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Are people afraid to say they "don't know" something?

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BedokAmerican
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Are people afraid to say they "don't know" somethi

Postby BedokAmerican » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 4:24 pm

I sometimes go into stores and nicely ask if something is in stock and people who work there will either point me in the right direction or just say "no" but then I'll walk around the store and find it anyway. Sometimes stuff I'm looking for is sitting a few feet away and the employee claims they don't sell it.

It seems many people here don't want to admit they don't know something. I don't know why they instead don't say something like, "I'm not sure. Let me check." Is there a shame culturally in doing that?

Has anyone else found this to be the case?

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Postby nakatago » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 4:25 pm

Yes.

Losing face and all that $#!+. Also, apathy.

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Postby Mi Amigo » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 4:43 pm

^^^ +1

I often see it during my journey to work by taxi. After telling the driver that I want to go to Changi Business Park, I'm sometimes asked for the name of the building. When I give the name, I get an "Ah, OK" response but when we get to CBP the driver usually has no freaking idea where it is. But I learnt early on to just let it wash over me and not get riled, just give directions.

Welcome to Singapore. There are plenty of good things about living here, so it's best to just ignore the tedious ones.
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Re: Are people afraid to say they "don't know" som

Postby x9200 » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 6:08 pm

BedokAmerican wrote:I sometimes go into stores and nicely ask if something is in stock and people who work there will either point me in the right direction or just say "no" but then I'll walk around the store and find it anyway. Sometimes stuff I'm looking for is sitting a few feet away and the employee claims they don't sell it.

It seems many people here don't want to admit they don't know something. I don't know why they instead don't say something like, "I'm not sure. Let me check." Is there a shame culturally in doing that?

Has anyone else found this to be the case?

An exercise for the next stage of your stay: check out how people react to the question "why?".

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Re: Are people afraid to say they "don't know" som

Postby Mi Amigo » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 6:13 pm

x9200 wrote:An exercise for the next stage of your stay: check out how people react to the question "why?".


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Postby BedokAmerican » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 6:26 pm

Another thing interesting happened today in regard to that at a convenience store. The cashier made up the price of lemons so she didn't have to make change. (It seemed she wanted my order to be to the nearest dollar).

When she saw it would take 60 cents to do that, she announced my total before she rang up the lemon (my last item). I said lemons are 50 cents each and she said that they were 60 cents and rang it up that way. I had to point to the sign that said 50 cents. She then asked a co-worker what the sign said and he said 50 cents, so I got the 10 cents back.

It's not that 10 cents is that big of a deal. But if she did that to me, she probably does it to others.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 7:59 pm

It's called AMT. Ang Mo Tax. :cool:

Go to a wet market and they double the price and then they do that with EVERY SINGLE ITEM you purchase and then they total it. :o

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Postby JR8 » Wed, 16 Jan 2013 8:09 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:It's called AMT. Ang Mo Tax. :cool:

Go to a wet market and they double the price and then they do that with EVERY SINGLE ITEM you purchase and then they total it. :o


Same same if you go and buy ground-to-order spices in Little India (in my experience).

Maybe they thought my wife was a foreigner too. She set them straight pretty quickly :)

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Postby Brah » Fri, 18 Jan 2013 8:06 am

In a place like this it's pretty surprising that these kinds of rip-offs still happen unpunished. I say 'surprising' but I guess I'm not really surprised.

Meanwhile, what the OP mentioned has been covered here before, I know I've posted about it, though he is probably new and wouldn't know that.

It's still endemic, and people seem more comfortable to enthusiastically and self-delusional-ly bluff their way with straight faces through a response to a question without simply fessing up to the painfully obvious point that they don't know a damn thing about what they're saying. And then they dig themselves deeper the longer the questioning goes.

After seeing it a few times I started having fun with this, first to watch them squirm, as they kinda know that you know that they don't know what they're talking about. Then I say what I have said so many times here - "it's ok if you don't know, just say so". Then, the wave of relief washes over their faces and they face the truth and I go and buy what I came into the store for anyway because I've already researched it and knew the answer to my question before I asked it, hoping for a more expert opinion.

But there's something worse than that - the dreaded platitudes. Those ever-so-obvious statements that fall so easily out of local mouths as oracle-like; things common knowledge to a 6-year old but somehow in their simple mind, bears repeating. I guess it's when they have nothing to say that they feel the need to revert to the obvious just in order to have something to say.

So yeah, it's a kind of saving face, unnecessary as it may be.

Where I come from, it's "sorry, I don't know, would you like me to check for you?".

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Postby movingtospore » Fri, 18 Jan 2013 5:39 pm

What really annoys the crap out me though is not that fudge their way out of saying I don't know, but that they don't know in the first place. The most basic thing about their store, product, etc. It shocks me. How can you not know that the lightbulbs are one row over? Or that you don't carry a certain brand. Or that you're out of size 3. Or that you don't sell something anymore. Ugh.

Part of the problem is that they can't think, and nobody bothers to train them.

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Postby Brah » Fri, 18 Jan 2013 5:54 pm

Again with another worse-than-that, is when they think they're helping by cluelessly wandering the store trying to find what you're looking for, when if I were doing it myself it would be half the time and using more intelligent search criteria.

Has this happened once, twice? No, many many more times than that.

On one hand, when they do do it they are trying to help, on the other, it's a cringe-worthy display of the downfall of humanity.

movingtospore wrote:What really annoys the crap out me though is not that fudge their way out of saying I don't know, but that they don't know in the first place. The most basic thing about their store, product, etc. It shocks me. How can you not know that the lightbulbs are one row over? Or that you don't carry a certain brand. Or that you're out of size 3. Or that you don't sell something anymore. Ugh.

Part of the problem is that they can't think, and nobody bothers to train them.

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Postby x9200 » Fri, 18 Jan 2013 6:56 pm

It's not some cluelessly wandering. They are highly specialized to be always in your path or obstruct the aisles you are going to enter.

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Postby vishalgupta2 » Sat, 19 Jan 2013 4:01 am

x9200 wrote:It's not some cluelessly wandering. They are highly specialized to be always in your path or obstruct the aisles you are going to enter.


:D

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Postby BedokAmerican » Sat, 19 Jan 2013 10:41 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:It's called AMT. Ang Mo Tax. :cool:

Go to a wet market and they double the price and then they do that with EVERY SINGLE ITEM you purchase and then they total it. :o


I just found out what Ang Mo means. I've heard of it but didn't know what it meant. i then saw your post thought it was an informal/discretionary tax so I looked it up and and there was no such tax. I then looked it up by itself and then realized it means "red hair" and can be considered derogatory toward whites.

Boy, I do have a lot to learn!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 19 Jan 2013 11:02 pm

It could, but is normally doesn't. It's ignorance of the local population or overt sensitivity of the Ang Mo population. I've always been called Ang Mo by my boss (the MD and only stock holder) but it's always in a friendly tone and considering the leeway I get in the company being the ONLY Ang Mo, I'd say it's pretty benign. You would do well to look at it the same way. Most threads will have the 'whities' up in arms, but it's only because the majority don't bother to get involved in such a trivial matter.

Advice from an old coot who's been here far too long.


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