Long Lines at Claro Provoke Murderous Thoughts

Wow…I had an irritating day trying to pay my Claro modem bill thing.  I have to tell you, one thing that’s always bothered me about Peru is the fact that standing in line is a way of life down here.  The businesses simply don’t respect your time, and the reason most businesses don’t respect your time is they know the general population of Peru doesn’t respect their OWN time either.  Most Peruvians will just wait in line for hours without complaining.  This is one of the main ways Peru differs from the US.  Americans get all irritated and take their business elsewhere, and professional services know this so they offer you options so you don’t have to waste your frickin’ time in line.  Now, I suppose this reluctance to wait stems from the American entitlement I so often rant about…but in this case I’m in agreement because I don’t like to waste my damn life waiting in LINE!

You can pay most of your telephone type bills all over Peru in places like drug and grocery stores.  However, when I went their with my modem bill they didn’t know what the hell to do.  Personally I think they were totally capable of taking that bill at those locations, however, the untrained people behind the tellers didn’t know how to make it work so I was screwed once again.
So I went to the Claro store on Larco at 10 AM sharp (when it opens) only to find a line streaming outside the building and onto the street.  Seriously?  People line up on a Monday at 10AM to pay their phone bill?  The whole scenario was irritating because there were about 50 attendants in the store willing to SELL you a new phone but only 3 attendants willing to TAKE YOUR MONEY!  How about this for an idea Claro, train ALL your employees to take payments!  How frickin’ hard can that be.
We waited in line for about five minutes, but fortunately we had our baby along so we could jump ahead of everybody else into the preferential treatment line (one of the major advantages of having a baby is skipping out on lines).  Unfortunately when we got to the actual cashier, the lady said that the system was down.  Seriously!!!  That explained why the line was so frickin’ slow, but again, all the people seemed content to just wait in line for the system to come back up (however long that might take).  Personally, my bet was that they were just waiting for the computers to boot up, but nobody explained that to us of course…I guess it just goes to show that you shouldn’t show up at a Peruvian business at their posted hour of opening and hope to actually get service (most of them actually open about an hour after they say they do).
I eventually went around, did a half dozen errands and returned later only to find a line once again.  So I stood there waiting and composing this furious rant as I waited for having the privilege of paying my bill.  This is why it’s not a good idea for businesses to disrespect the time of their clients.  Occasionally those clients have semi-popular web pages that they use to discharge their anger at the world and it ends up looking bad for the business.
But seriously folks, who wants to spend three hours trying to pay their phone bill?  That’s ridiculous.  You could probably set up a “pay gringo phone bill” service here in Peru, where people could hire you to stand in line.  If you got 10 people who each paid you S/. 5, you’d be making a decent wage for the job (although there are people who would be willing to do it for the S/. 5).  It’s just that people aren’t aware that there is this need, maybe I should start up this business…what do you think?
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1 Comment

  1. Laurel

    Did you ever stand in line only to have an important-looking, sharply dressed Peruvian walk in, cut into the line with a superior air, and pay ahead of everybody else? Happened to me in Cusco. What's up with that!
    Another thing that would not happen in US although by and large I prefer living in Peru for the many other benefits.

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