I Visited Jamaica In April

by Nigel Rickerby
(Brooklyn, New York, USA)

My most recent visit to Jamaica was in April of this year, and one thing that I found common among the business class is a seemingly pervasive attempt to overcharge.


For instance, during a stop-over at an average hotel I asked the front desk clerk if coffee was included in my room charge. She said it was not, and would be JMD$250.00 per cup if I wanted it.

During the same trip I was charged US$80.00 for a car tire because a car which I rented got a flat, which I fixed at a reputable service station.

One of the bright spots in this visit however was when I stopped at a roadside business to buy coconuts. As I drank one of my coconuts, I asked a lady, who may have been the wife of the man who sold me the coconuts, to sell me the ackees that she had on hand.

As she was taking them from the pods, she stopped and said that she miscounted and that she was going to do a recount.

Her husband scolded her, saying that passers-by were the life of his little business, and that a miscount of a few seeds of ackees was not going to bring his business down. His words warmed my heart.

The seventies was the only period when traditional tourists rented cars and stayed in small hotels on a large scale. Nowadays most tourists buy all-inclusive packages that, for the most part see them staying in high-end hotels.

So these business people can continue on their path to driving the faithful few to the all-inclusives or other destinations.

Wellesley's Response:

Hi Nigel, thanks for your feedback on our website.

I've read it a few times over just to make sure that I didn't miss anything.

I think I understand where you are coming from, but I don't see anything unusual about your transactions - I stand corrected though.

Relative to the coffee, I actually never expected that they'd provide free coffee for an average hotel, as you put it.

My suggestion to you, is just be be clear on what you are getting when you make a reservation, and even better, ask any questions or any special requests that you might have prior.

In relation to the car, was there a contract between you and the rental company?

If so, did it mention damage to the car or its parts during use, and the expected costs?

My humble suggestion would be make sure that (like anywhere else visited) you get those fundamentals established before you go on your adventures.

I will solicit feedback from my site visitors and those who came here before as well.

You can find the comment link here

Regards,
Wellesley

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Dec 25, 2017
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Freeness Mentality
by: Anonymous

If you know the charge from the onset, then you can decide for yourself to accept or not accept. Sometimes it's when you had a prior experience at one price with a person and then your next experience with that same person is at an unexpected, significantly higer price. Now that person doesn't consider that you haven't factored that higher price into your own costs and thus it means something has to be cut somewhere else or you incur a higher debt that you weren't expecting. In an emergency situation it's difficult to walk away. In terms of the tire change, I would pay it and then see if the rental company would reimburse. Being a tourist has pros and cons. It just depends on the situation and individuals involved. I can see both sides. When you don't make a lot of money in the first place and opportunities to make an income are few, coming across tourists, is a God send for some. But it can hurt in the long run. Because that person will be hestitant to do any business transaction with you again, if a t all. So you have to think long term sometimes. Do you want to overcharge today? And that customer won't return to you in the future. Which would mean lost potential future income? Or do you charge something reasonable, that both of you can be satisfied with and the customer keeps returning and also brings you more customers. Being gouged leaves a bad taste in anyones mouth.

Sep 25, 2015
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Marcia's response
by: Anonymous

Marcia, if you read my letter you are just being mean-spirited in your comment. Some people seem to get really worked-up when Jamaicans living abroad comment about their own country. Instead of indulging in extreme flag-waving nationalism and name-calling we should ask ourselves if we would like to be treated in this manner.
Maybe I am a poor letter-writer, but the charge of US$80.00 for a flat would probably be forgotten if the owner of the car rental company showed the same respect and courtesy that he had on display when I rented the car. I came away from that experience feeling that I just did business with someone who was quick to display a total lack of respect for a customer who questions a charge.
And by the way, just so that you know, there is no "freeness mentality" here. I go to Jamaica every year or so, and none of my visits are based on indulgence in "fun in the sun". Whenever I visit I carry no less than two barrels of clothing and foodstuff, all bought with hard-earned money to give, through others, to kids and old people outside of my parish.
Everyone, including you, is entitled to form opinions, but I that that it makes us better individuals if we speak about the issue at hand rather that indulge in ad hominem attacks.

Sep 23, 2015
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Re I visited ja in April
by: Anonymous

I am wondering if that $80 was the price of tire repair or the price of a new tire that could make a difference

Sep 23, 2015
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Freeness mentality?
by: Marcia

Without misjudging the intent of this New Yorker's motive, the first thing that jumped out at me is that oftentimes the "freeness mentality" here in the US gets the best of us when we travel.

We expect so much freeness. Had to close my business recently because of the same thing - prospective clients wanted my services but were not willing to pay for the time I would spend helping them out.

Let's face it, the US can make money to hand out to the freeness to people and have them trapped in not sweating for their daily bread.

I am looking forward to being in Jamaica soon, and if I want something extra and can't afford it, I will walk away without complaining.

Thanks to those Jamaicans who stayed and weathered the economic storms so we can go back and enjoy our country whenever we like.

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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.  

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