say that I have a worker who is 100% reliable! If he isn't going to show up very close to on time he sends me a text or calls.
I also had a house built and it was finished ON TIME and though there was an overage on the cost, it was in large part due to things we decided to add for better quality or more storage or etc.
When we had a washer repair guy out, he was always close to on time and did a great job, helped us get a new washer under warranty.
We've had delivery trucks be "more or less" on time too... There ARE on time and reliable Ticos but it depends on where you live and who you hire.

BUT... here's the other side of the coin:

ICE the electric company: we had no electricity - as far as they knew - for FIVE DAYS. I'm not kidding.

Luckily we DID have one circuit working so we got by with a working refrigerator and a few lights. BUT they didn't know that it was just one circuit out. And we have electric hot water so we had NO hot water for 5 days! Cold showers in a cool, mountain climate! Not fun!

We kept calling every day after the 2nd day, asking "when are they coming?" And they just kept saying "Maybe today, or for sure tomorrow..." It was CRAZY! "Unacceptable" really. Yet you have to accept it.

It's not like in the states where if you raise enough hell you get action. In fact they have a way of making it seem like YOU're the crazy one if you complain too much and it may actually work against you if you get angry with them.

The other day my internet was not working because they were saying I hadn't paid for the month. But I did and I had the receipt. (ALWAYS KEEP RECEIPTS! I also shoot photos of them and keep them on my phone.)

No one speaks English at Claro tech support. So while I am "fluent" I really have a hard time on the phone, they talk really fast, the connection isn't always good and it was noisy during a hard rain. Finally I got this out of him, (translated here): "Yes, I see you did pay. We have to file a report. It will be back on after they get the report and process it."
When will that be?, I asked.
"We're not sure. Maybe later today."

(I have said it before and must say it again: CLARO: WORST internet company EVER.)
Good TV I hear, though... (I don't have satellite tv.)

Luckily it was several hours later that they reinstated my service, but it could just as easily have been 5 days. Support here often sucks. Worse if you live in the sticks, but sometimes that has nothing to do with it either.

Another time I hired a backhoe guy before I lived here to move some dirt. I needed it done and had it arranged to happen the 2nd day I was here on vacation. He didn't show up. "Mañana..." Next day neither. 3rd and 4th days neither... I was really pissed because I needed it done and was running out of time. Tried to get someone else - they were all working on other projects. Bottom line, the guy didn't come til the 5th day. I wouldn't hire him again now unless I was absolutely desperate. Luckily found a better and more reliable guy.

So sometimes there is no escaping Tico time when it comes to slow service.

But also there is the aspect that Dave talked about, that they just take things easier and are not in a hurry. At the stores no one hurries usually - sometimes at the more American style stores they are trained to be more quick but at regular Tico stores they take their time. "Tico time".

The upside of this is that the store help will talk to you and not treat you like you're just another droid customer, like they did in the U.S. city I moved here from.

Sometimes the guard at the bank or the guard at the hardware store will shake my hand and say hello and goodbye and I'll stop and exchange a few words with them. It's a nice feeling. Or I'll shoot the bull with the cheese store lady. Or I'll stop on the road when I see a neighbor from down the road and talk to them.

You'll see people in front of you in line talking about personal stuff while you're waiting to be attended. Don't get mad, just know they'll do the same with you, if you get to know them a bt. It's the culture. I am greeted with a smile at many small stores that I go to regularly and I'll try to exchange a few words. It's nice to slow down a bit and not always be in a hurry.

1 leg of 110v will power your small house. I assume your water heater is 220v. If thats all you were missing for 5 days, wow, what a hardship. FYI, I haven't had hot water in 13 years.

rendrag, your reply reminds  me to mention to those who are looking at rentals not to assume that because you can see two taps, that hot water will come out of one of them ...  :whistle:

rendrag :

1 leg of 110v will power your small house. I assume your water heater is 220v. If thats all you were missing for 5 days, wow, what a hardship. FYI, I haven't had hot water in 13 years.

Are you assuming it doesn't get cold in the evening where I live? Well more power to you if you don't require a hot shower.

I do, and yeah it's a hardship having to move the coffee maker, the refrigerator, and other stuff around to inconvenient places for 5 days because the lines they're connected to don't work, and we have a very small house so there's a place for everything and everything in its place.  Mess up that order, and well... it's a mess.

Bottom line is, ICE should not make people wait 5 days for electricity. And like I think I said, they didn't know I had one line of electricity, for all they knew I had NONE.

kohlerias :

rendrag, your reply reminds  me to mention to those who are looking at rentals not to assume that because you can see two taps, that hot water will come out of one of them ...  :whistle:

That's right because the faucet kits are sold with hot and cold handles so you can't really take a saw and cut off the hot handle if you aren't using it. Kitchen sinks always have 2 holes too (well the vast majority do, I never saw one that didn't), so you need a "regular" hot and cold set up to fit it.
But yeah, check to see if the house really has hot water if you need it.

What we had is an electric "suicide" shower.
I can only imagine they call them that because people didn't hook them up right. I have SEEN some that have bare wires ... But if you hook them up right they are perfectly fine and work pretty well. I don't see why someone would rather have a cold shower than an electric shower head, but to each his own.

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