02 April 2008

Cheap labor

One of the biggest difference between Norway and the Philippines is the cost of labor. My first days in Manila have given a couple of good examples at that. At one of the restaurants we went to, there were two waiters involved in taking an order. One, first, to receive the order, and then another a minute after to go through and confirm the order. In Norway the waiters are so busy it sometimes can be hard to just get the attention from one so you can place the order.

When you shop in a mall here, there are typically two or three person at each register. The first one enters all the items to the register and receives your card. The second one goes through the receipt and controls the sums, and then processes your card. There might also be a third one for putting your items in a bag. In Norway there's only one person at the register, and at the grocery store you must be quick to put your items in your bags to avoid delaying the next customer.

However, what I think is the clearest example of the cost of labor in the Philippines was at the driving range I went too. When I was there I had a dedicated golf teacher training me. This would be very pricey in Norway. In addition there was a separate person to place a new golf ball ready for me after each shot. So I had two people working for me for one hour. The cost? 700 pesos, just below 100 Norwegian kroner, total. I think I would have to multiply the cost by ten and then some for the same lesson in Norway.

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