If you have heard of the term “Kano price,” then you probably know what it means. For those that do not know the meaning of this phrase it basically means the price that Filipinos charge foreigners. Many and probably most Filipinos will charge us more for things we want to purchase. This is a very real practice and you will, from time to time, pay the Kano price.
I often hear it referred to as racism. It has nothing to do with race. That is just you being full of yourself. You are white? So what, there are many of us here. Get over yourself, you are not that rare nor important. If you are Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Indian then you are the same race as namely, Asian. You too will be sometimes be charged the Kano price. I do not see it as racism. It is just business but when it is excessive, it is bad business and a good way to lose a customer.
That Kano Price is not Racism
It isn’t racism, it is just business at its best. At its worse, it is taking advantage of people that do not have much experience in the Philippines. Haggling in the Philippines is common in “Mom and pop shops” all over the Philippines. I do not mind paying a few more pesos. When the price is doubled though it angers me. At that point, it ceases to be business and becomes a con job. Someone attempted to do that to me not long ago and I wanted to punch him ha ha.
As Valentine’s Day approached I went to my favorite flower shop and asked if I needed to order flowers early. In the USA, you need to do that for Valentine’s Day. I did not think it would be necessary but I wanted to make certain. While there, I also asked the price again. I had been told P1000 in the past but there is a new manager. An old grumpy Pinoy is now running the shop. I think he is probably the owner. He told me the price was 1800. What? That is approaching what I last paid in the USA but that was around ten years ago or more. It is probably significantly more expensive now. I knew that was too much though.
I asked at the front desk at my hotel to make sure that I was being ripped off. They responded with a shocked look and said it is “Because you are a foreigner.” Yesterday, I asked Jhen to go over there and ask for the price. They told her P1000 just like they first told me. You might say “But, Rusty the price goes up during Valentine’s Day.” There you go again with your Western ways ha ha. Yes it does but there is not the massive demand for them on Valentine’s Day here like it is in the USA.
Don’t be a Kuripot
That is the Filipino word for cheapskate. Park your ego if someone charges you five extra pesos. You make more than $2 a day and many Filipino do not even make that. A Filipino earing $20 in Cebu is making very good money as most make far less than that. The minimum wage is considerably more but off the books employment is common.
On the same note, do not let anyone bug you about what you tip. You do not really need to tip 20 percent here but if you do, do not let the other foreigners here bug you about it. In most cases, what they are really trying to do is show you that they are the expert and you do not know what you are doing. They will say “When you tip like that it makes it more expensive for the rest of us.” That is 100 percent crap. Me, I tip better than most but not usually at 20 percent. The pizza guy just left. Most of the deliverers give me two twenties but this guy always gives me one 50 as change. Forcing me to dig out P20. This time I just gave him the coins. He will figure it out in the future. I feel like he is hoping he will get the 50 instead of only 20 when most do not tip him 20. I think it was still close to 20 but not quite. Call me Kuripot if you wish, I could not care less.
It worked, the next time I saw the above guy for my pizza he brought 20’s ha ha.
Looks like I need to find a new florist. The one I have been using is across the street but if he is going to rip me off by doubling his price he can eat a flower. I just checked Foursquare and found a place less than a mile away. At present that is a long walk for me though.
For Valentine’s Day I asked the hotel staff to go across the street and ask what the price was. He came back and told me prices that made no sense. He reported 800 for six roses and 700 for a dozen. So I gave him the 700 for a dozen. He did not go where I asked him to go. I do not know where he went. Probably a street vendor that was a friend or relative. On Valentine’s Day, he returned with 10 roses for the 700 peso. Oh well, probably a communication error on the number and price but I think he knew where I wanted him to go. I do not think what he got was a fresh as they would have been had he done what I asked but I am still happy. I was able to get something for Jennifer. The shop across the street can bite me.
Racism in The Philippines
Racism in the Philippines is quite low. It does exist, of course, sometimes against all white people. Usually though it is aimed at a nationality rather than a race. However, racism is clearly less of an issue in the Philippines than it is in the USA. If you are from the USA, surely you are aware that it is a huge problem.
In the Philippines, you might get treated differently if you are white but that will be manifested most often by better treatment. If someone tries to charge you too much that isn’t racism, for one it is based on all foreigners, Asian and otherwise. Racism implies thinking less of someone because of their race and the kano price is not based on that.
In the hotel that I stay in, I see the front desk often ask for a deposit of P1000 when someone checks in but every single person that I’ve seen this request go out to was Filipino. I have never seen them ask a white person that. In fact, the other day a guy gave it to them and they were confused why he was giving them an extra 1000 peso. He pointed out that their sign stated a 1000 peso deposit was due on check in.
Once I went into a UPS office. The clerk offered me a chair from behind the counter. There were two women with me. I declined the chair.
When the Kano price doubles or nearly doubles it makes me angry too but it is not based on my race. It is based on my not being Filipino and they will do the same thing to Japanese and probably even more often. It is based on the perception that I have more money. I do have more than most Filipino but I am far from rich and while I don’t mind a few pesos, I am not going to knowingly pay close to twice the going rate.
What are your experiences with the Kano price? I use to wonder why people cared so much but when they start doubling the price that is a different story. I know of one guy that a shop tried to double the price after his wife placed the order the day before. When he showed up to pick up his cake, they doubled the price. I do not recall but I do not think he paid it. I know, there is no way I would have. They can eat that cake themselves. That is probably the worst example that I have seen. That bakery flat out told him you are a foreigner and we change foreigners more.
I think paying more at a state owned park makes sense too. In theory Filipinos are paying taxes and we are not. Truth is most business here do not pay the taxes they should be. I do not know about employees. This is common but I wonder how often the clerk keeps the extra. What are your thoughts?
Filed under: Finicial Issues for Expats
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